There are few better ways to see a country than by motorbike. Wind in your face, sharing ‘hellos’ with people as you pass, stopping when you feel like it, and having the ability to take small trails, an iron horse is perhaps the ultimate way to travel. Today we’ll learn about motorcycling in Vietnam, from longtime rider and tour leader, Hawk Moon. Strap on your helmet and get ready for an adventurous episode.
Scott was scheduled to motorbike Ha Giang and the far north of Vietnam with his wife in April 2020, but we all know what happened to the world then. It’s high on his list. They have a 3,000m high mountain up there and spectacular looking geography.
Trevor: Talks a bit about motorbiking in Asia and Vietnam.
Scott: I’ve heard amazing things about the midlands as well and border areas near Laos. I really don’t know much about that area, except that there are mountains and it saw pretty heavy fighting during the American or Vietnam War depending on where you were raised. I’d sure like to ride through there and cross a border on a motorbike.
Every other week, we have a special Patron-only episode or video. Last week we shared a video of cycling Bangkok’s canals and next week, we’ll stick to the beer theme and have a chat with Brian Bartusch of Beervana Asia, who drops some knowledge about beers in Asia.
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This week’s guest: Hawkmoon. From a young age, it was clear that riding motorcycles in the English countryside would not be enough for Hawk, who soon started to explore the rest of the world regularly on two-wheeled trips. In 2011, he first made his first trip to Vietnam and through a chance meeting with a biker expat, found westerners running motorbike tours there. Hawk rushed home, cleared out his house, and came straight back. He’s been running tours in Vietnam ever since. Welcome to Talk Travel Asia Hawk, where are you joining us from today?
Listen to Episode 150 to hear Hawkmoon talk about motorcycle riding in Vietnam:
- Where are you originally from and briefly tell us what first brought you to Asia?
- On your website bio you say that because you were brought up by crazy biker parents who gave you the name ‘Hawkmoon,’ you weren’t surprised that you grew up to be a motorbike tour guide in South East Asia. Tell us about your earliest experiences on motorbikes?
- In a nutshell, what makes motorbiking Vietnam different from motorcycling in any other country in the world?
- What are the benefits of a tour vs doing it on your own?
- Can you do it on a small bike, eg ‘scooter’ or do you want something 250cc and up?
- Are there a variety of rides in Vietnam for beginner and experienced riders?
- If someone did want to explore on their own, would it be best to rent a motorbike or buy one and what types are most commonly available?
- Is Vietnam better for riding sealed roads or off-road trails?
- What are a few of your favorite rides in Vietnam?
- Can you share a favorite route in the north, midlands, and Mekong Delta?
- What are some of the best tools for planning routes there?
- What are some things visitors should know and consider before planning a bike trip to Vietnam?
- Is there good safety equipment there or should you bring certain items from home?
- What do you love about Vietnam?
- Tell us about Onyabike and the trips you offer.
- Onyabike YouTube
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- #115 – Traveling Asia by Tuk Tuk with Julian Carnall