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Author Topic: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk  (Read 9763 times)

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Offline landieman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #80 on: April 05, 2012, 02:49:38 am »
all of the above and some.brilliant,keep it coming :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Twister

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #81 on: April 05, 2012, 07:27:21 am »
Great read. What an adventure  :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline letsgofishing

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #82 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?
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #83 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

Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #84 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.

Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #85 on: April 05, 2012, 09:52:01 am »
Looking at the map the 50km key on it doesn't look very accurate at all...

Offline Bosparra

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #86 on: April 05, 2012, 12:36:13 pm »
Super awesome stuff  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Hentie @ Riders

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #87 on: April 05, 2012, 01:50:49 pm »
Nice  :thumleft:

Offline N[]vA

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #88 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
So much of win it hurts! ^.^


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Offline MJS

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #89 on: April 09, 2012, 01:06:42 pm »
Very nice!   Makes studying seem terribly sad today... (more than usual)
Little by little, one travels far

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Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #90 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:

Offline gser

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #91 on: April 09, 2012, 07:19:09 pm »

 Be F#ok ! Thanks !
 

Offline Usurper

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #92 on: April 10, 2012, 04:58:23 pm »
Bliksem!!!! Ek vote vir "Roll of honor"!!
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Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #93 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



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



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



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.





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.



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.



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!!



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.

Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #94 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.



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.



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.



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.







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!!



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!!



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.

Offline madmax

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #95 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
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Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #96 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.





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!!



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



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).







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



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



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





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.



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.





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



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







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.



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.







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



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...



Pictures donít do justice to this place



This is the famous hens/chickens island.



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.



Time to test the water



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



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.


Offline Gasman

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #97 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.





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

Offline Hentie @ Riders

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #98 on: April 28, 2012, 01:25:04 pm »
Great rr  :thumleft:  :thumleft:

Offline DirtRebell

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Re: Vietnam on a Russian Minsk
« Reply #99 on: April 29, 2012, 08:15:59 am »
Fookit Gary - dis mos die soort materiaal waarvan avonture aanmekaargesit word!  :deal:   :thumleft: