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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #1  
Old 2 Aug 2010
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The franglais-riders
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Northern Vietnam - Lonely Planet road atlas and tips

We're off to Hanoi in a month time and we will be renting bikes for about 12 days to visit the northern region. We would need a detailed road atlas to complement the 1:600,000 road map I bought from Stanford.
Has anyone used the Lonely Planet road atlas that is on sale in Amazon? It's got very mixed reviews.
Alternatively we could get a road atlas in Hanoi. The problem with that is that we arrive on Saturday evening and we will leave 1st thing in the morning on Monday. Is it possible to buy a road atlas on Sunday? Or are all book shops closed?
We plan to do:
Hanoi
Xuan Mai
Tuan Giao
Dien Bien Phu
Sa Pa
Depending on time, continue further east before getting back to Hanoi.
Any tip/ location not to miss, village etc let me know!
It seems all companies rent bikes from 20USD /Day I am currently contacting few of them for bikes availability.
Cheers,
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Old 2 Aug 2010
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Where are you getting the bikes from? Most of the bike rental places are around hoan kiem lake. If you collect the bikes around there you can go to a book shop on trang tien - to the south-east of hoan kiem. They have good atlas's there. The place you rent the bikes from will be able to tell you where it is... Hope that helps.
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Old 2 Aug 2010
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I know it's not quite in the area you have planned to visit but i would highly recommend ha gaing province. I explored a lot of northern vietnam and ha giang is absolutely stunning... i think you are supposed to have permits and a guide to visit but i had neither and had no problems.
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Old 2 Aug 2010
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The franglais-riders
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Hi Lambshop!
Thanks for the feedback.
We will be probably renting the bikes from Flamingo as I found it mentioned here in the HUBB and in ADVRider with very good reviews.
We wil be staying in the centre near the cathedral and lake.

We will get a couple of little YBR 125cc, they have a big fuel tank for such small bikes (12l!) and the renting company strongly recommends those. They're good bikes.

In term of itinery I am still working on it.

I'm thinking to start by the south (of the North!) via Mai Chau, Son La, Muong Lai, SaPa. With 12 or 13 days on the bikes, I don't want to be over ambitious. Maybe push to Ha Giang and Bac Me. But it might be a bit ambitious because from ther there might be few long riding days to go back to Hanoi.

If not do the Muong Kuong / Bac HA loop and then south to Hanoi. but this is the thing that need to be booked well in advance and I don't like to prebook anything!
Another alternative is spend more time in the Hoang Lien son mountains of Sapa, and come back by train from Lao Cai.

I remember last time I went to vietnam, traffic is slow and we won't be gettings peed anywhere!

Cheers,
Maria
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Old 5 Aug 2010
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i used flamingo a few times... they are good. have a good trip..
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Old 7 Aug 2010
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you should not have any issues finding a map on sale. I was quiete pleased with the green roadmap sold in all stores for 30.000 Dong. And cause of Sunday - doesn't matter, almost everything is open anyways.

If you're looking for recommended roads the minskclub site had good recommended rides for the north.
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