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Vietnam

Old 09-07-06, 01:45 PM
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Cyclesafe
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Vietnam

Can anyone who has actually toured in Vietnam recommend / endorse the touring organization they used?
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Old 09-07-06, 01:59 PM
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GORP - Vietnam Challenge - Vets Challenge Highway One - by Bike


also another site Cantho Vietnam.com


Mighty Mekong Cycling - 04 days 03 nights - Cantho Tour, Vietnam ...
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Old 09-07-06, 02:18 PM
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My tour in Nam was organized by the US government. While I did come back alive, many of my friends did not, so I guess I would say I do not recommend.
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Old 09-09-06, 01:07 PM
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I went on a tour with www.veloasia.com before there was an internet and it was a fantastic trip all way around. If you check on crazyguyonabike there is a journal from this year on a trip with veloasia in Vietnam.

Since then I have done a few trips in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia on my own and find I can travel around for about 1/10th of the cost of an organized tour, without any skimping on luxury going on.

Good luck
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Old 09-11-06, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by eastbaybob
I have done a few trips in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia on my own and find I can travel around for about 1/10th of the cost of an organized tour, without any skimping on luxury going on
Sounds like fun -- I'd love to tour in Asia. What do you use for travel guides? The only one I know if is ye olde Lonely Planet guide to Vietnam cycling....
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Old 09-11-06, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by WorldWind
My tour in Nam was organized by the US government. While I did come back alive, many of my friends did not, so I guess I would say I do not recommend.
It's very sad but those who fought and lost their lives can not visit this incredible country because of the internal pain that will last forever. But this country found itself after years of conflict without our help. Unfortunately, it took hundreds of thousands of lives to get to that point.
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Old 09-11-06, 05:42 PM
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Bacciagalupe,

I Haven't used a guide book yet. I just sit there looking at a map for weeks on end and slowly work out a route. The guide books that I like, the Michelin Guide, and the Blue Guide are just for the places of interest. For lodging I've just asked around and for food I just stop when I'm hungry. South East Asia is really easy in this regard, and as most of my rides have been in Thailand things have been even easier. On my next trip, November 5! I will carry along a Hennessey Hammock for the first time which I should allow me to not worry at all if that town 46km away has a hotel or not. If you want to take a look at my past trips they are at www.eastbaybob.crazyguyonabike.com Good luck.
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Old 09-11-06, 05:54 PM
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I haven't toured in Vietnam, but I toured on my own in Thailand and with a friend in Malaysia. Couldn't have been easier. Just get yourself a good guidebook (Lonely Planet was good in both countries). SE Asia offers incredible value for your money--better value than anywhere else I've been in the world. For $4-$10/night in northern Thailand, I got a nice clean room with a private bathroom with a hot shower. Great street food cost about $1 per meal or less. Friendly people, nice scenery, interesting sights, good roads.
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Old 09-14-06, 02:35 PM
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I toured Vietnam solo this spring, from Hue to Ho Chi Minh city. I don't think going with an organization is necessary; none of the other cyclists I met did either (in a month, I saw 5-10). I had the Lonely Planet cycling Vietnam book with me; it was a useful starting point.

Highway 1 on Vietnam's east coast is mostly flat. Lots of tour bus traffic though, so it's not peaceful. Shoulders and road conditions are good, it's the country's main highway after all. Lots of markers along the way. Highway 93? (the one going NW from Dalat) is decent. Much less traffic, hillier, pavement not as good. Have a vague idea of what route you're doing?

Food is widely available and dirt cheap, if you go to the right places. Obviously, anywhere with an English menu or prices in USD is gouging you. Markets are the most interesting, diverse, and authentic places to eat. $1 USD = 16000 VND, and from what I recall, a whole pineapple (cut and ready to eat) is 4000 vnd, two bagette sub sandwiches (with not much on them) are 4000, a bowl of noodles in a market is 2000-3000, pho (the noodles with meat) is 4000-5000. My favourite was com chay (rice with vegetarian stuff) at a dedicated vegetarian restaurant...super cheap (3000) and good. Food is tricky when it comes to haggling. Definitely haggle for cart-vendor things like sandwiches and pineapples, or in a market. In a restaurant, there are usually set prices, although sometimes they won't tell you and try gouging you.

Accomodation is $3-5 for single bed, sometimes with a personal washroom and TV. You need to haggle pretty hard. Guesthouses are cheapest. Shop around, cause where's there one guesthouse, there's usually a dozen. Mosquito nets and/or fans are usually included...and you'll want them, so check your room first. Oh, don't bother bringing a tent. I never saw a spot where I'd be willing to stealth camp. And if you don't speak the language, it's kinda hard to explain what you're doing if someone sees you.

Transportation is probably the most stressful part when bike touring. There is a good chance your bike will be mauled on a bus or train. The handlers really don't care, and you are completely at their mercy. Pack up your bike as best you can and pray for the best. Trains and buses are really a part of the SE asia experience though. If you're over 5'10", rides could be pretty uncomfortable.
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Old 09-14-06, 06:25 PM
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Speaking just for me, I've traveled to Thailand before, so I generally know the score about hotels and guest houses, transportation, food, haggling etc. I'm thinking the typical backpacker / travel guides are good for finding stuff but don't tell you the best routes to get from A to B.

So how do youse guys deal with the heat and humidity? And what's a good daily mileage in those environments?
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Old 09-14-06, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
So how do youse guys deal with the heat and humidity? And what's a good daily mileage in those environments?
If you go from December-February, the northern half of SE Asia has near-perfect cycling weather. I'm talking about northern Thailand, Laos, and northern Vietnam. In northern Thailand in January, it's the dry season and daytime temperatures reached about 81F-27C, nighttime around 54F-12C. Lots of locals were wearing down jackets on their motorbikes early in the morning! Bangkok felt very hot and sticky by comparison to Chiang Mai. Malaysia was hot and sticky since it's nearly equatorial. We got up at dawn and got on the road as quickly as possible. There was usually just 1 hour of comfortable temperatures before the heat became oppressive. We tried to do most of our riding in the morning.
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Old 09-14-06, 07:19 PM
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Cycle Angkor Wat and we can help plan your Vietnam trip!

Check out the above post for details, visit http://villagefocus.org/angkor_marathon/index.htm or email me at bike.angkor@gmail.com

Cheers!
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Old 09-16-06, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
So how do youse guys deal with the heat and humidity? And what's a good daily mileage in those environments?
For me acceptance is the key. I just accept the fact that it is going to be hot a humid and there is nothing I can do about it, so just ride. And while you're out there riding take lots of breaks at the little stores and drink lots of fluids.

The humidity thing is everywhere but the only place I found it to be overly oppresive is in Central Thailand when riding right along the major rivers, the Ping and Chao Phyara. Even with early starts the shorts would be completely sweated out in a hour, and riding around in soggy shorts really sucks.

As far as mileage my distances have been based on hotels, so I've done from 50-178 km. I think finishing up around lunch time is they way to go, then eat, look around and relax for the rest of the day.
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