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In Asia and Australia.

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Kirsty Boazman



Paul Rombeek



Nick Wreden.



Noel Heard



Christopher Gessner



In Europe.


Lucas Smith




Holger Einecke



Rechberger Bernd



Paul Rombeek



Philip and Paul



Wencke Depoorter



In North America



Larry Craven


Scott Reynolds


Wofford, Michael



Sylvain Arseneault


North West - Ha Giang motorcycle trip. April 2011.

Comment from Lary Hall


Hi Ngoc,
First of all I want to thank you for arranging a great trip for us!  This was probably one of the best trips I've ever taken, money well spent, and I am so glad and lucky to see your beautiful country and people.  The memories and pictures will last a lifetime.  I am already looking forward to doing this again next year!

I wanted to give you a bit of feedback on our trip.  To start off, Chung is a great guide.  Not only does he know the road, but can act as a professional tour guide as well by providing historical information about culture, ethnicities, beliefs, language, etc.  He hung in there with us every night with the corn or rice wine as well!  I highly recommend him to you for any future tours.
The routes were great.  The water crossings were a lot of fun.  The number of days for this particular tour was right on; I don't think I could have lasted another day though after sitting on that hard seat for so many days!  Homestays:  The first homestay we did in Vu Linh had the best hosts ever.  These ethnic Chau people were superb hosts and a lot of fun!  food and accomodations were very good.  Second homestay in Ha Giang:  I don't recommend this one.  The hostess was very nice and tried her best, but the host doesn't really understand what it takes to be a host.  Furthermore, there is a bit of family tension there.  I hate to say that because the hostess did try her best.  The hotels were fine, no problems there.  The last homestay in Ba Be was good.  This is a bit more touristy area, so the hosts probably don't interact with their guests as much as  the other more remote places.  The food here was the best of all the stays!  Lake swim was very refreshing after several days.
Anyway, a bit of feedback for you.  If you have any specific questions or anything feel free to ask.  Thanks again!
Take care, Larry




Comment from Philip and Paul,

Philip & Paul
We are Philip and Paul from England and we took a 6 day tour with Knock in October 2010.  We are currently taking a year to travel around the world and we decided that the best way to see Vietnam was on a motorbike, and as we only had a limited time in Vietnam before moving on we only gave ourselves a few days to organise a tour.  We were so lucky that Knock was available a couple of days after we made our initial request as he turned out to be a really great guide.  He speaks really good English (and French), he has the perfect temperament for a guide and he is also a very good rider.

Within the two days Knock had everything arranged and we got underway.   We took the North West loop from Hanoi to Sapa and back which included 2 nights homestay and 3 nights hotel all of which were clean and comfortable.  As to the food, we let Knock do the ordering and we were never disappointed, although I’m still not too keen on fried crickets!

A point to mention is that Paul had never ridden a motorbike before so was naturally apprehensive about the tour. However, we met with Knock a couple of days before the tour and he did a great job to alleviate the apprehension and he let Paul have a motorbike the following day to get used to it before we started.  By the end of the experience Paul was even confidently able to ride through Hanoi!

Although we were not always lucky with the weather over the 6 days it did not take anything away from the overall experience as it really was about the journey.  We did see some beautiful scenery and we rode on some really nice mountain roads and saw places that so many tourists just would not  normally get to see.  We also had a mechanic with us at all times so any issues with bikes were dealt with immediate and we did not lose any time.

In summary; this was a terrific journey, well organised and we believe the best way to see Vietnam.  We can’t thank Knock enough for making this such a great experience.


Philip & Paul


HO CHI MINH TRAILS, August 2010. Voyage au Vietnam a moto.

Comment from Louis Copey, Tour leader of a 6 riders group.

Salut Ngoc,
on tenait tous à te remercier une nouvelle fois. Nous avons fait un  
magnifique voyage et en grand partie grâce à toi.
Fini les anguilles, on s'est remis à la nourriture française, et on  
prends le métro, fini la moto!
Tout ça pour te dire que la vie au Vietnam nous manque. On te  
commande pas un nouveau voyage mais ça ne va pas tarder.
Maud et Maman seront bientôt prêtes à faire de la moto-cross dans le  
Seul petit bémol, le guide à Saigon,bien que très gentil, ne parlait  
vraiment pas bien français. On ne comprenait quasiment rien de ce  
qu'il disait.
On a donc moins profité de Saigon et du delta du Mekong.
On a pu ainsi expérimenter le tour classique, et c'est définitivement  
moins bien que de bourlinguer sur une moto.
Je te souhaite, au nom de toute la famille, une bonne continuation,
A bientôt, pourquoi pas à Paris?


