Vietnam – motorbike GS Dakar RTW overland adventure traveller

I loved my time in Vietnam.

Getting into Vietnam took longer than other countries even though I arrived at a remote border with the visa already stamped in my passport. Everyone smiled and instantly made me feel welcome.

Vietnam officially known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with an estimated population of 90 million people is bordered by China to the north, Laos the northwest and Cambodia to the southwest, the capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of the North and South in 1976.

Unlike Laos and Cambodia which feel empty, Vietnam especially in the cities feels busy and congested.

Water & irrigation dominate the South with padi fields as far as the eye can see, roads run parallel to the rivers with the whole of life played out on the banks sandwiched between water and road, car and motorbike at the front door and boat at the back. These corridors of life go on for miles, it feels crazy passing by on a bus that doesn’t understand the word ‘slow’ as it weaves around people and small motorbikes. The size of your vehicle and loudness of your horn show who’s ‘king of the road’.

Arriving at a coastal  border in the southwest I crossed the massive Mekong Delta heading to Saigon. The Mekong delta with vast waterways everywhere is fascinating and the whole of life is carried out on boats.

I loved Saigon, it was vibrant, alive and full of scooters and with a population of 9 million and an estimated 3 million motorbikes and scooters it seemed like madness, but when you stop and observe everyone gets around calmly, it works because all cars and scooters travel at the same speed, no one stops at junctions (except traffic lights) they just pull out and as they’re going at the same speed they just merge together. Crazy or the perfect way to get around?

Learning about the Vietnam War and visiting the Viet Cong tunnels just north of Saigon was a great experience, going down into the tunnels gave a real feel of how determined the Viet Cong were!

The Vietnam War also known in Vietnam as Resistance War Against America took place in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from 1 November 1955 until 1975. It was fought between North Vietnam supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies and the government of South Vietnam supported by the United States and other anti-communist allies. The Viet Cong in the south fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The North Vietnamese Army engaged in a more conventional war. During the course of the war, the U.S. conducted a large scale bombing campaign against North Vietnam, and over time the North Vietnamese airspace became the most heavily defended in the world.

Hanoi my favourite SouthEast Asian city with its old colonial architecture, narrow streets and lively atmosphere was a pleasure to experience. Did I mention how beautiful the women are?

To the east of Hanoi is Halong Bay, a must visit place where limestone karsts and isles rise magically out of the sea.

The Vietnamese are so friendly, have wonderful smiles and enjoy life.

I hope to return to Vietnam.