Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Gasman on March 16, 2012, 07:17:03 pm

Title: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 16, 2012, 07:17:03 pm
Day 1:
One of my best mates since school left SA after University to go and work in Vietnam for a year, that was 6 years ago. So I thought it would be great to go and visit him in Vietnam and see the country while he is still over there as he should know the ropes after living there all this time. With my girlfriend persuading me that I wonít have this opportunity again, my flights were booked for mid January and I was off to Vietnam to do a bike trip with my best mate for 10 days, it doesnít get any better than this...
Knowing that we will have to travel light I just packed a day bag with a pair of jeans, couple of shirts, tekkies, flip flops and some other stuff.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/IMG_0347.jpg)

The check-in lady at OR Thambo International was rather confused when I told her I have nothing to check in and only hand luggage on me.
From Joburg to Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi. When I arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam I was expecting it to be humid as hell, but that wasnít the case. Got myself a taxi and had to first bargain my price down to what I thought was a legit price (not knowing how strong their currency is). Gave the guy the address to my hotel and 45min later we arrived. I couldnít believe that the taxi driver didnít crash once or didnít even kill anyone along the way. And I am use to Joburg traffic!! The Taxi drivers in Joburg will not know what hit them if you drop them off in Hanoi... it is crazy to say the least.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam010.jpg)

Dropped my bags off at our hotel (Lucky 3) and waited for Camp to arrive.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam004.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam008.jpg)

This was the first time we saw each other since our trip through Namibia and Botswana in June 2010. What an awesome feeling to see your mate after such a long time in a weird country and city that you have never been before. First things first, let get a place where we can have a couple of beers, there is catching up to do.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam009.jpg)

We quickly had a loose trip planned after a couple of beers and went over to Flamingo Travel where we got some bikes for USD 13.00 a day. These guys are seriously good and I can recommend them if you want to do a trip in Vietnam.
Sorting out the paper work
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam014.jpg)

These were the beasts that would take us through the country side of Northern Vietnam for the next week or so. 2 Russian Minsks, 125cc, 4 stroke.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam015.jpg)

The guys were going to check the bikes out the rest of the day and we could then pick them up the next day. So off to have another couple of beers and talk kark for the rest of the night. The only real planning we did prior to this trip was to decide that I should come during the Tet festival (which is similar to Chinese new year in Vietnam).
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam019.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam021.jpg)

This is a good indication of what the streets look like. And the crazy thing is you just walk and donít look left or right, because as soon as the people on the scooters make eye contact with you they believe that you will stop or get out of the way. Crazy, but it works.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam025.jpg)

We ended up in Le Pub for dinner where two Aussie girls were trying to make conversation, but couldnít really as they were smashed on Rice Wine. The one stumbled into the road (I seriously thought someone was going to run her over), while the other was sitting at the edge of our table chundering  everywhere. Welcome to Vietnam, where tourists give it their all!

Day 2:
Woke up the next morning feeling sick from the food we had the previous night (not even local food, but Burgers and chips). Walked around Hanoi dodging traffic and had my first Pho meal, which would end up being our staple diet along with coffee for the next week or so.

Taken from the rooftop of our hotel.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam030.jpg)

Picking up the bikes from Flamingo Travel. The first time you ride a bike in the city streets of Vietnam, you totally shit yourself. You ride on the right hand side of the road and there are no rules except for ďtry not to get killedĒ. We saw a guy who was already in the festive spirit of Tet that was so drunk that he couldnít keep his scooter up. He fell down against cars and other scooters shouting at the people as if it was their fault, brilliant!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam042.jpg)

The guys from Flamingo Travel organised overnight train tickets for us and the bikes to Lao Cai and even dropped our bikes off at the train station as this was on the other side of the city and no one thought it was a good idea to have our introduction ride in Vietnam to be one across Hanoi in the evening as Tet was about to start.
We stopped at the coffee shop across the street from Flamingos before we set off to the train station to start our journey.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam048.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam049.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam050.jpg)

Next thing we knew we were on our way North into the mountainous country side on a train. At the last minute of leaving the station we got a fellow passenger in our cabin who was a local girl on her way to Lao Cai for the festive season. Seeing as she couldnít speak one word of English, the conversation ran dry rather quickly.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam051.jpg)

This is really happening!



Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Hinksding on March 16, 2012, 09:10:10 pm
crazy stuff, bring the rest on! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Rooies on March 16, 2012, 09:37:40 pm
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Heimer on March 16, 2012, 10:15:28 pm
Waiting for more  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Whethefakawe on March 17, 2012, 06:59:37 am
Excellent!

Hey Gasman - I'm considering going to work and living in Vietnam - any advice from your mate?

How does it compare to Africa? Specifically the filth and stupidity aspects?

cheers
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: madmax on March 17, 2012, 07:08:03 am
looks like adventure
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: J-dog on March 17, 2012, 07:12:24 am
 :happy1: :happy1:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Crossed-up on March 17, 2012, 07:12:35 am
Excellent stuff!  Look forward to the next episode.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: madmike999 on March 17, 2012, 07:22:44 am
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: BMWPE on March 17, 2012, 07:23:09 am
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Kerritz on March 17, 2012, 07:59:54 am
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 17, 2012, 01:44:16 pm
Excellent!

Hey Gasman - I'm considering going to work and living in Vietnam - any advice from your mate?

How does it compare to Africa? Specifically the filth and stupidity aspects?

cheers

Vietnam is an amazing country, but the cities are rather filthy if I can call it that. It is difficult to explain, best is to go and check it out. There is a nice expat community so I am sure you wont get too home sick. drop me a PM and I will get you in contact with my mate.

cheers
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 17, 2012, 03:13:59 pm
Day 3:
After two days I picked up the basic stuff like saying thank you ďgum urnĒ, happy new year ďchip ming nam oiĒ and the rest like Hi and Bye which I have already forgotten. People do appreciate it when you at least make an effort to communicate to them in their home tongue, but some (more in the country side) find it very funny that you can actually say Happy New Year. Tet is a very sacred time for the Vietnamese people and they close all the shops and head into the country side to their family etc.

4:30am and the train conductor  knocks on our door as a wake-up call, we have 30min until we arrive in Lao Cai. 5:15am and we are standing on the platform with our bikes next to us. What an amazing feeling not knowing what the road ahead holds for you... Next thing we see the whole platform is empty and we are the only two people left in site.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam053.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam055.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam054.jpg)

This is the train station in Lao Cai and you can see how deserted the parking lot is as everyone has left the bigger towns to be with their families in the country side.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam115.jpg)

Time to get cracking! First things first, we need to find some fuel as the guys had to empty our tanks before they uploaded the bikes onto the train. With a bit of directions from some of the few locals still in Lao Cai we found the petrol station and filled the beauts up to the brim. Off to Sapa!
I couldnít believe the quality of the roads as I was expecting much worse. The scenery is amazing, but let the photos do the taking.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam060.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam058.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam059.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam057.jpg)

People drive past you on scooters with live ducks, chickens, pigs you name it strapped on the back of the scooter. Every now and then you see a whole family of 5 people on one scooter! It is very seldom that you see a scooter with only one person on it, usually two or three people are cruising along.
You will find these road signs every kilometre on the highways showing you how far you are from the next town. Sapa is just around the corner and that is where we will be spending the remainder of the day. I am still trying to take in everything as it just seems like one huge, amazing dream!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam056.jpg)

Next thing we were in Sapa which felt to me like little Switzerland...  Awesome little town in the northern mountainous area of Vietnam. We found this little place open where we decided to have some breakfast and coffee as Camp was seriously cold as you can see from how he appreciates soaking up some of the morning sun.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam061.jpg)

Now this is Pho (pronounced something like ďFurĒ with a bit of a silent ďrĒ). In Vietnam this is seen as a quick snack and not really a meal, but this was to be our staple diet for the next week or so. It is basically noodles with beef, fresh herbs and water. Then you can spice it up yourself with chillies, garlic, lime and whatever you feel like. Takes a bit of getting use to, but you learn to love it quickly. Camp was going on about finding the right Pho seeing as it is like a potjie as we know it. The longer it takes to make on the stove the better it is and especially if it has lots of old stock in it.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam063.jpg)

Just a quick note on the coffee in Vietnam: it is AMAZING!! I drink about 5 cups of coffee a day back home, but the stuff you get here is something else! Especially Coffee with condense milk (pronounced Cafee Sui or Cafee Vietnam).