HALONG BAY2 August 2010      

Comments from Olivier LOUISE , Virginie LOUISE and their 2 kids. A family from France.

Ngoc, Je m'assoie a ma ferme eta mes 2 garcons pour te remercier du fond de mon coeur. Plus qu'un guide, tu as ete un ''eclaireur pendant ce voyage. A ta facon tu nous as eclaire sur l'histoire,les peuples, la culture,la religions de ton beau pays, ton etat d'esprit positif et ton professsionalisme sont remarquables.Si le Dieu le veut un jour nous roulerons peut-etreensemble en moto !.Moi ca me plait.

Bonne chance et bonne route.


HOCHI MINH TRAILS TOUR ( Vietnam by motorcycle) April 2010.

Comments from Peter
, An Americain rider in a 5 riders group :

Hi Ngoc it's Pete!!
I am in La now waiting for next flight. 
 I had a blast and my life has been changed by this trip. 
 You are one great guy dude and I will be back for the North trip.
 Give your daughter a big hug for me and tell your wife and family hello. I am an American "worker" and am proud of it. 
 Where Vietnam is going can only be good because the vibration is about love, respect, and cooperation.

 I am glad you met me. There are nice Americans and there are those a little to comfortable and not respectful of workers and people in general. I read a book on Ho Chi Mein and it was interesting. I feel your country may be a real symbol of the future for the world. America has some cool stuff too  but it is struggling with many things and I really want peace in the world so much where we can all be diplomatic and solve problems without war. The Vietnamese people are truely a symbol of peace, love and forgiveness and you demonstrate these qualities in your life.  I don't want to put you on a pedestal I know you are human and have your faults but man you got a great thing going on man!!  I think Nick is the man who will help you the best with website. I think his heart is in the same place. I was a bit disappointed in my other friends attitudes at times but I didn't let it get to me. You put up with alot of BS from fat and happy Americans and other countries.
Anyway I am going to continue to write to Na and maybe help her a little to better her life. No strings attatched a friendship that maybe can go somewhere in time.  


HO CHI MINH TRAIL RIDE. April 2010.( Vietnam by motorbike)

Comments from NICK WREEDEN.

This is my recent ride down to the Ho Chi Minh trail, an 11 days ride with a group of 4 American friends,a dream trip.


The Epic Adventure was epic in so many ways: Getting friends to visit me in Vietnam, seeing the sun rise over Angkor Wat, getting on a motorcycle for almost the first time and then riding 1,000 miles down the length of Vietnam. The trip was two years in the making, but it was well worth it -- one trip friend called it "life-changing." It definitely will be an event that I will replay in my mind when I'm rolling in a wheelchair instead of down a curvy mountain trail overlooking the ocean.

I hope you've read the daily summaries and looked at some of the amazing pictures. I also shot a lot of video, and will hopefully boil that down into a coherent video in the next several months. But several weeks after the trip here are some impressions and thoughts about the experience:

* Keep your eye on Vietnam: Vietnam definitely has problems. Poverty is widespread, the infrastructure is stretched thin (electricity outages were common), flooding is common, and water buffalo are still used to plow many rice paddies. But you can definitely see the potential in the nation of 80-million people. It's a Communist country, but the entrepreneurial zeal is everywhere. Women selling loaves of bread by roadside, peddlers going door to door selling trinkets, small motorcycle shops selling warm water and beer on the side, even kids speaking amazing English pushing DVDs and postcards. Some day all this drive will result in a regional economic powerhouse, as soon as the government gets more of its act in order, and stops doing penny-ante stuff like blocking Facebook. The infrastructure is also improving. There is a huge highway being built out of Hanoi (which accounted for the scary first part of the trip). Even small villages had paved roads, and there were few potholes on the roads we took. Many rivers had new bridges being built. (The country could do with a few more stoplights though....)

