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174 Responses to CONTACT

  1. Aaron says:

    Hi Tom, glad i stumbled across your site!

    Right back to basis. Me and a friend or two are looking at dong a motorbiking tour likely mid 2018. Apologies if you have addressed this elsewhere else, but what is required in the way of a motorbike license? I hear you don’t NEED one, but if we’re involved in an accident there could be trouble. Plus no insurance. Can you expand on this or confirm? We definitely want a license for insurance purposes but unsure how to get this from New Zealand? Thanks heaps.

  2. Mahtab Chhapkhanawala says:

    Hi, So we coming for a wedding to Vietnam in Hoi An to a beach resort Sunrise Premium on the 23rd of Feb 2018. Few of us want to branch out after that and do a biking tour. Can you suggest what would be a good option to go from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh. We love the mountains ,quite small villages and towns and the beaches and have approx 6 days to spare.
    Since we first landing at Hanoi and taking the Halong bay cruise before the wedding thats why we wanted to go towards Ho chi Minh.
    Also if few do not ride is hiring cars an option. Do you have a link to your on your page so that we could give you that business.
    Also Qudos on writing this Blog, its great and so informative.

  3. Brian says:

    Hi Tom,

    I just wanted to start by thanking you for this unbelievably fantastic resource. I just had a couple of questions – a friend and I will be spending November and December motorbiking Vietnam and would like to start by flying into Hanoi, doing the Ha Giang Extreme loop, then onto the Northeast Pastoral loop, before heading back to Hanoi and then down south along your “The Big One” route. We decided given the weather it makes more sense to go from North to South. We are also likely to use your advice and go with tiggit motorcycles so we can ensure the bikes we used have been maintained. My first question is:

    1) how should we get from Hanoi to Ha Giang? Should we use the bikes we get from tiggit and ride up, or just rent bikes for Ha Giand and Northeast loops and then pickup the tiggit bikes when we get back to Hanoi to head south?

    2) Your “the big one” route is written assuming th eraser is traveling south to north, I assume it would be easy enough to do the same ride from north to south?

    Thanks in advance and if you have any other suggestions we’d greatly appreciate it!

  4. Dawn says:

    Your site and writing are superb and inspiring! Just as I have a question you seem to answer it or provide new ideas. It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been to Vietnam and I plan to visit in August (hot and wet I know). I will be spending a good portion of the time in and around Hanoi and the north (per your suggestions). I was hoping to have a few solid days of beach R&R. Phu Quoc is unlikely but I thought I’d monitor the weather just in case it provides a few clear days. What would be your top beach recommendations for end of August? Binh dinh is what I gathered from your site—is it accessible from Hoi An? I’m in love with Mango Bay on Phu Quoc and am hoping to find something similar (fingers crossed more affordable;).

    If you can spare a moment to add or confirm, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with the world!


  5. willem says:

    Hi ,

    Great and helpful site for my up coming trip to Vietnam .
    What month did you ride the Ha Giang Extreme North Motorbike Loop , weather looks good clear sky,s , but yellow rice terraces , i would like to visit them when the terraces are green .

    Thx , Willem

  6. andrew says:

    Hey mate. I’ve previously traveled around SE on my own bike using a carnet, however never made it into Vietnam.

    Either way, I’ve managed to get some time off so with almost zero planning I’m flying into HCMC very early this Saturday, and back out on Sunday, 8 days later. My plan is to rent a dirt bike for the entire time.

    From what i can see my options are either fly directly up to Hanoi and do a loop north of there, perhaps along your northeast or extreme north trails, or do some sort of loop that starts and finishes in HCMC.

    What would you do? To give you an idea of what I am after, I’m pretty keen to get off the beaten track, without the hassle of getting covered in mud each day.

    Thanks Legend.

  7. Andy says:

    Amazing website! So helpful and inspiring. I’m just starting to put together a decent little plan and thought I would ask your advice. I will be coming in mid June and would like to start in either Hanoi or HCM and do your suggested Classic route. I’d also like to add in Sapa/Northern area for about 5-6 days. I’m thinking 3 weeks for the classic and add the Sapa route. Would you recommend this? Does it really matter which city I start or finish in? I’m thinking I’d like to end in Hanoi so that Sapa is my last big thing before I leave. What do you suggest as far as getting the bike back to Hanoi? Putting it on a train or riding back? I’ve read conflicting things about the route and as I will be doing Hanoi to Sapa by motorbike – I don’t know if time or interest would allow me to return the same way. Any tips on the route or getting the motorbike back from the Sapa area? Thanks!

  8. Julius says:

    Amazingly helpful blog. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Quick question regarding the Golden Loop. If you can extend that trip to a total of 6 days what would you recommend?
    – stay put in some places of the golden loop for an extra night (if so which)
    – add stops in between / ride smaller distances (if so which)
    – extend by 2-3 stops south or north (if so which)

    I suppose the last option might give you the most experience, really curious what you would recommend.

