OP
UTC

Hooked
Vespa LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 204
Location: Saigon VN, Westminter SoCalf
 
Hooked
Vespa LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 204
Location: Saigon VN, Westminter SoCalf
UTC quote
This is Part-2 of my road trip through Vietnam. It took longer then I thought to finish the write up, but I'm finally done. Again, from time to time I will edit the content of this tread as I get more info. Anyway, enjoy!

If you haven't seen Part-1, here's the link 800 Miles through Vietnam on a Vespa! (56k go take a shower)

Here's a bonus for you. I shot this video with my camera navigating through a busy part of Saigon at night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrsO_sSrHSg

We've arrived back to the city of Cao Lanh around 4pm after visiting the beach resort of Ha Tien. We were exhausted and our butts were numbed, not to mention I got a huge sun burn on my face. We have to rest up tonight and drive back up to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) the next day for the Tet New Year. Traditionally you would stay at home with the family for the Tet New Year, but me and Tanya wanted to experience the New Year in the big city. Tanya lived here all her life but she never knew what New Year was like in Saigon. She spent every New Year in Cao Lanh with the family, so this is a good opportunity for me and her to experience it for the first time together. The next day, after having breakfast, my mother-in-law tells me that I should visit the grandparents before we leave, since we won't be here for the New Year to see them. Again, it is a tradition that you visit all your relatives for the New Year. We thought that it would be great to go site seeing on the way to the grandparent and get more photos to share with our fellows MV members. We say good bye to our parents and start heading out.

The town we will be visiting is called My Tho or around here "Thi Tran My Tho". This is not the big city of My Tho or "Thanh Pho My Tho" that some are familiar with. It is spelled the same but is pronounced differently. Anyway, My Tho is very small and is located just outside of Cao Lanh. Tanya tells me that My Tho is part of Cao Lanh. There is two ways to get to My Tho from downtown Cao Lanh and we decided to take the longer route because it offered the best scenery. The other route is the highway we used to enter Cao Lanh( from Part-1). The place we are visiting is off the main road, and goes through endless fields of rice paddy.

This road will only fit one large automobile. We would have to ride on the dirt shoulder each time a car or truck comes by.
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Not too many people live in the area. Only a few wooded houses and the rice paddy tenders who lives in them.
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Tanya stops for a photo of the scenery.
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Miles and miles of rice paddy and not a house in site! The rice are so uniformed they look like a giant green carpet. The color is just unbelievable as if it was a glowing green.
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We pause on a small bridge for some more photos.
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This is what it looks like for the next several miles.
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After riding around site seeing, we finally arrived to our relative house. The house is located on the other side of a small river. The only way over the river is by a small man made bridge that looks like it was built out of scraps of wood. I told Tanya that I would ride the LX across, but she told me that I was too heavy(me and the LX), so I got off and walk across on foot, while she drove the LX across herself. Even by foot, the bridge creeks and shakes, let alone riding a scooter across it! Tanya assured me that she done this hundreds of time and on even bigger scooters. She said that in the 20 years she lived here, no one ever fell in, and she doesn't want me to be the first.

Tanya starts the climb up the bridge. You must not stop because the weight of the scooter will cause the planks of wood to crack, so you must keep a consistence speed, wow!
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Notice how the bridge sags from the weight of the LX? Scary stuff!
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Viewed from the top of the same bridge, at another time.
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After visiting the relatives, we walked over to Tanya grandparent's house. All of her relatives live right next to each other, how convenient! Here's her cousin playing with a bee hive on a branch. The black color is hundreds of bees, and the yellow is the honey!
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Saw 2 geckos getting it on while we were there!! Oh yeah!
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We spent only a few hours here and then start heading to the highway for Saigon. We wanted to get there before it gets dark. Again, Tanya won't let me cross the bridge on the LX.
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After coming down the bridge, Tanya is riding on gavel path toward a paved road ahead, while I go on by foot. The LX small tires can't handle the gravel road, and besides I don't feel like going for a swim in the rice paddy if you know what I mean.
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Starting from this point on, you will see the same road that was in Part-1 of this trip. We are just backtracking Highway-1 back to Saigon.