Vietnam has unlimited tourist potential. The landscape is infinitely varied, from jagged limestone mountains to rolling hills to the flatness of endless rice paddies. The coastline consists of white sandy beaches, warm waters and great mountaintop views. The food was also wonderful -- filling, tasty, and without the greasiness common in a lot of countries. 

And most of all, the people are warm and friendly. Every American goes to Vietnam with a certain wariness in the back of his mind, but the smiles are genuine and the hearts are welcoming. They were just fun to be with. Service was good too.

If you are considering a getaway, Vietnam should definitely be on the list.

* Reconsidering history: Every boomer has Vietnam imprinted on his DNA. We all grew up with daily news related to the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam), and passions were strong among all those against or in favor of the war. Many Americans believed, as President Johnson said in 1965, "we have to fight the Communists in Vietnam so we don't have to fight them in San Francisco." As a result of the war, 50,000+ Americans died, 3.5 million Vietnamese were killed and the political divide that still impacts US politics today began. It was amazing to visit the places that had been just headlines in my youth -- Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh trail, My Lai, Khe Sanh, Hanoi Hilton, tunnels that survived B-52 bombings and more. More than 40 years later hillsides stand naked where the infamous herbicide Agent Orange was dropped.

Yet look at Vietnam today. Two US presidents have visited. The country welcomes US tourists and investment. It is stable and peaceful, and slowly shrinking its military. It makes you wonder: Why did we spill so much blood and treasure there, and what were we fighting for? Wouldn't it have been simpler and better, as one Senator suggested at the time, just declare victory and go home?

The parallels with Afghanistan are clear. Americans are fighting and dying in a land many could not find on a map, supposedly because, as bush put it, "we have to fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here." The Afghan government is corrupt, incompetent and isolated. Like the Vietnamese, who fought for more than 50 years to unite their country, the Afghans are skilled and tenacious at fighting outsiders. At first I supported President Obama's well-considered strategy to deploy more troops to Afghanistan, but now I'm not so sure. While I was in Vietnam Afghanistan became the longest war America has ever fought, and the end is very very distant. And I keep thinking, in 40 years, are there going to be motorcycle tours of today's battles, and will our children wonder why so many US soldiers died there? 

* The value of friends: The invites went out to the world, but in the end only three brave souls -- Doug Traub, his brother David Traud and Peter Manieri -- put away the demands of daily life and avoided the easy excuses to fly to a distant and unknown part of the world to do something that was crazy and unimaginable -- slum around SE Asia before motorbiking down the Ho Chi Minh trail. Doug soldiered on when his body told him stop, David was the best den mother ever making sure we were all safe and accounted for, and Peter became America's finest ambassador ever with his generosity and open heart. Without the mutual support and sharing, we would have never made it. (There were moments when our guide didn't think we'd complete the trip, and I gained a newfound respect for my daughter Crystal, who had previously made the same trip by herself.) There were moments that will shine forever. (Some will be forgotten immediately: "38 hours!" comes to mind.) And there has to be a special thank-you for our friend and guide Ngoc, who taught us a lot about Vietnam and friendship. If you want the perfect tour in Vietnam or elsewhere in Southeast Asia, with a patient, helpful, well-organized and knowledgeable guide, be sure to contact our friend Ngoc at home/.

But even if you don't make it to Asia, it's time for you to take a trip!


NORTH - WEST VIETNAM, April 2010.( Motorcycle touring Vietnam)

Comment of SCOTT REYNOLDS, an American rider, team leader of a group of 5 riders.

Scott Reynolds  Specialty Services
  P.O. Box 1311  Clackamas, Oregon 97015  503-913-0100

We made it home safe and sound.  Thank you for putting up with us once
again.  We are kind of a crazy bunch, and "old" Uncle Dan can be a handful
at times.
You have a very nice wife and child, it was great to meet them and have
I could see us coming back and ride down to Cambodia and around for our next
one.  Let me know when the best time of year for that area would be.  We
like it "hot" as you know.  Maybe we could help you out with some bikes at
that time.
Thanks, and take care of your cute Daughter.  

NORTHEAST RIDE (6 days motorcycle tour Vietnam. Jan,2010 )

Comments from
 John and Patrick Meyer.

Hi Ngoc,

 Thanks for your message. Patrick and I both enjoyed our few extra days in Saigon. We were both pleased with the bike trip and as I said to you when we were at the Hotel...”you are the right person for the job”. When I returned home, my daughter immediately asked me when would it be her turn to go to Vietnam. Maybe I’ll take her in a couple years.