    Thanks a ton,

  9. Torsten says:

    Hi Tom,

    we just came back from a 2,5 weeks trip through Vietnam and I want to say thank you very much for the helpful information at your blog here! Especially the hotels you recommended for Hanoi and HCMC were first choice as well as the beach resort in Ho Tram. Please continue the blog, your experiences are highly appreciated!

    Thanks and best regards from Berlin,

  10. Oliver says:

    Me and My friend are really looking forward on doing the beach bum ride, but when we got to Vietnam we noticed that we could only visit for 15 days. Do you have any idea if there is a way to get a visa when you are already in Vietnam for one month? Or if the only way is to take the “voa” (visa on arrival)?

    Thank you for all the guides! They are really appreciated!

    Regards Oliver

  11. Danielle says:

    I’m looking for a reliable taxi driver to take us from Can Tho airport to Ben Tre Mango Riverside Hotel. Can you recommend someone?
    Thanks :)
    Greetings Danielle

  12. Tuan Dao says:

    Dear admin,
    I have a hostel in Ha Giang city, my hostel is Kiki’s House
    You can find my hostel information on Tripadvisor, Booking, Agoda…
    I have read your article at link and i would like to ask you to get your agreement about your post. Could i print this article then give my guests your information by hard coppy. They will bring it to the loop to read and refer some information
    I’m look forward to your message
    Thanks and Best regards,

  13. Silver says:

    Hey Tom,
    Can you recommend a good informative site for motorbiking in Laos?

  14. Yonatan says:

    Hey Tom :)
    Great site and so helpful , thank you and keep doing your thing !

    Quick question:
    We’re at kon Tum (came on the hcm road) and want to reach hoi an. We’re trying to decide if to stay on the hcm road or take the QL24. Also we drive slow and would like to stay somewhere on the way (so 2 days to hoi an ) cheers !

  15. Lynn says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for replying to my earlier comment on the Ho Chi Minh road page.

    Just another question…i noticed that the route from Qui Nhon to Kon Tum goes via Highway 1 and QL24 in the Classic Route, The Big One as well as The Scenic Route. I’m wondering how many days will it take for that particular route? Assuming that it’s definitely more than a day ride, may I know where do you stay in between? Is it easy to find budget guesthouses on the way?

    Thanks again, I’m planning to ride from Qui Nhon to Kon Tum via that route, thus hoping to break the route into 2 parts. Will be great if you have any idea on the current road condition too (I’m planning to ride this coming May). :)

  16. Mikhal says:

    Hello Tom,
    I’d like to thank you very much for your website. It’s amazing and also gives a lot of confidence. I think I would never have done the Ha Giang loop for a first motorbike trip with my 8 years old daughter without having a look at it every 5mn. We did also the loop in Sapa and Mu Cang Chai.
    I’d like to ask you about our next trip for Tet (we’ve been living in Vietnam for 6 years).
    We fly to Da Nang from Hanoi and will rent motorbikes from Hoi An. We would like to visit Kon Tum area and we have 5 days and must return the motorbikes in Hoi An. I didn’t find anything on the internet about the road DT616. Do you have any information about it? I’ve read that there where a lot of trucks on QL14 and AH17. For the way back, I guess we will drive on QL24 as you suggested to someone else. Anyway we won’t have time to go much further and do Buon Ma Thuot some other time.
    If you have any suggestion, I would appreciate very much. Thank you again and I hope to read from you soon.

  17. Vitor Mangualde says:

    Hey, Tom!
    I just came to thank you for all the great tips that helped a wonderful bike trip through Vietnam. Such reliable informations also enforced my confidence in going out of the beaten tracks, making possible unique experiences that I’ll remember forever!!!
    For the future bikers, I strongly recommend taking the HCM Highway, specially in the most remote area (the 240km ride – Section 5) and also the northern loop.
    All the best!

  18. Paul Tremewan says:

    Tom.. just found your Vietnam Coracle site… excellent! Well done… some excellent material here and the cross referencing is most helpful.
    We’re coming back to complete the Viêt Nam Run in March, Sài Gòn to Da Nang, having completed the northern loop via Sapa starting from Hà Nôi and the Run down to Da Nang from Hà Nôi earlier, and I rode the Delta ( then by boat up to Phnom Penh, bus back top Sài Gòn in June). I am passing the details of this excellent treasure trove on to my two Scottish riding buddies for their reference ( The Leo Boys… named after a well known beverage, of course..) in preparation for the Run up to Nôi An and then Da Nang.
    Anyway, just a note to say keep up the excellent site.. BTW just re-reading ‘ A Short Ride in the Jungle’, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent’s wonderful book, that captures what it is like riding way out in the Vietnamese countryside ( and of course Lao and Cambodia, where the HCM Trial actually went!).
    Cheers from New Zealand
    Paul Tremewan

  19. Steven Lee says:

    Hi Tom,

    This is an amazing website. After reading it, I am gonna do a solo ride from HCMC to Hanoi in February. Being on a solo bike trip, how do you manage your personal belongings between stops? Do you leave your backpack tied to your bike and carrys the important stuff in your napsack? Or carry both? – Steven

  20. Robert says:

    Hi …really loving your stuff…priceless information.

