Dedicated to a wonderful Mother Jean Noble 31/5/1929 - 20/8/2007 - may we never take our mothers for granted. - Goodbye Mum


We have been looking forward to cycling in Vietnam very much . There are literally hundreds of famous Vietnamese, however, we had a computer shop before we began cycling, hence have an affinity with all things “computer”. Therefore it is only fitting we acknowledge the Father of the “personal computer”. André Truong Trong Thi. He was born in 1936 in Cholon (Saigon).

In 1973, with François Gernelle and a team of engineers he created the Micral, the first non-kit, microprocessor based personal computer in the world. Vietnam has a turbulent history and it's people are found on all corners of the globe We are so fortunate in Australia, to have so many of these fine hard working people as part of our diverse population. Some of whom are amongst our closest friends. As we write, the Aussie dollar is worth about 11,700 Dong.

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Vietnam Pages: [1] [2] .......| Cambodia- Vietnam border crossing + “Quick Facts” Cambodia.

Prices in Aussie/US Dollars

Wednesday 28th January Approx. 10 k's inside Vietnam town unknown. (Stats on Cambodian pages)
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
F Road Conditions: H Overnight Accom: (150,000 Dong) AUD$13.00 Standard, Excellent.

The border crossing, although stressful went without a hitch. The bikes unusual appearance helped us as the officials allowed us to “cycle” through the Cambodian exit and cycle through the Vietnamese entry. Motorcycles and “diamond frame” cycles, must be pushed through, you cannot ride. You “may” get away with it as a foreigner, however, it is probably best not to tempt fate and do as the locals do. There appears to be no category for a “Trike”.

We had decided to cross into Vietnam and take a punt on a guesthouse. Many were full and it reduced our options. We eventually found a “short time” hotel, spotlessly clean and negotiated an overnight rate. Apart from it's notorious function, it IS a very nicely equipped hotel. It fits the bikes, more because the rooms and doors are designed to ride your motorbike into. It's an odd world :-) We will see if we are bothered with motorbikes coming and going throughout the night. Oh!! and we don't need all them mirrors :-).

For the curious this is the inside – not the mirrors though :-)

A tiny glimpse of the mirror can be seen on the top left of the picture :-)........ There's one at the end of the bed too.


The cleanliness is vastly different at least in these border areas. Our meal was clean, freshly cooked and so much cheaper than both Laos and Cambodia. Water is cheaper as is iced green tea (something we enjoy occasionally). The roads in the border areas are cleaner, with less debris on the side... We had a separate motorbike/cycle lane from the border to the town we are in. It is far too early to make any further observations, as we have only completed an hours cycling. BUT, we hope these few improvements continue........ We will let you know.

Catchya Later...

Thursday 29th January Approx. 10 k's inside Vietnam, town unknown, to Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.
69.83 k's Average Speed 12.51 kph Cycling time 5 Hr(s) 35 Min. Max speed. 29 kph Max temp 35 °C
Undulating Road Conditions: HELL Overnight Accom: (230,000 Dong) AUD$20.50 Standard, Poor. (Few options – ALL full)

The roads are a living hell in Ho Chi Min City, (Saigon). They are perhaps the epitome of anarchy. ZERO, zilch none, that is how many road rules are obeyed. Perhaps no country in the world allows traffic to travel BOTH WAYS on each side of the road. This is exactly what happens ALL of the time. We cannot cope with this incredibly dangerous situation.

We had several near misses and a few “connections” with motorbikes. Lee and I were “ashen” when we eventually located a guesthouse, willing to take both us and our bikes. The kindness of the people here, helped us in this regard. From about 4.30 pm after a long cycle of about 70 k's, we began our search, full, full, full was all we got, as the New year devotees had secured rooms, just about everywhere.

A lady took Lee on her motorcycle (Whilst I guarded the bikes), around the area we wanted to stay and helped her search for a room – she eventually found one willing to take us, high on the fourth floor. We virtually dismantled our bikes to navigate the narrow stairwell and secure them in our room – an abysmal room far away from anything. This family run guesthouse has one redeeming feature and that is the family itself, they could not have been more helpful.

It is way above our meagre budget, so we will have to search – on foot – tomorrow for more suitable accommodation. We cannot and will not, cycle in this city again. Doing so borders on having a “death wish”.

