Vietnam North2South (2016)

The whole notion of discovering Vietnam came about after we had done Laos and Cambodia on our own bikes. At that point of time, the entry into Vietnam was restricted and heavy cost needs to be incurred if we were to ride our own bikes into Vietnam. During that time, bikes smaller in capacity (250cc and below) were able to ride through Vietnam without any guides however form big touring bikes, we will need to engage a guide. The cost is substantial if we were to ride through the whole of Vietnam from North to South or vice versa given the number of days that were required to really explore the country.

Hence the decision to do another fly and ride chapter in Vietnam. By flying in and renting a bike, the supposed cost to pay for a guide arrangement can be offset and we were free to explore the country with our own itinerary. We were also not bound to do any paperwork or logistic arrangement for our trip. As such we got rid of the red tape that bound big bike tours in Vietnam. This is something that I have always wished for in all my trips (as much as possible) to be able to explore the different places on my own, to be able to plan my own routes and be able to visit the different out of the book destinations that I had read about.

Pre Departure

Considering that we are travelling on small bike with limited luggage space. Packing is really an art. Carrying enough clothes, camera and video equipment, riding spares and also safety items to keep our items and rental bike safe along the way.

The bag had been packed and repacked and still cutting down on the items from the repacked bag and packed again....until we end up with one duffel bag and one bag pack. We were contemplating of bringing our own riding jackets and helmets for this trip too until we decided to leave them behind.

The final packed luggage (minus the riding jacket and helmet in the end)

Our Bike of Choice


The Honda Win is definitely the best for those with some motorbiking experience. This is also the most common backpacker’s motorbike on the road.

Pros: This motorbike provides the best value for money and riding quality. Importantly, the Honda Win offers the extra clutch control needed to ride through the high mountain passes in northern Vietnam. Without a clutch, getting to more remote and off-road places can be tough.

The Honda Win will break down as all motorbikes in Vietnam do. However, it is truly indestructible as there are cheap spare parts for this motorbike everywhere. Replacing a chain will cost just $5 and even blowing up the engine will only cost $50 each time.

A bonus benefit of the Honda Win is that you will be accepted by fellow riders as having a ‘real motorbike’ and not an incompetent scooter.

Cons: None, other than the standard breakdowns.

Customisation of the motorcycle to fit our travel requirement.

Prior to our arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam... I had requested a few modification to be made to the bikes so that we are able to carry our duffle bag on our bikes as we ride through the country. . Also as the bikes that we arranged to rent for the entire period was a little on the "small" side (as you can see when we sat on them). we had to make some adjustments to the controls on the bike such as the handle bars, brake pedal etc.

The interesting is that the owner of the bike rental was happy to entertain to our request and got some of the item worked on before our arrival (luggage rack had to be pre fabricated) and most were assembled on the day that we collected our bikes as our measurements were taken.

Rear rack fabricated

Our luggage rack

All work done in house

in house metal craftman

BIke setup

To suit our bigger body frame

Typical Motorbike Repair Costs...for simple estimation of cost.

There is no point denying that your motorbike will break down. With a Chinese copy motorbike it is inevitable, and buying a genuine Japanese usually just isn’t worth it. However, one of the things that makes Vietnam such an attractive place to motorbike across is the abundance of motorbike mechanics. And they’re cheap!

Here are some of the most common breakdowns with a rough price guide for repairs:

§ Repair a tube - 30 0000 VND (1 USD)

§ Change a tire tube - 50 000 VND (3 USD)

§ Change a new tire 200 000 VND (10 USD)

§ Tighten chain service - 20 000 VND (almost 1 USD)

§ Change Engine Oil and Filter - 150 000 VND (7 USD)..... very cheap for a simple oil service!

§ Repair cracked motorbike frame – VND 200,000 (USD 9)....this has to be a major thing to happen !!

It is best you learn to do the following easy repairs by yourself; change the spark plug, clean the spark plug, adjust the brake and clutch cables, pump up your tyres so as to save some cost.

James (Owner)

Hanoi Motorbike (available on TripAdvisor)

Hanoi Motorbike Rentals and Sales, Vietnam

Mechanic Shop's Address:

289 Ngoc Thuy | Long Bien District, Hanoi

Whatsapp and call: +84.911.076.007

Email us:

My Review on Trip Advisor at the end of the trip which I had left for JAMES HANOI MOTORBIKE Company.

