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CYCLING IN LAOS & NORTHERN VIETNAM- NOVEMBER 2010

Tue, 06/08/2010 - 14:41

I would like to get to know at least some of my fellow cyclists before the Laos trip as I will not be joinging you in London for the flight to Hanoi. I shall be staying/working in Hong Kong. However, I do intend to spend a few more days in Hanoi before starting the cycling adventure.

My last EXODUS trip was the "Cycle Indochina & Angkor" which was a fantastic experience. 

Looking forward to hearing/sharing with my fellow traveller............   

Anonymous
Wed, 07/14/2010 - 22:23

Yeh i'm also going on this trip, I'm really looking forward to it.

I've done 1 previous trip with exodus which was also 'Cycle Indochina & Ankor', it was a splendid trip-I loved it all.

Janie

Thu, 07/22/2010 - 14:20

Many thanks for responding...........

I have just been to LONDON to submit my visa application. NOTE THAT THE PRICE HAS BEEN INCREASED TO £44.00.

Due to my flight from Hong Kong I now intend to spend an extra seven days in Hanoi including an overnight stay in Halong Bay recommended by my brother. I have also arranged an extra night in  Bangkok.

Have you started training yet in preparation for our cycling adventure. Im trying to get on my bike at least twice a week as well as swimming.

Hope to hear from you again ...............

 

 

 

Anonymous
Sat, 07/31/2010 - 23:22

Hiya Brian

I just did a cycle along the south downs with a friend, we were camping so had tents etc to carry. Very hard work, first day & a half NOT fun. But after that really enjoyed it until my friend nearly knocked his head off, ambulance etc. All turned out ok, but I'm having an easy couple of weeks now. Then I will be cycling 2 or 3 times a week. Train on some hills rather than distance I'm thinking, what do you reckon. If you're staying in Hong Kong at least you can get used to heat and humidity.

Speak soon   Janie

Anonymous
Mon, 08/02/2010 - 23:25

Hi Brian and Janie.  I'm actually doing the Indochina and Angkor trip first at the end of October (glad to hear you both rate it) and then have a week to get from Saigon to Hanoi on my own.  No idea yet how I'm going to do that but I guess I'll be in Hanoi for a couple of days before the trip starts. Will let you know when things are a bit clearer. 

I've done cycling trips with Exodus before but not in Asia.  Everyone tells me this part of the world is amazing.

Janie, sorry I won't be at Heathrow!

Bridget

Hi Janie & Bridget ~ appologies for not responding sooner but manic time with family wedding, christening and numerous visitors but now back to normal I think!!!! Janie pleased that your camping adventure turned out ok despite the nasty accident. My daughter and her family go camping and have tried to coerce me to join them but I now enjoy a bit of comfort in my old age ha.ha. But despite all the distractions I have still been cycling and swimming (open air lido) and have also been climbing/cutting down (trimming) trees its great fun but hard work.

Collected my vietnamese visa last week - make sure you double check the dates on application form. Last visit delayed for one of the party because his visa was not valid until the day after - so you have been warned.

Bridget - lots of places of interest in Siagon(HCM CITY) but you must visit the SaiGon SaiGon (roof)bar at the Caravelle Hotel with live music and fantastic ice cream. I stayed at the HUONG SEN hotel which was nice but in need of a face lift - Exodus have used this hotel in the past and they do a nice breakfast.......

My brother frequently visits Vietnam as his girlfriend lives in Siagon so if you guys want any further help with accommodation or whatever please ask.

Hanoi - have already booked hotel through AGODA (agency) for the week prior to cycling holiday. Decided to use Anise Hotel which comes highly recommended. 

Hope all is well with you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian 

Anonymous
Tue, 08/24/2010 - 13:47

I'm on the trip too! I've done lots of trips with Exodus before, but usually walking and trekking - this is my first cycling trip. Its also my first trip to this part of the world - I can't wait!

I'm on the group flight so I hope some others are too - its good to start to get to know people at the airport.

Nicola

 

 

Anonymous
Tue, 08/24/2010 - 18:56

Dear all

Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

Brian - thanks for the travel advice on visas, hotels and, most importantly, a good bar!  I'll try to book the Anise Hotel in Hanoi as well and expect to be there a couple of days before the trip starts.  I'm also hoping to go to Halong Bay.

 Janie - in terms of training I'm no expert, but suspect you should try to go for building both strength and stamina, so alternate short, sharp trips up and down a couple of hills (depending where you live) with longer, flatter trips.  Also, make sure you take isotonic drinks like Lucozade Sport.  If you use drinks like Gatorade that you mix yourself from powder then don't put them in a Camelbak as they gum up the tube, it goes mouldy and then you have to buy a new tube (personal experience). Apologies if you know that already.

 Nicola - sorry I won't be at Heathrow but at least Janie will be.

 Cheers, Bridget

 

Anonymous
Wed, 09/29/2010 - 16:29

Hi all,

I'm on the trip as well - hoping to get there a few days before as well (TBC by work). Can't remember who is doing the Indochina / Ankor one but I did it last year and it was fabulous. Is the Anise Hotel the Exodus meeting point for the start of the trip?

