Why you not have to have a driving license to drive a motorcycle?
Or why no one asks. The dream of every adventurer. By motorbike through the land of rice fields, mountains and rice wines. The variety in this country ranges from untouched, incredibly beautiful nature to crowded and noisy big cities. A trip to a country, which, in my opinion, belongs to one of the most beautiful Asia. Not only because the Vietnamese are very friendly, but also because there is plenty to discover.
My dream was to buy a motorbike once in my life, in a completely unknown country, and to drive this country without a plan. That I do not have a motorcycle license, was once only secondary. And since this is probably popular in Vietnam, I flew in late November, with a 3-month visa in the bag from Myanmar to Ho Chi Minh City. Alone because the distance from Saigon to Hanoi about 2000km, is probably the best here to go through this endeavor. So I bought my first motorcycle. Honda Detech Win 110cc. Customized. I fell in love immediately. She was my dream. Apart from the fact that I got sweaty in the hostel, everything went smoothly after my first ride through the city of the million scooters. I made a distance of 15 minutes in 60. I was so proud of myself. I had not previously thought of the chaotic traffic in Ho Chi Minh. And also not because I really have no idea how to ride a motorcycle.
So I went off ... the decision to drive south was due to the fact that the center of Vietnam was flooded more or less because of heavy rainfall. And also because I had enough time. It went to the Mekong Delta. My first goal. Can Tho. The route was sobering. I quickly realized that the streets of the whole route were skirted by dwelling-houses, shops and other buildings. I had to wait to see my first Vietnamese rice fields, so be patient. The city was not spectacular any more. But one got the first impression of Vietnamese life. More streetfood, more local life, less stress. The difference to Saigon is huge. I did not want to stay long either. I wanted to drive. Continue south. Just driving. Because it was so much fun. Next I went to the port cities of Rach Gia and on to Ha Tien on the Cambodian border. The route became evergreen. The first rice fields were visible. Water buffaloes were grazing the land. Cows crossed the streets. Tourism equal to 0. Authentically equal to 100. I actually felt like a stranger. What was unusual, but I realized how kindly I was received in the small towns. Since it was still raining heavily in the middle, I decided to go to Phu Quoc Island for a few days. Simple as usual, the motorbike, shorthand on the boat, was strapped to the front of the deck. No ferry needed for motorcycles. Phu Quoc is fantastic. This was probably due to the fantastic beaches, the fish markets with the fantastic food, the wonderful people I was allowed to meet or the atmosphere. In the middle of Vietnam it was still raining. So a few more days. One week. Two weeks. I experienced Christmas and New Year with so wonderful people at 30 º C on the beach. What a dream. And after three weeks it was time to say good-bye to this wonderful paradise with which I could experience so much. Into whom I fell in love. But I wanted to reach Hanoi.
Back in Ho Chi Minh City arrived. The hustle and bustle of the capital is once again amenable. From now on, along with my Swiss biker mate Martin went north. Martin und Martin on Tour. We left Saigon and went to Vung Tau. A relaxed little town with beaches on the east coast of Vietnam. With the cable car you can go up to the summit and enjoy the grand view. We did not. But you can also see the huge Jesusstatue. Then we went to the national park to Cat Tien and then to Dalat. A magnificent natural park, waterfalls and a fantastic landscape await you here. And in Dalat I had by far the best spring rolls ever. Meanwhile, the 1000km mark on the speedometer was cracked. What a strong feeling. The route from Dalat to Phan Rang Thap Cham was breathtaking. We started off on the highways and it was to take us across the wide mountains and green valleys with their rice fields, to the coast. Zick-Zack streets, narrow curves, grandiose view, wide across wide. What a ride. It should not be the last of its kind. The weather was still great. In bright sunshine we drove with shorts, shirts and flip flops across the country. The warm wind sailed towards us. But that changed from the next days. It remained warm. However, monster-like rains broke out into the country for the next few days. The attempt to continue the route north by train, unfortunately failed. Since it was now at the end of January, we had to realize that all trains, the next few weeks were fully booked. Unfortunately, this was the only cost-effective way to take our motorcycles. By the fact that the Chinese New Year's feast Tet was in February, the whole country is in such a kind of exceptional condition. Vietnam is moving. People Close their business. Traveling through the country to visit their families during the New Year's feast. They travel from north to south. South to the north. East, west, west, east. It was howling. We were trapped in this little nest. It rained without point and comma. And the weather forecast told us the same. However, we had to go further. The fact that it was still quite hot made us look more motivating in the future. Armed with full body protective plastic suits (FBPPS), we swam then after 3 nights, with a little over 20km / h direction Nha Trang. Thanks to some trucks that were passing by, we were able to feel the wetness of our supposedly rain-proof suits. What then after 100km however also played no role. We were wet to the mark. We and our mood had reached its climax. Nha Trang is also quite Russian for Vietnam's relations. Menus, pharmacies and shops in russian. This is probably due to the daily charter flights coming from Russia. And it's a bit warmer than in Russia. Here, too, you can take a cable car from the mainland, across the beautiful bay, on an island. Again, we did not. The weather had calmed down again. Over a suburb in Quy Hoa, which lures with a beautiful small beach bay, it went on to Hoi An. The authentic little old town shows you in the evening hours the beauty with the help of hundreds of small lampignons hanging in the small streets. Whole streets in different shimmering red tones. On the river, small colorful paper buns with candles add to the idyll. Now it was up and down over the famous Hai-Van-Pass. The route to the nearest town takes about 20km along a coastal mountain range. When the weather Plays well, you have a fantastic view of the sea and the countryside. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky and had to start in fog and light rain. However, later on, something that gave us the opportunity to enjoy the grandiose view of the vast sea. The stop at a barrier allowed us to open the guests on! the passing train. The weather was not our best friend in the next days. Especially since it was getting cooler. Since we were only equipped with shorts and shirts, it was also time to go shopping. We were now just trying to get further north. Making Kilometers. Partially 200 per day. This was very tiring. We passed Dong Hoi, Vinh and Ninh Binh. The latter place is comparable to Halong Bay, only on the mainland. A beautiful landscape with giant, partly thickly overgrown rocks that protrude several meters into the heights. Rice fields and smaller villages complete the perfect landscape. What an idyll.