40 minutes from Cao Lanh and we see the An Huu Junction again. The right will take you to the town of My Thuan and left to the town of Trung Luong. We are taking the left route.
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On a long stretch of Highway-1, we are doing 50mph the whole way.
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An hour later we reach the Trung Luong Junction. Left goes to the city of My Tho. Right takes you to Long An. We will be going right of course.
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Coming up on a town of Tan An.
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Going up one of the many bridges crossing all the big rivers.
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On the way to Long An.
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Going through Long An.
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Coming up to the Long An junction. Remember this junction from Part-1 when we took a left to get on Highway-1 to leave Saigon? We have to visit the town of Thu Duc before we head to downtown Saigon(visit more relatives), so instead of turning right at the junction to go back to the southern part of Saigon, we are just going straight through the junction to go to the western part of the city.
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A few miles past the Long An junction, and coming up another big bridge.
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A few more miles and we are greeted by a sign that welcomes us to the district of Binh Tan. This district is part of Saigon, which is on the western part of the city. We will be going right to leave the highway.
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This road will also take you to downtown Saigon.
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After weaving through a few more districts on inside streets, we've reached the district of Binh Treu which is on the northern part of the Saigon. We go over the Binh Treu bridge that crosses the Saigon River. Coming down the bridge, we come upon the Binh Duong-Thu Duc Junction. We will be going left to Thu Duc. This small road follows the one and only rail road track in southern Vietnam.
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About eight miles on this small road, we've reached the town of Thu Duc. Thu Duc is considered a district of Saigon too, but it's big enough to be its own city. Maybe someday it will become a city. This is where I was born and lived until I was four years old. That's when I immigrated to the U.S. I still have many cousins and relative that lives in this town. Here's a little bit of fact for you; if you ever watched the movie "Three Seasons" which was released about eight years ago at the Sundance Festival (It was a winner of the festival too!), you will see this town in the scene of the cyclo race.

Thu Duc market intersection. This is a 5 street intersection.
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After making a few quick stops to visit my uncles and aunts, we start to head back to downtown Saigon.

Going up a hill and heading for Highway-1. Up ahead by the blue truck on the left of the picture is the school that I attended in 1st and 2nd grade.
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Back on Highway-1 and heading toward Saigon. We are actually traveling south on Highway-1 entering the northern part of the city. This stretch of Highway-1 is pretty busy with big container trucks.
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Going up the Saigon Bridge over the Saigon River. Those people you see on their motorbikes and scooters in the left express lanes are actually breaking the law.
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Entering Saigon and heading for downtown. As noted by the blue overhead signs, automobile must use the outer left express lanes and motorbikes and scooter must use the inner right road.
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The closer we get to downtown the more crowded it becomes.
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I wonder if he is a member of MV?
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On the way to the hotel, we drove by the Nguyen Hue Street Flower Festival display. They are still working on the décor, so no one is allowed to enter the area just yet.
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I like to let you all know that from this point on of my journey, there is not much about Vespa or scooters. The following pictures are to show you what it is like here in Vietnam on New Year. It is also one of my objectives when me and Tanya set out to go on this trip, and this is the end of the 5 day trip.

We reached our hotel and checked in at about 5pm. The hotel is on Nguyen Trai street near District-1 of the Benh Thanh area. We wanted to stay near the festival area, so that we can just walk to the Nguyen Hue Street if the street becomes too congested on New Year eve. After we cleaned up and took a short nap, we got ourselves ready and headed out to join our friends for the New Year Eve. Me and Tanya stop for a quick bite and drove to the famous Cho Benh Thanh (Benh Thanh Market) intersection where we will park our Vespa and walk from that point on, because it will be impossible or crazy to ride you scooter into the festival area.

Tet New Year Eve in Saigon. This year the Tet New Year or Chinese New Year falls on February 17, following the lunar calendar. Each year they would close down a street and set up a huge festival of flowers for the New Year. This year the festival takes place on Nguyen Hue Street. It's a big four lane boulevard that is used for automobiles only. That's why they called it the Nguyen Hue Street Flower Festival. Why flower festival? Because here in Vietnam and other Asian countries, New Year marks the beginning of spring, and spring is usually when the flower blooms. They would build extravagant displays and landscaping in the middle of the boulevard. The landscaping has thousands of flowers from all over the world. The landscaping is also accented by a Chinese Zodiac animal, and this year is the Year of the Pig. Everything is for display only and nothing is for sale. Along the festival route are loudspeakers pumping out spring theme music. Each fancy hotel along the festival route will have their own New Year displays and special events. They will also hold special shows and presentations on the route each day leading up to the New Year. Like most other countries in the world, they will have a big firework show at the stroke of midnight. Most of the big cities in Vietnam will have their own festival, but it seems that Saigon has the best of all. This is my first time visiting the festival and I just have to say WOW! If any of you ever get the chance, you must come here for the Tet New Year. Please enjoy the pictures.

