I’m in the central Vietnamese city of Hue and today I bought a moped for £100 ($151) which I will endeavor to ride all the way to Ha Long Bay in the far north of the country. It’s a road trip of some 1000 Kilometres along some of the craziest roads in the entire world. If nothing else, the next few days will be interesting, but what I’m hoping for is that this will be a road trip to remember for all the right reasons.

My 2004 Yamaha Nouvo

Last year, I steered various rented mopeds and motorbikes around the streets and dirt tracks of various Asian countries. Along the way I got the idea that it might be fun to embark on a little two-wheeled adventure at some point.

The trek from Hue to Hay Long Bay in Vietnam wasn’t really what I had in mind, I was thinking of a road trip that was far more ambitious. However, I’ve come to Vietnam and taken a bus from the Mekong Delta to Saigon, a train from Saigon to Hue, so it seems only fitting that in this country of motorbikes I should finish my journey north on two wheels.

Simon Jones on the roadI set myself the challenge of finding a bike for just 3.2 million Vietnamese Dong, which is £100 ($151). With the help of a local friend here in Hue I managed to find a suitable bike and haggle the dealer down to my £100 budget. I could have spent more, but half the challenge was to see if I could get to Hay Long Bay on a £100 motorbike!

In fact, while I am no expert, the motorbike seems pretty decent. It’s a 2004 110cc fully automatic Yamaha Nouvo. It has just over fifty thousand kilometres on the clock (31 thousand miles) and has been well looked after if the dealer is to be believed (but really, who believes a dealer?).

So tomorrow, with practically no planning, and no decent map, I’m going to head out onto the road and ride north. That might sound crazy and even a little foolish, and I dare say it is, but this is hardly the first time I’ve done something like this.

A big part of the challenge will be carrying my luggage, which is always a tiresome chore even when I am dragging it around in more conventional places. I’ve bought a giant plastic bag to put it in, and some flexible ropes to tie it to the bike. However, if the worst comes to the worst, I can actually wear it as a backpack.

The forecast for the coming days looks fairly good. There will be rain which I won’t enjoy, but I will try to not ride in the rain, and I also do not plan riding at night.

Just married in Hue

I have no idea how long this will take, but I’m going to attempt to blog the journey, so stay tuned. You can also follow me on twitter, and a map too.

Vietnam is a beautiful country. It’s roads are shockingly hectic, but the landscape is often times simply majestic. I’m hoping the weather will be good to me in the coming days, but either way I have a feeling this is going to be yet another road trip to remember.

Hue sunset

Slow Road to Hanoi – Day 1
Read my tips about touring Vietnam on a motorbike