Michal Košátko with his motorbike on the way from HCMC to Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam: Searching for motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City

It is 22nd November and next country on the plan to be travelled through. I came to Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC) in the evening directly from Cambodian capital city Phnom Penh. Within few minutes I found a nice accomodation in the city centre and was welcomed by a hot tea and few bananas at the reception.

After check-in it was time to start searching for the decent motorbike that could take me from Ho Chi Minh city up north to Hanoi. The distance is 1800 km and I counted with approximate speed of 45 km/h which equals to 40 hours of driving it total. Having in plan to drive 5 hours a day, I would need about 8 days to reach Hanoi when all goes smooth. Adding few days for sightseeing, getting lost and some unexpected issues, I would say in 14 days I am in the north.

Within next 2 days of sightseeing and spending some time in HCMC I met few riders and discussed the journey. I modified my path slightly, added a nice scenery road between Tx. Gia Nxhia and Da Lat, and canceled a visit of Mui Ne city on the east coast due to the local corrupted police. There was too many rumours about the fines they are giving to all the foreign motorbikers, everytime finding a reason – high speed, bad driving license, wrong helmet – despite the fact you drive slowly, have an international driving license and a full face helmet.

Next day I got lucky and found a motorbike from one of the backpackers who was just finishing his ride. Last time when I was driving a motorbike I was 15 and used a harvested field as my road. It wa time to refresh my skills. Few minutes of uncertainty and I got confident although the traffic in the biggest city of Vietnam is really heavy. For 92 million people there are more than 46 million motorbikes here. I must admit that I was a little bit proud of myself to handle all the crossroads where green and red lights do not play a big role. The road trip can officially start.

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