After we had some food in our stomachs we decided to explore the little town of Sapa and its surroundings a bit. This is why I like to call Sapa the little Switzerland of Vietnam.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam068.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam067.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam072.jpg)

Duty calls without knocking and the one thing we ALWAYS had with us was a backup roll of old trusty TP aka white gold. An abandoned lodge was the perfect place for this, what a view...
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam070.jpg)

We decided to unload the bikes and find a place to call home for the day. Naturally we thought it might be optimistic thinking that we would get accommodation easily as it was Tet and we havenít book anything in advanc. The first place we inquired they offered us a double room with our own bathroom and a little balcony on the 5th floor. All of this for USD 10 for the night, which included free internet.
View from our balcony 
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam075.jpg)

We decided to explore the surroundings further for the remainder of the day and ended up at this nature reserve where we were told to go and check out the waterfall in the mountains which was about a 3km hike.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam077.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam078.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam080.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam083.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam084.jpg)

What a nice little spot to just chill and talk kark for a while.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam087.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam085.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam091.jpg)

We cruised along to arrive at the highest road in South East Asia if I am not mistaken. What a view.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam094.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam092.jpg)

Cruising back to Sapa as by now we were starting to get a bit thirsty...
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam097.jpg)

If you like twisties and turnies, then Vietnam is THE country for you and your bike! It just carries on and on and I remember screaming in my helmet with joy not believing the landscape and the awesome ride!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam099.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam100.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam101.jpg)


These little guys were herding their water buffalo down the mountain pass towards Sapa and seriously enjoying the ride. As soon as we took out the camera they wanted to perform a bit (as a boy or man would naturally do) and the one brother almost got thrown off by the water buffalo, clinging for dear live.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam103.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam104.jpg)

There is no way that you can ride at high speeds as the road is hugging the mountain around every bend and every now and then you are greeted by a water buffalo or 6 standing in the middle of the road just looking at you. These animals are really chilled out. There is also no reason to try and get somewhere in a haste as you will be missing so much.
Quick light lunch in Sapa before we headed back to our hotel.
As we got back to the hotel the clouds were settling in for the afternoon and we decided to get a couple of local beers from the hotel bar and chill out on the balcony with some of our tunes and just talking kak like only two close friends can do after not seeing each other for a year and a half.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam105.jpg)

Here you can see how the clouds are actually settling in behind me and it feels like light mist the whole time, but not enough to bug you. The beers were flowing freely for the rest of the afternoon.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam106.jpg)

Early evening it was time to find a place to get dinner, which we ended up having in one of the more upper market places in Sapa. Some pho, beer and rice wine. Back to the hotel where we got some coke from the bar to drink with our bottle of bourbon that Camp brought along from Ho Ci Ming city. Back on the balcony talking about old times, getting smashed on more beer, bourbon and good tunes. Just before we wanted to hit the sack we decided we should just check out the bar again. This time there were a couple of Aussies and Brits playing pool, so we joined them till late into the night.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Sharingroads on March 17, 2012, 03:39:31 pm
 :thumleft:  this is one amazing journey
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: goingnowherequickly on March 17, 2012, 04:28:18 pm
Very Cool
Cant wait for the next installment... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Klomper (RIP) on March 17, 2012, 05:11:45 pm
Gooi pappie!!!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on March 17, 2012, 09:15:22 pm
Looks great... 8)
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Swanniebraai on March 17, 2012, 09:40:17 pm
I like! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Smidty on March 18, 2012, 08:36:29 am
 :happy1:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: edgy on March 18, 2012, 10:15:45 am
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: houbie on March 18, 2012, 02:29:38 pm
Lekker report. Think it is a experience to do biking in a country totally different from our own. I just did a weekend trip to Hoedspruit and must say the mountain passes on your pics looks just as amazing as in SA
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Kerritz on March 19, 2012, 10:29:45 am
BLIKSEM!!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: IDR on March 19, 2012, 10:38:51 am
waar is die res?!!??!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 19, 2012, 10:41:11 am
waar is die res?!!??!

Sal later die week nog opsit, hopenlik woensdag.

altyd lekker om te sien mense geniet 'n RR, thanks!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: TheAnt on March 19, 2012, 11:27:10 am
Nice! There I just lost a good few min at work! What a lekker trip it must have been!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: punisher on March 19, 2012, 11:55:08 am
 :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Hentie @ Riders on March 19, 2012, 11:58:33 am
Nice  :thumleft:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Bosparra on March 19, 2012, 12:00:52 pm
Good stuff  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: DRAZIL on March 19, 2012, 12:34:06 pm
Awesomel areas you were riding in :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: W1P30UT on March 19, 2012, 12:34:32 pm
WOW!!! Possible bucket list addition here  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gťrrard on March 19, 2012, 09:13:30 pm
En nou ?... gooi nog asb.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Diesel & Dust on March 20, 2012, 03:16:09 pm
"đăng kż"

That is subscribe in Vietnamese :mwink:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Frannarossi on March 20, 2012, 03:40:27 pm
Bliksem,dis nou 'n lekker trip die! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: onderbroek on March 20, 2012, 03:53:59 pm

"đăng kż"

Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: PaPaBeeR on March 20, 2012, 04:11:39 pm
Nice! Moet nou nie skaam wees nie sit nog baie op more.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: CorCorlia on March 20, 2012, 04:17:23 pm
Awesome!!!   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 21, 2012, 06:45:25 pm
Day 4:
We got up a bit later than planned, but werenít too worried about it as we didnít have to do that many kilometres everyday. The weather had changed and not in our favour. It was rather cold and everything was wet. We decided to go to the only open stall in the market street and bought ourselves some proper water resistant Northern Face gear for a fraction of the price you pay for it here. Hey, I donít care if it might be fake, they did the job!!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam107.jpg)

Ready to go and find some Pho for breakfast
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam108.jpg)

Like most Asian countries, the people who live there are infatuated with enhancing their sexual performance, especially the males. Vietnam is no different... These are the remains of two unfortunate donkeys I guess, that are being left to soak in the Rice wine. In theory your tool should become extra strong once you drink the rice wine. I wasnít prepares to but the theory to the test, especially not before breakfast
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam110.jpg)

This is a king cobra with a scorpion placed in its open mouth, same purpose as the donkey tools.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam111.jpg)

 After we had our Pho and coffee for breakfast we got onto the bikes and headed back towards Lao Cai. About 3km outside of Sapa we got pulled off by a police road block. Now because these guys are still communists, the police/military has got a lot of power and the last thing you want to do is give them some attitude. I was seriously giving them attitude because I thought these guys only wanted a bribe. Camp quickly told me to relax and just give in as they can make our lives hell in an instant. When they asked for our licences we had to explain that they are being kept by the guys who we are renting the bikes from in Hanoi. Flamingo travel told us that our licences arenít valid in Vietnam so we can just leave it with them as collateral. 15min later and we were each given a fine of 300,000 Dong. This is roughly the equivalent of R120. We asked them what we should do if we get pulled off again tomorrow and they explained that we just keep the tickets and show it to the police. Sort off a get out of jail free card. Unfortunately we couldnít take pictures of this ordeal as the cops wouldnít allow it, but hereís the evidence.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Fines.jpg)

Back in Lao Cai we stopped for another coffee next to the road at probably the only place that was open.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam113.jpg)

Cafee Sui at its best
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam112.jpg)

Some locals escorted us to a petrol station which was closed, but the lady that lives across the street capitalised on this by buying bottles of fuel from the station the day before and selling it to us (and other locals) at a nice little premium. Well done!

