Vietnam Trip 2008 Summary

Flights
Flight Zurich – Moscow – Hanoi by Aeroflot, arrival in Hanoi on Oct 10, 2008 at 11:00 hrs.
Flight Hanoi – Paris – Zurich by Air France, departure Hanoi on Nov 14 at 19:55 hrs.
It was a bonus miles ticket of ‚Flying Blue‘, the mileage program of Air France – KLM, and it cost me the airport fees only.

Bike Trip Operator
Offroad Vietnam, Mr Anh Wu & colleagues, Hanoi
Web: http://offroadvietnam.com
Email: tours@offroadvietnam.com

Bike Trip 1
1227 km roundtrip from Hanoi to the northwest of Vietnam.
Duration: 10 days
Participants, from right to left: Pat from Brisbane, Robbie from Scotland, Jeroen from Tokyo, Glen from Mt. Isa, and I (Eric from Switzerland)
Guide: Mr. Thoi
My bike: enduro type Honda XL 125 cc
Overnight: 5 x hotel, 4 x homestay
Cost: US$ 760 incl. protector rental and bike upgrade from Honda road bike 160 cc. The fee is very high considering the actual cost in Vietnam, but they have those bikes, they know the way, they repair the bikes on the road, they know the homestays, they speak the language, and they want to make money, nothing wrong with that.

Route: Hanoi – Vu Linh (Lake Thác Bà) – Yen The – Bác Hà – Coc Li – Lau Cai – Sapa – Ban Ho – Lai Chau – Muong Lay – Tuan Giao – Son La – Mai Chau – Hoa Binh – Hanoi.

Saigon
Flight Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi, 4 days with Rolf in HCM, stayed at „My Anh Hotel“ at Le Lai Street for US$ 25 per night, camera got stolen as a negative highlight.

Bike Trip 2
996 km roundtrip from Hanoi to the northeast of Vietnam.
Duration: 7 days
Participants: Kenny & Rachel from Singapore, Vincent from South Africa, and I.
Guide: Quinh
My bike: enduro type Honda 250 cc
Overnight: 2 x hotel, 4 x homestay
Cost: US$ 770 incl. protector rental and costly bike upgrade from Honda road bike 160 cc.

Route: Hanoi – Lang Son – Quang Uyen – Ban Gioc Waterfall – Cao Bang – Ba Bê Lake – Namh Kanh – Vu Linh (Lake Thác Bà) – Hanoi.

Halong Bay & Cat Ba Trip
Operator: Vietnamopentours, booked through travel agent at my hotel, US$ 93
Duration: 3 days, 1 night on the boat, 1 night hotel in Cat Ba
I left the tour after the 2nd night and spent 2 days in Cat Ba, then went by public transport via Haiphong to Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh and surrounding areas
I stayed at „Thun Thuan’s Guesthouse and New Hotel“ in a single room at US$ 18 per night, rented a 125 cc scooter for 4 days at US$ 7 a day, visited Cuc Phuong National Park, Tam Coc, Hoa Lu, Bai Dinh, etc.

Hanoi
I stayed a total of 7 nights at „Camellia 4 Hotel“, 1 night before and 2 nights after each bike trip, 1 night before my return flight to Paris and Zurich; 5 nights booked through Offroad, 2 nights at US$ 20 booked directly.

Distance on motor bike
On the 2 bike trips plus the scooter rentals on Cat Ba Island (~ 70 km) and Ninh Binh (~ 400 km) I rode approx. 2700 km on bikes in Vietnam.

Total costs
I spent an average of US$ 66 per day, including the full cost of the bike trips and also including the not really necessary domestic return flight from Hanoi to HCM. The airport fees for the free bonus flight were not added, hence, the average daily expense corresponds to the costs in Vietnam.
Exchange rate Amex T/C on 08 Nov 2008: 16’820 Dong (VND) for 1 US Dollar at Vietcombank.

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