    I am in Saigon right now but soon going to be following your trail along the coast by public transport ostensibly to find a wooden boat to rescue….they are even making blue plastic coracles now in Vung Tau…Aaaargh…won’t be long before VN becomes as plastique as Singapore.

    I wondered if you have any comments about boat living and purchase in VN…every local seems horrified by my intentions to live aboard a decomposing wooden boat on the water…but I reassure them I have been living that way for decades and it is the only way TO live! lol….well…in my opinion anyway.

    Of course VN makes everything as insurmountable and difficult as it can be, and I have little doubt living afloat will throw up its own obstacles. I shall no doubt need a licence and may need to assume the identity of some kind of work boat…so I shall be taking tourists out and about on painting holidays…if I have to…or find a local proxy. There is no shortage of local volunteer crew.

    I wondered if you have any experience of buying a boat from from a VN native?…or the most likely location to head for that may offer the best chances?

    Keep it up. Great work!



  21. DAVID says:

    Hi Tom
    did you know about the place name Dan Kia in the area Suoi Vang
    some say that this place is one of the beautiful places in the world but i couldn’t find it in your perfect site.
    I will be greatful if you say something about this place

  22. Baris says:

    Hey Tom !

    I mailed already but again want to say thank you for this AWESOME PAGE! Really i just checked the saigon night loop and it really looks sweet! Thank you for all your information, pictures , advice and itineraries !! Really great my friend ! Especially the quality of your information is really on a high level! I can only imagine how much time it takes to make your posts !

    Thanks again always be blessed! very Grateful !!!

    Greetings Baris

  23. Chris says:

    I was wondering your opinion on Halong Bay, Cat Ba island, and Bai Tu Long bay. I’m not really one for organized tours but I would like to experience the sea karsts and I want to have my motorbike with me. Any suggestions on which place? Do I really need to do a boat tour? Would I get a sufficient experience from land and ferry? Thanks

  24. Chris says:

    Just a heads up:

    The hotel five minutes north of pho chau has two tiers and actually two separate buildings. The bigger hotel with the pool is 500000 for room with pool use and breakfast.

    To get the 250000 price you stay in the smaller hotel next door. You do not get breakfast nor pool use. Actually I think the price is 200000 for a single bed (250000 for two beds) but she could not get the door open…

    At the reception I had to ask for the 250000 price, referring to your notes. It was not listed there.

  25. Corentin says:

    Hello Tom, my name is Corentin and I’m from France.

    I just wanted to thank you so much for all the help and advice you provide with your website.

    Indeed, I traveled with a motorbike through Vietnam during 3 months, without any smartphone or GPS of any kind.
    Only a basic map, my own sense of direction, the people around and… your website.

    It has helped me decide my itinerary, the beautiful roads no to miss, discover the food and hidden aspects of this wonderful culture.

    Very well documented with pictures, texts and maps, I was always impressed with how simple it was to use your website.

    You helped me build amazing memories I will remember for a long time. Well it’s true, I really feel grateful.

    Thank you again and good luck for everything.


  26. Chris says:

    This is a broad question, but can you suggest some other villages that offer homestays? These are some I have heard about: Mai Chau, Ba Be, the park you mentioned north of Canh Nang (sorry do not recall name at the moment…). I believe I also heard of some homestay options around Bac Ha…

    I was just reading about Nghe An and saw some pricey organized tours going to homestay villages there (Pu Mat park) and it piqued my interest.

    It’s not something you can find info on easily…

    P.S. I’m only interested in anything north of Phong Nah at this point.

    Thanks for any sharing :-)

  27. Chris says:

    Long Son is awesome. The hotel cost 250000 and dinner was 45000 and 30000 at the restaurant four doors down up a little driveway. Did not seem to be any irregular pricing… There looks to be a gas station under construction but besides that only roadside “pumps” for gas.