Nhat Van Tran (James) Ngoc Mai

Hanoi Motorbike Owner. Business woman

Nat Van Tran (James) came to Singapore for a seminar. He dropped me a visit and I hosted him during his stay, giving him recommendation of places to visit in Singapore and popular eating places. We became good friends (online) after our trip often sharing our travel stories.

Our Journey on Video.

Do watch our journey on our Youtube Channel: Red Baron Diaries and help us by "like" and Subscribe to our channel. We hope you enjoy the videos as much as we enjoyed our trip.

Vietnam North2South Ep 1

Singapore - Hanoi

Vietnam North2South Ep 2

A day around Fansipan Sapa

Vietnam North2South Ep 3

A day around Fansipan Sapa

Vietnam North2South Ep 4

Sapa - Ha Long Bay

Vietnam North2South Ep 5

Ha Long Bay & Cat Ba Island

Vietnam North2South Ep 6

Ha Long - Hanoi - Binh Dinh

Vietnam North2South Ep 7

Binh Dinh - Nimh Binh - Ha Tinh

Vietnam North2South Ep 8

Ha Tinh - Hue

Vietnam North2South Ep 9

Hue - Hoi An - Danang

Vietnam North2South Ep 10


Vietnam North2South Ep 11

Da Nang - Phan Rang Tap Cham

Vietnam North2South Ep 12

The Adventure capital of Vietnam, Dalat

Vietnam North2South Ep 13

Dalat - Mui Ne - Saigon

Vietnam North2South Ep 14

Saigon & Back to Singapore

Vietnam North2South

Day 1


Met up with two other riding buddies at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the early hours of the morning. Boarded on a 3.5 hour flight to Hanoi, Vietnam on Tiger Airways. Flight became a little uncomfortable after 2 hours due to limited legroom.

Arrived in Hanoi at 10.30am local time (Hanoi is 1hr behind Singapore). Beautiful new airport. Clearance was easy and fast. Much more efficient than Singapore surprisingly.

From the airport we took a taxi to Old Quarters, Hanoi. Journey cost us 25 usd nett for a premium car and over 30 mins. Our room was ready for us when we arrived. Tonight we are staying in Asia Palace Hotel.

Once we have settled our stuff and a little lunch, we headed to James Hanoi Motorbike to sort out our vehicle for the next 2 weeks. We settled on a 120cc Honda Win (Vietnam made). James, the owner was very hospitable and we chatted for a while. Those who wish to do the same rental can approach Nhat van Tran to arrange. Highly recommended even on tripadvisor.

From there we took a ride into Hanoi centre. We visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This was where Ho Chi Minh then founder of modern Vietnam declared independence from the French and also where his body was buried.

The Flag Tower of Hanoi is a symbolic building of Hanoi and also part of the Hanoi Citadel. It has been declared a World Heritage Site. This site is just next to the Military Museum Hanoi which houses war relics and pictures of the Vietnam war.

Hanoi Central Park. It was amazing to see the youths in Vietnam gathering in the park for sports and healthy activities like badminton, soccer etc. Here the monument of the statue of Ho Chi Minh is erected.

By the time we got to Hoan Kiem Lake it was night time. Driving through the city itself was a challenge with the numbers of cars and bikes and the minimal presence of traffic lights. Yet everything flowed just like an ochestra.

Hoan Kiem Lake is the main attraction of Hanoi housing the Ngoc son Temple and a beautiful red Japanese bridge. Hoan Kiem Lake during nightfall was littered with beautiful lights giving it a nice hue of colours.

Hanoi is a bustling city high on the cafe culture. Road side cafes lined the streets in Old Quarter. Vietnamese youth sit by the roadside for dinner and drinks throughout the city.

Definitely will give Hanoi another visit as this time was a short time spent in Hanoi itself.

Vietnam North2South

Day 2

Hanoi - Sapa

Left Hanoi at 6am to beat the jam, trying to leave the city as fast as possible before the influx of workers into the city. Successfully done as road were clear. Nice cool weather as we rode in the morning.

As motorbikes are not allowed to ride on toll-highways we had to skirt around using the B-roads. This spoil our plan as we had hoped to use the highways to cover 320km from Hanoi to Lao Cai in around 6 to 8 hours. So that means that using the B-roads would extend our travelling time.

