One day after meeting Johnny, my friend turned to me and said "That Johnny Nam Tram is a really great guy." Four days after first meeting Johnny, my friend turned to me and said "that Johnny Nam Tram is a legend."
I recently spent about three weeks travelling the north of Vietnam by motorbike, and I have to recommend Johnny Nam Tram.
I didn't actually travel with Johnny and pay for his services, but he turned out to be extremely helpful anyway and was just a really good guy.
I spent the entire three weeks with my friend travelling without a tour guide, and information was generally very difficult to come by, as most tour guides will only give you information if you pay for their services. Johnny sat down with us over a cup of coffee in Hagiang City(where he has an office and motorbikes) and told us all about the next few cities that we could visit in Ha Giang province; he even recommended a homestay for us in Quan Ba region which ended up being a highlight of our trip.
Another highlight of the trip was running into Johnny three days later on our way to Dong Van. He then recommended a cheap but fine hotel and we made plans to meet for dinner at what turned out to be a great restaurant. At dinner we talked with the people who were on a tour with him and they had nothing but positive things to say about him. I can also say that since we overlapped a few times during our trips that he can take you on some of the most beautiful, exciting roads that you'll ever see.
Johnny Nam Tram offers motorbike rentals(actual dirtbikes and scooters), motorbike tours, and car tours throughout Ha Giang province.
Johnny also lived in California for most of his life and so his English is basically perfect, which is pretty much unheard of outside of Hanoi in Northern Vietnam. After five days on the road, I can't tell you how happy we were to be able to sit down and have a conversation with a Vietnamese person who speak perfect English.
Motorbiking alone vs going with Johnny Nam Tram:
When my friend and I were touring North Vietnam, we had alotted more time than most people do for this sort of trip. We wanted to get lost, we wanted to spend days in small villages and we wanted to spend time trekking around, so going alone was great for us.
if you want to make a trip around Ha Giang province in just a few days or you want to make a trip around the Northern Loop of Vietnam in under two weeks, it makes a lot of sense to get a tour guide to do so because there are a lot of different roads that you can travel down and some are legitimately dangerous - esecially at night. In the case of an emergency, a tour guide like Johnny would be extremely helpful, whereas you'd be on your own without one.
If you're going to be travelling in Northern Vietnam and you're looking for a tour guide, I would really recommend the Legend of Johnny Nam Tram.
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