  28. Chris says:

    Doing a little planning, just a few random questions:

    1. I noticed you rode from phong nha to pho Chou in one day. About how much time did that take?

    2. I noticed you rode from pho chau to cam thuy in one day. About how much time did that take?

    3. I noticed in one ride you rode from Sinho stopping in Lai Chau. Why did you not go further?

    4. How much time do you think it would take to ride from Quan Hoa to Yen Chau?

    5. How much time does it take to ride from Sapa to Bac Ha in the quickest route?

    6. How much time do you estimate it to take riding from Bao Lac to Ba Be?

    7. Any idea how long it might take to ride from That Khe above Lang Son to Tien Yen, south of Lang Son on the coast?

    Sorry for so many questions… I’m wanting to do a big loop of the north with sapa, ha giang area, ba be, ban gioc waterfall, and one of the bays, possibly even cat ba island…

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be sleeping in quan hoa on July 15 and need to sleep in Hanoi August 4. I keep going back and forth whether I can make all that…

    Sorry, very long…

  29. Chris says:

    I’m in Hue and will travel to Phong Nha via A Luoi, Khe Sanh, Long Son. I’m considering riding from hue to khe sanh in one day. It looks to be about 165 km. How many hours do you think I should estimate for that trip? Am I biting off too much to chew? It just seems a bit short to go to A Luoi from Hue…

    Also I had a blast exploring monkey mountain. So many areas to explore with great scenery.

  30. Chris says:

    Do you know of any lodging options $20 USD or less on the Sop Promontory besides camping?

    If not I may try camping there or stay at Vinh Hy Resort.

  31. Chris says:

    Thanks for the Ca Na Hotel recommendation – exactly my kind of place.

  32. Chris says:

    Just curious, have you ever investigated a possible road from Tuong Duong to Que Phong in Nghe An province? It appears on one of my maps and I’m intrigued by it.

    I took a road similar to this on my bicycle trip some years ago (from Quan Hoa to Na Loc along the Luong River in Thanh Hoa province). In that case the road literally became a dirt walking path. I was able to manage it however and encountered a village where I ended up sleeping. It was a great adventure.

    • Chris says:

      Actually I see now you mention that Quan Hoa road in your Limestone Loop. Road 520…

      Wonder if the one in Nghe An could turn out to be similar…

  33. Chris says:

    I will probably stay at Binh Lieu hotel near Co pass. After that the next definite stop I have planned is Hoi An. I am estimating two stops between those destinations. Can you recommend two good stopping points in that span?

    I think one would probably be Rang Beach. Is there any particular place you like to stay near Rang Beach?

    Thanks again

  34. Chris says:

    I was not able to locate the atlas you mentioned in three fahasa bookstores in Saigon. It was also not in a large art book store that the kind hotel receptionist tried. Any other ideas where I might find that atlas in Saigon?

    I did purchase the smaller map that you mentioned. May I suggest looking into the Nelles map by Abercrombie and Kent. I have the 2005 version but there is a newer one I believe. I used it on a bicycle trip a few years ago in north Vietnam and comparing it with the one you suggested I see some small roads I took on the nelles but not on the other. Of course some of those turned out to be damn near “animal trails” like you mentioned but they were navigable…

  35. Reed Bernstein says:

    Thank you

  36. Reed Bernstein says:

    Hey, I followed your advice and I sit now at the impressive hotel in Hanoi. I am picking up my Tigit motorcycle tomorrow and I want to hit the road on Tuesday. I’m thinking of heading towards Hai Phong and I was wondering if there is any other coastal town or area you think I should visit instead?


  37. Alessandro says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’m planning a three days ride in the Sapa valley with my girlfriend; could you recommend me few good motorbikes rentals in Sapa that I can contact and which deals with gears motorbikes that easily fit two people?

    Many thanks,


  38. Chris says:

    Concerning getting a flat tire, do you carry a patch kit, pump, fix a flat, or anything of that nature? Or do you rely on the ubiquitous tire repair men in most parts and hope for the best in more remote areas?

  39. Chris says:

    I’m thinking of following the coast all the way to Dong Hoi and then cutting inland to Long Son and spending the night / gassing up there. Then continue north to caves and eventually north Vietnam. I’m trying to stay on the coast because once I turn inland I will stay inland through “the neck” and a loop around north Vietnam… essentially the remainder of my trip until I finish my loop at around the Halong Bay coast area…

    You had some good words about Dong Hoi /Quang Binh beaches but do you have any in-depth reports of that area on the website? I did not see any…

    My reason for going to Long Son is to see that stretch of the HCM Hwy from Long Son to Pho Chau. I would get on it earlier but I would like to see Danang, Hue, and Hoi An and also maximize the beach. Also I figure I will be in a lot of similar scenery in the north … but I can still catch a piece of it if I get to Long Son…

    How much time do you estimate it would take to ride from Dong Hoi center to Long Son?

    Thanks again for your great resource. I am reading every word…


  40. Chris says:

    Also, do you ever bring an extra bottle of petrol, for example in some of the remote areas on the HCM HWY or in remote areas of north vietnam?

  41. Chris says:

    Do you recommend buying a lock and chain to secure my motorbike when it is parked? In the past, I have never locked my motorbike, but I also had beat up motorbikes. If I get a tigit bike it will be a newer model….