I think the first one there should find a good bar.

Les

Hi Les ~ see above. Bridget is doing the Indo/China trip which is fantastc and is then making her own way to Hanoi via Halong Bay where hopefully we may meet up. I'm staying in the Anise hotel in Hanoi from Sunday 07/11/10 to Sunday 14/11/10 which is much cheaper and comes highly recommended by my brother. This is not the Exodus hotel as they are using the ATS 33B Pham Ngu Lao Street. I shall also be booking a 3 day trip to Halong Bay(Tues-Thurs) with Ocean Tours which includes kayaking, cycling, lots of swimming and relaxation. Will be back in Hanoi on Thursday and going to the "Jazz Club" in the evening..................good bar!!!!

Anonymous
Thu, 09/30/2010 - 10:05

Hi Brian

I am in the process of changing my flight - will be arriving on Tuesday 9th Nov I think. Will have a think about hotel options & a trip to Halong Bay. I should be around Thurs eve but certainly Fri / Sat.
Do they speak good English at the Anise if I call for a booking? Do you know tel. number?
@ Bridget - best options for getting to Hanoi are train / plane (buses are entertaining / cheap but very exhausting & bumpy over long distances - I learnt the hard way!). The Indo China trip is really great - have a good time!

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 13:02

Hi Les ~ please be advised that I booked the ANISE hotel through AGODA. Also they speak excellent english at the ANISE. Hope this helps.........

Anonymous
Fri, 10/01/2010 - 12:48

Hi Brian;
Booked the Anise (22 Quan Thanh St) on Expedia eventually; it is half the price of the ATS where we meet on the 14th! Am arriving Tuesday 9th-14th; no plans yet but will def be around Fri / Saturday if you want to meet up.
Les

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 13:23

Pleased that you saved yourself some money thats a pint you owe me!!!! Yes it will be good to meet up some time in Hanoi................

Anonymous
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 15:14

No worries about the beer - thanks for the help. A couple more questions: Are you checking out of the hotel for your Halong Bay trip & then checking in again? Can you do it in a day or 2 days? Btw - I am 5' 9, 10 stone, goatee, brown hair - er, that's about it. Will try and decide what I am doing before you leave so we can catch up.

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 16:10

As detailed above I have booked a 3 day trip to Halong Bay with OCEAN TOURS which includes island cruising, kayaking, cycling, trekking in the national park, swimming and relaxing and thats just on the first day ha.ha. (joke). I do not intend to vacate my hotel room during my Halong Bay trip as it would incur a lot of messing about/grief. Its just not worth it!!! Also the cost of the hotel is very cheap. Im sure we will eventually catch up at the hotel sometime especially now that you have given me a frightening description - another joke. In the meantime I hope you and Janie, Bridget and Nicola are looking foward to our joint adventure...........

Anonymous
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 23:01

Brian, Les. Thanks for the tips and ideas about where to stay in Hanoi and what to do in Halong Bay. I've been meaning to reply but life has been a bit frenetic. At some point I'll get round to sorting out how I'm going to get to Halong Bay but will definitely try to book something with Ocean Tours and also the Anisa Hotel. Will let you know what when I've done it. In any case, I expect to be in the Anisa on the Friday and Saturday nights. Not sure about Thursday until I've worked out my travel plans. I'm on a course this week away from home so free time is a bit short but hoping to do some cycling in the gym if nothing else. Looking forward to the trip very much and great to make contact beforehand. Best wishes, Bridget

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 08:52

Having finally got round yesterday to booking the Halong Bay trip with OCEAN TOURS they have this morning informed me that their OCEAN BAY RESORT is closed until December for maintenance. They have offerd me an alternative two day cruise but I think I may decline. Will have to look for an alternative provider this week ~ watch this space!!!!

Dont worry about your travel arrangements as you still have plenty of time to consider your mode of transport fbetween HCMCity and Hanoi just as long as your in Hanoi by the 14th ha.ha. Whatever you decide be SAFE and looking forward to meeting up with you and the others wherever..................

Anonymous
Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:52

Hi Brian, Bridget,
I have a very vague plan as follows:
9th,10th - arrive, sleep, sightsee
11th,12th - maybe goto Halong Bay (depends on jetlag)
13th/14th - look around Hanoi & meet up with everyone
Let me know what you both decide - maybe catch up for a drink on the Friday eve? Will be staying at the Anise the whole time & will leave my stuff for the night if I goto Halong Bay.

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 17:43

Please note that I have provisionally booked an alternative tour with OCEAN TOURS called "DELUXE CRUISE AWAY" 3 day tour which includes kayaking, trekking, swimming and hopefully lots of relaxation but no cycling. Although cycling can be arranged as an optional extra for a "fist full of dollars"......