We finally reached Hanoi. The speedometer was now at just over 3000km. We were very happy. We drove across Vietnam. And it should not be the end. We still had about 1 month to stay in the country and the best should still come. The way to the center was quite relaxed for a big city. It was at Tet. It was February and in 2 days should be the big year change. Not as expected with large parades etc., but rather quiet and without fireworks. Different than in Germany. Rather, we celebrated our second year's exchange and watched the Vietnamese as they traditionally burned their sacrifices before their business. What a great experience. The smoke was everywhere, and whole streets seemed to burn.
And then we went to our last stage. The great far north. We planned to make one of the bigger loops. That meant, first on to Nghia Lo in the north-west of Hanoi. The road from the city was tiring. The road conditions were subterranean. Sloops, kilometer long. After a while, however, we drove over the first higher landscapes. Where the roads were also significantly better. Rice fields, winding roads and fantastic views of various valleys. It was breathtaking and it was so much fun. From here you are invited as a guest also often times to a glass of rice wine. Noon with rice wine. For the next days our daily bread. Rejection is seen here as rude. The road to Sapa, in the north-west of Vietnam, was incredible. It went again over countless ricefields further up over several mountains. The roads led us along the mountain ridges to the summit just before Sapa Town. We set off in bright sunshine, continue in the mountains through fog fields, and ended up in the rain, at night, in the valley of Sapa. Fortunately, our Homestay also had 2 mattresses on the loft for us. We drove about 200km on that day and our nerves were at the end. When after 2 days also the rain stopped, and we were ready to go, we decided to stay 2 more nights. Sunshine saw the valley. And it was stunning. Since it is somewhat cooler in the north at this time of year, the sun came to be called. Ideal for hiking and relaxing. The atmosphere did its best to keep us happy, and to fill some energy. And if not at night, rats trying to build a nest in your hair can be such a homestay very pleasant and authentic. The way via Pho Ang to Ha Giang was probably one of the worst of all Vietnam. 50 kilometers almost no asphalt. Gravel roads. 20Km / hr. Sloops. Mud. Rain. Mud. In the middle of the mountains. Every now and then through a small village. Lost in nowhere. The cool beer and the family dinner at the next homestay in the evening was all the more perfect. For the next days we were a group of 8 People. America, France, Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands. Our Gang was great. We organized our tickets for the north and went off. Next stop, Yen Minh. Amazing. And shitty cold. The more we headed north, the colder it became. Luckily there was rice wine. The ride through the mountains was breathtaking. Wide across wide. Mountain landscapes where the eye reaches. Rice fields on slopes. Rice fields in valleys. Green mountains. Even greener valleys. River streams along the zigzag roads. Close curves. Mountains up. Mountains down. My eyes were moist. It was indescribably beautiful. The nights in the homestays were terrific. And there is nothing authentic to sleep with at home. Basic on mattresses and to eat with the families together. From Yen Minh we went on to Dong Bao Lac. I did not think it could get any better. But this route has by far been the most beautiful of all. Kilometers of mountain ranges along the mountains. Still higher the mountain ranges and deeper valleys. More green the slopes. Continue the view. It was breathtaking. We reached the most northern point of Vietnam and could look to China. Part of the route led along the Chinese border. I've heard that you could probably go around the fence at one point and stay illegally in China without being controlled. At least to smoke a cigarette and make a Group Selfie. But this seems only to be stories, which one so on journeys hears :) Our group became a little less and we traveled to four further to Cao Bang. From there you can make a one-day trip to the waterfalls on the Chinese border in the east. The way to get there is great. Once again the path leads us through different villages. Along the green rice fields. Right up with some crippling situations with cows on the streets. It can also happen that you unexpectedly land at a wedding, and drink with the Vietnamese bottle-wise rice wines. What a night. It then went from Cao Bang via Bang Ca to Ba Be Lake. A beautiful lake framed by mountains with a small village. Time seemed to stand still here. No traffic. Just a little village and very idyllic. A last nice stop, before it went over Bac Ka then again to Hanoi.
In Hanoi arrived, my speedometer showed nearly 5000km. I was so proud. I drove across Vietnam just over the last 3 months ago. Probably one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. Not only because it is incredibly beautiful in every region and the people so warmly welcome. But also because Vietnam is very cheap to travel. Catering, gasoline, accommodation are generally cheap. However, since the international driving license is not recognized, I must emphasize that driving without a Vietnamese driving license is illegal. But once when we were arrested by the police, we had to pay such a "fee" to continue driving. Some people call such a thing corruption. A receipt is to be forgotten. Transport is also not comparable with the European one. There are rules, but they are not respected. It is partly very dangerous and I can remember many difficult situations. Therefore, our average speed was more so at 50km / h. So I can only advise with experiences such a project. It does not have to be 3 months. Vietnam is perfect for 2 weeks to 3 months. And once you're on the bike, you can make one of the best roadtrips of your life.