This is the 'Top Gear Vietnam Special' route: Hanoi to Saigon on the Ho Chi Minh Highway. Pass over mountains and through jungles, before riding the serene coastal road, enjoying the views and spending your nights in quiet beach resorts.
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Pu Luong
We take the longer, more scenic route to get out of Hanoi and get used to the bikes. Following the Red and then Black Rivers before heading into the hills. We enter the lush Pu Luong Valley and stay in the more remote area away from the crowds.
Day 2: Pu Luong – Tan Ky
This is one of our longest days but it is not a difficult one. We head out of the nature reserve and then dead South along the QL15. we can take a couple of detours on smaller roads, time permitting but this is very much a day of getting to our destination. We end up in the tiny town of Tan Ky which is the start of the Ho Chi Minh trail. Our hotel is the biggest in town, very easy to find, and we eat in local restaurants on the roadside.
Day 3: Tan Ky – Phong Nha
We are now on the HCM Highway proper and things start to get more spectacular. It is a very long run down to Phong Nha so we have to be up and at ‘em early. So, an early breakfast and it is on the road toute suite. We follow the highway along the border with Laos and then around lunchtime we head a little West, more into the hills. There are lots of switchbacks as the road winds its way through the hills and this makes for great driving.
Day 4: Phong Nha (rest day)
After a few long days in the saddle, it is time for a welcome break. There are plenty of alternatives here in Phong Nha and you can choose from visiting the caves, zip-lining, taking a boat on the river, or just lounging around in the sun. Remember, to get some washing done.
Day 5: Phong Nha – Khe Sanh
We continue along the HCM Highway through the hills and it is more of the same. However, it doesn’t seem to get tiresome. The road winds through virgin forest and gets quite remote at times. We have enough fuel and a good mechanic so we are not concerned by this at all. You will see small hamlets occasionally and a few friendly children. Other than this, we are quite alone. At last. Khe Sanh is littered with military history and with luck we will have a little time to visit one or two places.
Day 6: Khe Sanh – Hue
Honda Future 125
The Honda Future is our most powerful semi-automatic motorbike, and makes for a surprisingly capable tourer.
fuel injected: easy to start and good throttle response
storage space beneath the seat
light and easy to maneuver
air cooled, 4 stroke, OHC
Bore X Stroke
52.4 x 57.9
carburettor / PGM-Fi
4 speed semi-auto
Wheels, Suspension and Brakes
Dimensions and Weight
1092 mm (H) x 711 mm (W) x 1962 mm (L)
Honda XR 150
The Honda XR 150 is the most popular dual sport in Vietnam for a reason: whether you’re riding a highway, a country road or a single track through the jungle, it’s built to handle anything the region has to throw at it.