Had your fill of Platoon and Full Metal Jacket and now you want to see the real Vietnam?
And ride it on a motorcycle? The Ho Chi Minh Trail is the destination of a simple three-day motorcycle tour based in Hanoi.
For about $600 (not counting the cost of getting there), you can plop yourself onto a Minsk motorcycle and ride the legendary trail that helped Vietnam defeat the United States back when music was real and computers had names like HAL 9000.
The adventure starts in Hanoi, where you’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Uncle Ho house, followed by a cyclo tour through old Hanoi. The next day, you’ll have a short bus ride to the Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum on the outskirts of Hanoi, then you’ll get acquainted with your 125 cc Minsk motorcycle (upgradable to 175 cc or 250 cc). You’ll ride across two short mountain passes, then descend to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau, where you’ll have dinner and spend the night as guests of the Thai people in a stilt house. Then it’s south on a winding road along the banks of the Ma River for two hours. A stop at the Fish Ferry Stream (thousands of big fish basking in shallow water), is followed at last by your Ho Chi Minh Highway adventure, which will take you the Khanh village of the Muong ethnic minority. You’ll stay there overnight in a local house.
On the last day, you ride to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam (dating to the 9th century), then a ride on a village road to Tam Coc, a relaxing boat ride, and then lunch followed by the ride back to Hanoi.
There’s a mechanic and a support vehicle involved, and the motorcycling is easy. See activetravelvietnam.com for more.