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Multi flight tour in Asia. Doable or logistical nightmare?

Old 02-05-24, 07:34 AM
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Multi flight tour in Asia. Doable or logistical nightmare?

I have 6 weeks free in 2024 and I plan to tour parts of Asia.

I plan to fly into Seoul, ride for a week, then fly to Da Nang, ride for three weeks before ending up in Taiwan for the last two weeks.

I was planning to take my Brompton which would make the flying easy but Iím a bit concerned about the climbing in Vietnam.

If I take a proper touring bike, I would have to pack it up in Busan (shouldnít be a problem) and again in Da Nang.

My concern is using the local airlines in Busan to fly to Vietnam and then again from Da Nang to Taipei.

I havenít booked my flights yet but Iím looking mostly at VietAir.

How easy/hard is it going to be to get my bike boxed up and checked in on some of the smaller Asian airlines?
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Old 02-05-24, 10:34 AM
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I toured Asia on my Brompton last year although it was only two countries, Nepal and India although I flew to Nepal then to India and back to the UK and having a Brompton rather than a full size made it a lot easier. Yes climbing in Vietnam can be work and I toured there on a full size bike but I have no issue with getting off and pushing if it gets too hard, I did this to get up the Western Ghats in India, it is also a whole lot easier to flag down a bus or go on the train with a Brompton, it can be a good choice.

Edit to add I have also taken it to Indonesia and the US packing it in a purpose made bag with some packing around it, no problems with airlines just keep an eye on size limits to avoid extra charges.

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Old 02-05-24, 08:01 PM
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It's Asia. Almost everything is po$$ible. So long as you pay the surcharge, you should be fine with VietAir. Plus its a smaller package, being a folder.

My two cents; I'd stick to South Korea and Taiwan. The latter has serious climbing, though.

- Lived in Asia over two decades
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Old 02-05-24, 10:08 PM
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I was just in Danang. It's a large and highly developed city. It'll be fine. I flew the budget airline Vietjet Air from Taiwan to Vietnam and had no problems. If you use this airline make sure to pre-buy your luggage allowance as it costs more to buy at the airport. They consider bike boxes oversized so you'll have to buy that option specifically. Still worked out cheaper than regular airlines.

In Taipei I recommend this shop, one of the best shops I've ever visited anywhere in the world. It's a service only shop so they may not have boxes, but it won't hurt to ask.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/kE6hC187AQCApynk6

You can do Taiwan without climbing as long as you stick to the coast. The mountainous interior is highly recommended though.

Last edited by Yan; 02-05-24 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 02-06-24, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
It's Asia. Almost everything is po$$ible. So long as you pay the surcharge, you should be fine with VietAir. Plus its a smaller package, being a folder.

My two cents; I'd stick to South Korea and Taiwan. The latter has serious climbing, though.

- Lived in Asia over two decades
Yes, the more I read about cycling in Vietnam, the more Iím thinking I wonít like it.

Busy, loud, dirty. Thatís what I keep hearing.

Iím thinking hard about flying to Vientiane and riding to Da Nang. The reason I need to end up in Da Nang is because my wife wants to meet me there.

Also, I wasnít very clear about this but I was asking about travelling with a full sized bike. Iím not at all worried about the Brompton since it packs down to regular luggage size.

Last edited by hhk25; 02-06-24 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 02-06-24, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I was just in Danang. It's a large and highly developed city. It'll be fine. I flew the budget airline Vietjet Air from Taiwan to Vietnam and had no problems. If you use this airline make sure to pre-buy your luggage allowance as it costs more to buy at the airport. They consider bike boxes oversized so you'll have to buy that option specifically. Still worked out cheaper than regular airlines.