    I also like your suggestion of the bike box; I can see great benefit in that…

  42. Chris says:

    Thanks for this excellent website; it has been immensely helpful in planning my trip from saigon to hanoi and a loop around the north. This site is full of information and I often get lost in all the info and do not want to miss one piece (which can be tricky because a location/town may often be mentioned under a few different route descriptions).

    One question I have is that none of routes seem to go along the coast from Dong Ha to Vinh. Is that because the scenery is much better inland or because of HWY 1 or because the coast is not nice along this stretch?

    My route will be similar to the one you did with your friend except when getting around Mai Chau I will start the northern loop.

    I have a loose plan of doing the tigit rental.

    Again, thansk for your excellent website.

  43. Cecilia says:

    Thanks for all this amazing information! We are a family of cyclists and are considering some of your destinations by bike. Do you have a recommendation for which is the most bicycle friendly? Thanks! C

  44. Jun KIM says:

    Hello Tom,

    Have read many useful blogs on your websites. I had finished Northern Loop last February. The weather was not good (really cold, and I even saw the snowing in Vietnam.), but the tour was amazing. It was a good start to explore the Southeast Asia country with a motorbike.
    Thanks for sharing your tips about riding in Vietnam. Your articles were really helpful for the trip.

    Now, I have a plan to take a motorbike tour in other Southeast Asia countries like Thailand, India, Philippine, Laos, Myanmar, etc. Do you have any idea where I can get an information to prepare the trip? Is there any other blogs, just like yours (not commercial, and specialized in one country), for the motor bike tour of other Southeast Asia countries?

    Good luck with everything.


  45. What an informative and interesting blog you have created!
    Have saved your site for future reference. I have started a blog. My first one, and not being a pro, it looks a bit messy. Will persevere! .
    Good luck with everything.

  46. Duong Chien says:

    Hello Tom,

    Have read many useful blogs on your websites. Hope to see you in Hanoi. Your website is NEW Vietnam guide book.

    Thank you

    Duong Chien

  47. Gary says:

    Hi Tom,
    First i would like to say what an amazing site….. but! it has caused me a major headache. I was planning on travelling by motorbike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh but now find that my plans are expanding, i would like to visit the north now which wasn’t on my list.. The maps you provide are invaluable and i am planning my route on Google maps also, any thoughts or info on a route to Sa Pa from Hanoi would be appreciated so i can link it in with some of the Northern routes.
    Thanks again, keep up the good work.

  48. Sabrina says:

    Hello Tom,

    My husband and I are going to be in Vietnam for 18 days in June and want to spent a good portion in the north. We’re planning on taking the Sleeper Train to Sapa, and want to explore from there. We’re thinking about spending around 4 days in the area. We’re a pretty adventurous couple…and so I’m quickly finding too many things to do and wish we could stay in Sapa longer, but of course need to take in other areas in Vietnam as well. I’m curious about riding motorbikes up to Tram Ton Pass to check out the scenery and waterfalls…BUT, am also interested in trying to ride motorbikes to Ha Giang Province. We’re also going to be there from Thurs-Sun…so we’ll potentially be able to see the Bac Ha market on Sunday before we catch the sleeper train back to Hanoi on Sunday night. We’re trying to make the most of our trip and want to do as much as possible, but don’t want to feel rushed or not leave any cushion for accidents/weather/getting lost/etc.. Should we skip the Tram Tom Pass and spend 2-3 days driving to Ha Giang Province and back to Sapa…and spend the last day (Sunday) in Sapa and Bac Ha?

    Thank you so much! I’ve been looking at your site and your adventures seem right up our alley of what’s interesting to us.


  49. Sylvain says:

    Hi Tom,
    I really appreciate your work on this website.
    I just got back from a trip following your southeast loop itinerary through Mui Ne and Dalat. It was an amazing experience.
    Thanks for sharing your tips about riding in Vietnam.
    All the best,

