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290 Responses to Contact

  1. Sabrena Mackenzie says:

    What a great resource. Thanks for sharing so much great info. I am headed to Vietnam for the first time in September. We are planning to do your harvest route on a motorbike. We also want to visit Ha long Bay, do you have any suggestions for that area I couldn’t find any on your site.

    thanks, Sabrena

    • Hi Sabrena,

      Yes, I haven’t written anything about Halong Bay on this site. This is partly because it’s difficult to get away from the crowds in Halong Bay. I would recommend exploring Cat Ba Island and Bai Tu Long Bay.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  2. Guy says:

    Hey Tom, as usual, I’m an avid reader of this blog.
    What I’d like to see is a map with regions, where I can click on and get articles for the selected one. If I’m in a place and don’t know what there is around and don’t even know what to search, this would make a wonderful, helpful addition.

    Chao

    • Hi Guy,

      Thanks for your suggestion. Yes, I totally agree, and I’ve been developing an app which will work just like that. However, it’s a long process – I’ve already been working on it for a year. I don’t know exactly when it will be finished, but I desperately want to do it so I’m putting the hours in.

      Thanks,

      Tom

  3. jack says:

    Hi Tom
    Thank you so much for your informative website its helped us loads.
    We had a month to ride from the south to the north, but we have stayed in places longer than we should of, so we was just wondering, can we get a train an put our bikes on the same train? We was thinking from Hue to Ninh Binh, or just Hue to as far north as the train goes?
    thanks very much jack and desi

    • Hi Jack,

      Yes, you can put your bikes on the train, but in the vast majority of cases, your bike will travel on a separate train to you and usually takes between 1-3 days to arrive at its destination. The two exceptions to this are the Saigon-Phan Thiet and the Hanoi-Lao Cai (Sapa) routes. I’ve also written in details about sending your bike on the train here.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      • jack says:

        thanks for the reply, ok ill check them.
        do you know any other way to get the bikes up but stay with us, as we are on a tight schedule now 🙁 and wouldn’t wanna loose some days waiting for the bikes to arrive?

        • Hi Jack,

          You might find that some of the bus companies allow motorbike carriage – it’s a good idea to ask about that at your hotel, they might have some more information about it.

          Tom

  4. Paulo Hess says:

    Hello Tom,

    We are students currently working 6 months in Hong Kong, and in August, at the end of our training, we want to go to Vietnam for around 10 days for a trip, probably on a motorbike.
    10 days is a very short period of time, and we have no idea wether we should visit south, north or go from south to north with one of the road you advise on your website. There are so many possibilities for only 10 days, and we were wondering if you could give us some recommendations on where to go and what to do for our trip on motorbike.
    Some people told us that for 10 days, we should definitely stay in the north.
    What do you think about this ?
    Thank you in advance for your answer, and bravo for this amazing website you created !

    • Hi Paulo,

      10 days isn’t enough time to ride the length of the country, so it’s best to concentrate on a particular area instead. I would suggest a road trip either in the north or central Vietnam. At that time of year the weather will be hot and humid with regular tropical downpours: this can sometimes cause landslides (especially in the north) which can block some of the more mountainous roads for hours or even days. So bear this in mind and try to be as flexible as possible with your itinerary.

      In the north, think about the Ha Giang Extreme North Loop, Borders & Back-Roads, and the two Sapa loops: Y Ty and Sin Ho. You could combine these or do them separately.

      Alternatively, the Golden Loop in central Vietnam is also very scenic and relatively easy to follow and ride compared to some of the northern loops. You can also extend the Golden Loop by continuing on the Ho Chi Minh Road from A Luoi to Khe Sanh and Phong Nha (see sections 4-5 of this guide), and then heading back down the coast on the Tomb Rider route.

