Vietnam Adventure Motorcycle Tour

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Guided Motorbike Tours travels to Vietnam to plan out a new route and discover a whole new culture

Transcript

  • 1

    AN ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLE TOUR

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    VIETNAM _______________________________

    A country where once the roads were turned

    into a sea of bicycles has now become a

    country with huge waves of mechanical

    scooters. A country that was ripped apart and

    sustained brutal killings during the later 60s

    and early 70s. Since then, this country has

    changed in so many ways but still retains

    many of the age old traditions and is a

    provider of some of the most delicious food

    as well as fantastic landscapes in all of Asia

    Vietnam is an awe inspiring country, with little

    funding and government support the inhabit-

    ants of this land have learned through gener-

    ations to fend for themselves. Most of what

    they eat is harvested from their own land,

    they make their own alcohol and even gener-

    ate their own income, a remarkable feat you

    will agree given the poverty that this country

    has experienced over many decades. They

    have adapted and adapted well.

    But what makes this country even more spe-

    cial is that provides a phenomenal stomping

    ground for touring on by motorcycle. Every

    corner, every hill climb and every mountain

    pass offers endless neck twitching scenery

    and impressive sights. It should be one of the

    top five places to visit on a motorcycle on

    everyones bucket list.

    ____________________________________

    www.guidedmotorbiketours.co.uk

    Worldwide Motorcycle Adventure Touring

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    4 am, I'm up and desperate for coffee. My

    flight leaves Heathrow at 10.50am. The

    coach from Bournemouth was prompt,

    comfy and hassle free, leaving for

    Heathrow at 5am. Arriving at Heathrow Terminal

    4 I grab some food. Coffee, Pancakes and bacon

    did it's job in waking me up. Now fed, I realise I

    can check in, even though it's only 7.50am and 3

    hours before lift off. The next couple of hours I

    watch a film on my phone that I had downloaded

    previously. Sat in departure lounge I was able to

    make use of the charging point, just as I sat down a

    mouse ran across the floor and under my feet, bit

    unexpected, still, might find it on the menu in

    24hrs!

    The flight was delayed and we didn't get off the

    ground until 11.30. Shortly after take off food was

    served, dry chicken in a creamy sauce with mash

    and broccoli plus all the usual extras, chocolate

    mouse, crackers and cheese. I started watching a

    film on the 10" LCD panel on the back of the

    headrest in front of me, there were plenty to

    choose from. I was desperate to try and get some

    rest but it was proving very difficult. By 3pm in

    the afternoon British time it was pitch dark out-

    side. Odd really as I've only seen what felt like a

    few hours daylight today. The plane is noisy, alt-

    hough I bought my own earphones the plane sup-

    plied headphones, it drowns out the noise of

    screaming kids and inconsiderate groups of teen-

    agers who fail to see that others around them aren't

    quite so energetic! I arrived in Kuala Lumpur

    around 7.30 and had my next flight to catch at 9.30

    so I made my way to the terminal by catching a

    monorail into the opposite building. On route I

    grabbed a Satay chicken wrap and a fizzy can of

    drink. The wrap was fiery hot which I wasn't ex-

    pecting.

    Without hardly any fuss I was back on a plane and

    heading for Hanoi. This plane being smaller, was

    very cramped.

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    F inally I arrived in Hanoi, got through

    border control in minutes, collected my

    luggage as I came down the stairs and

    straight through the sliding doors out of

    the arrivals lounge and into Vietnam. Ngc was

    there waiting for me as I exited the terminal and we

    headed over to his 4x4.As we drove though town on

    our way to his garage I was amazed drivers and rid-

    ers didn't die every second. It was chaotic to say the

    least. There seemed to be no traffic system or give

    way priorities. It was a case of beep, look and

    move. Everything just kept flowing like a pre re-

    hearsed stunt. Somehow it just worked. We arrived

    at the garage, talked about motorbikes and drank

    green tea, which tastes oddly like grass water. From

    here we head over to the shop and talked more

    about motorbikes, had some more green tea and cof-

    fee. Plus I got to see some really cool 4x4's. We

    both stop off in the old quarter of Hanoi, where,

    remnants of when the French occupied the city

    many years ago remain. After being treated to my

    first bowl of noodle soup made with a traditional

    broth I'm finally taken to my hotel in Hanoi central

    where I get chance to shower and have a stroll

    around Hanoi city.