All of us persevered on.

Travelling the B roads has its pros and cons, cons being the extra travelling time, traffic, smaller roads and having to figure out the route. The pros however leads us to beautiful landscape of the northern Vietnam and being able to experience the life of the people as we made our way.

We had breakfast along the way, Vietnamese style, roadside sitting eating bread and chili sauce with tea or coffee.

We had to pump petrol a few times as our tank can only go to a mileage up to 200km. We would just pump at around 120 to 150 km interval and to cut wasting time we just had food o the go instead of a sit-down lunch.

Minor glitches or problems with the bikes that we fixed along the way. The thing about Vietnam is there are plenty of roadside motorcycle repair shops along the roads so you can just ride in to get your repairs done.

Along the way we stopped at the Temple of the Hung Kings. The first Hùng king, Kinh Dương Vương, came to power in 2879 BC, ruling an area covering what is now North Vietnam and part of southern China. He founded the Hồng Bàng Dynasty, whose members ruled Vietnam until 258 BC. His descendants continued to rule Vietnam over a period of time. At this temple cum Tombs of the Kings is the venue for numerous occasions in the region.

We entered Lao Cai city at night after riding for around 100km in the dark at around 8.30pm. Lao Cai is one of the border cities between Vietnam and China. It is popular among the China nationals who comes over to Vietnam on weekends for some gambling and fun. We decided not to visit the China border today as it is dark so we proceeded another 36km up to the mountains of Sapa. We will return to the border on our way down.

That last 36km was a bit challenging as we had to manoeuvre through twisties and cutbacks up the mountains of Sapa. Temperature was dipping the higher we go. Hands were shivering and chest was cold due to wind. Going up we had to be careful to dodge oncoming trailers and buses who drives very fast downhills and at the same time we had to overtake slow vehicles ascending the mountain.

The last 20km, all my equipments start to die off...from phone to comms system to gps and gopro...all at around the same time.

Arrived in Fansipan, Sapa at 10.30pm.

That would be 16 hours being on the road today. Sapa is a mountain resort that house the peak of Fansipan that is deemed as the Roof of Vietnam. For the past 4 years it has been snowing here in early January.

Well it was planned that today would be a day of riding to cover the distance. Everyone was mentally prepared. Nothing beats some delicious and hot pizzas after a long ride.

Vietnam North2South

Day 3

Fansipan, Sapa

Started the day a little late so that everyone can get enough sleep after the long ride yesterday. After breakfast we saddle up on the bikes and head up the mountains of Fansipan.

First stop was a beautiful waterfall cascading over several levels from the top of the mountains. Thac Bac waterfall otherwise known as the Silver waterfall gave us a surprise as we saw its magnificent drops over several level. We hiked up about 200m to the viewing platform of the waterfall. Tourist pay 20000 Vietnamese dong for entry.

From there we move on to the next waterfall that is the Love waterfall and Golden Stream. Entrance fee here is a little bit expensive, 70000 vietnamese dong to enter the nature park. A hike of around 1km downwards is required (what goes down must come back up...shudder at the thought). A tiring hike for this waterfall. This waterfall is pretty nice but was not as magnificent as the first waterfall that we went to. Hike back up was tiring.

From here we headed to Fansipan legend, this is what the Vietnamese termed as the door to heaven. It is the highest peak in IndoChina at 3186m above sea level.

To get to the viewing platform, you will need to take a cable car which will cost you 600 000 Vietnamese dong and then hike up another 40 mins to the viewing platform. The viewing platform is always full of tourist especially from China on weekends. Beautiful view above the clouds from there. Back down at the entrance, beautiful garden and a temple is located.

We spent the rest of our late afternoon around the town of Sapa. Evening time you can see the locals up and about playing games or sports all around the centre of town. Its like a culture here in Vietnam to stay active.

I was feeling a little bit under the weather probably due to the cold. Aching joints and headache started from the second waterfall. Took some medication and slept early.

Vietnam North2South

Day 4

Sapa - Ha Long Bay

380km - 16 hours (Hanoi to Sapa)

480km - 12 hours ( Sapa to Ha Long)

Managed to cover an even longer distance over a shorter period of time. This is probably due to the fact that we have gotten used to our bike and also the road ettiquette of the locals here. We are able to read the traffic better and able to maximise our ride.