Time to get going again as we sort off decided on a place that we would like to reach by sundown. Seeing as it didnít look like a long distance on the map that we got in Sapa, we took our time and stopped every now and then for a break and a couple of photos.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam118.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam133.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam136.jpg)

The plan was to go as far off the beaten track as we possibly could....and we did. This is the first gravel road that greeted us on our trip, absolutely awesome!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam120.jpg)

Time for a pit stop. As we pulled over, locals started appearing from everywhere to come and look at us and the bikes. This is definitely not a place where they are use to tourists. This didnít really helped Campís stage fright.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam124.jpg)

Back on a main road again, trying to figure out with the help of a local and our map where the hell we are and which way we should go. It didnít really help that the names on the road sign werenít even on our map.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam131.jpg)

This is the way most of the people build their houses, ready for their neighbour to eventually build right up against them.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam132.jpg)

The mountain pass that we were riding on opened up to this spectacular view. I got there before Camp and while I was parked a local walked pass inviting me to come to his house. That is what I could figure out from the gestures seeing as we couldnít communicate verbally at all. Unfortunately I had to pass as we still had a long way to go and the day was drawing to an end.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam141.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam145.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam146.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam147.jpg)

One of the many friendly water buffalo that you meet along the way
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam139.jpg)

We decided that it would be good to try and find a place to sleep for the night. Only problem was, we werenít sure where we were. We knew on which road we were, but no idea how far we have been travelling on it seeing as the odometers of the bikes werenít working.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam149.jpg)

By now we have literally been on the bikes the whole day and havenít eaten anything except for breakfast. Tired as hell we started looking for a place or town where we can sleep.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam151.jpg)

We didnít have a lot of sunlight left for the day, so anything that looked like something was an option. We took a small hiking trail with the bikes and ended up a couple of kilometres later at this house. Under the impression that it is a hotel we asked the people if we can sleep over. Communicating with them proofed to be really difficult, but they invited us into their home and said we are welcome to sleep over for the night. It is only when Camp went inside to check it out that he realised that these are just normal farmers who are inviting us into their home. We thanked them and cruised on to try and find something else (but keeping this in mind as a back up).
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam152.jpg)

We drove into a small town called Na Chi (if I remember correct) and asked a couple of kids playing volleyball where we can find a place to stay. They gave us directions to the only hotel and cafe in town. The hotel owner wasnít there but arrived later after the locals started phoning her on her mobile. Luckily she had two rooms for us and we checked in, took a quick shower and went across the street to the cafe in hope of some food as we were past the stage of starving.
This is a picture of the shower and toilet. The smell inside was unbearable, but shower I had to.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam161.jpg)

This is the wall between our room. If the person next door rolls over during the night you will know about it.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam162.jpg)

But luckily we had a place to stay, so our spirits were seriously high! It was only here that we realised that we did only about 130km on the bikes which was tough to grasp as we were on the road the whole day. This did put things a bit into perspective and we decided to maybe change our route for the second half of the trip in order to make it back to Hanoi in time for my flight.
The little cafe across the street werenít really a cafe as far as I could figure. Or it was, but they were more of a coffee shop and didnít sell food. As we got there we ordered two coffees and started digging into the sunflower seeds on the table.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam188.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam157.jpg)

We asked the two girls there if they have some food for us and the next thing we knew they started cooking... They made us some vegetarian Pho as they had no meat, just what the doctor ordered!
 (http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam165.jpg)

I could figure out that these parts of Vietnam very rarely get tourists and itís not impossible that we might have been the first tourists here in the last 20 odd years or so. Everyone wanted to talk to us or just sit there and look at us, which was rather strange in the beginning. Next thing we knew the one girl got a sort of petrol container and started pouring Rice Wine out of it for us all. I knew this was going to start the party quickly so I went and fetched a bottle of red wine that we brought along. They werenít really use to it, but was keen to have a couple of shots with us.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam170.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam171.jpg)

While we were having shot after shot, they kept bringing more food for us as we were finishing everything they put in front of us. Here she is frying peanuts for us on the stove.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam172.jpg)

By now we were making new friend and the party started picking up.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam169.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam184.jpg)

The kids arrived from upstairs where they were watching Tom & Jerry so loud that you could hear it from the other side of the village. Kids in Vietnam love Tom & Jerry (like all kids around the world I guess).
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam182.jpg)

I found it really amusing that you throw all your leftovers down at your feet and just carry on eating. This is normal throughout Vietnam although you donít do it in a restaurant.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam177.jpg)


The guys came back and then the party seriously picked up.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam191.jpg)

Unfortunately we realised the next morning that one of these blokes stole Campís mobile that evening.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam196.jpg)

After more than enough rice wine, beer and red wine we decided to pick up the tab and call it a night. The girls didnít want anything for the food and said we only need to pay for the beer that we had. I couldnít believe that these people donít have anything, but are prepared and happy to share whatever little they have with us. I thought they would try and rip off these two tourists passing through their little town, but that was not the case at all.

The hotel also doubles as the districtís karaoke hang out, which we realised when we wanted to call it an evening (which was about 3am if I recall). We wanted to join in and they said that we werenít allowed in, so I am not entirely sure what exactly was going down in that place. As soon as the music stopped we were able to get some shut eye.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: landieman on March 21, 2012, 07:26:51 pm
excellent,bucket list ride :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Frannarossi on March 22, 2012, 09:48:43 am
Baie nice sover :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Hentie @ Riders on March 22, 2012, 10:31:22 am
 :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: N[]vA on March 22, 2012, 01:33:27 pm
Excellent!

Hey Gasman - I'm considering going to work and living in Vietnam - any advice from your mate?

How does it compare to Africa? Specifically the filth and stupidity aspects?

cheers

I'v been living here for like 5 months now and it is very different to SA in a lot of ways, cost of living is very low. Had a chuckle the other day when I figured out calling a SA cell number form my cell here costs less in rands than it does to call one cell to another in SA :-p

I haven't seen much of the country other than Ho Chi Minh City, that said it is fairly dirty. The extent often depends on where you are. there really isn't any thing considered wrong from a social point of view to just toss your trash out on the street or into the streams. Its one of the few aspects about life here that does irritate me. Haven't had to many really annoyances when it comes to stupidity, only from a local bank but banks are banks after all.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: N[]vA on March 22, 2012, 01:39:03 pm
Gasman what did you make of the Minsk? you said 4stroke, your sure that's not a 2stroke?
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: BigL on March 22, 2012, 02:31:05 pm
Lekker man!!  :thumright: :thumright:
Hiers nou klomp jaloerse honne.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 22, 2012, 03:28:17 pm
Excellent RR, I love it - No plan - Just go for it and see where you end up.

Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 22, 2012, 04:18:14 pm
Gasman what did you make of the Minsk? you said 4stroke, your sure that's not a 2stroke?

Yeah, sure they were 4 strokes. had new engines in, might have been 150cc, but I think they were 125cc
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: N[]vA on March 22, 2012, 06:06:19 pm
Gasman what did you make of the Minsk? you said 4stroke, your sure that's not a 2stroke?

Yeah, sure they were 4 strokes. had new engines in, might have been 150cc, but I think they were 125cc
Nice one, only seen the 2 stroke ones around so far
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Kamanya on March 22, 2012, 06:35:43 pm
FF rating!

Fokken Fabulous!

Write and ride on!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: DirtRebell on March 22, 2012, 11:15:32 pm
Donners lekker Gary!

Keep it coming! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: wiledog_X on March 23, 2012, 10:29:09 am
great adventure guys! thanks for sharing!!  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on March 23, 2012, 06:53:07 pm
Day 5:
The mattresses in Vietnam is not really what you are use to. They are indeed as thick as those thin camping mattresses you get here. So after a long day in the saddle your aching body doesnít get a lot of rest in the evening. You wake up with sore shoulder blades and hips, just to turn around and punish your other side for a while. Anyway, we were awake at about 6:30am or so and decided to hit the road as we now understood the task that lay ahead.

Camp checking one more time if he can find his mobile at the cafe across the street.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam205.jpg)

While camp was packing his bike I took a couple of pictures in front of our hotel.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam202.jpg)

This shows you how big this village is.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam204.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam206.jpg)

Just as we were about to leave, the owner and the guys from the previous night invited us for breakfast. When I saw the breakfast I was afraid my stomach would be able to handle it, but purely out of respect we decided to sit down and join them. This is the leftovers from their Tet dinner (much like the leftovers from your family Christmas dinner).
I struggled with it and just chowed as many noodles as I could to get a lining for the day, this while the host is trying to put the weird stuff in my bowl. They only meant well, but I didnít want to be disrespectful so ate what I could, or bits of it. Then the boys broke out the Rice Wine again, which I just had to decline. Camp had one or two after a lot of protest just to get the guys to calm down and let us off. We werenít really sure how far we had to ride for the day, but thought to just hit it and see how far we can get.

Quick break at a river somewhere along the road.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam207.jpg)

It is seriously peaceful here in the country side...
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam209.jpg)

The road got worst at first, but then a lot better.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam208.jpg)

We started climbing at quite a rapid pace and the turns started to follow shortly after each other. What a great pass!! Spot Camp in this photo
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam211.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam212.jpg)

Twisties and Turnies heaven I tell you!!! And the Minsks were really behaving themselves well. At some stages you had to drop all the way down to 1st gear, but there was nothing that these beasts couldnít tackle head on!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam214.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam215.jpg)

We kept on climbing and climbing up the pass and just as you thought you have hit the summit there would be another climb around the corner waiting for you. We realised the people coming from the opposite direction had rain gear on and were rather wet. A couple of turns later and we hit the cloud that was resting against the mountain. Time to stop and get the rain gear out.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam216.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam217.jpg)

Still climbing up the at the speed of smell, dodging bikes and the odd car coming straight for you as there isnít really a right and left lane in the country side, especially not on the passes.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam219.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam220.jpg)

We reached the summit eventually and started descending quickly. Immediately the weather changed for the better on the other side of the mountain and you could see the faces of the people coming from the opposite direction, wondering why we have got rain gear on...they will soon find out.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam225.jpg)

After about another 45min or so descending, we stumbled upon this little restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I am serious if I say this was in the middle of nowhere as we didnít see any other building for about 90min before or after we saw this one. What luck, just in time for coffee time and to answer natureís call.
 (http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam221.jpg)

After our 20min rest we were back on the road and what splendid scenery was about to be discovered!!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam228.jpg)

Women doing the washing in the river
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam231.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam232.jpg)

We were greeted by this mud slide around the next corner and had to make use of the detour that was created by the locals.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam234.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam233.jpg)

Seriously some of the best riding that I have done in my live, without a doubt!!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam227.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam226.jpg)

We crossed this seriously high bridge and on the other side the road split in two. I wasnít expecting this, so realised we were actually lost and had no clue where we were. I checked out the only road sign nearby and it was blank. When Camp arrived we had a look at the map and thought of only one place where we could be... The truck that approached us from the direction that we came from confirmed our position for us. We were 5km away from the Chinese border!! Brilliant!! Definitely time to take a break and take in the view from the river bank.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam237.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam238.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam241.jpg)

And those mountains that you see there is part of a little country they call China
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam239.jpg)

We had a proper laugh at ourselves and got back onto the bikes to push on. This picture was taken in one of the villages that we passed through. You do get a sense of Communism in Vietnam. The people live in small little huts (outside the villages) and small brick houses inside the village. Every time you see a huge building it belongs to government.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam235.jpg)

 Just cruising along and enjoying the ride
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam244.jpg)

Now this was fascinating... What these guys are doing is generating electricity! By forcing the water down the bamboo, onto the small wheel that rotates at the speed of hell, the cable you see here transfers the electricity that is being generated across the street to a hut. Now that is what I can innovation!!
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam245.jpg)

We were now travelling on the opposite side of the valley and could see the road that we came with. Some more nice twisties and turnies.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam248.jpg)

Photos donít really do justice to this beautiful country
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam246.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam252.jpg)

I couldnít help but burst out laughing when I saw this sign, so I stopped to get a photo with it. Something told me things might get a bit tougher going forward...
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam247.jpg)

One of the many Tet decorations hanging in a village that we briefly passed through. From here on out we were climbing again.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam251.jpg)

By now we where use to our bikes and knew exactly how they handled. There was much less traffic on the roads seeing as we were a bit in the middle of nowhere. Camp was leading for a while and as he was taking a corner a scooter from the other side was cutting the corner and the result was a head on head accident. The scooter had three girls on it (without helmets) and after we picked up their bike I quickly took out the camera.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam254.jpg)

The one girl kept lying in the road and we could see she struggled to get up, so naturally we started worrying a bit. After getting everyone out of the middle of the road we assessed the damage. It was only then that we saw the one girl was a physical disabled person, which made Camp feel like a total twatwaffle. I saw the whole thing happened and kept on telling Camp that it wasnít his fault, but a piece of their scooter had broken off so Camp started negotiating before we drew a crowd. We confirmed that everyone was ok, including this girl, so Camp gave them some cash for the bike and we carried on.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam253.jpg)

It was only about 5km later that I could catch up with Camp next to a river as he was rattled after the incident. Quick smoke break next to the road while we were going through the whole event again. The weather was starting to turn for the worst, so it was time to hit the road again.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam255.jpg)

The next 2 hours was in such rain that we didnít stop once, needless to say no photos were taken. We arrived in this very small village where there was a lady with a fire burning outside her house. We pulled over like drowning rats dripping from our jocks, asking her if she had some coffee for us. Two coffees later and a bit defrosted from sitting next to the fire we carried on.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam256.jpg)

Roughly an hour or more later we rode into a one horse town just before the sun was setting. Decided we should get some fuel somewhere, some food as we havenít eaten all day and hopefully a place to stay for the night. We stopped next to some locals next to the road asking where we can find some fuel or accommodation. Out of nowhere one of the guys said ďsprechen Sie Deutsch?Ē. I couldnít believe our luck as both Camp and I had German in school. This guy sorted us out with fuel, accommodation, dinner and directions for the next day. He told us that he worked in Germany for 30 years as a mechanic and was now back in Vietnam. His german was a bit broken, but no more than ours. This is the room we got for the night where we decided to open the bottle of bourbon that Camp brought along from Ho Chi Ming city. Hopefully our clothes will be a bit drier by tomorrow morning... Our bodies took some strain today and I think we were out cold around 8pm that evening seeing as the whole town was closed for Tet.
(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam257.jpg)
 
 
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Oupa Foe-rie on March 23, 2012, 09:38:36 pm
Very interesting RR ................... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Just Blip It! on March 23, 2012, 10:22:43 pm
More more!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: madmax on March 24, 2012, 07:23:19 am
awesome ... i think the scooter revolution is teetering on the brink here and ultimately every dog (wrong word here) maybe cat and his mother gonna drop taxis and ride scooters..makes sense to me
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Crossed-up on March 24, 2012, 10:08:11 am
Great report - real stuff of adventure!