It is past 1 am as I write this, I am so “hyped” I cannot sleep, Lee has fallen into an exhausted, “fitful” sleep beside me. She is a remarkable woman, with guts and determination, today tested her way beyond her limits, as it did me. I know it seems I am describing the horrors of today, over and over, however it is because I have no words to describe them adequately.

Friday 30th January Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Road Conditions: Overnight Accom: (230,000 Dong) AUD$20.50 Standard, Poor. (Few options – ALL full)


After yesterdays SEVERE Trauma, we are happy to be stopped for a while... We took a taxi today and witnessed the insanity on the roads from another perspective. It is not as easy to see the oncoming traffic, mainly – but not limited to – motorbikes. However try it way down low, on a recumbent trike.... If your intent on a early grave that is....

Everything about this city is so “ad hock”, there's the good natured people – and in the main they are good natured. Then there is the diabolical... Just look at these two pictures of the electricity wires, how they get it all to work, beggars belief..

and this one, a truckies nightmare......

How they actually maintain a “grid” like this is beyond comprehension....

The place we are in, is known as the “backpackers” area. (Pham Ngu Lao), A conglomeration of grossly overpriced restaurants, hotels, guesthouses and shops. Having said that, a person on a one or two week vacation would probably enjoy the ability to communicate more freely and if one is gregarious, there are lots of opportunities to exchange “stories”. Also it is a concentrated source of information, travel opportunities, airline offices, etc.. etc..

We soon learned that almost everything was outside our budget and VERY poor value for money at that. All the “standard” rip-offs, small overpriced meals, services, taxi's, etc..

So we walked to a more “Vietnamese” experience, where we found good vegetarian food at about US$0.80 (rather than US$2/3-10), there are language difficulties associated with doing this but, it is worth it.

We were carrying a shopping bag full of “goodies” from a local supermarket, when we were stopped by a European couple, asking where the supermarket was. Despite only being here a very short time, they were fed up with the pricing and all things previously stated. They intended preparing “baguettes” and easy snacks in their hotel... It was nice to chat with them about their experience.. Plus we knew exactly “where they were coming from” with their observations.

Lee and I enjoy the exercise, so we don't mind walking, often several kilometres.

Saturday 31st January Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.
k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp °C
Road Conditions: Overnight Accom: (230,000 Dong) AUD$20.50 Standard, Poor. (Few options – ALL full)

After an exhausting traipse down small alley's and insane traffic infested pavements (sidewalks for our American friends), we are no closer to changing our loggings. Still the answer is FULL or upon seeing a walking ATM (Me) the price became clearly unreasonable. So we remain where we are for the time being – we will continue to look..

A last word on “wires”, they are not just an obstacle to cars and motorbikes, but, pedestrians too. Of course they are insulated, well most of them are anyway.

We see roadside vendors, lighting up their food trolleys with very suspicious wiring – I could be wrong ??? :-)

To give some idea of the stairs we took our bikes up. In this picture it shows how incredibly steep the stairs are, they are VERY narrow too..... Oh! We had to make many trips too with bikes, trailers and panniers..........

There are an awful lot of people in this fair city, hence space is at a premium... Our search for suitable loggings, taught us we are not going to easily find a price that suits both the bikes and our budget. There are dormitories for both mixed gender and gender specific. At least with the mixed gender dorms we can share the same room. Security issues would be another concern if we go down this road.

Monday 2nd February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.


This Diary has been a daily part of my life for over two years.... But, our cycling is now over and we return to Australia on the 25th February 2009. We had intended cycling more in Vietnam, however, it is too dangerous for us to continue on our Trikes. Initially our cycling was to be 5-7 years, but, the global financial meltdown has caught us in it's death grip.

All we can do is return and salvage what we can of our financial lives. We both know it is going to be tough and we are aware we will have an entirely different future than what “seemed” to be the case when we started.

The return date was set in mid 2008. when we could see the “writing on the wall”. Which was alluded to in our “Philosophy Pages(Still being written) at the time. It was at this time we purchased our tickets on Tiger Airways. Luckily we purchased in Singapore Dollars that were AUD$0.70 at the time – now a Singapore dollar will cost us about AUD$1.05. Iceland is the only developed country to have dropped more than Australia.