We rode the first 330km from Sapa to the outskirt of Hanoi within daylight and spent the last 150km in the night. But tonight, we were on a 2 lane highway that connects Hanoi to Ha Long. This mean that we can go a little faster.

A thing to note when riding in Vietnam is when riding at night it will take double the time over the same distance and if you are riding up a pass or mountain, your time will be quadruple of the estimated. Also road conditions can be very uncertain especially if you are here for the first time... towards the end of Ha Long, there were plenty of roadworks and diversion. Speeding trucks and buses also mean that we have to be careful.

Not much to cover today as the only place that we visited was the Vietnam-China border linking Lao Cai of Vietnam to Hekou, Yunnan of China.

We arrived at Ha Long for the night. Ha Long province/district house the world renown Ha Long Bay, a World Unesco Site. The World UNESCO symbol welcome us at the entrance to Ha Long province.

Vietnam North2South

Day 5

Ha Long Bay & Cat Ba Island

Spent the day on a self-tour of Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island. Rode in the morning to Tuan Chau pier in Ha Long City. From there we boarded a ferry. The cost is 90 000 Vietnamese dong one-way. First ferry leaves at 8 am and last ferry from Cat Ba island leave Cat Ba pier at 4pm from the return journey. Alternatively you can sign up for a package at the marina office or at any tour agency.

Ferry will make its way through the karst outcrop in Ha Long Bay meandering around the beautiful rock jutting out of the bay like the fins of a dragon swimming in the water. Hence the name Ha Long meaning descending dragon. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO site that is the main attraction of Vietnam.

Cat Ba island has some spectacular seafood with the fishing port just adjacent to the main stretch. Seafood restaurant lined the street and also in the bay. On its southern end there is a beautiful beach hidden away in a bay. Mostly foreign tourist can be seen sun tanning or wadding in the water. There is a cave in the island that was used as a hospital. To get to the town of Cat Ba you have to pass through its nature reserve.

On the way back we saw the typhoon warning has increased from 3 to 4 on a scale of 5. At the same time my Vietnamese friends had msg me to warn me of the typhoon warning as well. Typhoon will be hitting Vietnamese coast this week. Have to be prepared for rains and strong winds.

We spent the night in Bai Chay, the tourist area of Ha Long. The area is up and coming attracting plenty of foreign investors and also plenty of the tourist dollar. Luxury hotel lined the beachfront and with many big names having beach facing rooms. Ha Long Park is a new park that will be open soon boasting amusement park ride like the roller coaster etc. The cable car is in operation linking Ha Long Park to the Sun-wheel at the top of a hill across the straits. Once it is opened there will be plenty of shops lining the streets.

Vietnam North2South

Day 6

Ha Long - Hanoi - Binh Dinh

Made our way at 8am from hotel headed towards Hanoi. Detoured to BMW Hanoi for a look around.We had planned to get our bikes serviced and catch a train ride from Hanoi to Dong Hoi with our bikes loaded on as cargo. We made good time and reached Hanoi at 11am and our bikes are all serviced and good to go for our central Nam and Southern ride.

Unfortunately the cargo office were overloaded with cargo delivery order and we were not able to use its cargo service ( Vietnam you can transport your bike bu train or bus) and we went to look for alternative option that is using bus to transport our bike. Again it was fully booked. So we had to forgo the idea which would enable us to gain half a day journey and save a nights accommodation. We rode on down south.

Based on recommendations from my Vietnamese fren Quynh Tuan, I had decided to stay the night in Nimh Binh. I guess it was a blessing in disguised as I would be able to visit the Tam Coc cave tomorrow morning (initially I had wanted to give this a miss) but i guess god work in miraculous ways. So here I am in Nimh Binh checked into a hotel and looking at photos of what to expect for tomorrow.

Did not have any pictures taken today as we rode the day away. Some of the few pictures that we took was at the entrance of Hoa Lo. A little information on Hoa Lo taken off the net

"Hoa Lu, the first imperial capital of Vietnam. The very first meaningful stop-over in Ninh Binh should be Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam from 968 until 1010. Before the year 968, the nation was just a district of China. As time went by, several fightings for independence have occurred, yet none was of a long success until Dietenh Bo Linh’s troops rising. In 968, Dinh Bo Linh defeated 12 lords of the district (former Vietnam) and proclaimed to be Emperor. He was the first King of Dinh dynasty (King Dinh Tien Hoang), and named the country Dai Co Viet. Then he set up Hoa Lu, his home country, as the capital of Dai Co Viet. His meaningful success was a great landmark of Vietnam as transferring from a district of China into an truly independent nation."