My itinerary is as follows (OCEAN TOUR dates still to be confirmed):~

Sun 07/11/10 ~ HONG KONG TO HANOI(7:05PM)
Mon 08/11/10 ~ explore old quarter etc
Tues 09/11/10 ~ OCEAN TOUR - HALONG BAY
Wed 10/11/10 ~ HALONG BAY/CAT BA ISLAND & NATIONAL PARK trek
Thurs 11/11/10 ~ HALONG BAY return to HANOI
Fri 12/11/10 ~ City Tour incl HCM mausoleum complex, presidential palace, Hanoi Hilton etc
Sat 13/11/10 ~ Trek along Red River
Sun 14/11/10 ~ visit local parks and transfer to group hotel ATS 33B Pham Ngu Lao Street

Noi Bai airport - if you decide to take a taxi to ANISI hotel make sure you go to the official taxi desk in the airport. When you have paid and received your ticket they will escort you to the official taxi rank.

Whatever you guys decide to enjoy yourselves and be safe.............

Anonymous
Mon, 10/25/2010 - 15:03

Hi Brian
How / where did you book your Ocean Tours trip (are they any good)? If I go; I will be heading back to Hanoi on the Friday as well - I'll probably see how the jetlag goes before booking anything - anyway I need to go and have a think about doing some training, speak later.
Les

Anonymous
Mon, 10/25/2010 - 20:22

Nicky and I are really looking forward to the trip, and will be joining the group flight from Heathrow . I'll look out fellow cyclists with Exodus Luggage Tags
Cheers Paul

Anonymous
Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:02

Brian Mclean

Anonymous
Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:10

Brian Mclean
started to post a couple of times but keep getting interrupted ! Not long now.
I am departing Heathrow on 12 Nov with Thai and booked into the ATS hotel for night of 13th.May try and find the "Jazz Club" that evening.

Seeing as there is another "Brian" on the group will answer to "Mac" and other sundry expletives.

Look forward to meeting you all.

Mac

Wed, 10/27/2010 - 09:45

Sorry havent got back to you sooner but have been busy attending a conference in Hong Kong. Regarding OCEAN TOURS - you will be aware that I have booked the 3 day deluxe cruise which includes kayaking etc - see above. I checked out the company website and they seem ok but was concerned when they asked for a photocopy of my credit card. I would suggest that you do not provide such information. I will check them out again on the 08/11/2010 when Im in Hanoi. Hope this helps!!!!!!

Anonymous
Sat, 11/06/2010 - 13:09

Have just finished my first trip from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) via Cambodia. The trip was brilliant and the leader is going to be our leader in N Vietnam and Laos too which is good news. Not sure how much cooler and drier the weather will be further north and in the hills but throughout our trip it was really hot and humid and we drank litres of water so if you haven't got a Camelbak or something similar you should really consider getting one so you can drink on the move. Also note that everything is really cheap here but it is difficult to get much money out of the ATMs as they either don't co-operate or have really low limits like $50 at a time, so bringing cash in dollars is a good idea.

For those of you in Vietnam before the trip starts, my plans have now firmed up. I am making my way to Hanoi via Dalat where I'm doing some cycling, trekking and kayaking and then I'm going to Hoi Ann. I should arrive in Hanoi on Friday afternoon and it would be great to meet up on Friday evening in the Jazz Club. Let me know when you might be there. I am also staying at the Anise so you could try leaving a note at reception. My surname is Walker.

I may go to Halong Bay on Saturday, overnight and back to Hanoi on Sunday as we have all day in Hanoi on Monday as well. Apparently there are lots of companies doing boat trips so I'm going to look on the web. Any suggestions in addition to Ocean Tours gratefully received.

Looking forward to meeting you all in Hanoi.

Bridget

Thu, 11/11/2010 - 13:33

Bridget - looking forward to meeting up with you at the ANISE hotel tomorrow and is really comfortable and I'm using their computer suite to send you this message. I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the INDO-CHINA trip and you now seem ready for the next Loas/N.VIETNAME adventure. I've just returned from a 3 day trip to  HA LONG Bay and it was great and I can recommend OCEN TOURS because they were just great. They are a little more expensive than others but they provide a quality service with lots of fresh seafood if thats your delight but other food is also available. Please note that the journey to H.Bay is four hours each way. I met Les this evening at the hotel and if your still keen to go to HBay you may like a travelling companion as Les has also expressed an interest in going to H.Bay. But suggest we can discuss tomorrow when we meet at the ANISE hotel. Just take care whilst travelling and again we are looking forward to meeting up tomorrow. For your information Les is in room 502 and I'm in room 406 ........Brian 

Anonymous
Fri, 11/12/2010 - 03:03

Hi.  Thanks for the message.  My flight is due in at 15.35.  See you at the Anise.  Bridget

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 03:26

Bridget - msg received, see you later. Make sure you avoid the taxi touts at airport and get an "AIRPORT TAXI" cost is still US$15...............

Anonymous
Fri, 11/12/2010 - 04:02

Should have said I am no longer keen on going to Halong Bay this time as it will all be a bit of a rush.  I'm keen on coming back to do the other road trip (Saigon to Hanoi) so I would do Halong Bay then.  Tell Les he should go ahead and book without me if he wants to go.  See you later.

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