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From: Roger Bolton

Subject: Motorcycle Saigon to Hanoi?

I am traveling through Vietnam and Laos for 5 weeks in December and being a motorcyclist as well, I’m itching to combine two of my favorite pastimes.

While I know you can hire a motorcycle for trips out from Hanoi or Saigon and back again, can anyone advise me on if it is pos-sible to rent a motorcycle in Saigon and drop it off in Hanoi or vice versa? Would you want to do this journey by motorbike or is the road and traffic so bad that you’d be crazy to attempt it?

Lastly (and this is really pushing it I know ), how feasible would it be to buy a motorcycle in Bangkok, ride north to the Laos border, then cross through Laos and into Vietnam, then ride south to Saigon, sell the bike, and fly back to Bangkok? (If Cambodia wasn’t so boggy I’d do a big loop instead.)

Anyone attempted anything like this or is it just not possible or extremely unfeasible?

From: Joerg Broeker

Subject: Re: Motorcycle Saigon to Hanoi?

I think, buying is easier than renting. You can buy an old Russian motorcycle very cheap, at both places Hanoi & Saigon (many travelers do so) and sell it maybe not so easy at the other place. Best bet maybe to go to one of the travelers’ hangouts (cafes) and look at the blackboard there. There are some newer Honda 90cc (like Vespa), but they are not fit for the long journey. I don’t know if it is possible at all to bring your own motorcycle into Vietnam (if it is you won’t be able to sell it there and it will take a lot of paperwork to bring it in at all). The roads are really very bad, but traffic is OK. However with the highway connecting Saigon & Hanoi it is the other way around: The road is quite OK, but there is a lot of heavy traffic (trucks & buses) with mad drivers. So maybe it is better (and much nicer) to take alternative routes, where the road maybe not exactly a road, but at least there are not cars!! We never got stuck, even though it was quite hard sometimes. Anyway: a motorcycle is definitely the best way to see Vietnam & a lot of people do so. But you should have at least some mechanical knowledge, since the old Russian bikes break down very often (but are quite easy to fix).

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