In Taipei I recommend this shop, one of the best shops I've ever visited anywhere in the world. It's a service only shop so they may not have boxes, but it won't hurt to ask.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/kE6hC187AQCApynk6

You can do Taiwan without climbing as long as you stick to the coast. The mountainous interior is highly recommended though.
Thats good to hear. What did you think of bike touring Vietnam. Any recommended 2 week routes? Say from Hanoi to Da Nang, that would avoid the busy coastal routes and not be tortuous climbing?
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Old 02-06-24, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
Yes, the more I read about cycling in Vietnam, the more Iím thinking I wonít like it.

Busy, loud, dirty. Thatís what I keep hearing.

Iím thinking hard about flying to Vientiane and riding to Da Nang. The reason I need to end up in Da Nang is because my wife wants to meet me there.

Also, I want very clear about this but I was asking about travelling with a full sized bike. Iím not at all worried about the Brompton since it packs down to regular luggage size.
Fly to Luang Prabang and ride to Hanoi. From Hanoi, fly or take the train to Danang. Better yet, fly to Chiang Mai and cycle to Hanoi via Luang Prabang.

I was in 'Nam last year. I find it quite fatiguing. And I live in Indonesia!

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Old 02-06-24, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Fly to Luang Prabang and ride to Hanoi. From Hanoi, fly or take the train to Danang. Better yet, fly to Chiang Mai and cycle to Hanoi via Luang Prabang.

I was in 'Nam last year. I find it quite fatiguing. And I live in Indonesia!

https://youtu.be/zeTahhaIKXE?feature=shared
Iím intrigued by the Chang Mai to Hanoi idea. What about Chang Mai to Da Nang?

That little girl trying to cross the street in the video!
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Old 02-06-24, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
Iím intrigued by the Chang Mai to Hanoi idea. What about Chang Mai to Da Nang?

...
Sure, why not.
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Old 02-06-24, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
Thats good to hear. What did you think of bike touring Vietnam. Any recommended 2 week routes? Say from Hanoi to Da Nang, that would avoid the busy coastal routes and not be tortuous climbing?
I've bike toured in every SE Asia country (including Myanmar) and Vietnam was the least enjoyable. Dangerous roads, terrible air pollution, scammiest people in SE Asia. Even worse than notorious tourist money pinata scamming Morocco and Egypt. Everyday someone is trying to con you.

Example: when you leave the hotel at 9am in the morning, the owner will tell you that the checkout deadline was 8am and since you stayed till 9am, you need to pay for a second day (I told him f*ckoff and walked out). In Hanoi when you try to buy a SIM card for your phone, they'll try to charge you 4x the actual price on the cell carrier's website. That's not at a street vendor, that's at the official store of the carrier. I went to three different official stores before I got the real price. I don't know how the F these phone store clerks stay employed, or if the management all the way up the corporate chain is in on it, because before I even walked in I already knew what was up from the hundreds of scam warning Google Map reviews, which is why I even checked the official price in the first place. So it's not like the scamming is hidden. It's just an accepted part of their culture. I'm in Cambodia now and it's totally fine here. I don't know what went wrong with Vietnamese culture, maybe the war messed them up, but it's just unpleasant to travel here. Nobody on vacation wants to deal with that crap everyday.

The scenery is ok, but the beaches in east coast peninsular Malaysia are far better so why not just go there instead. Or go to Langkawi. 100x better than trashy Da Nang full of Russians.

I did Hanoi to Da Nang following the coast and do not recommend it. We are cycling around the world so whatever, it was just part of the route we had to cover anyway. But if you came here specifically you're just wasting your time and money. Allegedly the mountain roads further inland are better. We didn't go that way so I can't comment.

If you're going to be in Korea, I suggest you take the ferry from Busan to Japan and do a loop there instead. We enjoyed Japan way more than Vietnam. Day and night not even a comparison. Far better in every way. As far as sightseeing, I looked at our photo folder and in Japan we averaged 100 photos a day. In Vietnam we averaged 30. That's all you need to know.

