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IndoChina Adventure 2009 - Week 02 Chapter : 30 Sep ~ 06 Oct


Flag of Vietnam



According to my GPS we were 26 kilometers from our destination hotel in Hoi An when we were turned around by the local police. Typhoon Ketsana had passed through this area just the day prior to our arrival and as a result, the main road connecting southern to northern Vietnam was closed.

Eventually, we made it to our lovely beach hotel the following day. We were among the lucky ones that could come to a freshly cleaned hotel room, while the rest of the city struggled to clean up after the storm. Downtown Hoi An was still under water.

Despite all the hardship, incredible traffic jams, damaged roads and unpredictable weather, the group is doing excellently. We help each other and are good at improvising, elements that are crucial to a successful journey.

Traveling north along the coast, we can see Ketsana’s damage everywhere, but fortunately for us, the weather is changing to something more dry and sunny.

Entering the capital city of Hanoi, the driving is getting more intense and we need to be alert at all times. We all loved the challenge of the road, but there is no denying that it is good to park the bikes for 4 days at the hotel and step in to the sandals of the ordinary tourist.

Halong Bay is our little excursion from riding, and we enjoyed a very relaxed boat tour of this incredibly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. We stayed overnight and enjoyed the full moon from the top deck, reflecting on the last week’s experiences.

Enjoy this week’s stories and don’t forget to check out our navigation page to see where we are right now.



Helge Pedersen, Founder



Day 14 - Hanoi, Vietnam- Debbie Christian

Everyday certainly has been an adventure! Aside from the typhoon, crazy traffic and muddy roads, it's been great. When I stop and think about it even that was great.

We've just returned from Halong Bay and overnighting it on a "junk". It was wonderful and the weather was perfect. Accommodations were very nice with good food and drink.

It was a long ride back to Hanoi today, and we spend tonight and tomorrow night here and then move on. I like Hanoi. It's got that third-world craziness going on and everyone is in a good mood. The market is directly across from our hotel so it makes for easy entertainment. They have the "coldest beer" at the bar next door where you can sit/stand outside and watch the rickshaw's, motorcycles, people and so on go by.

By the way, I've never seen so many shoes for sale!! I haven't had much of a chance to shop. Everyday is either on the bikes riding or enjoying the people and sights.

The first two weeks have flown by and it has been challenging and thrilling for me. I can't wait for more . . . .

Debbie Christian
Hanoi, Vietnam

An intoxicated army officer whom we met north of the DMZ (DeMilitarized Zone).  We were drinking tea.   He told me not to photograph him because of "possible repercussions".  Go figure!

The pool at our hotel in Hoi An.

The DMZ Memorial at the south end of the bridge (actually the 17th Parallel).

Saying goodbye to our most excellent driver and new friend Suy(?) before our arrival in Hanoi.

Help me!! We did have frog for dinner appetizer one evening. Very tasty!

Harrison hamming it up in Hanoi.

They really start them out young in Vietnam.  Note - only the driver is required to wear a helmet by law.

Lunch with the locals.  Our guide, Than, told us not to eat any fresh veggies or ice.


Day 19 - Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam - Frank Baughman
[Editor's Note: The story and photos below were sent over two weeks ago, but got lost in an internet "black hole", so they are a bit out of synch, but well worth including. Most of the photos were taken back in Hoi An, during and after the floods from Typhoon Ketsana.]

This trip is another exceptional adventure . . . “typical” of GlobeRiders! The sights to see, the people to meet, their cultures to observe, the places to stay, their food to eat, and the wonderful riding - all combine to fulfill one's highest expectations.

The traffic is great! White seemingly chaotic at first, it actually works Firmly keeping the guideline of making no sudden movement in mind, it really flows well! Forget the absolutes of what one is used to at home . . . lanes . . . passing protocol . . . road rage (there ain't none!).

With jillions of scooters and smaller bikes (all 175cc and under) swarming in, out, and around like insects, there surfaces a pattern that is fun to participate in. Bikes usually pass on the right shoulder or in a dedicated lane. There may be oncoming traffic of other scooters on that shoulder, but you give way and things flow. There's a lot of horn honking, but it's only saying "I'm here". It's sort of like driving in a flowing formation . . . kinda’ fun! The advantage of our larger bikes is that we are able to pass on either side.

The history of the Vietnam war brings to mind hearing of places like Saigon, Pleiku, Danang, Hue, and now one is able to see these places. The people are progressive, hard working. It's been 35 years since the US bailed out of here, so most of the people don't remember the actual war. 84 million people with over 80 million of them subservient to the 3-4 million. Corruption reportedly is horrendous, so what's new!!?? Here or home????

Great trip so far!


Helge Pedersen - Images from Vietnam

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