All posts by Sascha

What can we recommend? Post 3 / 5

We especially liked the deserted border regions in the north with China. The road conditions are generally not the worst, but you should be aware that this could change quickly. You cannot rely on the weather forecast, so we drove on despite the bad forecast and had bright sunshine; and vice versa…

A heavy rain shower or a thunderstorm can not only turn the roads into a mud battle, but also make them impassable, due to landslides or destroyed bridges. Even the cold fog can quickly take away your complete view, so that it is not only a real ride into the unknown. No, you are rapidly soaked and frozen and it is annoying not to be able to see anything of the breathtaking environment. Because that is what this landscape up there really is: gorgeous. High peaks, rice terraces, waterfalls, canyons, caves, caves and again caves, mountain villages, friendly people from different cultures. It is worth it; the north remains our favorite of what we have seen!

We had the one or other rainy and fogy days, which made us turn to the south earlier. The Ho Chi Minh Road is for sure another highlight. Outside the few villages, we hardly met any people on that road. What should not let you become unfocused, since there are all the cows, water buffalos, chickens, pigs, ducks and you never know whether a cuddle or a truck in the next bend is coming towards us on your side?

Speaking of traffic. Compared to Jakarta, Indonesia or the traffic of Lima, Peru we found the traffic quite humane. You must adapt, think for others and go with the flow. The traffic flow works; you shouldn’t be too impressed by the crowd. The main intercity roads are supply roads and full of trucks and intercity buses that afford to race. You should avoid these roads or drive with great care. It makes little sense to insist on your right, because here the law of the bigger, the stronger applies. You also always have to expect oncoming traffic on your own side and everywhere.

This is not taken too seriously here; according to the motto: ‘Nothing came yesterday, and then there will be certainly nothing today as well’. In a hairpin bend Kerstin could only avoid a truck in the ditch, which caused her a 2-day break, a lot of pain and still problems with her ankle joint. Even though complete motorcycle protection clothing, without the gear it would have been a total disaster!  

Yes, we have been on the road with light luggage. Nevertheless, however, always in complete motorcycle protective clothing (boots, jacket, trousers, gloves and helmet).

One of our principles, fortunately as it turns out. Almost all tourists in Vietnam (or Southeast Asia) wear rarely any protective clothing. Although many of them do not even have driving experience.

From our point of view incomprehensible, especially since most accidents of this kind can be fatal. (And they sadly are from time to time, just two weeks after we came home there was a couple on their bike which didn’t make it home again)

Is Vietnam worth a trip by motorcycle? Post 2 / 5 12.12.2019 – 11.01.2020

A clear yes! We had a lot of fun with the small and light XR150s. Of course, you might wish for a little more power at one point or another, but in the end, they’re quite enough. Especially on the small narrow streets of mountain villages, the paths of mountainous regions, or on the bridges and between the rice fields on the hillside, a small agile bike is very comfortable. Some ways to the accommodations are limited to a small width and would be hardly accessible with a bigger vehicle.

As already mentioned above, we were on the way with little luggage and have rejected to carry a tent. Accommodations are everywhere, even in the most remote areas. There is always a guesthouse in the closer surroundings. They are called ‘Nhà Nghỉ’ and are local, mostly family-run, cheap (3, – to 10, – Euro for a double room, often including breakfast) accommodations. As a rule, they are neat, clean and comfortable and the nice family connection is usually part of it. A few are also pure ‘love hotels’, but this is quickly recognized. Either by the facilities or if the accommodation is charged by the hour ;)

By the way, the price is often still negotiable, and it is always advisable to check the room beforehand. This is quite common, also with the locals. In some regions there is also the variant of the ‘homestay’, these accommodations can vary both in price and in the type of accommodation. Sometimes it is simply a common sleeping room, mattress dormitory, but more and more often it is a well-equipped guesthouse and frequently it resembles a small hotel complex. In the tourist areas you can find everything you can imagine, from ‘Nhà Nghỉ’ to hostel, hotel or high-end hotel.

Something to eat can be found everywhere and at any time of the day. Typical food stalls offering of course noodle and rice dishes like Pho Ga/Bo, the famous Vietnamese noodle soup with chicken or beef, which as breakfast is a good basis for the day. Bún Cha, grilled pork is available on every street corner and Bánh Mì, the sandwich baguette, or Goi Cuon (summer rolls) or also Cha Gio (fried spring rolls) are a popular snack in different variations always and everywhere.

Fresh fruits and juices are also abundant, depending on the region and season. Bia, beer, the Vietnamese like and drink a lot, although it is not cheap compared to all other food. Very common is also rice wine, which is often home-brewed. So, the physical well-being is provided for. The food is good, but in our opinion, it does not come close to the Thai cuisine.

In general, we are not the people who just lie on the beach for days. Nevertheless, probably it is in the nature of things that as a motorbike traveler feels rather more attracted by the mountainous regions. Vietnam offers here many beautiful roads with little traffic if you go off the main routes. It has quite a good infrastructure in the more remote regions, which makes it easy to get supplies and find accommodation.

This makes traveling pleasant and uncomplicated, so it’s ideal even if you don’t have much experience. As usual, we prefer the non-touristic areas, which does not mean that we do not visit one or the other sight. However, we have also consciously avoided some places as for example the famous rice terraces in the north of Vietnam, Sapa. Fantastic rice terraces are everywhere in the mountains, you only have to let yourself drift and then the pleasure is all to yourself without the commercial hustle and bustle.