Cycling Vietnam - leaving London 27 March 2010

Hi

As this is my first Exodus holiday I wanted to touch base with anyone doing this event prior to travelling and hopefully break the ice a little before meeting in Vietnam.  Hope to hear back from someone soon.

Regards

Ali

Hi

I got my passport back today plus a note asking for a further £7,00 as the visa charge went up in January. I had use the trip notes for the visa details when I booked the trip in October. I am really impressed that they sent it back without full payment!

Another 6 inches of snow yestreday and it is still snowing. The snow which fell in December through to early Feb was very dry but this stuff is very wet and slushy I expect there will be flooding any day now!

I got my passport back today with a note asking for a further £7.00 as the visa fees went up in January. I used the trip notes for the visa information when I booked in October so am really impressed that they sent  me my passport without full payment.

We had 5 inches of snow yesterday and it is still snowing with snow warnings for Central Scotland tonight. We have had snow since mid Decmber until early Feb. and here is more!!!

Only 29 days to go

Allister

hope they have done the same with mine and sarah's then as sounds like we probably did the same thing re. the fee. They cashed the cheque over a week ago, so fingers crossed all will be in order and we can just send them some more money! Guess I will see in the morning!

Don't think I've ever seen snow like this year! At least we haven't got any more here in the South....can't wait for that feeling when we step off the plane in Saigon where the hot air hits you.....

Don't know why there is three messages from me!!!!!!!!!!

only sent one

Allister

SusanandBoyd

I thought I counted 4, Allister - sad thing is, I read them all to check they were the same!!  And they were!!

Shame about the snow - not too badly affected here on the West coast, but still not sufficiently warm to tempt Susan to try her new saddle.  Anyway, off to a spin class this morning with the thought that 4 weeks today we are off to KL and Saigon!!  All stocked up with Deet and mossy nets for the beds just in case.....

Boyd

 

Yay, now in possession of a visa! And a bill for another £6 to be sent to the embassy!

Bought new camelbak today and got a bit distracted by a pair of 3/4 length trousers in Next, which I couldn't help but buy!

Now just to decide how much cash to take with me - thinking $300 in a money belt, with 2 cards for cash points en-route if/when needed. What are others thinking?

Hi all! I think I will be No.8 in the group? Only just joined the Forum - will be meeting you all on the tour in Vietnam on the Sunday as flying over from Hong Kong (where I live). Nice to meet you all!

Bel 

SusanandBoyd

Welcome to the group!!  Look forward to meeting you in Saigon.  What's the weather like out there?  That's a silly question, I know, but most of us here have been struggling to get outdoor bike-time in due to the prolonged cold weather so a little reassurance that it is not snowing in the Far East would be a great comfort to us!!

Boyd

 

Hi Boyd!

Weather here in HK pretty hot n sticky right now (about 26 deg C) - I know in Vietnam it will be even hotter tho! I can imagine it must be hard to get your head around cycling in 30 degrees plus, after the winter you've had in the UK! Still, it's gonna be great fun I'm sure and you'll have a day or so to acclimatize. Having said all that I've been doing most of my training so far in the aircon gym across the road, so not quite ready for the real thing yet either......

Bel 

SusanandBoyd

Another one for you, Bel - as you are as near to "local" as we have so far.....

What's your advice about Malaria prophylaxis?  We are being told that where we will be is a low risk area so malaria tablets are not required.  Does that agree with your advice out there?

Boyd

 

HI Bel

Looking forward to meeting you.  It's still snowning here and the temp is -1 I cant remember what grass looks like!!

Allister

How many copies this time!!!!

Hi again,

Hmmmm, Malaria tablets.....well I have been living in and traveling around Asia for the past 10 years on and off and I have never taken them myself to be honest. You're right, we are going to fairly low-risk areas and I hear that the side-effects to taking the medication for some people can be pretty severe, so you have to consider this as well. Personally, I won't be taking them but I can check on advice from my local GP here and get back to you again.......

Hippoali

Hi Bel

Welcome on board, as no doubt Boyd and Susan will agree, we are now the magnificent 8!!!  Not so sure I should really welcome someone who will be more aclimatised than the rest of us though :-)  Boyd, will Susan ever check out her gel seat before going - I've not as yet been tempted to get one but then I do have lots of padded bits I can layer upon layer.  Glad to hear everyone needs to be sorted with their visas.  Re amounts taking out there, I think £300 dollars will be lots according to my friend who has just returned.  Apparently you can get a great meal for 2/3 dollars if you eat in local places.  As per Boyd's earlier tip, have ditched cycle shoes and went out yesterday and purchased some hard soled walking shoes - just need to try them out cycling.  Still 7 at the airport but will look forward to meeting Bel in Saigon.  Take care everyone, now less than 4 weeks - yipppeeee!!!!