    I cant help becoming mesmerised by the way the

    traffic seems to constantly flow, hardly ever stop-

    ping even to let pedestrians across the street, zebra

    crossings around here mean nothing, there is an art

    to crossing the road, either close your eyes and hope

    for the best or re-enact the 1980s arcade game,

    Frogger.

    I grab some food from one of the local restaurants

    as I am feeling uncomfortable eating from one of

    the street food stalls, I am not sure my stomach will

    cope with the lack of hygiene just yet. Walking

    around the town I am constantly approached by

    street sellers and opportunists. There are a lot of

    scooter taxis as well constantly asking if you want

    to be taken somewhere on the back of their bike,

    they even supply a cycle helmet for your safety,

    very considerate! I make it out of the hectic city and

    back to my hotel. Its been a very long couple of

    days and the travel is starting to take its toll on me

    so I make it an early night, it's been 48hrs since I

    last woke.

    Hanoi:

    The capital of Vietnam -

    Hanoi, is known for its centuries-old architecture

    and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese

    and French influences. At its heart is the chaotic

    Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly

    arranged by trade. There are many little temples,

    including Bach Ma, honouring a legendary horse,

    plus Dong Xuan market, selling household goods

    and street food.

    Area: 3,345 km

    Founded: 1010

    Population: 7.5 million

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    N gc arrived at the hotel at 08.00 sharp

    to collect me and take me to the shop to

    pick up the bikes. I will be riding a

    Honda XR250 and Ngc will be riding

    a 125 equivalent. I strap my rucksack onto the back of

    the bike, usually they go in the 4x4 support vehicle.

    We have a quick coffee and then head off through

    town. It's manic, chaotic, crazy and fun at the same

    time. I quickly realised you must use your horn to

    warn people, it's considered polite. I also realised that

    there is no real consistency as to traffic control or right

    of way, it would appear, if you beep first the other per-

    son should wait, but doesn't always work that way.

    Young boys 2 up on 50cc plus scooters wheeling down

    the dual carriageway for a good few hundred yards and

    then weaving in and out of cars as if though it was a

    normal day. Crazy. We head West out of the city to-

    wards our destination for this evening. On route I

    quickly realise how poor the country is, there seems to

    be improvement by the government but it's still not

    very noticeable, at least not on the roads as the condi-

    tion of some stretches is appalling compared to Eu-

    rope. The road will often suddenly change from rela-

    tively smooth and safe tarmac to uneven gravel and

    large pot holes or big troughs in the road, often the

    road turns into a track all together, throwing the bike

    up and down and making me fight for control to keep

    upright yet alone in a straight line. At times it becomes

    really tiring and mentally exhausting.

    We soon need fuel and for about 0.30 per litre it

    doesn't cost much to fill a small tank on the 250cc XR.

    Every once in a while we'll take a gravel path or track,

    drainage pipes often run across the path or track and

    they can be heavily raised, if not careful they can easi-

    ly catch you out as one did when Ngc went over it, or

    rather flew over it, his real wheel left the ground and

    bounced approx. 2' in the air, he later found out he'd

    damaged the screen on his laptop from the bump!!

    DAY 2

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    As the day went on we came upon the rice fields,

    acres and acres of them with the whole family help-

    ing to plant new crops now that the winter is almost

    over. We arrive at our home stay accommodation,

    it's in a small village run by the whole family. In

    fact they occupy all 6 houses on the same stretch of

    the village and own 100's of square meters of rice

    fields. Their main income is rice. They can harvest

    as much as 40 tonnes keeping 10 to themselves the

    rest goes to market or is exported. The lady owner

    and her husband were very friendly, the accommo-

    dation is also very nice and accommodating and

    clean. We were fed well with dishes consisting of

    chicken, goat, rice and chips. I wasn't too keen