Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 236: Future Plans ... Minor Problems

I couldn't quite work it out, every option that I considered just seemed to come up against an impenetrable bamboo wall. The problem was Vietnam .... the rules seemed to suggest that without prior Government approval, it was going to be impossible to temporarily import any bike with an engine larger than 150cc. That restriction I could happily live with, but reading deeper into the current situation it appeared that the size of the bikes engine might be totally irrelevant. No matter what the official rules stated, crossing into Vietnam with any foreign registered motorbike seemed to be a general and insurmountable problem. It reminded me of Russia where they seemed to have one universal set of rules ...... but a hundred different versions of the rule book. Thailand, Laos and Cambodia seemed to be quite straight forward but Vietnam was starting to look like a problem too far.

I considered deleting Vietnam from the itinerary but that would be cheating or at the very least, admitting defeat. Besides, Vietnam was the country that I most want to explore on a motorbike, it's wild, it's beautiful and it's still amazingly cheap. I thought about buying a bike in each country, touring around and then selling it at the next border crossings. That would probably work, but the bike is really a major part of the journey and chopping and changing bikes would be a total pain in the arse. Then it came to me, ...... the problem was always about getting a foreign registered bike across the border into Vietnam, so why not start the journey by buying a Vietnamese bike in Hanoi? .... Simples.

Problem solved. I can probably beg a 'free' return air-ticket to Bangkok and from there travel overland by bus to Hanoi in northern Vietnam. Once there, for around £300, I can buy myself a ''Minsk 125'', put in a new spark plug, have it blessed at the local temple and then ride down the coast to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Across the border into Cambodia, up to Angkor Wat and then cross into Thailand. From there I can follow the Gulf of Thailand down to Hat Yai and then turn around heading north along the Burmese border. From Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, I can cut across into Laos and then complete the circle by returning to Hanoi and selling the Minsk.

So far, I've bought maps for the four countries, made a connection with my chosen charity 'SOS Children's Villages' and started the big 'Sell-Off' on ebay. Anyway, that's the plan so far. Three months touring SE Asia spending no more money than I would ordinarily spend on just Rent and Council Tax if I stayed at home in Blighty for the Winter. Of course it wont be as exciting as sharing a student house in Braintree for three months ....... but I'm sure I'll find something of interest to fill my days.

(If you're wondering about my fascination with Minsk's and Vietnam .... see the You Tube link)

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