  50. Mick Albert says:

    Hi Tom,
    thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I originally was going to travel by bus to the usual tourist spots but came across your website and that inspired me to rent a bike for 20 days and try and complete the Ho Chi Minh highway and most of the coast. I really liked the idea of camping along the way so I brought my bike swag with me. I decided I wanted to do this ride without a guide and also without anyone else. That way I would not only challenge myself but also experience the Vietnamese people. Having no friends with me I was able to do what I wanted but best of all was the interactions with the Vietnamese people as I had nobody else to spend time with. I have to say this was the best trip of my life. For me I needed a big dirtbike to not only enjoy the scenery but also the ride. I hired a Suzuki DR650 from Flamingo travel who shipped the bike to Saigon and I was to return it to their Hanoi shop. They are a first class company and supplied me with a fully prepped bike and comprehensive parts and tools list. Thanks to your maps and stories I did the coast from Saigon to Cam Ranh. Then headed inland to Dalat and onto Nha Trang. I stayed off the A1 as much as possible and traveled from Nha Trang all the way to Hoi An. At this stage I decided to head inland again all the way to Kon Tum. This road was amazing and took me 2 full days to complete, camping in the mountains. Loved it. From Kon Tum I started the HCM hwy and headed north until I decided to head back to the coast and onto Denang. Riding the Hai Van Pass a few times I then returned to the HCM hwy. I had to travel the same road to the HCM hwy as I didnt want to miss any of your “best bits HCM hwy” map. I had to miss out on Hue as I was running out of time. Khe Sanh to Phong Nha and continued north until near Vinh I headed back to the coast. I traveled some 4000kms in 20 days arriving in Hanoi. I have to say the weather was perfect for 18 days without any rain which was a surprise but the last 2 days the temperature dropped from a perfect 24 degrees to 6 degrees and rain. I had planned to do Halong Bay but the weather was just to cold for me and flew back to Saigon for the remainder of my holidays. I have you to thank for the experience of my life. I am now planning to ride the north in October when the weathers warm. Vietnam has changed my life and I am grateful. Thankyou.

  51. Edna says:

    I greatly appreciate your effort in doing this site. This is super organized, full of great info, tips and opinions. Although I haven’t made my trip yet (coming up in March), I feel having some good insights about Vietnam. I learn so much. Can’t wait to follow many of your suggestions in my trip.

    Great work.
    Cheers, Edna

  52. Raine says:

    Hi Tom,
    I was just reading your page on Vietnamese street food. Everything looks so good! While I would love to try them all, I’ve limited time unfortunately. Is there anything that you would particularly recommend to try/visit around the Rex Hotel area?
    Many thanks again for the awesome website!! Have a great day!! :)

  53. Ian says:

    Hi Tom,
    Following my trip to Hanoi, motorbike to Lao Cai and 6 days up north Sa Pa and Dong Van to Meo Vac in Apr 15 it looks like my cousin and I will be back in Mar 16!! Yippee!
    We’ll use Flamingo again for hire and take two weeks to go SGN to HAN then get a few days with friends in HAN before doing some more touring around the NW this time.
    I love your guides, esp your 2014 2 month tour, a question or two though; if we wanted 4 or 5 days beach stops early on before heading in-land for the HCM road do you think it’s doable? If so what beaches in early March do you think? We’d probably treat ourselves to nice hotels before doing guest houses the rest of the trip.

    We hired CRF250L up north last year but not really sure that’s necessary this time, although my 100kg plus might work better on a bigger bike, what do say?

    Thanks buddy.

  54. Dan Marriner says:

    Hi, Tom the website is GREAT!!!
    We have just finished your Mekong Delta loop and included phu quoc…
    Then we followed your camping the ocean road guide and we are now in Nha Trang heading to Dalat for a few2/3 nights then we plan to go Hannoi and do your Extreme north loop…
    We have a couple of issues we are trying to resolve. Firstly we hired a almost brand new 125 airblade from Ho chi. and we have to get it back by the 13th to fly on the 14th of dec. (A great bike although you sound like a Yamaha fan!)
    We have discovered that although easy to get on the train to the north as a passenger, the bike can arrive between 4/7 days behind us there is only a 36 hour bus ride with the bike to resolve this issue. We are now thinking to leave our bike at our Nha trang hotel and fly to Hannoi to extreme North and will hire another bike to do it on…
    So the questions are: one, do you know any magic solution to get our bike to Hannoi quick? Trucking etc. Or if not can you tell us if we will find a bike as easily as Ho chi (we paid 180 U.S for the airblade) for the month, the guy didnt ask us for license but he has our passport. We have been fine travelling with one passport and copy of the other for hotel guest house etc. But, not sure what we will do if a Hannoi bike rental wants the other? Lastly, we have 15 days to do this in so we think a quick look at Dalat followed by a flight to Hannoi for north loop is the best use of our time but we may choose to delete Dalat and attempt to get from Nha trang to North loop on the bike and then train bike and plane ourselves back to Ho chi, but this maybe difficult and pushing it especially for the pillion wife. Your thoughts on these questions will appreciated as is all the hard work you do to help so many have such fun! Cheers, Dan and Aya.

