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cycling through vietnam

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1. Posted by Falukozi (Budding Member 56 posts) 5y

Hi

So in November of this year my sister and I plan to end up in Vietnam for a length of time between 10 and 15 days.
we will have been traveling for about 2.5 months at this point and were thinking it might be nice to try and get around the country on bikes instead of taking trains and buses.
we will be getting off a tour in Ho Chi Minh City and hope to end up in halong bay. before moving on to our next destination.

I was wondering if people have done this or if they would recommend against it and how safe the roads are likely to be for 2 girls.
we are not set on the idea but think it might be fun.
any advice would be appreciated

Tracy :)

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 5y

Tracy,
Having renting motorbikes in VN several times and ridden buses from HAN to HCMC, I vote NO. The roads are very far from safe. The problem is that everyone shares the road. The main road, Highway 1 is just 2 lanes most of the way. Walkers, dogs, kids on bikes, motorbikes, ox carts, farm equipment, cars, large trucks, buses all share a narrow road. 2 girls on bikes in this mix is not a smart idea IMO. Decide once you are in VN and have been on their roads for a few days. Good luck with your planning.

3. Posted by ilmi9 (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

yah the Roads are not much better and safety is important matter also...

Quoting vegasmike6

Tracy,
Having renting motorbikes in VN several times and ridden buses from HAN to HCMC, I vote NO. The roads are very far from safe. The problem is that everyone shares the road. The main road, Highway 1 is just 2 lanes most of the way. Walkers, dogs, kids on bikes, motorbikes, ox carts, farm equipment, cars, large trucks, buses all share a narrow road. 2 girls on bikes in this mix is not a smart idea IMO. Decide once you are in VN and have been on their roads for a few days. Good luck with your planning.

4. Posted by joetran (Budding Member 6 posts) 5y

You are planning for your trip on November? ( 10 months later? )
I am totally agree with #2and #3. definitely NO.
Road is bad, weather in November is harsh, you have no experience in Vietnam traffic....
Actually, it's normal with Vietnamese people because there's a group of elderly people have made the journey from south to north but they also have to undergo the training day and is quite familiar with bad roads.
It's ok if you are adventure traveler.
any way, good luck with you choices

5. Posted by Falukozi (Budding Member 56 posts) 5y

ahh well thank you for the advice. we were not sure how the roads were and if they are as crowded as it seems then we will likely not try for bikes.

as a followup what would you say is the best way to get from
Ho Chi Minh City to halong bay?

6. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 5y

Tracy,
You basically have 3 options HAN to HaLong Bay.
1. Hire a car/driver and have him drive you. Book your own tour.
2. Ride the regular bus to HaLong City. Bargain with the tour operators for your tour of HB.
3. Do what the vast majority of visitors do: book a 1-2-3 day tour in HAN. Read some of the blogs others have posted about the HB Bay tour. Can have a cattle boat feel to it. Thousands go everyday and it can be hectic. I picked a 1 day tour as it was raining when I was there. Decide once you are there. Never book anything over the Internet. Much cheaper once you are in HAN.

Good luck with your planning.

7. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 5y

I recommend you also avoid buses in Vietnam - as the others have stated, the roads are unsafe for all! Vietnam Airlines is affordable and quite good. I love Vietnam, but it does have a few problems with safety and scams (mainly cabs).

From Saigon to the Bay, most people would fly into Hanoi and book a tour. The tour would pick you up in a van and drive you to the Bay (3 hrs both ways).

An alternate would be a flight into Haiphong and you could arrange your own cruise via Cat Ba Island (much more difficult).

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jan-2011, at 11:26 by Daawgon ]

8. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 5y

Are you talking about bicycles or motorbikes? If you are talking about motorcycles, it depends on your experience. I know a lot of women that have ridden motorcycles there and had a great time. And yes it is a really fun way to get around. I can point you in the direction of a lovely lady in Ho Chi Minh that can set you up with a motorcycle and any advice you need.

If you are talking about bicycles I think this is an even better idea. I know two girls that arrived in Vietnam and bought bicycles to ride around on and had such a good time they ended up riding them through India and nepal! Go here for some great blogs by people who traveled through Vietnam by bicycle.

[ Edit: Erm, keep it nice please! ]

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by Falukozi (Budding Member 56 posts) 5y

Thank you
I will go read those blogs. :)

My sister and I are arriving in Ho chi minh via a gap adventure tour from Thailand.
we are traveling with round the world tickets and can probably add a stop in Han.

We were thinking we would like to see the country in between the citys. is it worth it or should we just fly?
also when you say the roads are unsafe what are you referring to exactly
1) the likelihood of a car crash
2) the possibility of being robbed
3) the chance you will be paying to much for the trip
4) the chance somebody is out to injure you
d) all of the above.

just trying to gauge the risk level. Keeping in mind we will have been in India, Nepal and 5 countrys in Africa before this?