It has been two months since Will and I hung up our backpacks and said goodbye to travelling. We traded our lightweight, pick-up-and-go lifestyle for our own bed, in our own room, with no fear of bedbugs. Which, after 6 months on the road, we were more than ready for. The last leg of our trip was Vietnam, somewhere that Will and I had always wanted to go. This part of the trip was made even more special by the addition of Lil' Sebastian, our 110cc Honda Win that we purchased in Cambodia to take us into the south of Vietnam and travel the length of the country.
Let's start with the border crossing into Vietnam, shall we? It was Will and I's 8-year-anniversary and certainly an anniversary I won't forget in a hurry. We had been told all sorts of stories about the Vietnam land crossing and the scamming that went on, especially with a motorbike. As we approached the crossing we fully expected to be ripped off and have to bribe to get Lil' Sebastian through with us. I went in first and as there was only one person at the desk I went straight to them. He made me fill out a wee yellow form and asked if I had a motorbike, to which I replied, yes. That was the first and last mention of a motorbike. I got off lightly, only being scammed out of the equivalent of $1 for a 'health check', where he just pointed a ray gun at me that took my temperature. Soon the three of us were through and free to start our Vietnam adventure.
Although we had a few break downs, Lil' Sebastian was by far the best purchase of our trip. We bought him from a fellow backpacker at our hostel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for $200USD. Lil' Sebastian was used to only carrying one person with one backpack, so some minor adjustments were needed. Will and I packed pretty light compared to most backpackers but still needed to figure out how to attach our backpacks to the bike and for me to still fit on the back. After a lot of translation mishaps trying to find a welder, we ended up finding one on the side of the road who made custom side racks for the equivalent of $3! Best bargain of the trip seeing as it took him a good hour to specially measure it up. Lil' Sebastian allowed us to see a lot of the country and not just the tourist destinations. We got to go through small villages and interact with locals who never saw tourists. Breakdowns were never an issue as a mechanic was never too far away. The tiniest of towns always included a Phở joint, a petrol station, and a mechanic. The breakdowns were all part of the adventure. Hopping off the bike, problem solving, and trying to communicate what was wrong with the bike. Throughout the trip we had a couple of flat tyres, a tyre puncture, new shocks, a broken starter coil, a busted piston, pinched clutch cable, and multiple spark plug issues. This may sound like a lot, but the process of arranging to fix these were some of my favourite experiences. It may also sound expensive but all of these repairs would have cost no more than $50 TOTAL. Ridiculous. Riding a bike through South East Asia may not be for everyone, and if it wasn't for Will being able to ride a bike like a pro, I would have been on buses with the rest of the tourists. But if you've got the ability to see the country by bike, I highly recommend it.
A writer, explorer, and music enthusiast. This site is where I share my thoughts, aspirations, adventures, and mishaps.