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Ranto's Vietnam 3 day tour

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by AngryAnt, May 13, 2011.

  1. Not as epic or ballsy as Gongrider's Hanoi to Saigon trip, I thought I'd post some pics and vids from this trip I did last month in Vietnam. I did a three day guided tour instead of just hiring a bike and getting lost. (Thanks to Guardian Angel for putting onto the tour company, Hoi Anh Motorbike Adventures).

    The tour started in Hoi Anh which is one of the prettiest towns in Southeast Asia I've ever visited, particularly the old town. Its also famous for its tailors. It's on the coast in central Vietnam. I had a night here after travelling by sleeper train (awesome) from Nha Trang the day before.


    Here's the full trip map - starting from Hoi Anh below Da Nang in the south, up through the mountains to near the Lao border, back down to Hue on the coast and then over the Hai Van Pass (famous from the Top Gear bike episode) and back through Da Nang to Hoi Anh. Three days all up, lots of mountains and other good things to see. (click on the thumbnail to see a fullsize pic).

    So I was up early on the first day, into the office in Hoi Anh and then we got a cab to the workshop and base. I cleverly left my gloves and summer jacket at the office, but the guy who was to become our travelling mechanic Mr Sau rode back to get them for me. Great start to my trip!


    Our trusty bikes, the redoubtable Minsk - a 125cc two stroke Russian built bike. Wikipedia says "The company produced a two stroke 125cc motorcycle based on a pre-World War II DKW RT 125 design made in Minsk in the former Soviet Union (now Belarus). This model was imported into Great Britain by Neval Motorcycles and initially tradenamed as "Neval"."

    We could choose either a two-stroke "classic" - four gears, no battery, kick start, not much brake to speak of, or a "future" - hybrids with the russian motor and transmission wripped out and replaced with a four stroke semi-automatic honda engine, electronic starter. Being a hardcore guy I went with the classic of course. The classics are not very torquey, but you can rev them producing heaps of white two-stroke smoke. Light and agile, top speed of about 70-80km/h full throttle on a flat. That's about as fast as you need on a typical Vietnamese road.


    Nice pic taken by Jeremy, one of the other guys. Yours truly with back to camera, Emmelie our glamorous Dutch guide and Pete our also glamorous Kiwi (via Brisbane) guide.

    On the first day we were joined by three others - an American couple on their honeymoon and another American guy. They were doing the two day trip so we would split with them after the first night. Joining me on the three day was Ash, lovely guy from Brisbane who had a GoPro HD sport cam.. more about that later. We also had Pete and Emmelie, guides, and Mr Sau the TEC and mechanic who well and truly earnt his money this trip.

    All set to go

    Most of us went with classics. J and M had never ridden motorbikes before but J had done a lot of push bike riding - he took a classic out and was a natural at it, but ended up getting a future, probably a wise choice. M took an automatic scooter.

    We set off through the outskirts of Hoi Anh about 10am, lots of happy kids waving at us and sometimes high-fiving. Back roads, narrow, a bit muddy. I discovered my bike had zero front brake power and the back brake was not the best but that's just how it was. J had a minor off in mud coming up a bank onto a bridge but was ok. After about an hour we had our first stop at a Cham tower (the Cham were an ethnic group in Central Vietnam that were powerful several hundred years ago.

    First stop


    Cham tower


    th_P4180875. th_P4180878. th_P4180883.

    More day one action to come....
  2. Day 1 continued

    After the Cham tower, we continued to head out of town and into the foothills. We turned off a main road and up Hill 55, the highest point in that area. (Hill 55 is the name given to it by the Yanks in the Vietnam war - 55 refers to the height). Finally some open road so Pete, Ash and I cranked open the throttle and enjoyed some gradual twisties up the hill.

    Ash on top of Hill 55 - monument to the war against the French - lens was dirty at this stage and for most of the first morning, apologies!


    While at the top of Hill 55, we noticed the other guys were taking a long time to catch up. After about 5 minutes we knew something must be wrong, particularly when some Vietnamese women on scooters shouted at us and made a "falling over" gesture and pointed back down the hill.

    Pete starts to get worried about the following party, top of Hill 55.
    Pete got the inevitable phone call about the off and went back. Turned out that M, the girl on the scooter had a bad off and went into a stone gutter/ditch on the side of the road on a sweeping bend up the hill. Target fixation I reckon. Bike was banged up but rideable, M was banged up but brave and wanted to continue riding to the next town, only about 4k away. She made it.