Ping N[]vA - when's your first leave due?
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Bosparra on March 24, 2012, 10:30:45 am
Just love...Thanx  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: N[]vA on March 26, 2012, 08:26:20 am
Great report - real stuff of adventure!

Ping N[]vA - when's your first leave due?

Any time I decide but I reckon I will be back in SA over December
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 27, 2012, 06:23:07 pm
Brilliant, keep it coming!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: 1ougat on March 27, 2012, 06:32:09 pm
Naaise vely vely naaise
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: PaPaBeeR on March 28, 2012, 09:52:13 am
WE WANT MORE!!!! ;D great report
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Misty on March 29, 2012, 11:53:56 am
Awesome RR!  :ricky: This is what its all about for me,,, which made me realise I take my biking way too serious! Nice :)
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on March 29, 2012, 01:55:56 pm
Great stuff this is.

 8)
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Grondpad ô on March 29, 2012, 02:07:05 pm
 :drif: can wait for more!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: eSKaPe on March 29, 2012, 02:28:14 pm
Well done for going there and JUST DOING IT - and a great RR
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Would I? on March 29, 2012, 07:38:35 pm
Really enjoying this RR.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Klomper (RIP) on March 29, 2012, 07:43:31 pm
Kom nou Gary, eks lus!!!  :mwink:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Bosparra on March 31, 2012, 01:17:25 pm
Ons soek nog!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 02, 2012, 09:02:11 am
Sal die naweek weer skryf  :ricky:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Carrol on April 02, 2012, 03:06:02 pm
Great report. Great adventure. Wonderful!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Klomper (RIP) on April 02, 2012, 10:00:34 pm
Sal die naweek weer skryf  :ricky:

Farkit maar jy vat jou tyd ne!!!  :mwink:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 02, 2012, 10:05:36 pm
Sal die naweek weer skryf  :ricky:

Farkit maar jy vat jou tyd ne!!!  :mwink:

eks actually besig om te skryf, hang nog so 30min aan dan kom nog 'n bietjie. Hoe was jolly?
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 02, 2012, 10:27:21 pm
Day 6:
We woke up to some nice weather, which was a change that we really welcomed seeing as we have been soaking wet and cold for the last two days. We had a quick morning tee with our German speaking friend and his mate before he confirmed the direction that we should head into for the last time.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam258-1.jpg)

We decided to get some pho along the way somewhere and head out. Around 9am we rode through this little village and decided to stop at the only place that was open for some food. And pho is what we ordered again as that is the safest bet. Two dogs were tied up against a couple of pillars next to us and we could immediately see that they were rather hungry as well.  When our pho arrived I was sceptical and a bit confused as I havenít had a mushroom in any of my previous meals. Turned out it was the kidney of some creature. After Camp had a quick investigation of the rest of the meat we decided to throw it to the dogs while the owner wasnít looking. Strangely enough the dogs even refused to eat it after a couple of bites. Camp wasnít happy with this bloke as he also ripped us off when we asked for the bill.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam259.jpg)

 Time for a quick stop and to empty our own tanks. Thereís a lot of construction going on in Vietnam which is a real good sign. Seeing as it was Tet there werenít any trucks or busses on the roads, which was a blessing as we later realized. While bridges are being build, the locals make their own little road in the meantime or use the one that the trucks use.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam263.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam262.jpg)

We were heading towards Na Hang, hoping to reach it by around lunch time as our final destination for the day was Ba Be lake. Every now and then we pulled over to take in more of the landscape, have yet another look at the map and relax a bit.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam265.jpg)

The road up until now wasnít too great and we were not making good time. Our spirits were lifted tremendously when we arrived at this road sign as the quality of the roads got seriously better. We knew we were actually about to make our first goal on time for the entire trip thus far, so we decided to relax a bit more and take our time.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam269.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam267.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam273.jpg)

You will still be riding through complete jungle and a ďdesertedĒ part of Vietnam, just to be greeted by a huge construction around the next corner. The Vietnamese are seriously into building dams to generate hydro electricity, which is amazing to see.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam276.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam275.jpg)

We reached Na Hang and decided to skip lunch and push on so that we can spend more time at our final destination for the day devouring a couple of beers hopefully. Here you can see one of the techniques that they use to catch fish in the background. Iím just not sure exactly what the technique is, but assume that the fish get caught inside the floating bamboo structure.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam278.jpg)

The majority of the people around these lakes are fishermen, if they arenít farmers. This guy must have some good balance.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam279.jpg)

Time to cruise on. I can already taste that beer...

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam280.jpg)

(Day 6 to be continued...)
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: landieman on April 02, 2012, 10:38:11 pm
nice one.enjoying this R/R :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: TheAnt on April 03, 2012, 09:23:30 am
Very good RR! What a interisting country Vietnam! Must add this to the bucket list  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: N[]vA on April 04, 2012, 03:24:53 am
awesome stuff  :thumleft:

That Phu with the "mushroom" is the one im not a fan of, mostly all raw beef and other bits, kidneys, lungs (tastes a lot like liver) and stomach lining

nom nom nom  :eek7:

If you want a real mind fuck try the fermented shrimp sauce or the pickled duck fetus  :sign18: :sign18:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: landieman on April 04, 2012, 05:26:47 am
 :puke_r:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: punisher on April 04, 2012, 03:23:59 pm
great  stuff ........... you are a lucky shyte   man  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Bosparra on April 04, 2012, 03:30:58 pm
Must be a trip of a lifetime... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Operator on April 04, 2012, 03:39:30 pm
< Subcribed >  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 04, 2012, 05:41:54 pm
Day 6 (Continued):
Just to pick up from where we left off... We got through Na Hang and decided to push on without stopping for food or drink. Now this is where we seriously had trouble with figuring out on the map where we were and had to make use of getting directions from locals, which turned out to be more of an opinion than a fact. We got about 3 different directions for every 5 people that we asked how to get to Ba Be Lake. We decided to take the road that looked like it was sort of a main road... The road only really lasted for about 5km and became seriously eroded after that.

We came across two local soccer teams playing it out on an old rice paddy, so we stopped to show our support. It wasnít difficult to spot the village idiot who kept on kicking the ball as hard as he could in any direction every time he got close to the ball. This ended up 90% of the time with the ball bouncing off the field down onto the next rice paddy and the next and then next... This would be fixed by sending one of the kids down the hill/valley to go and fetch the ball again.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam286.jpg)

After about 10min we decided to get going as we had no idea how far we still had to go for the day and the road looked like it was closed just ahead. We didnít pay much attention to the boulders that were placed across the road and thought these guys might have put it there to avoid the spectators getting run over.

We kept going for about 20min as the road just got worse and was greeted by a nice little mud slide around the next corner, blocking the whole road. I told Camp that we just need to get over this mud slide and the road will appear again in about 50m or so. Only time would tell and we decided that I should tackle it first. (check out the video below)

http://s1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/?action=view&current=Vietnam291.mp4 (http://s1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/?action=view&current=Vietnam291.mp4)
 
This is me very impressed with the power of the Minksí first gear!

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam292.jpg)

When we got to the top we could see the road emerging but thought it would probably happen around the next corner or so. Camp taking the lead for a while.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam295.jpg)

We were now having serious fun and had no idea where the hell on our map we were.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam298.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam299.jpg)

10min became 45min and 45min became an hour, but the road was still not emerging as I was expecting it to. I thought that this must be one hell of a mud slide... We came across some construction vehicles every now and then, but there was no one in sight as it was Tet.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam300.jpg)

After travelling for about 1h30min on this road we realised that we were badly lost and had no idea if this road will actually lead somewhere. But we have come too far to turn around as we would definitely only arrive back at Na Hang after dark, so we pushed on. The Jeep track didnít last long and we found ourselves on a single track heading through the mountains. We had a good laugh when I showed Camp the shirt I had on for the day. Ironic...?

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam301.jpg)

Camp taking the lead again for a while and enjoying the scenery at the top

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam304.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam306.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam307.jpg)

The further we went, the worse the single track became and it turned out that we were actually on a Sheppardís path going through the mountains somewhere North-ish in Vietnam. Spot Camp coming down this hill. The road started to get very slippery and it dawned on us that we need to be extra careful as it wonít be easy to get out of a mess here.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam302.jpg)

At times there would be a shear drop next to you of a couple of hundred metres and on your left a steep cliff face. Now we were really on an adventure!! I tried to block the idea out of my mind that so much can go wrong any second now, but it crept into the back of my mind every now and then. Strange the tricks that you mind start playing on you when you are tired and hungry...

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam293.jpg)

We were tired as hell, hungry and thirsty but we kept telling each other that it could be MUCH worse and burst out laughing about it every time. This was amazing and we were soaking up every bit of it. I started looking out for abandoned huts along the way as a plan B just in case the sun would set upon us. The previous night Camp finished our last Oreo cookie after I warned him that it might just come in handy. He assured me that we can get more at the next town we drive through. So if this really got bad we would have to share some wine gums for dinner tonight without any Oreos...

Itís ironic that you never have time to stop and take pictures when the road gets really tough and dangerous and after a trip like this you are always disappointed that you didnít take more pictures, especially of those gnarly moments.

After just over 3 hours of riding ďover this little mud slideĒ we came across a gravel road again and some people sitting next to it under some makeshift shelter. This was a good sign as we can just turn back and sleep there for the night if we had to I thought. Cruising on the road came to a dead end at a river and I bursted out laughing thinking we couldnít have been driving half the day just to end up at a dead end... Luckily there were some other people too.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam311.jpg)

We heard a noise coming from the river and saw a guy pulling up with his boat/canoe... this was about to get interesting.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam312.jpg)

We asked everyone for directions to Ba Be Lake and they looked at us if we were crazy. The guy with the boat was prepared to take us to Ba Be Lake for a huge sum of money and realized that he was hammered on rice wine. After 5min of trying to figure out our options the drunk skipper told us that Ba Be Lake is 2 hours down this river with his boat. We had about 25min of sunlight left and asked what was up river and how far it was per boat. He mentioned a name that I have seen on the map before and mentioned that it was 20min per boat. DONE!! We loaded the bikes on the boat that was very shaky and off we were. He had to balance us and the bikes properly as the boat was rather shaky and we werenít keen to go down in the middle of nowhere. Off we went with this drunk bloke into the unknown yet again. (check out the video)

http://s1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/?action=view&current=Vietnam317.mp4 (http://s1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/?action=view&current=Vietnam317.mp4)

I got really excited as I have always wanted to have to put my bike onto a boat to cross it somewhere and carry on further on the other side.  And what better place as here and now!

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam315.jpg)

I donít know why but the words of a stereotypical American war veteran kept running through my mind... ďYou wonít know man, you werenít there!!!!Ē

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam316.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam318.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam319.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam320.jpg)

We approached this cave and I was wondering what exactly this guy was doing...

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam321.jpg)

Cruising right into this cave you couldnít see your hand in front of your face and we started using the flash of the camera to check out the roof of the cave which was probably about 30m above us.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam325.jpg)

We were in this cave for quite some time before we saw some light at the end of what we now realised was a tunnel through the mountain range.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam327.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam328.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam331.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam330.jpg)

Looking back at our tunnel

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam334.jpg)

We only had a few minutes of sunlight left but werenít really in any hurry as we still didnít really have a clue where we were heading.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam337.jpg)

The skipper banked the boat and helped us unload the bikes. By now it was pitch black. We were very thankful though and ďpaid the ferrymanĒ. He pointed us in a direction on a footpath, got back onto his boat and disappeared into the darkness.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam345.jpg)

There werenít any little lights in the distance suggesting that there is some sort of civilization nearby (or on the horizon). The footpath took us through a water buffalo passage made from bamboo to keep them out of the rice paddies on either side of us. I was now under the impression that we were about to sleep in the rice paddies tonight but didnít mention anything to Camp.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam349.jpg)

The footpath took a turn and was now running along a river bed. It wasnít easy manoeuvring the bikes on a path that was about 30cm wide at times with a bamboo fence on the one side and a 2 metre drop into the river on the other. I couldnít see Campís headlight behind me after a while and thought he must have slipped off into the river or something. There was no way that I could park the bike here and go back to check on him, so had to push on until the road became wider. When I got to Camp he was busy removing his mirror as it got stuck in the bamboo while driving and almost threw him off into the river. Luckily everything was fine, but mistakes are only seconds away if you are so tired that you canít think straight anymore.

With the mirror off we were on our way again and started seeing some lights in the distance. Our spirits rose through the roof and we started pushing hard again. All of a sudden we were on a tar road which we couldnít really believe. Some ladies next to the road pointed us in a direction and off we were. After 6km we came to a crossing and had 3 directions to choose from. I was so tired that I told Camp to just pick one and see where we end up. So tired that I didnít even see all the lights that were right in front of us.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam353.jpg)

This was a back packers and I couldnít believe our luck!! The first back packers I have seen in Vietnam and in the middle of nowhere! It almost felt dodgy, like the story of Hansie en Griekie... We pulled in and the owner sorted us out with a room for the night. He could actually speak English which made things a lot easier.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam354.jpg)

We asked the guy to bring as everything on the menu and a couple of beers. It must have been one of the nicest beers that I have ever tasted in my life and most probably ever will!! The food was amazing (honger is die beste chef) and we unpacked the bikes for the night.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam355.jpg)

After a nice cold shower we had a couple more beers and some coffee before we hit the sack. What a day!! It is stuff like this that just strengthens an already solid bond between two best mates.

