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Old 30 Jun 2006
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Northern Vietnam in march

I'm planning to make the loop through northern Vietnam in march next year on a Minsk. Dien Bien Phu, Sapa, Dong Van etc. Anyone have any comments on weather, temperature and road conditions end of februari to and of march? Should I carry extra fuel? Suggestions on scenic routes or nice places to go would be appreciated too.

Keep on ridin'
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Old 1 Jul 2006
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Despites the restriction on engine capacity, vietnam is fabulous for riding.

Get the Vietnam Road atlas (blue with white bridge) from the bookshops near the post office in Hanoi and start playing.
We did Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La - skipped Dien Bien Phu in favour of an incredibly beautiful shortcut from Tuan Giao to lai Chau - Pa So (where we spent some extra time in the hills) - Sa Pa

Sa pa - Bac Ha (best on sundays) - Ha Giang - Meo Vac - Bao Lac - Cao Bang
There are not many tourists outside of SaPa and Bac Ha at all, but this northeastern loop is drop dead beautiful. You're supposed to have a permit if you want to stay overnight in the border area though. We didn't want the hassle and rode the whole bit in one day, which is a bummer as it's too beautiful for one day. Two up with gear, a Minsk is powerful enough for this stretch, but only just. No alternative though.

If you've more time, the ho Chi Minh Highway South of Pho Chau is gorgeous.
No need to carry fuel, but some rain clothing and gloves are needed, you may have some rain. Road conditions are generally great.
you don't stop playing because you get old. You get old because you stop playing
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Old 5 Jul 2006
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Thanks Mingh

Encouraging post! Looking forward to going. I never mind the engine restrictions. Would prefer some more power but I just love to ride and enjoy. Kickin' on the scenery, not knowing what's around the next corner. Can you tell me something about the temperature in febr/march? Were you there that time of year? I read it can be quite cold, especially around Sapa. I'll go anyway but it would be nice to know what to expect, what clothes to take.
Thanks again, enjoy,
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Old 6 Jul 2006
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Hi Rob,

The mountains of northern Viet Nam can be pretty chilly in March, particularly at high elevations (above 1,000m) where it can be very foggy and damp.

Fortunately, good-quality riding gear is made here in VN so it is possible to pick up motorbike jackets and pants on the cheap in Ha Noi before you leave.

Good sources of information about riding in Viet Nam can be found at http://www.minskclubvietnam.com/, http://board.gt-rider.com/ and the tour operator Explore Indochina at http://www.exploreindochina.com/ .

Good luck!
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