      These are all great rides that you can consider for a 10 day road trip to Vietnam.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      • Paulo Hess says:

        Thank you so much, we think we will do as you advised us on the northern loop, looks really scenic with some nice mountain roads!
        We will buy our motorbikes in Hanoi for the trip, and then sell them back in the end.
        Do you know how much time it takes to buy and sell the bike ? Can it be done in 1 or 2 days? And do you have any adress to give us where we will find some cheap but reliable bikes ?
        Sorry for all these questions, hope it doesn’t take too much of your time.

        Best regards,

        Paulo

  5. Hoseung Joun says:

    Hi Tom,

    Will be in VN next week. When passing through between Nha Trang to Vung Tau on previous rides, I saw so many beautiful deserted beaches and wanted to spend time there. What are your thoughts about safety when spending time during the day at one of the deserted beaches along the Coast Road or Ocean Road or other areas further north? I would be alone with just my motorbike, a bit of shade, and some food/drinks bought locally. I think it should be fine but wanted your opinion/experience.

    • Hi Joun,

      Yes, you should be fine visiting those beaches on the Coast Road. Just try to leave your motorbike somewhere that you can always see it, or make sure you lock the wheel. When swimming don’t leave your valuables out of sight etc. But I’ve never had any problems with theft on the beaches – that mostly happens on touristy beaches, such as Nha Trang and Mui Ne.

      I hope you enjoy it,

      Tom

  6. Darran Martindale says:

    Hi Tom
    So me and a friend have finally got dates and tickets and all the skittles in line for a 3 week tour of Vietnam.
    We have settled on the Classic as a route as it seems to cover everything we want to see, with perhaps the exception of the Halong Bay area, but you cant have everything.
    Where can I get detail of the exact route you recommend please. The roads names and or numbers etc.

    Many thanks in advance Daz

    • Hi Darran,

      The route map is here. To follow it precisely when you are on the road you can upload the map to maps.me on your phone. To do this follow these steps: open this map, click the three vertical dots next to the map title, click the option ‘Export to KML’, then upload the KML file to the maps.me app. Then you can follow The Classic route map on your phone when you are offline on the road.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  7. Seb says:

    Hi, my name is Seb and I arrived in Vietnam about 5 days ago and have spent some time in Hanoi, Ha long and the a bit of time in Cat Ba. The weather at the moment is pretty bad, raining a lot and not really sunny. I am think about heading south for some sunshine. Where would you recommend going from Ha Long, I have my own motorbike so anywhere is a possibility. I was talking to a friend and they recommended this page and I can see why, it’s amazing! Keep up the good work. Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Seb,

      Sorry to hear that the weather isn’t good at the moment.

      If you’re planning to head south then I would ride due south-west to connect up with the Ho Chi Minh Road somewhere around Cam Thuy, Ngoc Lac or Lam Son, and then follow it down to Phong Nha. You can read more about the Ho Chi Minh Road in this guide (although you’ll have to follow it backwards because it’s written from south to north). Unfortunately, the ride from Cat Ba via Hai Phong and Ninh Binh to get to the Ho Chi Minh Road isn’t that great, but it should only take a day.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  8. Kyubo Kim says:

    Hi.
    My name is Kyubo Kim.
    I reserved your resort through http://www.agoda.com few days ago.
    We scheduled to stay for 2 days from May 25 th to 27 th .
    But due to the change of my flight schedule, I’d like to change the date.
    So I am wondering whether I can change just one day behind schedule from May 26 th to 28 th.

    Actually I checked through http://www.agoda.com, and I understood the fact that I have to charge a fee for change.
    According to this Web site, We have to charge a fee about 140 dollars more.
    I cannot accept excessive fee that more than the original bill.
    Could I get a good way to stay your resort without excessive fee ?

    I look forward to your reply.

    • Hi Kyubo,

      I’m sorry to hear about that.

      I do not have a resort – I write independent reviews of resorts, but I have nothing to do with the management or ownership of any accommodations in Vietnam.

      I do not personally oversee reservations that are made through my webiste – it’s all through Agoda. I suggest that you contact the accommodation directly and explain your situation to them. Maybe they can work it out for you. Sometimes with bookings on Agoda there’s a free cancellation policy, but sometimes there’s a charge for cancellation.