Taiwan was good too. The Japanese are very restrained so Taiwan is a good counterbalance. Vietnam was just trashy. Sorry if I offended any Vietnamese here. I've bike toured in probably 30 countries and that's my experience. If you've never left America before in your life, you will no doubt find Vietnam interesting. Once you've been to a few places, you'll start to realized that some places are better than others. Vietnam is right at the bottom. Whatever Vietnam has, Halong Bay, rice paddies, caves, beaches, temples, the surrounding countries have superior versions, and without the loud chaos trashiness. Hell, go to China. China is amazing for bike touring. I rode across China twice. Smoothest roads in the world, not the best driving but at least better than Vietnam.

Last edited by Yan; 02-06-24 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 02-06-24, 07:06 PM
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I've been riding motorcycles scooters in SEAsia, in (Indonesia and Timor-Leste) since 2001. At home in Indonesia it's my main mode of transportation. The only time I've gotten hit by another motorcyclist, another motor vehicle was in Vietnam, coming out of Catcat in the Sapa region. Some of those mountain folk in northern Laos and 'Nam give the impression that they have only recently become acquainted with modern civilization. Rules of road? 😂😂😂

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Old 02-06-24, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
I've been riding motorcycles scooters in SEAsia, in (Indonesia and Timor-Leste) since 2001. At home in Indonesia it's my main mode of transportation. The only time I've gotten hit by another motorcyclist, another motor vehicle was in Vietnam, coming out of Catcat in the Sapa region. Some of those mountain folk in northern Laos and 'Nam give the impression that they have only recently become acquainted with modern civilization. Rules of road? 😂😂😂
We are planning to do some island cycling in eastern Indonesia at the end of our SE Asia tour. Currently planning on at least seeing Komodo. But we could go a bit further east before stopping. Any suggestions? And do we have to go back to Bali in order to fly out?

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Old 02-06-24, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
It's Asia. Almost everything is po$$ible. So long as you pay the surcharge, you should be fine with VietAir. Plus its a smaller package, being a folder.

My two cents; I'd stick to South Korea and Taiwan. The latter has serious climbing, though.

- Lived in Asia over two decades
Vietnam is a great place to visit though.
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Old 02-06-24, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
We are planning to do some island cycling in eastern Indonesia at the end of our SE Asia tour. Currently planning on at least seeing Komodo. But we could go a bit further east before stopping. Any suggestions? And do we have to go back to Bali in order to fly out?
Everyone goes to Komodo, but the Ora, the dragons, are also on Rinca (pronounced Rincha. The Indonesian c sounds like ch as in chess.) island which gets far less tourists and visits. They were also on the eastern coast of Flores, but went extinct there.

Ride across Flores. The interior has serious climbs, though. I've been wanting to do the isolated northern coastal rute, but you gotta time it with the rainy/dry season. Dry and cooler July would be the month. Then hop over to Sumba, perhaps the most enigmatic and interesting of the Lesser Sunda island with old living traditions and sarcophagi everywhere. Also, due to its limestone geological foundation, it's got gorgeous beaches and they are empty.

Go to Adonara to see traditional whalers, jump to Timor island and ride across the border to Timor-Leste and visit its isolated Oecussi enclave. Rote and Sivu islands are accessible by ferry from Kupang. It's all very quiet, mellow and undeveloped except for dinner resorts on Sumba and Flores. You wanna get off the beaten path, this is it.

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Old 02-06-24, 11:27 PM
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if you're not committed to those particular locations, why not plan a route with no intermediate flights at all. cut out the need to - multiple times - spend days of your limited vacation locating boxes and disassembling and packing. fly to one location, leave the box, ride a convenient route to danang. you can easily find a bike shop there to pack up your bike for you while you're sightseeing with the wife.

as for vietnam, i rode hcmc to hanoi, flying in/out. much preferred the southern half.

you could fly into singapore (if you're a fast rider!), or kuala lumpur or bangkok or chiang mai or vientianne or (fill-in-the-blank) and design a route that takes in the scenic sights while avoiding the worst of the rough climbing.

you'll also have the option of sending your bike by bus or train to skip stretches you want to avoid. i believe it's possible to go by boat from phnom penh to hcmc.

i think china has made some recent changes to visa requirements. if you're from a nationality that has preferred customer status, fly to kunming and head south through laos then cross over to vietnam to danang just before you bump into cambodia, captain. also could fly into nanning, ride south thru guangxi province and cross into north vietnam just east of the detian waterfalls. both of these options would have some strenuous climbing, though...........

