(Mr. Avril Lubbe & Mr. David Anderson reviews of 7 days Honda GL160, ~1,300 km)
We have been looking through photos of the bike trip, it brings back such good memories. Thanks again for putting together such an awesome trip for us. Apart from the rain, it was great!!!
Tempo of the tour and the stop-over
We requested the exact same tour that our friends, Dale and Christina, did with Offroad Vietnam. We were both very happy that we got to see all that we did in such a short space of time. Highlights for us were the waterfall on the Vietnam China border and Ha Long Bay where we spent the night in a boat.
Bikes and equipment
Initially, we started off the tour on a GL160 road bike. We would have preferred a 250 bike, but due to the fact that two of us were travelling on the bike we were worried, there would be no space for the passenger. Whilst we managed to keep up with Vuong, our tour guide, the bike did struggle through some of the more muddy roads, with the back wheel regularly skidding out.
After we had a minor accident resulting in a bust wheel, we upgraded to an off road 150. This bike was far more spacious and comfortable for the passenger. Given the state of some of the roads we had to drive through (deep mud, gulleys etc), this bike was by far a better choice and in fact, I don’t think we would have managed one particular road on the original GS150 road bike.
Had we known we could have added a seat/pillow to the back of the 250 off-roaders we probably would have done that.
Overall, the condition of the bikes was good and we had no issues. Unfortunately for us, we had a minor bump with a local motorbike (nothing serious and in fact we didn’t even come off the bike). This resulted in a bust wheel. Vuong, our guide, was quick to the rescue, getting the wheel patched up in a nearby village. That night, he was able to swap our bike with a support bike that another group had in the back of a truck.
Equipment wise, we rented helmets, elbow and knee pads and a waterproof jacket from Offroad Vietnam. The velcro on the elbow and knee pads was a bit used and sometimes we struggled to get them to stay in place, but overall they did the job.
We thoroughly enjoyed the local homestays, particularly the one in La Babe. I had brought a silk sleeping bag with me (I was worried about catching bed bugs!) but I ended up not actually using it as all the hotels/homestays were very clean. What you find is that shoes are left at the main entrance so floors are spotless too. In the hotels, we had our own ensuite bathrooms (with showers) and in the home stays the bathrooms were shared. The locals in the homestays were very friendly – giving us plastic bags to protect our shoes/bags when it was raining. One homestay also gave us some rice wine to have with our dinner.
Considering there were just my partner and me in the group, I felt they really catered for any dietary requirements. I am vegetarian and Vuong ensured I always had a decent meal. We particularly enjoyed breakfasts of pancakes and also the banana fritters. Being vegetarian, I had a lot of fish, seafood, nuts, rice and vegetables. There was any amount of meat you could hope for – pork, beef, chicken, duck and much more for the more daring. It was a great way to experience what the locals eat, not touristy at all!
Guide and organisation
Very organised from the word go. Anh responded immediately, day or night, to any emails that we sent him. On arrival in Hanoi, Anh also advised us on how much money we would need for the trip, and exchanged our foreign currency for us. Vuong was a great guide. He ensured we had regular breaks (you get very stiff being on a bike for that long) and drove at a speed that felt comfortable for us. On arriving at our accommodation for the night, Vuong would give us tips on where we could walk / things to see or do in the area.
Reasonable and we feel we got our money’s worth.
How did you know about us?
Our friends, Dale (from South Africa) and Christina (from America) did the trip a few months before and highly recommended it.
Full name: Avril Lubbe (a Zimbabwean living in London) and David Anderson (a South African living in London)
For more customers’ reviews of Offroad Vietnam motorbike tours riding the scenic Northeast loop, please follow this link