FriFotos: The Technology That Let Me Travel The Ho Chi Minh Trail

This magnificent piece of machinery is what has allowed me to travel the Ho Chi Minh Trail. It is also the main reason why I haven’t written much recently — kind of hard to open up a laptop when bouncing around on two wheels. However after realizing that this week’s FriFotos theme is technology I decided to pay homage to the technology that has made my solo motorcycle trip possible: a Honda Win which I have lovingly nicknamed “Rusty.”

True, Rusty might not be the best name for a motorcycle. And she certainly isn’t the fastest thing I’ve ever ridden. With only 100cc I struggle to even hit triple digits. However speed is not what I am looking for this trip. I’m going slow, taking my time and savoring every moment.

"Rusty" the Honda Win I used to travel the Ho Chi Minh trail

Those of you who have been following along know that I’ve had some ups and downs in Vietnam and am still trying to determine my final thoughts and advice on traveling here. Luckily I’ve had lots of time to think along the road and plenty of encounters with locals, both positive and negative, which are continuing to shape my opinions of this country.

It’s no secret: people who visit Vietnam on holiday very rarely return for a second trip.

In fact only 5% come back for a repeat visit. By contrast Thailand sees a 50% tourist return rate.

While I believe I now know why this is, I also believe that for every person with mal intent there are an equal number of goodhearted people out there. That is the main reason I’ve embarked on this solo journey and am stopping at small villages most foreigners never see and am driving right past the cities that every tourist visits. I don’t want to just write a “Why I will never return to Vietnam” post like another blogger most of us know when I could instead provide a more balanced, well-rounded article citing the ups and downs of traveling the country.

However FriFotos is not the time for my long-winded rambles so now I must bid you adieu with the promise to have lots more fresh and intriguing articles coming soon 🙂

  NEWS!   My amazing motorcycle is still in Vietnam — if anyone wants it please contact me

Have Any Comments Or Questions On Vietnam?

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

9 thoughts on “FriFotos: The Technology That Let Me Travel The Ho Chi Minh Trail”

    • Awww if I’d known y’all were in the neighborhood I would have seen if we crossed paths anywhere. Glad to hear you enjoyed it though. I’ve heard from people that have loved their time in Vietnam and others that have hated it. I will say however that most of the ones who have hated it have been people that have lived here for an extended period, to the point where the country (and in some cases the people) have really started to irk them. Posted a comment about this to my FB profile that got a lot of heated responses from both sides of the spectrum. Kind of feels like it’s one of those countries that you either really love or really hate, and there is no real middle ground. We’ll see. I have 11 days left (been here over two and half months) and a few more places to go….

  1. Awwww Derek, good on you! We were supposed to ride from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi over this month. Got the bikes but failed to realise that I wouldn’t be able to master the foot gears quite quick enough for us to set off! How awesome that you’ve done it. We are on our way up (currently in Da Lat) via bus. Not a very exciting plan B although this is the second time we’ve visited Vietnam so we know what to expect!

    • How long in Da Lat? Or better yet what’s your itinerary for the next week? I’ve been here nearly three months now, motorcycling everywhere, but after a final trip to Hanoi last week I’m headed to Saigon to sell my bike. Let’s cross paths! I’m in Dong Hoi now. Do you have WhatsApp or a Vietnamese number? Or is email the best way to reach you?

  2. ZING! Love that NM reference there 😉 Haha. I like you’re insight on it man and I’m glad you decided to rough it. Sometimes when everything goes as planned with a shiny bike visiting big cities, you miss out on what’s real, and the real stuff could be the better stuff about the country.

    • Hahaha thanks, I wondered what people would think of that reference. And I agree with you — sticking with the big cities or even traveling on a nice, new, fancy bike (as I did when motorcycling Indonesia) is not the way to see the real side of the country and culture. You need a breakdown here and there to create the opportunity for some hands-on interactions with locals. While this “real stuff” might not always be the best stuff, it is a window into the lives and mindset of the locals. And that to me is priceless.


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