  55. Sabrina says:

    Dear Tom,
    I JUST found your amazing site just before my 3 week trip (12 Dec-5 Jan)! Thankfully I’ve made only a few reservations so I can experience Vietnam a bit like you do. I’ll be alone at Christmas and western New Year and wondering, at this late date, where I should hang (preferably in different places). Con Dao (instead of Phu Quoc)? Elsewhere?
    Sabrina from Chicago

  56. Magdalena says:


    Firstly, thanks a lot for your wonderful job, it’s undoubtely the best web site about travelling to Vietnam! Thanks to you we decided to go to Con Dao (instead of Phu Quoc) in February but still haven’t made a decision about accomodation. So, I’d like to ask you for advice :)

    I’m wondering which of the two options – Con Dao Camping or Con Dao Seatravel Resort would you recommend? The first one is cheaper but, what results from pitcures made by other travellers, is located nearby the jetty (or something what looks like a long, big deck or catwalk or pier) where ships moor. I’m wondering whether it may be disturbing because of noises? And what about the view? Doesn’t this ‘thing’ spoil the view? How far I can understand from pictures, location of the Con Dao Seatravel Resort is better but is it worth to pay twice more? Moreover, the second option has very bad reviews on Tripadvisor and the first, despite it’s location nearby the jetty, is highly recommended so I totally don’t know what to think :P

    Thanks a lot and greetings from Poland!

  57. Tricia says:

    After reading your travel stories around the country, I will do my best to get out and see more of this beautiful country. Thank you… Tricia

  58. Ariel says:

    Hello Tom,
    Wonderful website. My wife and I are planning to come to Vietnam at the end of Nov this year for 2 weeks and we want to stay 2 nights @ Mr Si s home stay while visiting Hanoi.

    Do you have information how to get from Hanoi to this home stay or region (if the home stay is not available)

    Also do you have any other methods of contact for verifying the availability of the homestays, haven’t had much luck by phone.

    We are truly looking for an authentique quiet and humbling experience. Everything you have described makes us feel the sensations, sights, smells.



  59. Yaniv says:

    Hi again Tom,

    So I did my homework :) and read all your North Vietnam reports.
    They looks great and are loaded with helpful tips and details.
    thanks for that. great site. you have here.

    so I consider to combine the motorbike loops if possible.

    so Q#1:
    I’m getting to Sapa by train, so i plan to rent a bike in Sapa,
    and then, do the loop of Sin-Ho, and then going east.
    The thing is, how am i going to pull it off if ? I mean, I rent the bike in Sapa,
    It’s kind of a long loop until Cao-Bang or even further, to Lang-Son.
    So, do you suggest i rent the bike in Sapa, and just do this huge loop ?

    are the bikes in a good condition to bear such long tour ?
    any recommended places to rent a bike in Sapa ? any tips ? :)

    about the weekend markets.
    I like photography and authentic places, costumes and colorful markets.
    Have you seen some really off the beaten track places, villages that
    can provide some good photos ?

    last question – i have around 20 days for the motorbike trip.
    do you think it’s enough ?
    if i do have some extra time left, what would you suggest me doing ?

    thank you

  60. Mishi says:

    Hi Tom,

    Great website & blog. I love your concept to help visitors get the most out of Vietnam.
    I stayed in Hanoi about 10 years ago, did the usual trail of Halong Bay & Sapa hill station.
    This time Im meeting up with my boyfriend for a long weekend in Hoi chi Minh City. He lives in Jakarta, myself in Dubai. We have 3 full days + Tuesday morning.
    If you have time I would really appreciate some help to make the most of our trip.
    We plan to hire a motorbike and see as much as we can without totally over doing it. As I mentioned both us is live in pretty hectic cities. I miss anything Green/nature/animals/waterfalls/culture/temples since living 12 years in the wonderful but concrete playground of Dubai! So Im interested to see the monkeys, but not sure if there is one national park or a few ?? Its not clear when I read. I would also love to see some rice or coffee fields. We have however booked our accommodation for the 4 nights in Hoi chi minh, which of course limits our options as we need to head back to the city each day. Not sure if that was the best idea. Regards to food I am a Vegan. What the hell am I going to eat Tom? lol. Although Im happy to live on white rice & the green veg (if there is something Kulung like in Indonesia) so my partner can enjoy fresh fish & sample some street food.

    Many thanks & blessings to you

  61. Bunty says:

    I must say that I keep coming back to this site to get more and more information about Vietnam and riding there. My best friend and I are visiting Vietnam to do a road trip from HCMC to Hanoi in September and we’re planning on taking Highway 1 pretty much the whole way up. That is, unless anyone has a better suggestion?

    Thanks again for all your input. It is advice we are planning on taking quite seriously!


  62. Laurence says:

    Hello Tom, i’m a fellow viet-canadian circus artist. I really love your site and i’m impressed by all the detailed informations. I more of the outdoorsy adventurous type. I’ve been living in Hanoi the past year. I’m heading down Central between Hoi An and Nha Trang for 2 weeks. I have a tent, been roadbiking a lot in the north, i know the camping situation in VN. Do you have other sweet spots or suggestions (beach or forest) like the one in Dalat ;) ??

  63. Martin says:

    Thanks for maintaining such an amazing and informative blog. There is so much to take in!