      Good luck,

      Tom

  9. Alice says:

    Tom, thank you thank you thank you for all the knowledge and experience you impart! We are halfway through our HCMC to Hanoi journey in Hoi An for few days and looking ahead to the north.

    I’m thinking of putting our bikes onto the train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, motorbike journeying to Dong Dang and returning to Hanoi by train. These were the two most northern destinations I found on tre Vietnam Train website.

    I have combed through your trip descriptions of the various Northern loops and am wondering what are the highlights we should definitely hit in 7+ days.

    from the road,
    Alice

    • Hi Alice,

      The Ha Giang Loop, Ba Be Lake and Ban Gioc Waterfall are the highlights on that northern loop, unless you also want to add the Sapa-Sin Ho Loop, which is west of Sapa.

      Bear in mind, however, that riding is quite slow in those northern mountains – partly because of winding roads, but partly because of unpredictable road conditions: 7 days is a relatively short time to do it in; but also very doable.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  10. Shazzy UK says:

    Thanks for such a great site! A wonderful find.

    Now, I am trying to plan a trip to Vietnam with my partner where the bulk of our time would be spent at Phu Quoc. My plan was to fly LHR to HCMC – stay there for 2 nights and then fly from there to Phu Quoc. We would spend 10 nights there but wanted to include a trip to Siem Reep. I am unsure as to most cost effective way of doing this i.e. do I book a return flight from LHR to Phu Quoc that includes flights or do I do a round trip flight with hotel to HCHC and book hotel accommodation separately?

    With doing a trip to Siem Reep from Phu Quoc – we thought the easiest way would be to fly there. Could this be done with 1 night’s accommodation?

    I guess trying to figure out what is the best route to do this….should we fly straight to Phu Quoc and then do the tours to HCHC and then from Phu Quoc do a tour to Siem Reep?

    Thanks so much for your advice!

    • Hi Shazzy,

      I don’t know if you can flight directly between Phu Quoc and Siem Reap yet, but it’s quite possible you can, so check that out. If not, you can flight easily between Saigon and Siem Reap and Saigon and Phu Quoc. There are regular flights and a few airlines doing it so prices are fairly low.

      I would book your flights separately, and then book your hotels.

      As for which way round to do it: I think it depends if you want to relax by the beach at the beginning or the end of your trip.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  11. Hoseung Joun says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’m an Asian-American from New York and I’ve done several motorbike trips (Saigon to Nha Trang, Dalata, Bao Loc, and points in between) with my VN girlfriend before I stumbled onto your site a few years ago! And you described them well – exactly as I had experienced them. During those rides I dreamed of camping and stopping for extended stays at remote beaches and mountain lakes that we passed but I never had enough time to do so. I finally have the opportunity now and plan to move to VN for 5-6 months (maybe longer!) this Spring to explore business opportunities, property, and of course, take long bike trips!

    Besides the train, are there any bus companies that can ship my bike to Danang or even to Hanoi? Or back to Saigon? I’d rather do a one-way trip combined with a flight. I’ve shipped the bike from Nha Trang back to Saigon a couple of times already in the past but not sure if other cities are possible (girlfriend made it seem there were no other cities a few years ago).

    Oh, and the reason I ask is that I’m on my own now. Please keep up the great work. I share exactly the same fondness for Vietnam that you do. Despite having traveled to many places around the world, my favorite is always Vietnam.

    Hoseung

    • Hi Hoseung,

      I think there are some bus companies that allow you to ship your bike on certain routes. But the train is pretty easy and convenient and you can ship the bike between most major cities along the main line between Saigon and Hanoi. I’ve written a guide about sending your bike by train here.