The other pictures of Tam Coc caves are those taken off the net psyching me on what to expect tomorrow.

Vietnam North2South

Day 7

Nimh Binh - Ha Tinh

Good morning Vietnam

Today we will be entering the Central Nam region.

Left for Tam Coc river tour early in the morning the first boat was 7am. After breakfast we headed to book our boat ride. It cost around 150 000 per person. A max 3 pax can share a boat. Beautiful sceneries greeted us with every turn of the meanders. It was nice to see the limestone mountains in the morning mist.

From there we headed to Trang An. Tràng An is a scenic area near Ninh Bình, Vietnam renowned for its boat cave tours. On 23 June 2014, at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entrance fee cost 90 000 Vietnamese dong and boat ride will be extra.

Our next stop was Bai Dinh temple complex. The Bai Dinh temple houses many ancient relics and buddhist artefacts. ai Dinh pagoda is a large population known as many records such as: the largest pagoda of Vietnam, the biggest gold - plated copper of Asia and the longest lobby in Asia. The pagoda is located at the western of the ancient capital Hoa Lu, belonging to Gia Sinh commune, Ninh Binh. It is far about 15 kilometers from Ninh Binh province and 95 kilometers from Hanoi. Bai Dinh Pagoda population has the area of 539 hectares including 27 hectares of ancient Bai Dinh pagoda, 80 hectares of new Bai Dinh area.

We then headed out onto Duong Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh road) to enjoy the beautiful mountain road instead of going onto the main national highway 1 that goes parallel near the coast. Sunset along the Ho Chi Minh road is beautiful and the night can be very chilly.

Vietnam North2South

Day 8

Ha Tinh - Hue

Today we entered the Central Nam region of Quan Binh province and QuanTri provinces. These two provinces are an integral part of Vietnamese history. Lying on the latitude 107, is the division of Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam during the IndoChina war. The DMZ (demilitarised zone) was created between Quan Binh in the North and Quan Tri in the south.

THE DMZ in Central NAM

The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was a demilitarized zone established as a dividing line between North and South Vietnam as a result of the First Indochina War. The DMZ was established between the Quang Binh province and Quang Tri province seperated by a natural river

During the Vietnam War, it became important as the battleground demarcation separating North from South Vietnamese territories.

Our first stop was Phong-Nha Ke Bang.

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003, covered 85,754 hectares. The Park’s landscape is formed by limestone plateaux and tropical forests. It features great geological diversity and offers spectacular phenomena, including a large number of caves and underground rivers. The site harbours a high level of biodiversity and many endemic species. The extension ensures a more coherent ecosystem while providing additional protection to the catchment areas that are of vital importance for the integrity of limestone landscapes. Entrance fee for the national park is 150 000 Vietnamese dong per head and a boat fee of 360 000 Vietnamese dong for a group of 14. To cut down cost we joined another group of foreigners sharing a boat together.

Phong Nha - Ke Bang

Nestled at the foot of limestone cliffs that began formation 400 million years ago, Phong Nha is the gateway to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, home to a series of world record-breaking caves. Situated 40 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital of Dong Hoi and built along the Son River, the small village of Son Trach (also referred to as Phong Nha) is growing to meet the growing number of tourists flocking to explore these underground worlds.

Phong Nha Cave is a cave in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Quảng Bình Province, Vietnam. It is 7,729 metres long and contains 14 grottoes, as well as a 13,969 metre underground river. While scientists have surveyed 44.5 kilometres of passages, tourists are only allowed to explore the first 1500 metres.

It will take you 3 days to slowly discover the whole 44.5km of the caves with activities such as zip line, mud crawling and cliff jumping can be included as part of the tour.