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Old 02-07-24, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I've bike toured in every SE Asia country (including Myanmar) and Vietnam was the least enjoyable. Dangerous roads, terrible air pollution, scammiest people in SE Asia. Even worse than notorious tourist money pinata scamming Morocco and Egypt. Everyday someone is trying to con you.

Example: when you leave the hotel at 9am in the morning, the owner will tell you that the checkout deadline was 8am and since you stayed till 9am, you need to pay for a second day (I told him f*ckoff and walked out). In Hanoi when you try to buy a SIM card for your phone, they'll try to charge you 4x the actual price on the cell carrier's website. That's not at a street vendor, that's at the official store of the carrier. I went to three different official stores before I got the real price. I don't know how the F these phone store clerks stay employed, or if the management all the way up the corporate chain is in on it, because before I even walked in I already knew what was up from the hundreds of scam warning Google Map reviews, which is why I even checked the official price in the first place. So it's not like the scamming is hidden. It's just an accepted part of their culture. I'm in Cambodia now and it's totally fine here. I don't know what went wrong with Vietnamese culture, maybe the war messed them up, but it's just unpleasant to travel here. Nobody on vacation wants to deal with that crap everyday.

The scenery is ok, but the beaches in east coast peninsular Malaysia are far better so why not just go there instead. Or go to Langkawi. 100x better than trashy Da Nang full of Russians.

I did Hanoi to Da Nang following the coast and do not recommend it. We are cycling around the world so whatever, it was just part of the route we had to cover anyway. But if you came here specifically you're just wasting your time and money. Allegedly the mountain roads further inland are better. We didn't go that way so I can't comment.

If you're going to be in Korea, I suggest you take the ferry from Busan to Japan and do a loop there instead. We enjoyed Japan way more than Vietnam. Day and night not even a comparison. Far better in every way. As far as sightseeing, I looked at our photo folder and in Japan we averaged 100 photos a day. In Vietnam we averaged 30. That's all you need to know.

Taiwan was good too. The Japanese are very restrained so Taiwan is a good counterbalance. Vietnam was just trashy. Sorry if I offended any Vietnamese here. I've bike toured in probably 30 countries and that's my experience. If you've never left America before in your life, you will no doubt find Vietnam interesting. Once you've been to a few places, you'll start to realized that some places are better than others. Vietnam is right at the bottom. Whatever Vietnam has, Halong Bay, rice paddies, caves, beaches, temples, the surrounding countries have superior versions, and without the loud chaos trashiness. Hell, go to China. China is amazing for bike touring. I rode across China twice. Smoothest roads in the world, not the best driving but at least better than Vietnam.
I appreciate the honesty. Sounds like I'll hate Vietnam. To be honest, what attracted me to it is the food, but I'm hearing that it's not so good in rural areas anyways.

I initially thought about riding from Seoul to Busan and then taking the ferry to Kyushu. Maybe I return to that. It would be so much easier than packing up my bike and flying to Vietnam. I've been to Japan twice but not Kyushu. I do have some concern about cost in Japan. I'm not on a student budget but food and accommodation for 2-3 weeks can add up. What's it like to camp in Japan? Can you safely wild camp?

