So Many Things So Little Time byJamie AKA Pesky
Original source: http://www.triproast.com/so-many-things-so-little-time/#comment-1084
So we’ve been in Vietnam now for just over 3 weeks and I love it. It is one of the greenest places I have ever seen (the colour, not the environmental hippy green), the people are friendly, the weather is fantastic and there is so much to do. Hence the very poor lack of updates to the site. We have been so busy having a good time that we have had no time to tell you all about it!
By far the best thing that we have done on the trip so far, and for me, one of the best things I have ever done in my life (it’s a tie with Scuba diving) was a 5-day motorbike tour around the North and Northwest of Vietnam.
We’d met a guy called Dan at the backpackers in Hanoi – A Tasmanian video editor who’d been working in Malaysia. We all instantly hit it off, and it just so happened that he’d been enquiring about bike tours too. The bike guides from Offroad Vietnam, a tour company recommended to us, brought a map down the hostel and had a long chat with us about what we wanted to get from the trip and where we wanted to go. Hunched over a huge map of Vietnam, using our fingers to plot possible routes up the Chinese border, I could already feel the adrenaline starting to flow. I felt like I was Ewan McGregor or Charley Boorman in The Long Way Round – this was going to be a good week.
Paul, Jay and I had never really ridden on bikes so before the trip we prepared by practising around Hanoi on scooters at first and then moving up to a Russian bike called the Minsk. Just a quick note about driving in Hanoi – there are no road rules, and if there are, you would never know it! As long as you are in front, you seem to have right of way.
The bikes we used for the 5-day tours were Honda Luxury Sport 1600. Despite their glamorous name, these were real workhorses and only 160cc engines, but they handled everything we threw at them – almost. We also had a Honda dirt bike which Paul rode.
During the trip, my chain came off twice, Jason’s once, Paul lost the back of his exhaust, my wing mirror broke, and Jason’s bike actually got replaced. Saying all this, any problem that did come up was dealt with quickly by our excellent guide and it only added value to the experience of the trip.
For two nights, we were lucky enough to experience home stays with local tribes people. A beautiful stilt house with one large communal room was our home for the first night and I will never forget eating and sharing freshly brewed rice wine with our kind hosts. I felt that they were genuinely happy to have us there and sad to see us leave.
I think we crossed every terrain imaginable on our trip except snow. The views, as we sped down open and winding mountain roads, were breathtaking and at times we had to pull over just to take it all in as it was just too hard to concentrate on the road.
Despite my best efforts not to, I still fell off the bike twice. Thankfully, I was going very slowly both times and I was wearing all the correct protective gear. Unfortunately, the second fall was in a flooded road (for those who know about my previous experiences with flooded roads, this should make you giggle), and I had to ride for the rest of the day soaked through. Even this only added value to the trip.
Riding back into Hanoi was another experience in itself. Using the “I’m in front and I have a bigger bike than you” principle we made our way back to the hostel (Backpackers Hanoi) where we were greeted by Max, one of the owners, and promptly handed bottles of Victory beers. A truly fitting end to an amazing trip.
There is so much that I have left out that we experienced, but hopefully, when I manage to upload some of the photos this will help fill in some of the gaps. There’s also loads more that we’ve done since then that we haven’t had time to update you with including:
* Australia vs Japan game
* Ninh Binh – beautiful limestone mountains set in a mass of rice paddies
* Vinh Moc Tunnels that were used by the Vietcong during the American war
* Non Nuoc beach – where we are currently!
Also, sorry for any bad spelling and grammar, it’s a long post and I’m a little hungover.
There are more articles about motorcycling in Vietnam and you can read more by following this link