From there we travel down to Dong Ha to visit the Vinh Moc tunnel. The DMZ (a tunnel complex of Vietnam), lies on the south of China Sea, north of Ben Hai River. Within this complex, Vinh Moc tunnel is located in Vinh Moc, Vinh Thach Commune, Vinh Linh District, Quang Tri Province. The complex in Vinh Linh has as many as more than 60 tunnels such as Tan My, Mu Giai, Tan Ly tunnels, among which Vinh Moc is the most solid and firm village tunnel, with 3 floors and round staircase, still remaining as in its past days. Entrance fee os 40 000 Vietnamese dong per head.

Vinh Moc Tunnel

Vinh Moc (Vịnh Mốc) is a tunnel complex in Quảng Trị, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War it was strategically located on the border of North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The tunnels were built to shelter people from the intense bombing of Son Trung and Son Ha communes in Vinh Linh county of Quảng Trị Province in the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. The American forces believed the villagers of Vinh Moc were supplying food and armaments to the North Vietnamese garrison on the island of Con Co which was in turn hindering the American bombers on their way to bomb Hanoi.

Everything happen for a reason even if it is not in your favour.

Recall VietnamNorth2South, day 5, we were hoping to get a train ticket for ourselves and bike to travel from Hanoi to Dong Hoi. We could not get a train ticket or even other alternative (bus)

Got a warning message from my Vietnamese friend Quynh Tuan that the area that I was supposed to be in initially planned for today (Danang/Hoi An) was affected by typhoon and flooding. I guess being a day back of schedule seems a much better option.

As I have said God work in miraculous ways. Always be thankful for what is planned for you (even if it is not in your favour), for it could have been worse.

To my Vietnamese friends, i really appreciate all the help and advises that you have given me and to take time to find out my whereabouts. Much Appreciated.

We are stopping over in the ancient city of Hue to spend the night.

Vietnam North2South

Day 9

Hue - Hoi An - Danang

Went out of the hotel early today while Bob and Amin are sleeping. They preferred to sleep in to catch up on some rest. I took an early morning stroll around Hue city around 6am.

The air was cool and traffic had not began to pile up. The walk took me 30 mind to get across the river to the Imperial city of Hue.

Famously being one of Vietnam’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Imperial City of Hue has long been a must-see attraction for tourists visiting a hidden charm of Vietnam. The Imperial City of Hue was actually a walled fortress and palace belonged to the ancient city of Hue which was a capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty for 140 years date back from 1805. It is recommend to get in early at 7am when it open to public before throngs of visitors start flocking in at around 8am. This will give you ample photography opportunity and enjoy the quiet and serene palace grounds. There are a few sites to visit within the palace. The grandest of all being the entrance to the complex and the throne room of the king.

Departed Hue on our motorbikes at 11am and headed for the Tomb of Linh Khai Ding. The Tomb of Khải Định is located in Chau Chu mountain near Huế in Vietnam. It was built for the Nguyễn Emperor Khải Định, the twelfth king of the Nguyễn dynasty. It was built from 1920 to 1931 taking 11 years to complete. The tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture. It is located on a steep hill outside of the capital city of Huế.

Our route from Hue to Hoi An takes us through the famous Hai Van pass of Vietnam. It is one of the top 7 recommended roads in South East Asia. Stopping at the top of Hai Van Pass, tourists can visit a rampart and a fortified gateway built in 1826, during the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. The side of the gate facing Thua Thien-Hue Province is inscribed with the 3 words “Hai Van Quan” (Hai Van Gate). The other side, looking down on Da Nang and Quang Nam Province, says “Thien ha de nhat hung quan” (The most marvellous wonder). Despite its long history, the gate is still solid, but it is now covered with moss. Nowadays, on the top of the pass, there is also a collection of cafes and gift shops.

We bypassed Danang (our destination for tonight) and headed 30km further south to the town of Hoi An. Hoi An Ancient town is located in Viet Nam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River. The toen is well-preserved example of a small-scale trading port active the 15th to 19th centuries which traded widely, both with the countries of Southeast and East Asia and with the rest of the world. Its decline in the later 19th century ensured that it has retained its traditional urban tissue to a remarkable degree.

The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) that combined to produce this unique survival. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has kept its charm.

Vietnam North2South

Day 10


Woke up early in the morning hoping to catch sunrise at My Son Sanctuary. Was dissapointed as it was drizzling when i left the hotel. The rain stopped somewhere near Hoi An. I was happy to be able to walk around My Son without the rain. There was still no sign of the sun however. Towards the end of my visit it started tobpour heavily. Another World UNESCO cultural site ticked off my checklist. Entry ticket cost 150 000 vietnamese dong.