 

Ali

Scarah

Well Lorna and I have our visas and passports back so we are all set to go... Less than 4 weeks and I have only just acquired a bike for practice.... ho hum..... still, reading some of the comments from people on former trips, I think I will just about scape through!!!

See you all soon  Sarah oh and Lorna 

 

Haze2

Hello All

I have been booked for a few weeks now but did not want to join the Forum until I was sure my Visa  was coming. The Embassy has cashed the cheques on 25th Feb but still no sign. I am hopeful now hearing that you guys have started to get them. Still don't know how I am getting to Heathrow as working until Friday and have to sort out transport or whatever. I am travelling down from Manchester but am originally from Aberdeen, Scotland so with such a strong Scottish contingent there could well be a few Ceilidhs in the offing. I am not taking any Malaria tablets as recommended by my Clinic. I have previously been on a cycling holiday to Kerala, India in 2008. Not so many miles as this one but very enjoyable. We were a bit rushed sometimes and did not get as much time as would have liked taking pictures etc. The crowd was fantastic though, all up for a challenge/laugh/few beers and we had a great time. Hear that some great shopping in Vietnam and been reading up on the history and looking forward to meeting you all.

Hazel

SusanandBoyd

Hi there, Hazel!  That makes 9 now!!  Hope your Visa comes through OK - I'm sure it will.  Good to hear your Malaria advice is the same as ours too. 

Not sure how we are going to get down to London now that BA are playing up again - we have flights booked with them on the Friday but may end up driving down if the strikes go ahead.

Cheers,

Boyd

 

Hippoali

Hi Hazel, welcome on board, 8 over here and one in Hong Kong, not bad out of a max booking of 18.  Nice to have you on board.  I'm travelling down from Manchester on the Friday evening and staying at the Hilton at T4.  Think my flight is around 4.45pm but waiting for details, tickets etc from Exodus.  Hi Allister - very efficient sending 4 messages.  Loved it.  Sarah, great news about your visas.  Getting close now - does anyone have any objections to meeting in Starbucks as opposed to Costa?  Also, question here that maybe Allister will be able to answer - I've hired my bike on booking and was told that they are Trek 400's.  Are these drop handle or t-bar handles.  I only bought my road bike in October and as the weather has been horrendous only managed toget out on it three times so its not my biggest comfort zone but would manage.  Have ordered some bodyglide and Travla probiotics and a neck wallet - any other tips to help spend my money :-)  Looking forward to meeting up with you all.  Ali x

 

Ali

Hippoali

Hi Boyd

Obviously you were posting at same time as me!!!  Glad you mentioned flights, I don't even know who mine are with as I left it all to Exodus!!  Hope things settle for you as the drive down is a bit of a trek for you both.

 Ali

SusanandBoyd

THought I'd try and add a picture to help with recognition at Heathrow........I guess I should have cropped it first.....tried deleting and replacing wth a better one, but it won't let me....

Anyway - Susan and I on the Inca Trail in 2007 - clouds and Runku Rakai in the background.  We are counting on slightly higher levels of sanitation on this trip!!

Bike-wise, I think the Trek 400 is a pure mountain bike with straight bars, chunky tyres and  27 gears or something - I did a quick google image search a while ago and it looked OK.  More snow last night here, so the great trial of the great soft Susan-saddle delayed yet again!! 

Boyd

 

SusanandBoyd

Thanks, Ali - for some reason, Exodus doesn't seem to allow me to open the link......will try again tomorrow.....

Boyd

 

Hippoali

Forgot to mention Hazel, if you Scots are having a Ceilidh, can I join in - I will have some recent practice as am going to one on 19 March :-) !!!!!

Ali

Well I have added my pic to the forum  but there might be an exodus from the trip now!!!!

Woohoo, got my visa back today too so looks like they are churning them out now.

Welcome on board Bel and Hazel!

 Kathryn

Yay final joining instructions arrived today - that must mean it's REALLY close now!!!!

SusanandBoyd

...Ok but have you tried to do the "checkmytrip.com" thing?  according to it, neither Susan or I exist!!

Will try again tomorrow.........

