Myanmar & Karen

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🇬🇧 Second and last part of our motorbike journey through Myanmar, the Honda Cruiser has been exchanged with a 4 gear semi automatic 125cc moto-scooter…anyway the motorbike is just a way to travel free in this region and the journey will focus on meeting the people, discovering great views and live great times there.

🇫🇷 Deuxième et dernier volet du périple à moto au Myanmar, la Honda Cruiser a été troquée contre une moto-scooter 125cc à 4 vitesses sans embrayage… certes, mais la moto n’est pas une fin en soi et c’est de rencontres, de paysages et de moments de vie que notre voyage se nourrira.


Myanmar – une halte à Bagan

Between the two regions we want to ride through, Golden Triangle, North of the country, and Karen, South, there is a 1000km distance, this place is the heart of the country and unfortunately there are still restrictions to cross by land independently. We catch the bus and stop at Bagan, the ancient city offers an unevitable stop.

Entre les deux régions que nous voulons traverser à moto, le Shan du Triangle d’or et le Karen, au Sud, il y a 1000 kms à parcourir, en bus cette fois-ci à cause des restrictions toujours présents sur les voyages indépendants. C’est le cœur du pays avec la capitale Yangoon, et Bagan, l’ancienne cité qui offre une halte inévitable.

The Honda 110cc stayed in Lao to continue the road with 2 other travellers (from South of France also, and we wish them the best trip!). Time to discover Myanmar. 

La Honda est restée au Laos pour continuer sa route avec deux autres voyageurs (anecdote : ils sont du Sud de la France et nous leurs souhaitons un beau voyage!). Il est temps de découvrir le Myanmar.

Passage de frontière Viêt Nam – Laos en moto par Dien Bien Phu

In 1 word : epic. Some explanation to pass the motorbike, a couple of stamps on our passports, 4 hours waiting, and let’s go ! After some kilometers everything seems to have changed : from clouds to sun, from cold to heat, from agitation to absolute calm. Tomorrow bike stops at a quiet village at a confluent of the Nam Ou, colours rusty brown, and the Nam Pham, green. 

En un mot : épique. Quelques dernières démarches administratives, quelques explications pour passer la moto, et une paire de tampons sur nos passeports, 4 heures d’attente et c’est reparti ! Après quelques kilomètres, tout semble avoir changé : des nuages au soleil, de la fraîcheur à la chaleur, de l’agitation au calme absolu. Nous arrêtons la moto à un village qui s’ennbranche entre le Nam Ou, marron rouille, et le Nam Plak, vert.

Ici le temps s’est arrêté. Le village invite à faire de même.

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Viêt Nam instants borderline

Chosen instants along the Chinese and Lao borders. Last days in Vietnam and not realizing how immersive the experience is : travelling as deaf for the language, as a local for the choice of the motorbike, as a lifetime journey for the inspiring travelers and people met, as an explorer for the roads.

En longeant la frontière d’abord chinoise puis laotienne, instants choisis, et quelques flashs qui reviennent avant de devoir sortir du Viêt Nam.


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Speleo Viêt Nam 

2 days, 2 caves found on the road, and 2 different experiences :

1- Dong Tien Son : first experience, cave not enlightened, we advance with a torch in the underground river.

2 – Dong Pu Sam Cap : enlightened cave, easy ! But could not visit the second part of the cave as too much mud entered during the last days..

Pics are mix and match between the two caves.

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On the road to North Vietnam -on the way to Ha Giang

Of course we are too slow to get to our destination of the day, Yen Min, before the sunset. Though it is not a problem, as the road is still amazing. Sky gets dark, clouds get bigger, as if we were told to get away. But the colours get more vivid. We continue to stop everywhere, all the time to appreciate. 

Évidemment on roule trop lentement depuis la frontière chinoise pour arriver à notre destination, Yen Min, de jour. Mais ce n’est pas un problème, la route continue d’être belle, et nous fait arrêter partout, tout le temps. Le ciel s’assombrit, les nuages s’épaississent, comme pour dire qu’il faut partir. Mais c’est pour le bonheur des yeux, car avec ce temps les paysages nous offrent des images surréalistes. Entre l’épaisse couche de nuages qui laisse deviner un coucher de soleil imminent, les karsts, noirs, les cultures, dorées, et la jungle, verdoyante, la route contraste et trace son chemin.

2wheels rules

The Honda Win, made for winners !

« 2 people on this motorbike!? With the backpack?! » We’ve heard so many times and that is part of the game. Everyone has his style of traveling, and definitely motorbike is a great way to travel north of Vietnam. The roads invite you to a great journey, you can stop anytime to a place you like, and you can go off the beaten track. Here are a few things to know before starting :

First, get rid of the unnecessary. From the extreme temperatures of India to now in here, we could remove 6kg of luggage and send them back home. Then as we did in India, we transformed our 2 backpacks into one of 12 kg, and lied it down on a rack welded at the first day of the journey. If you still need something here, you can find it at any city.

Second, do like the locals. We may dedicate a post to this topic later on. The Vietnamese use their motorbikes for everything. Transporting bags of cement, food, a living pig, a box of chickens, iron bars lying on the road, 3 people… Many backpackers met on the road travel together on the same bike. But remember the road is dangerous and you can’t hit the road without the next steps.

Third, maintain your bolide. Garage maintenance is cheap, quick, easy to find. Oil change every 500km, daily chain lube and tension, daily brake and engine checks. This will make your journey safer.

Fourth, ride safe ride slow. The traffic can be hard, especially overtaking and trucks using the full width of the road. Moreover the views can make you stop at any time. So take it easy, shorten the daily distance and enjoy your journey.

Fifth, well no fifth, as there are only 4 gears on Vietnamese motorbikes 🙂