I could do Seoul to Busan (10 days), Kyushu (14 days) then fly to Taipei, ride the interior (10 days) and then meet up with my tour group.
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Old 02-07-24, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
if you're not committed to those particular locations, why not plan a route with no intermediate flights at all. cut out the need to - multiple times - spend days of your limited vacation locating boxes and disassembling and packing. fly to one location, leave the box, ride a convenient route to danang. you can easily find a bike shop there to pack up your bike for you while you're sightseeing with the wife.


as for vietnam, i rode hcmc to hanoi, flying in/out. much preferred the southern half.


you could fly into singapore (if you're a fast rider!), or kuala lumpur or bangkok or chiang mai or vientianne or (fill-in-the-blank) and design a route that takes in the scenic sights while avoiding the worst of the rough climbing.


you'll also have the option of sending your bike by bus or train to skip stretches you want to avoid. i believe it's possible to go by boat from phnom penh to hcmc.


i think china has made some recent changes to visa requirements. if you're from a nationality that has preferred customer status, fly to kunming and head south through laos then cross over to vietnam to danang just before you bump into cambodia, captain. also could fly into nanning, ride south thru guangxi province and cross into north vietnam just east of the detian waterfalls. both of these options would have some strenuous climbing, though...........

Thanks for the ideas. I think I'm just going to start from scratch. I have to start from Korea and end up in Taiwan but for the 4 weeks in between, I'm wide open. Thinking of taking the easy way and ferrying to Kyushu and riding there before flying to Taiwan from Fukuoka. Or, Busan to Fukuoka to Jeju by ferry and then flying from Jeju to Taipei.
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Old 02-07-24, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
I do have some concern about cost in Japan. I'm not on a student budget but food and accommodation for 2-3 weeks can add up. What's it like to camp in Japan? Can you safely wild camp?
Iím planning on touring in Japan next year, so have been reading up on it. I avoid big cities as much as possible.
Please correct me if Iím wrong, but there are four factors that would seem to make it a perfect place to tour.

1. Traffic: Cars are very careful around bicyclists, drive slowly and overtake carefully.

2. Food: The buffets at convenience stores are good, nutritous, and many are tofu based which is good for veggies/vegans. Prices get reduced close to closing time in the evenings.

3. Wild camping: Basically allowed and safe anywhere outside of cities. Campsites abound, even free ones.

4. Onsens! Natural spas and bath houses.

Oh and people respect elderly people

So, like I said, you who have been there, please comment on this.
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Old 02-07-24, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
I appreciate the honesty. Sounds like I'll hate Vietnam. To be honest, what attracted me to it is the food, but I'm hearing that it's not so good in rural areas anyways.

I initially thought about riding from Seoul to Busan and then taking the ferry to Kyushu. Maybe I return to that. It would be so much easier than packing up my bike and flying to Vietnam. I've been to Japan twice but not Kyushu. I do have some concern about cost in Japan. I'm not on a student budget but food and accommodation for 2-3 weeks can add up. What's it like to camp in Japan? Can you safely wild camp?

I could do Seoul to Busan (10 days), Kyushu (14 days) then fly to Taipei, ride the interior (10 days) and then meet up with my tour group.
Japan has American styled automobile campgrounds everywhere which typically cost around $20 per night. If you want to save even more money, you can also camp pretty much anywhere you want, including at parks and picnic shelters. You're technically not supposed to do this, but the Japanese are the most introverted people in the world. These people avoid social contact at all costs. They mind their own business and they don't meddle. No Japanese in their right mind would EVER approach your bum tent or interact with your bum ass in any way. They don't talk to bums over there.

​​​​​In Japan there are public bath houses everywhere so you can wash every day even if you're wild camping. Just pop in any time, it only costs a couple of dollars.

Japan is hilly as hell though as you know. The Taiwanese cross island mountain roads are also some of the hardest climbing in the world.