This is the An Dong Plaza that we drove by on the way to the Festival.
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This is the flower market where everyone goes to buy flower and plants to decorate their house for the New Year. Although this is just a market, it was so big and colorful it could rival the Flower Festival itself!
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This is the famous Benh Thanh Market intersection. As you can see, it is beginning to get extremely congested with New Year revelers.
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As we get closer to the Festival, the street is just impossible to get through, so we parking the Vespa at a paid parking lot and go on by foot. Honey...you remembered where we parked right?
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The lighting and festival displays on Le Loi Street.
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These folks are trying to get through with their scooters and motorbikes. They're not going anywhere in this traffic!
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More traffic jams
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After half a mile of walking on Le Loi Street, we've reached Nguyen Hue Street intersection.

On one corner is the Rex Hotel
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The Saigon Tax Trade Center on the other corner.
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An view of the the parliament building from the intersection.
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Walking by The Duxton Hotel. They are having a dragon dance.
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Now we enter the Nguyen Hue Street Tet New Year Flower Festival. The theme this year is Pigs, for Year of the Pig.
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Pigs everywhere!
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Some snap shot along the festival route. It was elbow to elbow.
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They managed to put a rice paddy in the middle of Nguyen Hue Street in the middle of the city! Amazing!
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This is end of the Nguyen Hue Street by the Saigon River. Those hanging displays are giant real kites.
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We met up with my little brother and our friends at the end of the festival route around 11pm. This is where they are going to shoot off the fireworks. We still have another hour to spare before the New Year count down, so we thought we hit up a bar that was near by. The bar was called 17, and it's right on the banks of the Saigon River. It had a Wild West cowboy theme. I was surprised to see that the majority of the guess in this bar were western tourist. They had a live band jamming with the latest tunes.
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Tanya and the girls just having fun.
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10 minutes til the New Year count down and we went outside to get a spot for the firework show. There must have been a million people here on Ton Duc Thang Street by the river banks.
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Happy New Year!! Watching the fireworks at the stroke of midnight at the Bac Dang dock on the Saigon River.
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After all this, me and Tanya just wanted kick back and enjoy the rest of our stay in Saigon.
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I just wanted to add this note. I wanted to thanks Max of Motorsport Scooters for hooking me up with performance parts for the Vespa LX150. He got me the Malossi 190cc cylinder kit, Multivar variator, Delta clutch, Kevlar belt, Sito Plus, and Bitubo for the front and rear. I can say for sure that no LX150 in the Saigon area have this kind of equipment. The next time you see Tanya on this scooter, it will be a different beast!
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Well that is all. Thank you all for having the patience to joining me and Tanya on our trip. I am already planning my next trip through this beautiful country. Until then, I will have to return to reality.
⚠️ Last edited by vinavespa on UTC; edited 2 times
@benito avatar
UTC

Moderator
2010 Dragon Red GTS 300 Super, 2018 Grigio Titanio Piaggio Liberty S 150
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Location: Toronto, Canada, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
 
Moderator
@benito avatar
2010 Dragon Red GTS 300 Super, 2018 Grigio Titanio Piaggio Liberty S 150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 16296
Location: Toronto, Canada, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Beautiful photos, thanks for taking the time to share them with us. I've never been in a scooter traffic jam. Usually here having a scooter keeps us out of traffic jams. I don't know if I could ride my scooter over that wooden foot bridge though, I'd be scared of falling off!
@nxtson avatar
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Member
GT 125
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Location: Hochiminh City-Vietnam
 
Member
@nxtson avatar
GT 125
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Location: Hochiminh City-Vietnam
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Come on, guys. Visit Vietnam, take a trip with scooter. It's must be your interisting memories.
@cindy avatar
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Molto Verboso
2006 Vespa LX150
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Molto Verboso
@cindy avatar
2006 Vespa LX150
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Awesome pics! Was that bridge as rickety as it looked?
@oldhighway7 avatar
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Molto Verboso
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Molto Verboso
@oldhighway7 avatar
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Thank you for the pictures. Your country is truly beautiful and the shots from the scooter vantage point is great. Thanks, again.
@quasi-moto avatar
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
SawStop
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
@quasi-moto avatar
SawStop
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Great pictures, I really enjoyed that!