      However, there’s no need to ship your bike back to your departure point because lots of motorbike rental companies now offer one-way rental: you pick the bike up somewhere and return it somewhere else. Check the recommended rental companies at the bottom of all my pages for more details.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  12. Anna Janssen says:

    Hey Tom,

    First of all, your blog is absolutely amazing. Thank you, thank you!
    I am going to endeavour to use Agoda where possible for accommodation so I can throw your name in 🙂

    My BF and I are riding from South to North in May and we’ve got 4 weeks. Below is the places that I’d ideally love to stop at, and I’m just wondering if there would be any logistical issues or timing issues. I understand it may be a bit of a stretch to include all of Sapa and Ban Gioc Falls and Halong/Cat Ba, and I’m also not sure where would would start / end from there. Anyway, heres a list of where we’d like to stop.

    6th of May: Arrive in HCM
    Mui Ne
    Ghenh Da Dia
    Quy Nhonh
    Hoi An
    Phong Nha
    Nihn Binh
    Cat Ba or Halong Bay cruise
    Hanoi
    Sapa (arriving here either around the 22nd of May or 28th of May)
    Ban Gioc
    Hanoi
    3rd June Fly from Hanoi to HCM to fly back to Aus

    If we were to place our bike on a train for an aspect of it to save some time, which would be the recommended part to do this for (I guess in regards to landscape that we wouldn’t be missing out on!)

    Any info is greatly appreciated!

    Anna

    • Anna Janssen says:

      Oops. Instead of Cat Ba I meant Bai Tu Long. Think I’d prefer that instead of Halong Bay as it seems quieter .

    • Hi Anna,

      May is a pretty good time of year to travel south to north – the weather should be fairly similar across the country: hot, humid and sunny with regular tropical downpours.

      Yes, it probably will be a stretch to fit all that into 4 weeks. I think you should take it as it comes and make decisions about the north (Sapa, Ban Gioc, Halong) as you get closer to Hanoi. For example, by the time you get to Phong Nha you will have a much better idea about how far you can/want to travel in a day on your motorbike, and, based on that, whether you want/have time to go to the far north. Because you will be on motorbikes, this gives you the flexibility and freedom to change your plans as you go.

      Between Saigon and Hanoi it looks like you will be following the Beach Bum route. This is 2,050km long which means if you keep an average daily distance of between 100-150km you will be able to comfortably complete it in 15-20 days, depending on how many places you stop at for more than one night. This would leave you about 10 days to travel the northern destinations.

      I think you need to cut out at least one of your northern destinations. Ban Gioc Waterfall is very beautiful, but it is a long way to go just for one sight. Sapa town is very touristy, but there are some great motorbike loops starting and ending from the town – see this and this. Also, you can put your bikes on the train from Hanoi to Sapa and Sapa to Hanoi (your bike travels on the same train as you do, so it’s very convenient). The problem with Halong Bay in general (whichever part you choose to visit), it that the ride there is not very nice. It’s probably a better idea to take a tour from Hanoi for a couple of nights to Halong Bay instead of riding there yourself.

      Thanks for trying to book your accommodation through the Agoda links on my site, I really appreciate it.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  13. Mario Preston says:

    Only have one thing to say about your website: “AWESOME”.
    Actually one more thing: thanks for all this load of informations which help me so much in organizing my trips.

  14. Daaw says:

    Hey ! Love your website, it’s very helpful ! Do you have any recommendations for camping in North Vietnam? I’m planning on doing the Ha Giang 3 day motorcycle loop (Ha Giang / yen minh / dong van or meo vac/ Ha Giang)
    I have all my all camping gear ! Trying to achieve some seclusion.

    • Hi Daaw,

      I was just in that region and although I didn’t see any dedicated camping grounds, there were plenty of places that would have been suitable for camping. Especially on the smaller roads. But there’s not much tree cover and it’s quite densely farmed. Try the pine forests at the top of the pass before descending into Yen Minh, or between Meo Vac and Khau Vai, or between Mau Due and Du Gia (see my Ha Giang Map). But make sure you are discreet because those areas are border territory are authorities can be particularly sensitive about foreigners being near the borders. Remember that it will be quite cold at nights at this time of year.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  15. Israel Aharon says:

