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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 13 Oct 2005
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vietnam and south east asia

Hi to all
I'm planing to cross the border from china to vietnam on the end of december .
My plan is to buy a motorbike and travel in north vietnam . I will try to continue with the same bike to lhaos , thailand ,kambodia , thiland , malasia .
I'm looking for information about : good routs,
good motor bike to buy , and any other information from expiriensed travelers in this area.
thanks
oren
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  #2  
Old 13 Oct 2005
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Location: Nantes, France
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For Vietnam, most go for a Minsk - a slow, characterful, tough Soviet relic. You can buy one in Hanoi, and sell it in HCM City from the the same company, without losing a packet. The Lonely Planet has details. Hire is an option also.

Check out this happy lot for info on the Minsk:
http://www.minskclubvietnam.com/

As for crossing borders, this is very unlikely. I don't know the exact details, but it is rarely possible to buy and travel internationally. Unless that is, you can find a European or US registered bike in Vietnam for sale. Again, very unlikely.

On the positive side, bike hire in Thailand is cheap. For ideas see:
http://www.geocities.com/bkkriders/
http://www.gt-rider.com/

If you want to ride the same bike all the way, then you need to get a US/EU machine there somehow. But note that there are big restrictions on what you can bring into Vietnam.

I would strongle recommend Thailand for biking, and I had a good time in Vietnam also, even though the riding is exceptionally dangerous.

Your options are therefore: hire/buy&sell in Vietnam, hire in Thailand. That will give you plenty of bike time.

Hope this helps.

Simon
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Around the world 2000-2004, on a 1993 Honda Transalp
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  #3  
Old 8 Dec 2005
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Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
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Hi there,

I did this trip in 2001. I bought a Minsk in Hanoi and drove it to Kuala Lumpur. Best trip I ever did! Border crossings no problem, but there're a few catches. Let me know if you're still interested in any info...

greetings,

Roland
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  #4  
Old 17 Dec 2005
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Location: China, somewhere
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Vietnam is a fantastic destination for a bike trip!

After receiving heaps of great advice from Digby of exploreindochina.com, we bought a minsk from Cuong, as mentioned in Lonely Planet. We paid 450 usd for the bike, spares and saddle bags. Other that the bike choking on the steepest ascents in the fog the bike has enough power. You don't need to go fast in this beautiful country. We had no problems at all with the bike, so cuong is a reputable name to buy a bike from.

As to the trip: we bought a road book in the book stores (Blue A4 format with a bridge picted on) which is fairly precise if a bit outdated. Road works are everywhere in vietnam, new roads are being built everywhere.

We came back today from a trip to the entire north (Hanoi, Mai Chau, Son La, Lai Chau, Pa so, Sa Pa, Bac Ha, Ha giang, Yen Min, Meo Vac, Bao Lac, Cao Bang, Ba Be, Hanoi) a 150km trip tru the most remote and breathtaking scenery. It's soo easy to get away from the tourist flocks on the bike. We've seen people run away when they realised we were westerners (or maybe i needed a shave)
Specially the bit from Ha Giang to Bao Lac was mind blowing. Until Meo Vac its all hairpins in the greates Karst mountains, after that, it's pure adventure: riding the bike tru rivers, on bamboo rafts that serve as ferries, over sketchy bridges and mud pools 2 feet high.....

On monday we're leaving to Laos. Hopefully the border crossing is feasible.
If you need more info, drop a line here.

[This message has been edited by Mingh (edited 18 December 2005).]
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