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  #1  
Old 17 Nov 2011
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Advice please - Siagon (HCMC) and North to Hanoi

Hello all,

I would like to hear from any one, who has done this within the past year or two, on a motorbike.
We are planning to do it on 2 x motorcycles, of about 100cc for her, and a whopping 125cc for me.

Starting in the South, and ending in Hanoi in the North.

1/ What routes did you take.
2/ How long did it take you
3/ Was the time you did it in enough, or were you rushed?
4/ Is there sufficient hostels and fuel stops along the way?
5/ How much did you pay for your bikes, assumng you bough them in Vietnam.


Thanks to all, for any answers in advance.

Vette
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  #2  
Old 17 Nov 2011
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Hi,
Not much help for South to North I'm afraid, but if you don't get bike prices from down south, let me know. I can get plenty of info on prices and availability of bikes in Hanoi.
What bikes are you thinking?
Geared or step through?
Wave's must make up 75% of the bikes in Hanoi, but there's plenty of other bikes there upto 125. Very rare to see anything bigger.

Happy travels
Sam
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  #3  
Old 21 Nov 2011
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I did it last year on a bicycle and hotels were no problem and I saw plenty of petrol for sale.
If you leave Saigon on Highway 13 you can pick up Highway 14 which will take you up to Da Nang, a much quieter more scenic route than highway 1, not sure about after that as I took the train, do take a diversion to the hill station of Da Lat.
There were several Minsk for sale in Hanoi backpackers for about $300, they looked ok with luggage and a few spares but I personally would have prefered a Honda 125.
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  #4  
Old 22 Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niva Say Never View Post
Hi,
Not much help for South to North I'm afraid, but if you don't get bike prices from down south, let me know. I can get plenty of info on prices and availability of bikes in Hanoi.
What bikes are you thinking?
Geared or step through?
Wave's must make up 75% of the bikes in Hanoi, but there's plenty of other bikes there upto 125. Very rare to see anything bigger.

Happy travels
Sam
.
Hi Sam,

We have had a "rethink", and now we will start in Hanoi, and head south.
Then sell the bikes, or whats left of them, and get the train north, back to Hanoi.

The reason for teh rethink, is the weather in the north will be colder by the time we arrive back in Hanoi on the bikes.
So, now we plan to depart from Hanoi, and head to Ha Long, then continue south untill we get serious bum ache, and call a halt.
I am giving us about 14 days to do the ride from Hanoi to HCMC.
I guess if it takes longer,,,,,,,,,,,,,then it takes longer.
We will just arrive back in China later than planned, but thats no problem.

So,,,,

Who do you know that wont charge us an arm and a leg for 2 x cheapish Hondas'

2 little Honda waves would be good, or even 1 honda wave and one standard 125cc thing.

It would be cash on collection, bought as seen, tried and tested.
I have had bikes, big, small, fast and slow, of all descriptions for many a' year.

vette
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  #5  
Old 22 Nov 2011
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Hi Vette,
When are you wanting them?
I've got two very good friends from uni that've been living in Hanoi for a while now, they've bought a few bikes between them.
If you let me know when you'll want to buy, I'll get them to keep an eye out or if they use particular web sites I'll get the links.
They've always bought privately as far as I'm aware, but will know where to look for sure.
It'd be a shame to be in Hanoi and not take a ride upto Dong Van, but time dictates to us all in the end I guess (i didn't make it that far north either.....next time), it'd need a 7 day round trip from Hanoi to aviod rushing too much.

Sam
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  #6  
Old 22 Nov 2011
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....just thinking to myself.....
For a 14 day trip, buying and selling sounds like more effort than it's worth??
What about hiring?
If you're getting the train back to Hanoi anyway, you could put the bike on with you to return it too.
I rode out from Hanoi and trained it back with the bikes from Lao Cai, couldn't have been easier really.
Maybe worth thinking about?
When I was there Dave hired a pretty new Wave RS for $50/month.
$5 was the daily rate, but they obviously seem up for doing deals for block bookings.
If you want me to enquire, let me know.
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  #7  
Old 23 Nov 2011
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Hi Sam,

I really don't think much do I .
Thanks for a great idea,

That's a great idea you had.
We could hire 2 bikes in Hanoi, and ride them south.
Then at the end of our ride, we will plan to put the bikes on the same train with us for our return to Hanoi.

I am thinking that the trip from Hanoi to HCMC is about 1800km, but with a few diversions etc, it will be more like 2100km.
I see that covering 2100km at an average speed of 40km/h (25mph) would need,
3 hours riding every day is about 17 days.
4 hours riding every day is about 13 days

How can I find out how much it would cost to put the 2 bikes in the cargo car of the train we will be on, for our train ride back north to Hanoi?

Probably best to arrive at the station, early in the morning, for loading, it can't be that difficult to wheel 2 bikes into the cargo car.

I would be very happy if you could make an enquiry for me.
All told, we would probably want the 2 bikes for 20 days.
If a deal could be had, for a semi automatic for her, or one of them CVT, (continuously variable transmission) thats great.
For me I was thinking a standard geared 125cc would be better?
I am a porky 90kg, so don't want to kill the poor bike.