Last edited by Yan; 02-07-24 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 02-07-24, 12:31 PM
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5 countries in 6 weeks, with Laos and Thailand mountains in 2 weeks?? On a folder?? LOL. Get serious.
Yah take the flodder, LOL. Full size boxing/ unboxing/ taxis/ buses will take all day.
There's only one serious climb from Hanoi and it's right close before Da Nang, that will fill the mountain itch. Taiwan has way worse interior climbs and roads without shoulders. Korea has a bunch of MUPs I guess.
Vietnam has flaws, but the roads are as good as any. Far more good hotels for $40. Viet Air is safe.
My bike box was about 58 x 37 x 9 and 55 lbs I think. I don't know who would allow that now. Had another one with tools 39 lbs. Still had to cheat with a carryon panier.
In 2014 I flew to Vancouver, Hong Kong and Saigon. Was supposed to be all on a 25 hour stretch, but going the flight got delayed by snow and pilots timing out. LOL So had a beautiful layover day in Vancouver, on a free hotel bike ride to Stanley Park. . Cathay Pacific/ Dragon Air is my first choice.
Here is my 2 boxes at Hong Kong, my bike is not normal at all.>>>

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Old 02-07-24, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53
5 countries in 6 weeks, with Laos and Thailand mountains in 2 weeks?? On a folder?? LOL. Get serious.
Yah take the flodder, LOL. Full size boxing/ unboxing/ taxis/ buses will take all day.
There's only one serious climb from Hanoi and it's right close before Da Nang, that will fill the mountain itch. Taiwan has way worse interior climbs and roads without shoulders. Korea has a bunch of MUPs I guess.
Vietnam has flaws, but the roads are as good as any. Far more good hotels for $40. Viet Air is safe.
My bike box was about 58 x 37 x 9 and 55 lbs I think. I don't know who would allow that now. Had another one with tools 39 lbs. Still had to cheat with a carryon panier.
In 2014 I flew to Vancouver, Hong Kong and Saigon. Was supposed to be all on a 25 hour stretch, but going the flight got delayed by snow and pilots timing out. LOL So had a beautiful layover day in Vancouver, on a free hotel bike ride to Stanley Park. . Cathay Pacific/ Dragon Air is my first choice.
Here is my 2 boxes at Hong Kong, my bike is not normal at all.>>>
The beauty of touring with a Brompton is, you can fold it and jump on a bus, train or taxi.

Also, flying with it is a breeze because you check it on as normal luggage. No searching for a box, breaking down your bike and paying extra charges.

I even carried it on when I travelled to London and fit the bike in the overhead.
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Old 02-07-24, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
Japan has American styled automobile campgrounds everywhere which typically cost around $20 per night. If you want to save even more money, you can also camp pretty much anywhere you want, including at parks and picnic shelters. You're technically not supposed to do this, but the Japanese are the most introverted people in the world. These people avoid social contact at all costs. They mind their own business and they don't meddle. No Japanese in their right mind would EVER approach your bum tent or interact with your bum ass in any way. They don't talk to bums over there.

​​​​​In Japan there are public bath houses everywhere so you can wash every day even if you're wild camping. Just pop in any time, it only costs a couple of dollars.

Japan is hilly as hell though as you know. The Taiwanese cross island mountain roads are also some of the hardest climbing in the world.
I hiked the Kumano Kodo and remember being impressed by quality of the roads with absolutely no cars on them.

I think you sold me with the onsens and public baths. Imagine being clean on a bike tour!
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Old 02-07-24, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
The beauty of touring with a Brompton is, you can fold it and jump on a bus, train or taxi.

Also, flying with it is a breeze because you check it on as normal luggage. No searching for a box, breaking down your bike and paying extra charges.
...
A Brompton is far from the only compact folder that can do this. And it gives with its host of disadvantages too.
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Old 02-07-24, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
A Brompton is far from the only compact folder that can do this. And it gives with its host of disadvantages too.
Well a Brompton is what I happen to own.
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Old 02-07-24, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hhk25
Well a Brompton is what I happen to own.
Yeah, it's just that many Brompton owners think it is the only bike capable of this. Many don't actually know the segment and the alternatives, of which there are several. Brompton can be a bit of a cult. We don't want to perpetuate this line of misleading thinking among those unfamiliar with folding bikes. Well, maybe you do, I don't.

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