Len
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1978 P200E, 1963 GS 160
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Beautiful pics and story. Thanks!
@suit_scoot avatar
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Ossessionato
Vespa GTS 250ie, and a GO-PED hehe!
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@suit_scoot avatar
Vespa GTS 250ie, and a GO-PED hehe!
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idd never get my gts over that bridge then. it looks seriously dangerous that. tanya has balls of steel.
@lomunchi avatar
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
2020 Honda NC750DCT
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
@lomunchi avatar
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UTC quote
Absolutely fantastic story. I say submit it to be published in one of the scooter magazines along with your pictures. Excellent.

Considering that bridge, Tanya's beauty is exceeded by her bravery!!!!

Now go someplace else exciting and write it up again for us. I really enjoy your stories!
@jkerstinj avatar
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Molto Verboso
Vespa ET4
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Molto Verboso
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Vespa ET4
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Thanks twice as much for part II. I would have looked at that bridge and said, "you must be nuts if you think I am going to ride my Vespa over that What The? emoticon "

Great pictures and story. Thanks again.

Janine
@bricktop avatar
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Hooked
PX 125...got me a scoot finally!!
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PX 125...got me a scoot finally!!
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stunning pics 8)
@joechase avatar
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GTS - Razors Edge
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Location: Austin TX!
 
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Location: Austin TX!
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wow. i wish it was that easy to travel abroad and bring the scooter along.
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
Reprehensible Misinformant
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Quite a travel-logue!
Firstly, thanks for taking the time to share your fantastic journey with the rest of us! I'm certain that took almost as much time to write and post, as it did to experience it.

Viet-nam has been on my short-list of places to go for a long while. I like the food (and that of Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Italy, blah, blah, blah. Yup, I like food from everywhere!) the people, the scenery, and now I want to SCOOT Viet Nam, thanks to your post. As a former vintage rider, scooters and Viet Nam in the same sentence, often have had a negative connotation, but I think you have changed that!

I'm curious (and forgive me if I read this and don't remember ) if renting a scooter is do-able while there. Especially one reliable and comfortable enough to do something similar to what you did? Your journey looks to be once in a lifetime for many of us, frankly I think i'd rather scoot Viet nam than say, Italy after seeing your trip. Any practical insight you might have would be interesting. Thanks again.
@pat avatar
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GT200 "the blue hybiscus", BV350 "green giant"
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Thank you so much for sharing your adventure. Beautiful pictures, beautiful place. What a memory for you I am sure.

Pat
@ariw22 avatar
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wow.. just, wow! so beautiful!!! thank you so much!
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Fantastic pictures and write up.
I look forward to being there sometime.
( it's another one of the reasons that I took up scootering)
OP
UTC

Hooked
Vespa LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 204
Location: Saigon VN, Westminter SoCalf
 
