This was a hybrid trip. The total trip was around 5000 kms. I rode about 70% of the whole trip by bike. The other 1500 was by train or bus. I also took about 700 kms of side trips on the bicycle. So I think I rode about 4200 kms. I like the flexibility of these types of hybrid trips. The folding bike made it easier.
Laos was my favorite place. High mountains and isolated, but tough for me to pedal across on the Dahon. The museums, archaeological sites, and battlefields. Meeting really interesting people along the way. Hai Long Bay in Northern Vietnam is magical, as are the mountains of northern Vietnam. Hanoi, Saigon, and the Mekong Delta are surely worth a visit. I would definitely go back to Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. And now, I have 10 more days to visit Thailand.
The street hustle and hassle in the urban areas of Vietnam. The dangerous urban traffic in Vietnam, the noise level, and having to deal with the official, sanctioned corruption in Vietnam. The rural people of Vietnam were wonderful. I cannot say the same for many of the urban Vietnamese who deal regularly with travelers.
About my bike:
I rode a 20″, 24-speed Dahon foldable. It mostly held up, except for the front axle collapse. I had to get a new front wheel. Because of the smaller tires, this Dahon was not adequate on rough roads or the mountains. But in the end, it got me thru it all.
I just had one flat tire on the whole trip, which is amazingly few. I think this was because I used knobby teflon tires for most of the trip. After I wore out my two original tires, I replaced them with the knobbys I had brought with me. Knobby tires are not for speed. But at the speeds that I ride, it doesn’t matter so much. They do whine on the road at higher speeds though. Besides their thickness, they give me better protection by lifting the tire body higher off the road from glass and metal.
I went thru 6 brake pads. This is easy to do when you are riding in the mountains. I have worn out two of my Nashbar panniers. It is time for me to pay real money for the best panniers in the market, the Ortleibs.
I used my leather sewing awl several times a week, constantly repairing and reinforcing everything made of canvas and cloth. It is a necessary travel tool for me. I probably used every tool in my one pannier dedicated to bicycle maintenance. I found that every morning I would have to re tighten my pannier racks and fenders on my bike. The daily bounces and jolts would shake the tightest of bolts loose, even if they had lock washers on them.
Several people have asked me about how much money I spent on this trip. It is pretty easy to measure since I used my ATM card the whole way.
1. For the 65 days I was pedaling, I spent $2200. This includes all rooms, food, tickets, immigration fees, museum entries, and the paid side trip to Hai Long, the ferries and river boats, additional gear, and repairs. The most I spent on a room was $28, and the least was $3.
2. My plane flight was about $1150.
3. I will probably spend $500 on gifts and clothing for myself.