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Across Vietnam - Travel Guide

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Jul 15th, 2017, 09:24 AM
  #1
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Across Vietnam - Travel Guide

After coming back to Vietnam this year and taking another road trip across this wonderful country, I have devoted several days to writing Across Vietnam - Your Essential Guide on Taking the Best Road Trip. If you are interested in reading my tips go to: http://acrossvietnam.com

- Jakub
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Jul 15th, 2017, 05:32 PM
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I had a quick look at your blog. I take issue with many things, but mainly one key statement:

"Vietnam is one of the best places to learn an entirely new skill – to ride a manual motorcycle. An entirely new skill you will take home with you for ever."

Sorry to be blunt, but you would have to be a complete idiot to learn to drive a motorcycle in Vietnam. Foreigners are killed every year doing just that, many more are injured, some with life changing injuries.

"Take home with you for ever" - only if you are every lucky!
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Jul 15th, 2017, 06:01 PM
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Geez Crellston, give him a break, he's young, dontcha know they're all bulletproof ?
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Jul 16th, 2017, 01:18 AM
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To crellston: Coming to Vietnam, buying a motorcycle and riding it across the country is something that thousands of people do every year despite reading my travel guide or not. The last thing I wish is that someone gets injured during their travels and and my travel guide is a place where people can not only get tips but also are on multiple occasions informed about the road rules in Vietnam and are reminded about the need of wearing a proper helmet.

In my opinion, it actually is a great place to learn to ride a motorcycle as the traffic is very slow, intuitional and people are very respectful on the road. As long as travelers are responsible, they can definitely enjoy such unique place.


To sartoric: It is a wise rule that any statement containing “they're all...” should not be taken seriously. Anyway, I believe that everyone is aware of the risk when riding a motorcycle and at the same time by actually being responsible are able to minimize the risk of getting into an accident.
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Jul 16th, 2017, 06:24 AM
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I am with crellston. Plus, the blog starts out saying:

"If you are reading this Guide, you are probably thinking of taking a motorcycle trip across Vietnam"

But there is no such info/warning in the OP.

It is also a good idea to know your audience. People interested in taking a motor cycle trip across Vietnam are FAR more likely to be found on Lonely Planet than on Fodors. Of course, it could be you are just trying to increase the number of hits on your blog....

I will stick to the train, supplemented by an occasional bus or car. I have ridden pillion on motorcycles in Vietnam, but I am always relieved to arrive in one piece!
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Jul 16th, 2017, 06:44 AM
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Those considering renting a motorbike in Vietnam might read this:

http://www.countryreports.org/travel...am/traffic.htm

Noting particularly:

"International driving permits and U.S. drivers' licenses are not valid in Vietnam. Foreigners renting vehicles risk prosecution and/or imprisonment for driving without a Vietnamese license endorsed for the appropriate vehicle"

They should also find out whether it will invalidate their travel, medical and evacuation insurance.
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Jul 16th, 2017, 07:12 AM
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Sorry Jakub, but you are spouting dangerous nonsense. To assume that you have learnt how to ride a motorbike in a few days is patently ridiculous. I have been riding motorbikes for over 30 years and believe me, someone showing you how to turn the handlebars, open the throttle and use the brakes is not learning how to ride, far less cope with traffic conditions in a place like Vietnam.

I have been visiting Vietnam for many years and have seen many, many motorbike accidents, several fatal, many serious. I spent the whole of June this year in t country and lost count of the number of young travellers I met with varying degrees of injuries caused by coming off a motorbike.

You had a good time. Great! You escaped uninjured and alive. Even better! You were a lot luckier than many.
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Jul 16th, 2017, 07:52 AM
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Motorbike accidents are the leading cause of death for both visitors and locals in SE Asia. A friend of mine (a very experienced rider) was killed in a motorbike accident in Cambodia.
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Jul 20th, 2017, 12:35 AM
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thursdaysd: Every author wants audience for their work. It is possible that Lonely Planet visitors might be more likely willing to take a similar road trip than those at Fodor's but why to make such vague assumptions? I have written this guide to help people, no matter what they read.