The walls were so thin that I have no idea how the two Danish girls next door got any sleep with us farting and snoring the whole night. Some Vietnamese mattresses for the night just to keep us from falling into a deep sleep.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam356.jpg)

After the last couple of days struggling with our tourist map we got a new one from the owner of the back packers that should be able to help us out for the next day or two.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: pops on April 04, 2012, 07:35:03 pm
awsome , brilliant , fantastic ect. ect. Thank you and keep it coming. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: landieman on April 05, 2012, 02:49:38 am
all of the above and some.brilliant,keep it coming :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Twister on April 05, 2012, 07:27:21 am
Great read. What an adventure  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: letsgofishing on April 05, 2012, 08:05:48 am
What an awesome experience for you guys - an amazing adventure  :thumleft:
Keep it coming!
Any chance you could post a map of where you went?
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 05, 2012, 09:28:17 am
What an awesome experience for you guys - an amazing adventure  :thumleft:
Keep it coming!
Any chance you could post a map of where you went?

Will try and put a map on today, but google maps look a bit different to the one we had  ;D
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 05, 2012, 09:50:02 am
Ok, so this is the route we took. We started in Ha Noi and head off North West with the Train to Lao Cai (blue line). From there we first went West to Sapa for the first night on the trip and then East (red line). The pink circle is where I am not actually sure where we were as this is the area where we got lost on the foot path near Ba Be Lake.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 05, 2012, 09:52:01 am
Looking at the map the 50km key on it doesn't look very accurate at all...
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Bosparra on April 05, 2012, 12:36:13 pm
Super awesome stuff  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Hentie @ Riders on April 05, 2012, 01:50:49 pm
Nice  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: N[]vA on April 05, 2012, 03:15:18 pm
Looking at the map the 50km key on it doesn't look very accurate at all...
Out here you tend to stop thinking about rides in terms of distance but rather in terms of time, takes you sooooo much longer to get any where than I was used to in SA
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: MJS on April 09, 2012, 01:06:42 pm
Very nice!   Makes studying seem terribly sad today... (more than usual)
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 09, 2012, 01:12:49 pm
Very nice!   Makes studying seem terribly sad today... (more than usual)

I know exactly how you feel, also sitting infront of the books today. Had at least an hour of gravel on the bike now, which helps a lot.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: gser on April 09, 2012, 07:19:09 pm

 Be F#ok ! Thanks !
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Usurper on April 10, 2012, 04:58:23 pm
Bliksem!!!! Ek vote vir "Roll of honor"!!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 26, 2012, 04:54:21 pm
Day 7:

Woke up the next morning, took a quick shower and had a coffee for breakfast. We spoke to the owner of the backpackers and established that it would be a two day ride to Haolong Bay, which was great as that assured us that the road ahead couldnít be too bad. We got a new map from him, which would show us the way to where we will be sleeping tonight and from there we should ask along the way towards Haolong Bay as the map didnít cover the rest of the way. Sounds simple enough.

Our courters for the previous night

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam357.jpg)

Packing the bikes so that we can start the day on the road

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam358.jpg)

All ready to roll and our last thanks to the owner of this great little place

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam359.jpg)

The first couple of hours were really great riding with roads in good condition, so we managed to put some good kilometres behind us. We were still off the beaten track so traffic wasnít too bad. Time for a quick break.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam360.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam361.jpg)

The weather turned for the worst and we found ourselves riding in rain again. It didnít take too long for us to be soaking wet and cold as hell. We kept on cruising until we stumbled upon a small village where we found a place that would serve us some hot coffee!! They also had a little fire going on in the middle of the place so we decided to rest next to it until we could feel our hands and feet again. Some other locals joined us after a while and shared some snacks with us which were small apple type of fruits.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam363.jpg)

After our second coffee we decided to push ahead and just get as close to Haolong Bay as possible for the day. As the weather was really bad we didnít stop again to take photos (sorry about that).

Arrived in a biggish town (Lang Son) and decided we will be staying over for the night. After about the fourth enquiry we found accommodation for the evening.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam364.jpg)

We were shaking from the cold by now and the first room that they booked us in didnít have hot water, so we werenít too happy. They quickly bumped us up to another room and I had a long hot shower... Few things that you appreciate as much as a hot shower after riding the whole day in the rain while shaking uncontrollable from the cold. We unpacked and went in search of a place that would be able to service us some dinner.

Found a small place down the road that served Pho! DONE!! This is the owner preparing our hot Pho for the evening. GOOD TIMES!!

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam367.jpg)

After we filled our stomachs we headed back home and realised that we didnít have any mix for the rest of our bourbon, so Vietnamese tee did just fine. It is a rather different taste with the herbs coming through and all of a sudden the bourbon hits you. This helped to relax our aching bodies after the day in the saddle. All good and time to get some rest for the night. We should be hitting Haolong tomorrow, which was my biggest goal for the trip as I really wanted to see it.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 26, 2012, 05:31:45 pm
Day 8:

We got up as early as we could and decided to rather spend the majority of the day in Haolong Bay, so no breakfast today, our stomachs should just behave themselves until we hit our destination. Our clothes didnít dry out at all, which immediately felt like we walked out of a storm when we put them on... It reminded me of the days when we use to go surf and your wetsuit would still be wet and ice cold from the previous day. Good memories! Two hours after departure we joined one of the main roads that lead to Haolong, so we stopped at the cafe on the corner for a coffee where a couple of guys were working on a scooter and really seemed to find interest in our bikes.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam369.jpg)

Time to push on and the rain started coming down again, which didnít really bug us as our clothes were still wet. It just made navigating the road and dodging the trucks and busses on the highway more difficult.
We pulled in at Haolong Bay around 2pm and the rain had stopped, which was really appreciated. Haolong Bay is actually much bigger than I imagined, so we spend about an hour asking around for accommodation. There are many hotels skyscrapers as this is a hot spot for tourists, but we werenít prepared to pay too much money as we were running out of it.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam371.jpg)

We met one of the locals on the dock and he told us about his hotel that we should go and stay at. Escorted to the hotel by some of the locals on scooters we decided this will do nicely (if we can afford it). They showed us the $20, $35 and $45 rooms and we decided we are fine with the $20 room that didnít even have windows. They had a quick chat amongst themselves and offered us the $35 room for $25, which we thought was a great deal, which it really turned out to be. It is called Ha Long Eden Hotel and I can really recommend it!

Camp couldnít resist jumping into the warm bed right after the guys left the room.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam376.jpg)

This is definitely a hotel for the tourists as it is the first time in more than a week that we were sleeping on normal mattresses!! Brilliant!!

We cruised around the street and found a nice little restaurant for a very late lunch. On the sidewalk you have your fresh menu and he literally pick the boor bugger that will be you meal. You donít get fresher than this.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam372.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam374.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam373.jpg)

I decided on a seafood rice dish and Camp a beef rice dish. This would be the first meal in more than a week that didnít consist of soup, which was awesome! Time to smash a coffee Vietnam while we wait for the food. Here you can see how the condense milk is in the bottom of the glass and how the coffee then drips through, excellent stuff!!

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam375.jpg)

We cruised around for the rest of the day exploring and booked ourselves a boat cruise to the islands of Haolong Bay for the next day. It was rather expensive at $45 per person but we thought we should do it while we are here. Our plans quickly changed to spend the whole of tomorrow in Haolong and decided to stay the next evening in our hotel. The hotel owner bumped us up to the $45 room for free because we decided to stay over for another night. So we were paying $25 for a $45 room for two nights, bargain!! Check this out!!

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam378.jpg)

We got smashed in our room the afternoon and decided to get some food around 10pm, which we mostly left and was a welcome breakfast the next morning.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: madmax on April 27, 2012, 10:26:59 am
this has been great and quite memory invoking, while i have never been to the nam i did spend 6 months in thailand in a different life and time
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 28, 2012, 11:55:58 am
Day 9:

Waking up early to be at the docs for our boat trip, we were greeted by some morning mist. Quick bacon and egg sandwich from the hotel kitchen (accompanied by some good coffee of course) and we were on our way. We left the Harbour to go and explore some of the islands just off the mainland.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam382.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam379.jpg)

There are many charters going out every day to do this, which makes it feel very commercialised, but I can truly understand why so many people come here to see this. It made me feel a bit weird as we were so use to travelling off the beaten track the last couple of days that it almost make me feel fake to do this cliqued tourist trip. But it was definitely worth it!!