BTW, Ali - managed to get my dear daughter to log in to her facebook account and "seek you out"!!  That is you beside the dry-stone dyke with the bike lying on the ground, is it? Will look out for you in Heathrow based on that picture!!

But yes - very close now - 3 weeks to go and desparately need some saddle-time between now and then.  But then, I see that the Hotel for the first night has a gym, jacuzzi, sauna AND spa!!  Bring it ON!!

B&S

Don't worry Boyd, I didn't exist yesterday either, but do now - so hopefully you and Susan will now have appeared on the system as well!
Off to the gym now and then to buy Probiotics, will try and join the brave band of 'posting a photo' later today.....

SusanandBoyd

Still no joy with this - it says we are not registered!  Am I right to use the 6 digit Electronic ticket locator number or the other one - the Airline locator - but it is a 5-digit no. ...?  I have flagged the problem up with Exodus, but no help there either!  Is anyone else struggling with it?

Boyd

 

Hi Boyd, yes I used the 6 figure alpha numeric flight locator and my surname and it all came up ok. Sure yours will be ok, just makes you worry when something like this happens - sure Exodus will be able to sort it out, are they open today or will you have to wait until Monday to speak to them?

 Lorna

Boyd, sorry I meant ticket locator, not flight locator. Just a thought though, double check they way Exodus are spelling your surname on all correspondence - if they have by any chance entered it wrong somewhere, and then done the same for your e-ticket, your flight booking won't come up!

SusanandBoyd

We are delighted to announce that, after over 2 months of delays, Susan's comfy saddle has finally made it to the road and has passed the "Happy Buns Test". 

Boyd

 

Hippoali

Hi All

Sat at work with holiday on my mind.  Just booked my taxi to the airport and only have a few little things to purchase ie more little socks for my cycling/walking shoes, don't want huge white stripes around my mid calf area!!!  Although no doubt will have white areas just above my knees.  Re the hotel Boyd/Susan, I am anticipating using the jacuzzi, sauna but definitely not the gym, chill out evening for me.  No doubt will see you both in there.  My flight arrives 17.55 so will chill out and then eat afterwards.  Have you managed to find yourselves yet with the flight locator or are you both still off the radar.  Glad to hear Susan's gel saddle is comfy for her rear end.  Had a short ride of 12 miles on my mountain bike at the weekend so will try and get out a bit further this coming Sunday.  Have a hard 12 mile walk planned for Saturday which is all hopefully helping towards my fitness and in answer to your question regarding photo Boyd, yes its me with bike on floor and rear end in air.  I've tried to get a piccie on here, uploaded one that's no use but whenever I try and load a different one it uploads the useless one with a side view.  So, everyone will just have to wait and unlike Allister, fortunately I can't now scare any of you away.  By the way Allister, it didn't work, you are still going to have to put up with us all.

Take care everyone, regards Ali x

SusanandBoyd

Nope - still no joy with the flight locator or the other "alphanumeric"!  I did phone Exodus today and they assured me that we were booked on the flights.  Reassuring I guess, but until I have the seatbelt on and the Aircraft door closed, I will still be a teensy wee bit unsure.....!!  They did also tell me that the checkmytrip site does not usually work with Malaysia airlines.......so WHY did they give us the link??!!

 Not to worry - I'm sure it will all work out.  The uploading thing for photographs is funny - I tried to reload a better picture and it wouldnt accept it - then next day, it had the better one there on the website.....Hmmmm.......

BTW, Susan has packed a corkscrew, just incase nobody else does!  I hear they do some interesting western-style wines - probably better than the western ones!!

Boyd

 

Hilarious, you guys have already packed a corkscrew, you're making me feel seriously unprepared so far!

Hippoali

Much as I love red wine, think I might have to give the local stuff a wide berth although am so pleased that I'm not the only one who was packing a cork screw, good one Susan, you make me feel so much better.  Just make sure its not plastic as if you get a plastic cork it doesn't work which I found out on a previous holiday.  Did manage to get into the bottle eventually but only by forcing the cork in and losing some of the wine!!  Ali

SusanandBoyd

Finally managed to get into the Checkmytrip website - had to cheat a wee bit, but eventually found the problem is that for as long as I remember, my name has been Boyd but for this trip, I need to change my name to Boydmr and my dear wife's to Susanmrs!!  I really should have guessed!!

So reassured that we are booked as passengers, we will proceed to pack some things along with the corkscrew!!