Also, I think that the source you have posted has not been updated for a long time. According to bureaus in Vietnam, the country does recognize International Driving Permit (1968 Convention).

And regarding your preference of the train or bus - train in Vietnam is definitely a great option. Especially the rail from Hue to Da Nang.

crellston: Having experience gained during a long time is always an advantage. On the other hand, I do think that local traffic in Vietnam is actually good for beginners as it really is slow and intuitional. Of course, it is necessary to really be cautious on the road and take it seriously.

Kathie: I am very sorry for your loss.
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Jul 20th, 2017, 04:52 AM
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Posting a link to a blog about riding motorbikes without indicating that that is the subject of the blog is not helpful, it is self-serving.

Anyone who thinks the traffic in Vietnamese cities is slow and intuitive is nuts.

Further research says that an IDP is indeed now accepted, however (from Lonely Planet):

"Foreigners are now permitted to drive in Vietnam with an International Drivers' Permit (IDP). However, this must be combined with local insurance for it to be valid."
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Jul 20th, 2017, 07:39 AM
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Jakub- repeating the same argument does not make it any more valid.
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Jul 20th, 2017, 07:45 AM
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Jakub, you write "I do think that local traffic in Vietnam is actually good for beginners as it really is slow and intuitional." Have you actually been to VN?
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Jul 21st, 2017, 02:00 AM
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thursdayd: This link has been posted here in order to provide help and value to other people. It definitely is not self-serving.

crellston: I am not repeating an argument, I am expressing my opinion.

As this “discussion” is obviously not bringing value to anyone, it is a waste of my time now to be a part of it.

Anyway, if anyone has a question about taking a road trip across Vietnam, I will be happy to help.
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Jul 29th, 2017, 04:37 AM
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I've been to Vietnam so I wouldn't be up for being an inexperienced rider. I have taken self-driven trips through countries on 6 continents and would not say (personal opinion) that Vietnam was one of the more predictable countries when it came to traffic flow.

That aside, I found the issue of the IDP to be of interest. I was under the impression that the IDP (in any country) did not license you abroad for any types of driving you weren't already licensed for at home? So if you're not already an experienced, licensed motorbike rider, can you really use the IDP - just a translation of your own licence - to learn to ride a motorbike in another country?
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Jul 29th, 2017, 06:33 AM
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@CC - I rather doubt that the outfits renting the motorbikes in Vietnam (or elsewhere in much of Asia) care about IDPs and licenses. What matters is whether you are legally driving, and covered by insurance, in the event of an accident or being stopped by police. I would have thought not, but have not researched the matter.

Ah, a quick search turns up this:

https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-s...de-a-motorbike

The answer to your question is "no", you can only use the IDP for vehicles for which you are licensed at home.

This piece also says:
"Plus, if you have absolutely no training and no experience at handling a two-wheeled machine at home, what makes you think you‘ll magically acquire those skills in a foreign country where the roads are shoddy, the vehicles dodgy, the congestion is mind-boggling and the road rules boil down to “might equals right“? Seriously, Ho Chi Minh City is NOT the place to learn to ride. Thailand and Vietnam have shocking road accident fatality statistics, among the highest per capita in the world. The other regional nations aren‘t far behind."

I would think World Nomads is a better source than a random stranger pushing his blog on the internet.
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Jul 29th, 2017, 09:27 PM
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That's what I figured, thursdays. You can't just start travelling around your OWN country by motorbike if you're not licensed for it. You usually need to have some sort of approval/learners permit and maybe insurance to ride one around your home town, much less cross country. Then, an IDP is really just a translation document of your own driver's license. It doesn't grant anything extra. So even leaving aside the wisdom of choosing to learn to operate a new type of vehicle under foreign road rules, it's not particularly legal either.
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