Tag Archives: Vietnam

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)

Xin chào Vietnam Post 1 / 5 12.12.2019 – 11.01.2020

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!

Reunion in Hanoi! Let the games begin!

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.

The daily planning of the road book….

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…)

Where the streets have no name.

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!