    I am also from the UK, although I have been living in Tokyo for the last 3 years. While I had one in the UK, I don’t have a motorbike here in Japan and I miss it very much. I’m considering coming to Vietnam for a month to ride around, but I haven’t really done a holiday like this before so I’m a bit apprehensive (as well as not being able to speak the language very well). Would you mind if I emailed you some questions about doing this sort of thing? You definitely seem to be the man to speak to!

    Thanks again for the webiste, it must be so useful to so many.


  64. Guillermo says:

    Hello we are in mui ne at the moment with our motorbikes and our next stop will be dalat, wich route would you recomend, QL28 or DT716?
    Thank you!!!
    Ps: you have an awesome page!

  65. Ishay says:

    Hi Tom,
    Wonderfull web site, thanks for that.
    I will arrive to Hanoi next Tuesday to start my trip on my push bike from Hanoi to Sigon.
    I”m looking for very detailed map of OCM highway to Have it in hand and to load into my garmin Gps as well, can you please help me with it.
    While in Hanoi, where would you recommend to stay for 2-3 night and where I can meet and get the best information from other travelers.

  66. Nancy says:

    Hi Tom,
    Love your website! I am planning my first trip to Vietnam for about 3 weeks: Aug 20-Sept 11 with my 19 year old daughter. From SF, I plan to fly into & out of Hanoi. I’m having difficulty deciding in which order to see places.
    I want to visit:
    Hanoi, Halong Bay (2 night boat trip), Hue, Hoi An, Sapa, Dalat, Bac Ha (because of your article), Laos-Luang Prabang (elephants), Not sure if I can fit in HCMC/Mekong Delta, Angor Wat
    Also, is it easy & safe to hire a guide for each of the places once I get there or should I try to arrange it beforehand?
    Your suggestions or guidance would be much appreciated!

  67. Gene says:

    Hi Tom.
    super blog. information overload. lots of reading to do.
    do you have any info on ha long bay please? i want to know what kind of cruise to book & for how long.

  68. Charlie says:

    Hi Tom,

    Such a great resource you’ve created, really useful thank you. I’m heading to Hanoi with my girlfriend in mid-March and we’re hoping to get a bike (Honda Rebel 250) on the train up to Lao Cai and loop back to Hanoi. She’s not so confident on a bike so will be on the back. Do you think that this a reasonable route for 8 days?

    Anything we’re missing? I don’t want to be spending all day on the bike to be honest – not much fun for the passenger! So hoping this route means we can take it easy and not feel too rushed.

    Thanks again for the info, love the site. Cheers,


  69. kate says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for all informations, very helpfull!

    Just 2 questions:
    We are a couple with a motobike. Do you know if it’s possible to bring the motobike on the ferry boat? (And maybe the price!).

    Then, there are ferry boat from Vung Tau every day? Every two days?…

    Thank you


  70. Christobel says:

    I am visiting Vietnam in August 2015 for 18 days and seriously considering returning the following year to see more of Vietnam as an independent traveller. However I do have some reservations as I am a single mature woman who just might be susceptible to scams etc. I can see that one can travel the country a lot cheaper than an organised tour. I wonder if there is someone ‘out there’ who might be interested in joining up?

  71. Alan Murray says:

    I’ve read many of your articles with interest, especially the recent series on your travels to the far north.
    However, I wonder how many of your readers will actually follow some of the routes you have described in such detail. I spent 6 days in the area recently and saw less than a dozen ‘foreigners on bikes’.
    In contrast, I wondered if you might consider a series of articles on ‘short trips by motorbike from Saigon’? I think more people would make use of these. I have made a number of interesting trips around Thanh Da and Can Gio which involve multiple ferry crossings. If I can master Google Maps as well as you have I could send some suggested itineraries.
    Keep up the good work – obviously a labour of love!

  72. Alyssa Maddalozzo says:

    Hello and thank you so much for this blog!
    My boyfriend Ben and I arrived on Monday (HCMC) and have since been around to many of of your recommendation. Ben has bought a 125 bonus which he plans on stripping down and rebuilding on Monday for our trip up North, we are very excited!

    Part of the reason for this holiday is to see if we want to live here. Ben has numerous meetings set up next week, he is a chartered surveyor. We want to explore areas to live in and was hoping you could recommend some nice spots. We are not into mod cons, more shop houses/alley houses.

    Many thanks,
    Alyssa and Ben

  73. Geoff Manasse says:

    What a wonderful website. I’ve been traveling to and in Vietnam for 12+ years and I found many new ideas of places to visit and food to taste for me here.
    I particularly liked what you had to say about the food. Some of the food smells are far from western palates. There are good restaurants and bad ones and seeing where the crowd goes is usually a good indicator. And if you end up getting invited for a meal in a home, there is no guarantee the host will be a good cook. However the cultural exchange will be worth it. You just need to try it.

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