B&S

 

Haze2

Reading your comments on the wine in Vietnam! Is it extremely good or bad? I need to know!!!   Tips for you - as we are only staying one night in all but 2 places your case should have a lot of room available. Impossible to pack and stack every night as you did before departure. Plus you need to leave room for bought items. I am not bringing corkscrew as can borrow. I will give Alison my mobile number in case late to arrive at Heathrow. (we are facebook friends). On trip to India I had brought far too many warm clothes and ended up with only two pairs of cycling shorts. It should be lovely cycling with wind rushing by to cool sweaty bits. Lots of layering and scarves required (boys and girls). I cycled in India for whole trip in Teva open toed sandals. Everything else was too hot. Foodwise - Will be different from India as think Vietnam can offer as much, if not more, than Uk can in tasty bits to graze on.

signing off and going to bed ..........zzzzzz

SusanandBoyd

No, Hazel - I get the impression from the downloaded specification - 2 or 3 posts up - and that is copied and pasted from the Dalat wine site - that it will be "interesting"......harmonious sour and acrid - it says!

Good point about the layers etc - and shoes - we both have open sandles too - I think Susan's are Teva too.... Do need to get another pair of shorts, though.....

Hippoali

Hi All

Each time I've been to the far east the wine has been almost undrinkable and I had to find a duty free to buy something decent and as it was imported it was quite expensive.  I'm now quite worried about the layering through and scarves, how cold is it over there or have I misunderstood the layering process?  I thought Bel had said it was around 26 degrees in HK and around 30 degrees in Vietnam, must now think about some sandal type walking shoes, another trip to the outdoor shop comes to mind!!!  Only two weeks left at work as my last day is 24 March.  Yippppeeee.

Ali x

My friend did this trip a few years ago and have spoken to both her and Exodus about clothes needed a little while back. Both agreed that in general it will be hot and humid, though it may be a bit cooler in the hills and once we get to Hanoi and Halong Bay, where a 'layer' may be needed. Based on their advice I'm taking 4 lots of cycling clothes (shorts / vests / t's), then mixture of shorts, cut off trousers etc for eves. For layers will take a microfleece, which should suffice and as an emergency top, a hooded jacket, which is also fleece but a little heavier. If it's any help the temp in Saigon is mid 30s at the moment, and in Hanoi low 20s (though predicted to warm up later this week). I'm also taking a rain jacket for the bike, but you can get a poncho out there for a couple of dollars if you prefer. I've also been advised against open toe shoes on the bike, but guess that's down to personal preference :) Will have my good ole trusty flipflops for just about everything else!

Have been told the wine is terrible - beer for me I think, would prefer cocktails but not planning to risk the ice!

Boydmr, glad you found your flight confirmation and pleased that susanmrs had success with the saddle :)

Can't wait to get going now....

Haze2

Hello British Airways Travellers to Heathrow

Looks like the strikes are taking place either side of your depature dates.........Phew.

Saigon weather looks really hot. Doing last practise on my bike this Sunday as taking a break on weekend of 20th to rest up before trip.

Hazel

X

Ok, so who's up for meeting around 9.15am on 27th in Starbucks, after security at T4?

Haze2

Hi  Lorna

As arriving on the coach around 6 am I will hopefully have time to check in and freshen up and be first at the Cafe stop.

Hazel

Hi Lorna,

Sounds like a plan, will see you all there,

Kathryn

SusanandBoyd

We should be there too - have put a note in the diary.  Large Mocha and a Double machiatto, please if we are not there first!!

B&S

Hippoali

Hi All

Well its getting closer and thanks Lorna for posting cafe meet place and time.  Boyd/Susan, have put different piccie of me on Facebook, windswept and without make-up so you will no doubt be able to recognise me at the Hilton on Friday evening if our paths cross :-)  Think I now have everything I need, just need to make sure it all fits in my case!  With saddle, helmet, bike shoes etc will just have to travel very light on the clothing front.  See you all soon.  Ali x

ok, can't figure out how on earth to upload photo on here....any pointers???

Hippoali

Hi Lorna

Go to My Exodus at top right of page, then edit profile.  Scan down to upload photo and search for the one you want.  I uploaded the wrong one and can't get it off hence no piccie on here :-)  Good luck.  

Ali

oh yes, easy isn't it :) There I am!!!

Hi All

On the 22 Monday March Lidl are doing cycling stuff should you have forgotten anything!

 

Happy St Patrick's Day all!

National holiday today, great to have a mid-week day off. Went for a looong, hilly but fun cycle today with a bunch of friends, very proud of myself.  Now time for a couple of relaxing beers methinks. All set for Vietnam,

K

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