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam380.jpg)

There are over 1600 individual islands here and not even all of them have been named yet.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam384.jpg)

This was the first island were we anchored and were taken into some caves, which was beautiful, but there were just too many people around (I suppose we were forming part of this very problem).

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam385.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam388.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam390.jpg)

About to board again and I was starting to get hungry.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam395.jpg)

So some sugarcane from a local vendor will sort out that problem.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam396.jpg)

As the mist started clearing away some majestic scenes emerged all around us. Absolutely amazing.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam398.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam403.jpg)

A local vendor pulled up to try and sell some fresh fruit to us while we were cruising. These people live here on the water and goes to shore every now and then to get some supplies for themselves.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam400.jpg)

This is a nice example of one of the villages that we visited. We stopped for a while and some of us got into smaller woven baskets, smeared with tar to go and explore a bit more.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam405.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam413.jpg)

They took us to what we thought was this cave in the mountain.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam414.jpg)

Which ended up being a cove instead. This was just breath taking...

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam418.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam417.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam419.jpg)

They have everything here and most of them donít visit the mainland that often. I even heard that some were born here and have never been to the mainland. It was really something seeing these dogs play and chasing each other around on the houseboats. I felt for the one cat that was stuck with 3 dogs on the premises.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam420.jpg)

Back to our boat and off to one of the local fish markets to pick up some lunch. You pull in, get off, point out the crabs/fish/clams etc that you want and off you go again.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam406.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam409.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam410.jpg)

One of our crew decided he would like to have some squid for lunch.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam412.jpg)

Navigating our way through the islands our chef was busy preparing some fresh fish and seafood for us. I saw this little shop that was put up on the island and I wondered to myself how many customers they get...

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam422.jpg)

Pictures donít do justice to this place

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam421.jpg)

This is the famous hens/chickens island.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam423.jpg)

After a very good lunch we arrived at this private beach. Immediately the thought of having a great party here with all your friends entered both our minds.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam424.jpg)

Time to test the water

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam425.jpg)

Nice little view from the mountain side and I can just imagine what this must look like on a sunning day.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam429.jpg)

Arriving back on the mainland we explored the local markets for the rest of the day, took an afternoon powernap and tried organising our way back to Hanoi the next day. Unfortunately there arenít any trains from Halong so we decided to get a bus back as the Tet festival was coming to an end and the highways would be chaotic tomorrow. They were prepared to put our bikes underneath in the baggage compartment of the bus, but wanted to charge us a ridiculous price which made us settle for riding the bikes back to Hanoi the next day.

Had some dinner and wine at a restaurant in the evening and couldnít find a karaoke bar afterwards so decided to hit the sack and call it a day.

Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 28, 2012, 12:25:46 pm
Day 10:

Time to hit the road and finish the last leg of our trip. The weather turned out to be fine which was a relieve. Dodging busses, trucks, cars and scooters on the highway wasnít what I would call fun, so we just tried to be on the save side and push through to get to Hanoi as soon as possible. Unfortunately we didnít stop on the way to take any pictures.

Seeing the road sign (read stone) saying Hanoi was a welcomed sign as it was only then that we were certain we have been on the right road the last hour and a half. As you get closer to Hanoi the traffic gets more and more ridiculous. As Camp lives in Ho Chi Ming city he wasnít sure exactly which roads to take. As the traffic picked up we lost each other just as we started taking different off ramps on the highway. I stopped and thought he would realise that I wasnít in his rear-view mirror anymore and that he would turn around and come looking for me. Little did I know that the off ramp that he took was a one way and he couldnít turn around and come back. After about 10min I decided to push on and take the one I would have taken if I were Camp. Not knowing how the hell I would be able to get back to our Hotel as I was sure no one would know where the Lucky 3 Hotel was.... Think of an Eskimo entering Rome on a Vespa having never been there before and only knowing his hotel name, not being able to speak a word of Italian (except for saying ďhappy new-year!!Ē)

I cruised for probably 6 to 10kms and saw Camp up ahead trying to cross over the highway to get back and come looking for me. I was so relieved to see him, but the first thing that came out of my mouth was a moerse uitkak sessie. I think this came about because of shock, not sure. But I think we both were more than happy to see each other there next to the highway and knowing the other was save.

Needless to say we didnít lose each other again and cruised into the city without any sort of map. Camp new that very close to our hotel was a famous monument in the middle of the lake and asked people how to get there. I couldnít believe it when I saw the lake and we first did a victory lap around it to close off our trip.

Back at the hotel and relieved that today turned out fine.

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam430.jpg)

(http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa336/Core88/Vietnam/Vietnam431.jpg)

We dropped our bags off, took a quick shower and headed out for some beer to celebrate this amazing journey that came to an end. I really felt sad to give the bikes back to Flamingo travels as they became part of us, never let us down and have been through quite a bit with us. The rest of the night we spent having beer, reflecting back on our trip and just enjoying each otherís company for the last time.

Day 11:

Said our farewells when the taxi came to pick me up at 10am. My homeward journey of more than 30 hours were about to start.

What a great trip!!!! I will never forget it and just want to say special thanks to Camp who did it with me and my girlfriend Maryke who pushed me to go on this trip and visit Camp in VietNAM. Canít wait for the next adventure together.

cảm ơn vŗ tạm biệt Việt Nam tốt
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Hentie @ Riders on April 28, 2012, 01:25:04 pm
Great rr  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: DirtRebell on April 29, 2012, 08:15:59 am
Fookit Gary - dis mos die soort materiaal waarvan avonture aanmekaargesit word!  :deal:   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Bring It On on April 29, 2012, 02:29:08 pm
Gr8 RR guys. :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Goose on April 29, 2012, 03:15:36 pm
Stunning - thanks for sharing!  Glued to screen to read it all!!   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: alli on April 29, 2012, 04:59:38 pm
 :thumleft:
What a lekker RR.

Makes me want to be somewhere else right now, with vague plans and dodgy directions and just see what happens.

Thanks Gasman
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Gasman on April 30, 2012, 09:22:12 am
Thanks guys, always nice to get some good feedback  :thumleft:
Makes it worth writing a RR  :ricky:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: TeeJay on April 30, 2012, 11:01:22 am
Just read all 6 pages .....brilliant.....well done and thanks for taking the time and effort to post.....great adventure you guys had!!!
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Smidty on April 30, 2012, 04:37:54 pm
Fantastic adventure  :thumleft:

Thanx for sharing
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: landieman on May 02, 2012, 08:40:26 pm
We are not worthy! excellent R/R :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: onderbroek on February 13, 2017, 08:06:15 pm
 Awesome trip
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: MiniDan on March 17, 2017, 09:48:38 am
Lekker RR Gasman... :thumleft:

Was epic om jou en Camp se gesigte te spot.

Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: saklx650c on March 17, 2017, 04:04:56 pm
Very lekker RR. Only on first few pages.
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: Single Cylinder on April 01, 2017, 08:39:29 pm
Marvelous write up. Vietnam is a great place   :ricky:
Title: Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
Post by: ZooDog on April 01, 2017, 09:16:22 pm
Fantastic story been ages since a good read