We have now bought a ticket from Saigon to Singapore – Again on Tiger Airways as they are one of the few “bike friendly” airlines. We leave Saigon – (Ho Chi Minh City) on the 23rd of February 2009.

Our diary will continue until we get home, with photographs and daily reports – so please check in. There will be a couple more weeks of pictures and stories, plus, our journey home...

There is a daunting task ahead of us and that is, trying to thank so many people for their kindness and hospitality. I tried, but soon realised I could not name everyone and it would be unfair to single out those that helped “the most”.

Plus of course “the most” is very difficult to quantify, each and every time was “the most” for us..... For those with a lot and those that had so little and gave so much, we are truly humbled and grateful. We will never forget you all......

After our return we will send a “personal” thank you, to as many as possible.

Living our lives like we do, means some contacts will be lost – and are lost. It is just the nature of living out of a “Pannier”.

Our “Thumb Drive” which contained a lot of our contacts, was lost in Europe. The file was heavily encrypted, so even if the drive is found by someone, it would be next to impossible to get their details. Almost a year has passed since the loss and no one has reported a “compromise”.

Business cards, and other means of keeping addresses get wet, bleached and destroyed in a myriad of ways... Rest assured we will try our best to contact you all.

To those we have never met, who have emailed or signed our guestbook, we want to thank you too. Cycling in particular and travelling in general can take it's toll on ones “psyche”... it was always inspiring to get the messages of support and the criticism.





DID WE ENJOY IT? - Most of it – a resounding, unequivocal YES!!!

The memories will last to our graves. The minor exceptions and altercations, have largely faded from memory.

We will cycle again, but, not the same route. Nor with much of the same equipment.

We are planning our next cycling adventure, but it will be China, Russia, Korea and Japan. If the middle east settles down, we will include India, Sri Lanka and many of the Arab-Islamic countries.

On our “wish-list” is the Americas, including Canada... But the vagaries of immigration – particularly the USA, makes this difficult.

All this depends on our ability to salvage whatever we can from our investments... If anything.... Or a bit of old fashioned LUCK.


The simplest answer is “we do not know”. It is certain we need to find work, so if anyone out there wants a couple of people with our unique abilities.... We are not deterred by extreme challenges and “think outside the box”....Please contact us.. HERE. We will be get back to you ASAP.

Monday 2nd February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City. Continued...

The Cyclo-rickshaws are a dying breed, as the Govt erects more and more signs limiting their scope with a passenger. They are enterprising folk and take any opportunity for a fare... Amazing how they cycle and see where they are going....

I doubt he will be able to see over this load? Let alone pedal it....

Wednesday 4th February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City. Continued...


Unable to find alternative accommodation at this time we remain where we are. But, we will continue looking. Walking the streets is more difficult than one imagines. The pavements are littered with all manner of things leaving little room for a pedestrian, I feel so sorry for the disabled, many of whom we see pushed in wheelchairs. The elderly too are hampered in their mobility as those pavements that are free of traffic are only free because of their unbelievable obstacles, some too difficult for elderly folk to manage.

We have found a good vegetarian restaurant with both good variety and good pricing. They are strict Chinese Buddhists and absolutely nothing from an animal is allowed......

The top of the table, a little obscure, is chips (french fries) salad and “mock” beefsteak. I had to get them to confirm TWICE, that it was not real meat! The two dark coloured bowels are curries, they were mouthwatering in their complexity and taste. You can also see the rice, salad, dips, and of course the obligatory “spring rolls”.... This spread was about US$5.50 and was more than enough for the two of us...

I am relatively new to vegetarian cuisine, Lee is less so, having practiced it for many years in Thailand. However, as I gain an understanding, meet people who are vegetarian, and sample food like this. It is certainly a good choice. I alone will not help many animals by becoming vegetarian, I am reminded though, of the story, of a boy putting jellyfish back into the sea. It goes something like this.......

A boy was walking along the beach, picking up Jellyfish and putting them back into the sea......... A man, who had been observing for some time, came up to him and asked him, “what are you doing lad?”..... The boy said “putting these jellyfish back in the sea, or they will die.” …... The man said “look down this beach boy, there are millions of them washed up”. “there is no point in trying to put them back”. The boy said “there is a point for this one”...........I don't know who wrote it, but I am not plagiarising – it was NOT me :-)

Lee and I will never save the animals with our “vegetarianism”, but we may save a few.... I have said before... “If we are to eat them”, “they deserve our respect”. We have both witnessed cruelty towards animals, beyond our imagination.... We can no longer remain “hypocritical” so we believe we have made the only rational choice. The transition is a little difficult, when it is compounded by travelling the way we do, but where a veggie option exists we take it.