I trudged back on my bike soaking wet for around 60km in the pouring rain. Met up with Azmi and Bob who sat out (passed to get more sleep) on the early morning journey at the hotel. I had to skipped my plan of climbing up marble mountain as it was not advised to do so in the pouring rain due to safety issues. Oh well....another time perhaps. Instead I spent the time to service my bike. Had a change of oil for 100 000 vietnamese dong.

It continued to rain the whole day. This would be the exact cause for flood to happen in this region. Continuous drain would lead to rising water level in the rivers coupled with high tide....perfect recipe for flood.

(Hoping for it not to happen as we are located on the beachfront tonight)

In the afternoon we decided to transport our bike ahead of us by train to Phan Rang-Thap cham. The cost for training the bike was 520 000 vietnamese dong per bike and another 600 000 vietnamese donh for 2nd sleeper train on the Special Express train.

Prior to transporting your bike, fuel need to be emptied and crating of bike needs to be done.

We walked around town to spend the evening away....and yes in the rain!!!!

Vietnam North2South

Day 11

Da Nang - Phan Rang Tap Cham

Train journey

With our bikes crated yesterday, we just had to present ourselves at the train station by 9am to board the train.

Train arrived at the station 30 mins after time. Loaded our luggages up the train. We were housed in cabin 10, 2nd class sleeper berth.

This expected 13 hour train journey took longer than scheduled (17 hours in total) and we find ways to pass time in the cabin, mostly by sleeping.

Arrived at Tap Cham train station at 2am in the morning. Was told that uncrating can inly be done after 7am in the morning since cargo office was closed. Fortunately the person receiving the bike was willing to uncrate for us even in the wee hours of the morning at no additional cost. It cost us 50 000 vietnamese dong to uncrate the bike. With some slight adjustments the bikes were ready to roll. Was offered a room at the train station for 150 000 vietnamese dong but we rejected.

First up was to find petrol as there is minimal petrol un the tank and two petrol kiosk we passed by were closed. Luckily a roadside fruit seller had some petrol sol in bottles for us. Just filled enough for us to go hotel hunting till tomorrow morning.

Checked into a hotel for some rest before heading out to Dalat tomorrow morning.

Vietnam North2South

Day 12

Da Lat, Vietnam

My new favourite town.

Beautiful town in the new favourite.

This town has officially knock Pai (Thailand) off its perch as my favourite.

The road winding up was beautiful at the start with nice views by the hillside. Then 36km before Dalat i decided to take the more scenic route on route 20. It was definitely scenic till the clouds comes in a visibility was low. Then came the rain. And to make it worse the roads was under construction so had to do 30km of it in offroad/construction condition. Photos that was taken were deemed to be at the "ok" part of the route. No time to take photos at the challenging part. I will post up video taken on my Gopro when i have time to show the actual conditions.

Once I entered Da Lat oh my...starting to fall in love with the town. Beautiful french styled houses can be seen as we rolled into town. The lake in the middle of town creates a romantic atmosphere.

We are back on our planned scheduled. Yippee!!

Vietnam North2South

Day 13


Firstly thank god for the great weather today. Lets goooooo.......

Rose up early morning for the climb up to Lang Biang viewpoint. Road was generally alright except for the last 1 km. Terrible roads with lots of huge puddles. Really need to find ways and means to cross it without dirtying my pants and shirt.

The cost is 20 000 vietnamese dong for entry and another 50 000 dong for a 4 wheel drive to bring you up to the peak. Otherwise you can opt to hike up for 6km. Roads up was curvy and fun on the 4 wheel drive. At the peak the view was marvellous, a little reminder of Phou Khoun of Laos, with plenty of opportunities for "paid shots". Lang Biang eagles were a mainstay of the Lang Biang mountains and were on display at the peak.

From there, headed down to catch the waterfalls in Dalat. There are two beautiful waterfall that you can spend time, Thac Datanla and Thac Voi. Both waterfall are amazing during this time of the month. Fast flowing rapids carrying glistening white water creates a beautiful sight. Also available at the Datanla waterfall are some activities like abseiling, luge and some others fun activities. At the Thac Voi waterfall, visitors have to be wary of climbing down to the waterfall as it could be quite dangerous. This waterfall is more commonly visited by locals rather than tourists as compared to Datanla. Both waterfall charges a simple entry fee of 20 000 dong while the activities carries its own charges.