Hooked
Vespa LX150
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Posts: 204
Location: Saigon VN, Westminter SoCalf
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Thanks again everyone for the kind words. It was a pleasure to share with you the experience. I can say for sure that I will be taking more trips like this, and share it with you all.
nxtson wrote:
Come on, guys. Visit Vietnam, take a trip with scooter. It's must be your interisting memories.
Scootin Vietnam should be a must on everyone to do list! Sorry I did not get to meet you NXTSON. As you can see, I was a little busy
Cindy wrote:
Awesome pics! Was that bridge as rickety as it looked?
It is! The bridge would bounce when you walk across it. The planks of wood are basicly scraps of woods like that on a pallet. Scooters with small wheels such as the Vespa must not stop on the bridge because the small tires would put too much weight on a single plank of wood and may cause it to crack.
suit scoot wrote:
idd never get my gts over that bridge then. it looks seriously dangerous that. tanya has balls of steel.
I think she just has Buns of Steel
lomunchi wrote:
Considering that bridge, Tanya's beauty is exceeded by her bravery!!!!
The people living around this area didn't think it was a feat of bravery, they travel this bridge several times a day. Believe it or not, there was a line of 6 scooters behind Tanya while this picture was taken. They were taking turns crossing the bridge. One scooter even had 3 person on it! Most of them aren't automatics like the LX150, so you have to work the gears while climbing the bridge. Here's a picture of a couple going over the same bridge.
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mattgordon wrote:
I'm curious (and forgive me if I read this and don't remember ) if renting a scooter is do-able while there. Especially one reliable and comfortable enough to do something similar to what you did? Your journey looks to be once in a lifetime for many of us, frankly I think i'd rather scoot Viet nam than say, Italy after seeing your trip. Any practical insight you might have would be interesting. Thanks again.
Yes, you can rent a scooter and there are many place that rents them. My brother who is living there tells me you can even rent new and vinatge Vespa. It's rather easy to get around in Vietnam on a scooter. In fact, I met a couple from Australia at a rest stop on the way to the town of Ha Tien (Part-1) and they were riding their rented scooter with each a backpack. Just find a good map and choose a place you want to go. Then hop on your scooter and start riding. Stop and ask for directions when you get lost. You don't have to know Vietnamese to ask for directions. just go to any intersection and you will find a group of guys sitting and chillin on their scooter. These guys are what they called "Xe Om" which are like scooter taxi. Open the map, and point where on the map you want to go. They will reply with a smile and point which way to go without barely speaking a word. They are always happy to see tourist. I have a friend who once said, screw the map, I just want to get lost! Just don't get lost at night cuz the mosquitos would carry you away! If you're thirsty or hungry on the way, there are stops every few miles. The thing you must watchout for is the big vehicles that share the road with the scooter. Ride your scooter in the designated lane and don't drive too fast if you are not familiar with the road you are on. Believe it or not, the cops here tend not to give tourist a hardtime, you can almost say they are watching out for you. After all, you are a guess who is bring $$$ to the economy.
@old_pink avatar
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Vespa LX50
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Absolutley love the white/beige combination.
@cynner avatar
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'06 LX150
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Clap emoticon Clap emoticon Clap emoticon Clap emoticon Clap emoticon
@jacqui avatar
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2005 PX150 Limited Edition
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Thank you so much! That was facinating.

jacqui
@nukie avatar
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GTS250 "Atomic Blast", GT200 Blue and White "Alfie", SQREAM Scooter Club
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@nukie avatar
GTS250 "Atomic Blast", GT200 Blue and White "Alfie", SQREAM Scooter Club
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UTC quote
Thanks for sharing this great scooter adventure. Besides the wooden bridge crossing, my favorite part was seeing the scooter traffic jam on New Year's Eve. Can you imagine having so many scooters on the street that you could create a traffic jam with them? Someday.
@beale avatar
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Ossessionato
None! I sold it :(
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Location: Burlington NC
 
Ossessionato
@beale avatar
None! I sold it :(
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Location: Burlington NC
UTC quote
Thank you! I really enjoyed your journey, and the pictures were great. I would love to have the chance to come over and visit your country some day, Beale.
⬆️    About 6 years elapsed    ⬇️
@samsico avatar
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Piaggio BV350 ABS/ASR - Fly 150 ie
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Piaggio BV350 ABS/ASR - Fly 150 ie
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Location: Sydney, Australia
UTC quote
Very nice story and photos , can't wait to see the next journey. Thank you for sharing the amazing journey in Vietnam I love to go there.
⬆️    About 1 year elapsed    ⬇️
UTC

Member
Vespa excel 150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 12
Location: viet nam
 
Member
Vespa excel 150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 12
Location: viet nam
UTC quote
Thank you for your photo
@bob_copeland avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2022 Kymco AK 550
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3576
Location: Minneapolis USA
 
Ossessionato
@bob_copeland avatar
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2022 Kymco AK 550
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3576
Location: Minneapolis USA
UTC quote
Scooten Vietnam
Wonderful pictures and narrative. You really should travel Asia
and do a photo travel book. Wow, just excellent. It also gave
me a real close up look at a beautiful country.

Bob Copeland
Minnesota USA
@claude avatar
UTC

Addicted
Steeellaaa!!
Joined: UTC
Posts: 948
Location: Canada
 
Addicted
@claude avatar
Steeellaaa!!
Joined: UTC
Posts: 948
Location: Canada
UTC quote
Wooow. I was in Vietnam ten years ago. It was one of the few places on earth that really looked like the post cards. I loved it.
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