Both of us have not eaten meat for almost two months, we have eaten tinned fish and eggs, to not have done, would have had a serious effect on our ability to cycle in some of the more remote parts. We are both committed to total “vegetarianism” on our return home...

One other thing, you rarely see a vegetarian in hospital with cancer or obesity.... (always exceptions – I know).

Catchya Later.........

Thursday 5th February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City. Continued...

We have finally found more suitable accommodation, “Hotel 77”, on Biu Thi Xuan. It is US$1.15 (AUD$1.80) more than we are paying now, however (they say) they have free WiFi and “cable TV”... The room is about half the size of the one we have now. We have long since learned to take what is promised with a “pinch of salt”. We will let you know.

Now we have the arduous task of taking our gear from the hotel we are in currently, to the new one. The fourth floor takes eight flights of stairs to get to. There are no standards here, one stair may be higher than the next and so on, they are narrow and steep. We need to do this 16 times up and 16 times down, carrying heavy loads. Wouldn't be a “removalist” for quids :-) Everything we have is now cleaned and packed, for our forthcoming journey home. It may make the job of moving 130 (plus) kilograms of bike and associated gear easier.

After we have moved hotels we need to re-pack one bike. We almost destroyed the bike box getting the bike in. Traveling with “Recumbents” is the single biggest hassle. Ton's of benefits whilst actually cycling, but shipping them anywhere – except on a ferry – is a nightmare. Folding recumbents do exist and would probably have been a better buy. If someone has made a quality, recumbent/trailer combo, where the bike fits into the trailer, for shipping and with a combined weight a good bit bellow 30kg, (To allow for panniers etc..) it would make a dent in the touring recumbent market and we would sell ours on the local market and buy one for our next trip.

Friday 6th February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City. Continued...

We moved to our new accommodation.... Bags packed and ready for our flights....

We will use our “Panniers” as carry on bags, as we are allowed 7 kg free in this area, as well as a laptop.

Our “new hotel” rang in the morning and said he has organised a truck to take our bags... When I asked how much he said 250,000 Dong.(AUD$22.00) I told him we would make our own way and thanked him for his “help”.

We got a taxi, many of which are “station wagons” (“Estate's” for the British) after a little negotiation we got 40,000 Dong (AUD$3.65) for the fare. Whilst we could have got them all in – and on, we asked the driver to do two trips, despite his insistance that “he could do it”..

As everywhere, if you just accept – unless you are rich and do not care – you will get ripped off.

The hotel wanted us to pay “up front” for our entire stay, we said we will pay daily as we want to retain control over our “options” – if one paid and wanted to move for whatever reason, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to get the money back... After our “declining” his “help” on the move, he realised that we would not budge on this and reluctantly agreed. Despite ceding “control” to us the conversation remained “cordial”, always the best policy :-)

Saturday 7th February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City. Continued...

After all our trials and tribulations of the past week and there has been many that we have been unable to report. I took Lee for a “splurge”. A vegetarian “buffet”. We had spotted the sign some days before, but dismissed it because of price.... It is AUD$10.50 per head, the most we have spent in Asia, outside Singapore.

We entered this opulent venue... and found it to be one of the most amazing spreads we have ever seen. Well over 200 dishes. In Asia they are expert at “mock” meat and fish dishes, EVERY type of “meat” was represented as were many cuisines from around Asia. It was a veritable feast of both the eyes and the senses... It stands alone as the best meal we have both ever had..... Those that know the “Burswood Casino” in Perth, our home city and have dined at the expensive, but good “buffet” there..... Well I can tell you, both the venue and the “spread” of food was by far and away better than anything on offer there... Each chair was covered completely in fresh quality linen, polished glasses sparkled, crisp clean tablecloths and napkins as well as the table decorations of fresh flowers, gave the place a very special ambience. Attentive waiters and waitresses, we on hand at your every turn... A truly unforgettable experience.

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