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Cycling solo/unguided

Auckland
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Cycling solo/unguided

I'm flying into Ho Chi Minh on 24th July 2014, and I fly out of Hanoi on 5th Aug and am looking for a travel companion to cycle with me for most/part of the journey. I am thinking of taking a couple of train trips along the way, so maybe cycling for around 6-7 days in total roughly. Ive done a little cycling before, but not on this scale. I'm in my late 30s and am quite fit, but I'm not taking this too seriously. I'm hoping it'll be a fun/active holiday.

Any tips for doing this trip? Route to take, cities to stop in. Roads to avoid/take? I hear SH1 is very busy.

Ho Chi Minh City...
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1. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

Hwy1 is more than a little busy its positively deadly. Drugged up truck drivers straying into your path is the most common way motorcyclists die and you are going to be further down in the pecking order.

Much better to train it and cycle around the various towns along the way and avoid the hwy altogether.

UK
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2. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

What DPoT said. Cycling is a great way to explore the countryside and a good way to explore some of the quieter towns. You're already short on time for seeing much of Vietnam anyway, and won't see much if you're losing 6 days getting from A to, um, the next place.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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3. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

I cycle quite a bit around Nha Trang. I get out of the city and as soon as feasible I get off of the highway and on the smaller roads. I would recommend renting a bike for the day at some of your destinations up the country and go sightseeing in the towns and outside. Going from town to town and sleeping in tents on the way, if that's what you envisage, is not really doable. You and your belongings would attract too much unwanted attention.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

I have done solo and small group cycle trips around the world and it isn't easy for those who aren't cycle fit so to speak, on highways especially you need to be focused constantly as vehicles go by sometimes very close and you and your bike get sucked out of the gutter onto the road. As mentioned do day trips as a better and safer option. If you choose to buy a bike on arrival research transport with the bike between towns, on trains and buses prior, or hire in the areas you are more interested in. Cycling takes time, especially if you want to do side tours.

The other part of my response is that ten days is a short holiday for anyone in Vietnam to be able to enjoy the culture and sights let alone spend so much time riding a bike.

Good luck in your journey.

Auckland
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5. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

Thanks for the replies, ok I'll revisit my plans, as I didn't realise that HW1 was such a death trap.

Any other suggested routes to do over say 7-8 days? Sounds like the HCM Highway is slightly more "cyclable", though obviously more mountainous and therefore arduous, and away from the English speaking towns/resorts.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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6. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

Maybe cycle the Central Highlands area, but there are no trains there. You are in for a shock if you're expecting anything even close to conditions in NZ!

Ho Chi Minh City...
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7. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

Were you planning on bringing your own bike from NZ because the freight to bring it will be a significant factor. Bicycles manufactured here are remarkably cheap but to hire one in the tourist areas is even cheaper at only a few dollars per day but they're only your basic bike.

Ho Chi Minh City...
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8. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

If you want to buy a bike here they're priced very competitively.

Here is the bicycle shop in HCMC.

http://www.martin107.com.vn/

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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9. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

A (somewhat) sturdy Asama cross bike suitable for rural use is vnd 4,200.000. Up 100,000 from when I bought mine 2 years ago.

Houston, Texas
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10. Re: Cycling solo/unguided

MT,

I know a fews who had done the length of VN on bicycles.

While I don't think the time will permit you to, I found a great blog that can give you a few pointers for shorter trips.

acruisingcouple.com/2013/…

acruisingcouple.com/2013/…

acruisingcouple.com/2013/…

It's a long series with many more blog entries, in case you want to read more, just follow the links.

Have fun planning and good luck on your trip.

John