Some of you have followed us on Facebook, Polarsteps or Instagram during this trip, but we still owe you the update of our blog…
The return of our Pan Americana trip had already been half a year ago. A new home found, Sascha went to work and Kerstin was still looking for a new job when we realized that Sascha still had to take his 3 weeks remaining vacation. Adding the Christmas days, we came to 4 weeks altogether. One month off is something you can work with. On our first long-term trip (2011 – 2013), we travelled to many countries in Southeast Asia, AU, NZ and Oceania, but we were not allowed entering Vietnam because of the size of the motorcycle-engine. So now is a good opportunity to close this gap!
We are still in close contact with many people we met on our trips. So also, with George from San Francisco. We met him for the first time in Panama and later we travelled together for a longer period in South America. When we told George about our plan to discover Vietnam with rental motorcycles, he was immediately enthusiastic. Since he himself was already playing with this thought, we quickly agreed and arranged to do this exploration together. In addition, just before the flight Kerstin signed her new work contract starting at 14th January. Perfect!
Friday the 13th of December we all landed in Hanoi with very light luggage and the next morning we set off to pick up our Honda XR150s. They weren’t in the very best condition, we exchanged one of them, had one or two things repaired – but what’s the point? They were Honda’s and we were sure they wouldn’t let us down. There was one more person we wanted to see here again. David, also from the USA. As well we met him in South America and spent a few days together there.
David moved to Hanoi after his trip for professional reasons, which was just a few weeks ago. What a coincidence!?! Nothing stood in the way of a cheerful meeting with delicious Asian-influenced tacos and some margaritas.
The rough plan of George and us was to explore the North of Vietnam along the Chinese border. This mountain region is, according to our research, still rather untouched apart from a few touristic highlights. Especially if you stay away from the main routes and regions in the extreme northeast and even more in the north-west. If you look at Vietnam on the map, you quickly notice how elongated it is.
This also means that there are different climate zones. The north in winter can get very cold. The middle is more moderate and in the very south, it gets subtropical hot. We agreed that we wanted to travel and not race and therefore excluded to drive all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). The idea was to drive south a part of the Ho Chi Minh Road along the Laotian border and maybe the time would be enough to reach the middle of the Da Nang region.
It was also an idea to make a loop through Laos, because we had this fantastic country in such a good memory. Like I said a general plan which we adjusted day by day…)
In the end, we left out the north-west because of long lasting very bad weather. In addition, we skipped Laos due to new border regulations and not enough time left. That is the way it is. We rather let ourselves drift. But see for yourself:
You have an idea where to go, but that doesn’t mean that you must implement it. For us it is more important to remain spontaneous, to be able to allow ourselves to linger, or to decide completely differently. However, everyone has his own opinion about the happiest way to find freedom!