Headed out for some coffee while visiting the sunset viewpoint and then back into town. In town the main focus today was to visit the Crazy House. It has been recorded as one of the top 10 "crazy" buildings to have been built. This house is an actual house that the owner took time to built using wood and stones. Funny looking shapes but beautiful in its own way. Visitors can opt to stay in one of the rooms for a fee ranging from 40 usd upwards. Entrance fee for this place was 40 000 vietnamese dong.

Spent the evening in town for a meal and a walkabout. Enjoying the cool weather.

Vietnam North2South

Day 14

Dalat - Mui Ne - Saigon

Today was a dawn to dusk ride. It is going to be a solo ride today enroute to Saigon. Amin and Bob will be going straight into Saigon. So we will meet up for dinner in Saigon.

My plan was to make a detour to Mui Ne by going through QL28 which has pretty nice curves and view running across the central highlands of Vietnam. It was again a great experience going through the plantation roads and the ridges along the mountain. View was spectacular with clouds lining the side of the road.

The Unthinkable happened

During one of the corner, a bus was way out of its lane...then suddenly its rear sideswipe my bike although I had kept to the edge of the road. My bike was sent into the ditch by the side of the road. The bus did not stop and carried on its way (perhaps the driver did not know what happened). I woke up in the ditch and tried to lifted up the bike but was unable to do so. There was no vehicle or anyone for the next half an hour or so. So I waited patiently (really hoping someone would pass by and not have to stay till it get dark). Luckily an easyrider (Vietnamese chauffeur on motorcycle) came along and helped me lifted up the bike. There were some minor damages to the bike. The clutch hand lever was broken meaning I had to go clutchless (pull on the clutch cable to change gears) until i get it sorted out, the handlebar was bent and the clutch foot lever was bent (can only engage first 2 or 3 gears). Also had a side mirror broken.

From there I went on to find a workshop that can do some repairs on the bike. As the bike was being repaired, I had a good look at myself ... checking out if there were any wounds that needed attention....oh ya the nearest bike shop was about 80 km away. so iman=gine going at 20km/h for 80km. It really took away precious time.

Going down the mountain we passed the town of Phan Thiet and headed towards Mui Ne. In Mui Ne you will be able to find the white sand dunes as well as the red sand dunes. Towards the end of the beach there is a light house that you will be able to climb to get a view of the cape. If you have time to spare, do visit the beautiful beach for a swim or the sand canyon, Bon Lai, that promises beautiful natural sand canyons.

From here we headed straight to Saigon. Traffic in Saigon is a killer Saigon has the most number of motorcycle per square km as compared to any other city. It was a nice ending for the trip to be able to witness the sunset over Saigon river.

Vietnam North2South

Day 15

Ho CHi Minh City (Saigon)

Spent a day going around Ho Vhi Minh city, shopping around for clothes, bags and shoes...yes they are pretty much cheaper here as the major factories of the world are found in Vietnam eg. Nike, North fade etc. Managed to get a hair cut and wash and some homely Malaysian dishes along the streets of Ben Thian Market. We had a friend, Irman who was working on an assignment in Saigon to join us for the our time in Saigon and we had planned to leave together...all 4 of us on the same flight home.

On the last day, we had to finally call our trip to an end.Sad to say GOODBYE to the lovely Country of Vietnam and its friendly, humble and homely people. You will be missed....but never forgotten for all the hospitality.

A short review of the bike of the Legendary Honda Win

(Made in Vietnam)

Honda Win is no stranger to many travellers who travel through Vietnam on motorcycles. This is the true adventure bikes of Vietnam.

Running on a single cylinder and with 200km mileage, it is no wonder why Honda win is the choice. The ample mileage means that you need not worry about getting stranded in the mountain terrains or going about the remote areas without petrol. The single cylinder is also simple and easily repaired by most mechanic anywhere in Vietnam if there is any problem

Luv the bike through my ride in Vietnam.

Thank you to Nhat van Tran (James), Hanoi motorbike for the rental.

Vietnam North2South

Day 16

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Vietnam North2South

Day 17

Ho Chi Minh City - Singapore