    Locals playing a billiard type game at the cafe in the next town. Apparently most Vietnamese men hang round bars and cafes chewing the fat like this most days

    At this point we waited for a rider for M... she would go pillion from now on. Her collarbone was showing signs of being broken - but she could still move her arm and claimed to be ok... One tough cookie.

    It rained heavily while we waited at the cafe but it had stopped by the time we set off again. A nice ride through rice fields and where we stopped for lunch at a dam and fish farm.

    th_P4180892. th_P4180894. th_P4180895. th_P4180898. th_P4180899. th_P4180905.

    Then we were into the mountains and up to our first pass.


    To be continued
  3. Day 1 part 3

    Top of the mountain.

    th_P4180907. th_P4180910. th_P4180921. th_P4180914. th_P4180920.

    Clouds over the mountains

    Minsk Classics come with a built in water bottle holder
    th_P4180916. th_2011-04-19160604.

    Then down the mountain into the tea fields in the highlands.

    th_P4180925. th_P4180922.
  4. Nice!!!

    That part of Vietnam is beautiful (well... most of the country is!). I'm sure you'll be in love with Hai Van Pass.

    I forgot about the high-fiving, I reckon we gave a few Vietnamese kids sore hands as we forgot about the speed!

    Would have been fun on a Minsk. I think when I go back to do the northern mountains and Sapa, I will be on a classic Minsk :)

    Poor M, sounds like the rest of the trip would be painful for her. Feel for her, I have no idea how my mates and I didn't come off on those roads.

    Can't wait to hear and see more!
  5. Yeah, I think some of the kids like slapping you as hard as they could! Apparently some older kids pull their hands away at the last second to fool ya but I didn't see this. The kids were great, in the towns they went nuts with the "hello what your name" routine. I would talk to them and tell them my name, and ask theirs, they tended to get shy and walk away. Perhaps that's just me though ha!

    Hai Van Pass is the third day. Beautiful, epic, could have done it ten times.

    PS used to live in North Gong, beautiful spot!
  6. love the look of this! im uber jealous... where did you find the hire place? I defo wanna book something like this for later on in the year!
  7. Ok, the real fun begins... day one footage from Ash's Gopro. He sped it up and decreased resolution, but you get the idea. I don't really feature til the end in the (blue grey and black summer jacket).

    Nice soundtrack by Ash.

    Dirt and mud up the mountain at 5:20.

    Truck dodging at 8:14.

    Yours truly from about 9.25.

    Local village and narrow bridge from 12:20.
  8. http://www.motorbiketours-hoian.com/
  9. Great Photos and Write up there, thanks for sharing!

    Vietnam looks like the perfect place for an epic motorcycle journey, and being on a little old 125cc 2 stroke would only add to the adventure.

    Good stuff
  10. Thanks Ramjet. I'm still on Day 1, 2 days to go and more vid to follow.
  11. awesome vid, looks like fun!
  12. #12 david1118, Jun 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Hello, I saw your photos about Thap Ba Ponagar Temple Nha Trang Vietnam
    great! I provide more

    Cham Towers (Thap Ba Ponagar), Nha Trang - Vietnam (Video and Pictures)
    1.Main Temple at Thap Ba Ponagar
    [​IMG] Thap Ba Ponagar Temple - Nha Trang / Vietnam

    2. Main Entrance to The Cham Towers
    [​IMG] Main Entrance to The Cham Towers

    3. Pillars at The Entrance to Cham Towers
    [​IMG] Pillars at The Entrance to Cham Towers

    4. Main Temple at Thap Ba Ponagar
    [​IMG] Main Temple at Thap Ba Ponagar

    5. Cham Pillars
    [​IMG] Cham Pillars

    6.Cham Dancer
    [​IMG] Cham Dancer

    7. Small Cham Tower
    [​IMG] Small Cham Tower

    8. Another Cham Temple
    [​IMG] Another Cham Temple

    9. Looking Towards The Ocean From Ponagar
    [​IMG] Looking Towards The Ocean From Ponagar

    10. Looking Back at Thap Ba Ponagar From The River Crossing
    [​IMG] Looking Back at Thap Ba Ponagar From The River Crossing

    More: http://www.vnvietnamtours.com/2011/06/thap-ba-ponagar-temple-nha-trang-vietnam.html

    Source: Vietnam tours 2011