    Hello Tom,
    In one word your site is wonderful. In three words it is extremely wonderful and helpful Thank you so much for taking the time to write this wealth of information written so well and in so much detail. Incredible!!!
    We know what it takes to write on the go as we travel the world with our Landcruiser for the last 4 years. Unfortunately, our car has a right hand wheel which is not allowed in Vietnam but fortunately this gives us a new opportunity – to travel on a motor bike
    ABOUT US: Couple with 130 years of combined life experience (hahaha). I 85 kg and 184 cm and my wife 65kg and 168cm. Zero riding experience not even as a back rider. I am left leg amputee above the knee. My wife is rushing now to get her licence up to 125cc.
    PLAN: Arriving at Ho Chi Minh at 20/12/2017. Travel for 7 weeks and return the motorbike at Hanoi.
    QUESTIONS:
    1.Which automatic or semi-automatic bike would you recommend? What company in Ho Chi Minh would you recommend so we can return the bike in Hanoi.
    2. Bothers me how could be the sitting in the back with my prosthesis? Do you have any experience on this issue? Should I tie the prosthesis shoe to the leg support so it will not slip?
    3. Considering our lack of experience any comment about riding the first time in Vietnam?
    4.Given the time frame and the riding capabilities (which i guess will improve over time) which route would you recommend among the 5 mentioned (we are more interested in scenery,local culture and cities highlights and less in beaches)
    Best Regards,
    Tamar and Israel
    *I posted the same questions about an hour ago but the entire post disappeared so I wrote i again. If for some reason it will appear twice my apologies.

    • Hi Israel,

      With 7 weeks on the road you should have plenty of time to get used to riding a motorbike in Vietnam. However, you should be extremely careful on the roads, especially in big cities. Unfortunately, by far the busiest part of any north-south route is leaving Hanoi. But after the first day, the traffic will be much lighter and you should start to feel more and more confident and comfortable on the roads.

      It terms of weight, the bike should be able to handle it fine, as long as it’s in good condition. Automatics are easier to ride for a first timer because there are no gears and no foot brake. But if you are used to driving a manual car then perhaps you will feel more at home with a manual motorbike. Take a look at the recommended and trusted bike rental companies listed in the right sidebar and bottom of this page (and every page of my website). Try contacting any of them – Flamingo, Dragon Bikes, Tigit, Rent a Bike and looking at the kind of bikes they have. You can mention Vietnam Coracle if you like, they know me.

      Age shouldn’t be a problem either – my parents are in their 70s and they come on road trips with me every year. But again, don’t underestimate the danger of Vietnam’s roads – take it very slowly and carefully. You might feel quite vulnerable for the first couple of days, but providing you stay safe, you will start feeling much better after that.

      Riding pillion with a prosthetic leg could be an issue, but I’m sure you are used to making adjustments for specific situations. You might be interested to watch a recent BBC program about a group of physically challenged people riding and driving across Vietnam – you can watch it here.

      I think if you are not interested in beaches and you are first time riders you should consider the Uncle Ho’s Road route, and maybe combine it with the Classic and the Easy Rider routes once you are south of Hue for some variety. This is because these routes are relatively easy to follow and spend most of the time on the Ho Chi Minh Road which is generally less busy.

      Remember that December/January can be quite cold and bleak in many areas from Hue to Hanoi. South of Nha Trang the weather should be good at that time of year.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      • Israel Aharon says:

        Hi Tom,
        Thank you so much for your prompt and detailed response. We also donated
        with great pleasure to support your project which helps so much to plan a trip in Vietnam.
        Regards,
        Israel and Tamar

  16. Clair s says:

    Hi Tom, your website makes for fabulous reading, helpful insights and practical information.
    Our family of four are getting very excited about a 5 week trip late Dec and all of january. We come from western australia – so we know good beaches and while we will explore a few in Vietnam we are keen to experience scenery we don’t get to see a lot of. We’ve got Cat Tien, Da lat, and Phong Nha-ke bang on the list but is it still worth making time for the north – Sapa etc., perhaps even Ha Giang in mid january given the weather? Don’t mind the cold more concerned about visibility etc.,
    Also – do you know if many/any families use the motor cycle services (easy riders etc.) with children – would so love to experience a day trip in this way.

    • Hi Clair,

      It’s difficult to say with any certainty – the north is very scenic indeed, but visibility year round (not just the winter) is a problem, especially in places like Sapa. But yes, December/January would definitely be a bit cold.

      I would recommend Ha Giang over Sapa anyway. In particular, riding or driving the Extreme North Loop. I suggest you contact QT Motorbikes and ask them for more information about weather at that time of year and the possibility of riding pillion as a family – they are an excellent company and should be able to assist you.

      In Dalat, the Easy Riders specialize in taking passengers on the backs of motorbikes all around the country. I’m sure it’s possible as a family too. But you’d need to Google around a bit to find out which ‘Easy Rider’ company to go with, as there are now quite a few competing ones. Another possibility might be contacting Tigit Motorbikes because I think they’ve started to do pillion tours too.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  17. Tim (Sydney) says:

    Hey Tom, a really well put together website. Thanks for the great effort. I’ll be in HCMC for a month, 15 Nov-14 Dec. Partly to dance Argentine Tango, (there is a small tango event there on the 24th-27th or thereabouts.) and the rest is just to get to know a little of the culture.
    I’m really going to enjoy your food recommendations, and get into a bit of yoga and taichi, if I find a good teacher. After that I’ve got a couple of weeks to travel.
    Motorbike sounds good, (The Classic) but what could you recommend re, second hand or rentals. I read some of some shonky goings-on with the rentals.
    And I’d be happy to buy you a beer while I’m there!
    cheers Tim

    • Hi Tim,

      Sounds like an interesting time in HCMC in prospect!

      For bike rental I recommend using one of the trusted companies listed in the right sidebar and bottom of this page (and every page) of my website. Flamingo, Dragon Bikes, Tigit, Rent a Bike are all good, reliable companies. You can mention Vietnam Coracle if you like, they know me. It’s much better renting from these companies than randomly buying or renting from someone in the backpacker area of Saigon, because you never know what the quality of the bike will be.

      I’d love to have a beer, but as I move around a lot, I’m never sure where I’ll be from one week to the next.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  18. Simone says:

    Amazing website! Very inspirational, I am putting together a solotrip on motorbike and everything here is very helpfull and makes me want to go NOW!!!

  19. Jill says:

    Hi Tom, your site is amazing, and much appreciated! I have booked my hotels via your Agoda link. We plan to spend Jan 9-12,2018 on Phu Quoc, and are trying to decide on Dong Duong vs. Ganh Dau (Peppercorn Beach Resort) vs Ong Lang. We are a family of mom, dad and 2 college age sons, and looking for a mix of exploring town/food and relaxing the beach (prefer quieter less crowded beaches….). What would you recommend–is the Peppercorn too isolated? Is Dong Duong too busy?

    Thanks!

    Jill

    • Hi Jill,

      Thank you for booking through my site, I really appreciate it.

      I think Ong Lang might suit you best. This is because Peppercorn is probably just a bit too isolated, and Dong Duong (Long Beach) is probably a bit too busy. But at Ong Lang, which is in the middle of Peppercorn and Dong Duong, the beach is quiet but you are only a 10 minute taxi ride away from Dong Duong town, and a 15-20 ride away from Ganh Dau. Also, Ong Lang has a small community of resorts and restaurants so you’re not too isolated.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  20. liz says:

    I have a Vietnamese motorbike license and would like to rent a bike while I am in Dalat. Can you recommend a company in Dalat that does daily rentals? Thanks for a great blog! Liz

    • Hi Liz,

      I can’t recommend a specific bike rental company in Dalat but it shouldn’t be hard to find a bike to rent there – you could start by inquiring at your accommodation in Dalat or perhaps try contacting Phat Tire Ventures.

      If you do find a specific rental company, please let me know.

      Tom

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