So please, by all means, see if you can get some rental info for me.
We expect to be in Hanoi around 6th to 8th of December.

vette
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  #8  
Old 23 Nov 2011
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Hi Vette,
No problem, I'll email Dave now, but with the time difference I doubt I'll get an answer tonight.
I'll ask about the rental and what he knows about the train.

As a rule of thumb, I paid about the same for my bike as I did for my own ticket (slightly less, but gets a ball park figure).
At least in Vietnam, even really big numbers are next to nothing when compared to getting on a train in the uk!
We arrived in Lao Cai, bought our sleeper train ticket (even 'hard sleeper' class was ok. Air con and a flat bed. Not exactly spotlessly clean or that comfortable, but a flat bed none the less).
Then we went to the platform with our bikes and sorted them as a totally seperate issue. They drain 90% of any fuel in the tank and scribble your train and destination details on the seat.
The next we saw of them was when we walked to the end of the platform and there they were exactly as we'd left them.
IMG_1640 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
We did it all hours before our train, but in reality the whole process took well under an hour.

The GL160's came from a really decent guy bassed on the north side of the old quarter. I'd recomend him highly, but he does come at a bit of a premium. The 160's were $17/day.
If you want something like that he's great, but if you just want a couple of Waves he's overpriced.

I think Lao Cai to Hanoi with a bunk in a 4 berth cabin and the bike in cargo was 950,000VND or about $45. HCMC is obviously a fair bit further though.

I'll give you a shout when I hear back from Dave.
May be easier to PM me your email.

Sam
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  #9  
Old 24 Nov 2011
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Right, I've got a few options....

Dave's seeing the guy with the cheap wave rentals tomorrow, so he'll ask if he does Win's too then. Also gonna get his number.
He did confirm $5/day or $50/month for the Wave, I guess for 20 days would be whatever you could negotiate!

This is where I got the 160's, $17 /day, not $19 as on website.
Rental Bikes
He's a good guy and I can probably dig out a GPS point for his place if you want it.

Dave sent me this.
: : Cuong's Motorbike Adventure Hanoi Vietnam: :
Neither of us have ever dealt with them, but a $60 fee the ease of having a one way rental....could be a decent option depending on how much the bikes are and how much you'd save by not putting them on the train?

Most of the train info seems to be here
Train travel in Vietnam | Train times, fares, photos, how to buy tickets
....all except of course....the cargo fees.
If you guestimate on almost as much as a middle bunk hard sleeper place.
That was how it worked out for Lao Cai to Hanoi anyway.

Happy planning
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  #10  
Old 25 Nov 2011
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Hi Sam,

Firstly, thanks for great information, and all your hard work.

I have made a few email enquiries to Hanoi rental places.
I can get a pair of Honda wave RS (110cc) for $100 together.

I like your information regarding the train cargo.
I guess getting the 2 bikes back from HCMC on the sleeper train, seems to cost as much as a persons ticket costs, am I right?

vette
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  #11  
Old 25 Nov 2011
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No problem at all,
That was my experience with bike as cargo from Lao Cai to Hanoi.
I haven't been able to find any info on HCMC to Hanoi cargo though.
If I were you, I'd plan around it being the same as your sleeper ticket. I can't see it being any more than that.

Have a great trip & let me know how it goes
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  #12  
Old 2 Dec 2011
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I did that exact ride 5 years ago, and am really jealous of you guys heading on that same journey. Something I'll never forget.

I could not recommend using Cuong's for rental any higher. The Minsk I hired was bulletproof, he supplied all the hardware, his return fee is a no brainer as you don't need to organise anything when you get into HCMC. Cuong is(was?) also the president of the Vietnamese Minsk Club, and knows all of his bikes inside out.

All the hotels I stayed in provided space in their lobbies for bike storage overnight, and it was included in the fee. One hotel even stored my bike for 3 days while i went exploring, and when I came back, I only stayed 1 night.

I could also highly recommend riding from Hanoi to Lao Cai and through to Sapa as well, stunning ride and amazing destination. You can ride back, or put the bikes on the overnight train back to Hanoi.

One tip is that they will get you to drain your fuel when you put the bike on the train, for safety reasons, and when you arrive some very entrepreneurial chaps will sell you fuel at very marked up prices. Either sneak some fuel onboard with you, or suck it up and just buy just enough to get to a fuel station. It's not that much in the grand scheme of things

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 3 Dec 2011
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Hi Chalkydigits,
Good to get a personal recomendation for Cuong's, thanks.

Vette,
You've got a PM
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  #14  
Old 3 Dec 2011
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VietNam

My wife and I rented in HCMC last year and drove up to Na Tran and then put the bike on the train and came back. It was very cold up in Hanoi as we flew up there after that. Lots of bikes and cheap.
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  #15  
Old 3 Dec 2011
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Pics

Hi all,
Some pics here from Oct/Nov this year
The bike trip North from Hanoi starts about half way through
Vietnam - a set on Flickr

Happy travels
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