 It was a pleasure to ride with you and I will certainly recommend you to my friends when they are interested in doing a bike trip. I’d like to join them when they are ready.

 I have attached a few photos for you...

 All the best and safe travels. John


HO CHI MINH TRAIL RIDE (Vietnam by motorcycle) September 2008

Comments from William B. Ketter


William B. Ketter is CNHI's vice president of news. He previously worked as editor-in-chief of The Eagle Tribune in North Andover, Mass., chairman of Boston University's Journalism Department, vice president at the Boston Globe, and editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass. He also spent many years - as a reporter, editor and vice president - at United Press International. He is a former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, director of the Society of Professional Journalists, member of the Pulitzer Prize Board and five-time Pulitzer juror. Kindly Contact him at

     Ketter blogged during parts of his eight-day motorcycle trip along portions of Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trip included an eight-day motorcycle trek down remnants of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail with five other Americans. The group covered 850 miles, from the northern mountains of Vietnam to the former American military base at DaNang and China Beach, on the coast of the South China Sea.

     Our eight-day trip at cost just $850 per person, including overnight accommodations, meals, Honda 160 cubic-centimeter motorcycles, fuel and two guides/interpreters.

     We stayed in budget hotels, but the sheets were clean, the showers were hot, and even remote mountain stops featured air conditioning, although power blackouts occurred often during the early evening hours. And it did take a few nights to get used to the three-inch mattresses; a few mornings to develop patience for the coffee that slowly drips from a metal strainer atop the cup. But once done, it jolts you into the day’s activities.


Vietnam: Land of communist capitalism

By William B. Ketter

When Ho Chi Minh’s battalions swept into Saigon 33 years ago to establish a reunited Vietnam, the communist conquerors made one critical miscalculation: military victory would make life better for the war-weary nation.

Instead, economic conditions worsened, starvation spread across the entire country, and national sacrifice became the common denominator that defined a long and dark post-war period for the north and the south.

"We struggled through very lean years after the Americans left,” remembers Nguyen Ngoc, son of a decorated North Vietnamese army officer. “The government issued food rations. A bowl of rice had to last a week; shreds of meat a month’s time. You killed a chicken without a sound so you didn’t have to share it with your neighbors.”

his followers strived to fulfill with tight government control over business and commerce upon winning the war Certainly not the socialist dream “Uncle Ho” talked about before dying of a heart attack in 1969 and which in his stead.

Free-market wheeling and dealing, prevalent in South Vietnam during the French and American presence, bid a hasty retreat, crushed by the communist credo of one-for-all and all-for-one. Individual and corporate investment withered.

Until the 1990s, that is. That’s when Vietnam fully embraced the Chinese model of open-market capitalism while clinging to a strict communist political system. Despair turned to daring. Even those Vietnamese who fled the country – known as Viet Kieu -- were invited to invest in the homeland. And they did – at the current rate of $7 billion a year, according to government figures.

Today, Vietnam is still one of the world’s impoverished nations, but a recent two-week vacation there, including eight days on a motorcycle down remnants of the renowned Ho Chi Minh Trail, provided evidence the country is clear-eyed about opening its doors to the world.

“We will never be as rich as you Americans,” said Ngoc. “But we’re now enjoying a better life. We can own property, start businesses, make good money. We have rice, coffee, tea, rubber and oil ” – significant exports that fuel free-market reforms that, in turn, spawn English-language newspapers, magazines and television programs. None, of course, enjoy press freedom as we know it. They do, however, aggressively report crime, corruption and catastrophes. And they did not appear to sugar-coat the country’s economic challenges.

"It is true the communists have ultimate control over the news media,” said Ngoc. “But it is not in the interest of the communists or Vietnam to black out the news of things that everybody knows about anyway through the Internet.”

Ngoc, who served as chief guide and interpreter for the motorcycle adventure, is an example of the new Vietnam, second only to China in economic growth in Asia since 2002.

At 34, he has no personal memory of the war that killed 3 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians as well as nearly 60,000 American military fighting on behalf of the South Vietnamese. College educated and fluent in French and English, he reads and listens to the news in all three languages, residing with his wife and three-year-old daughter in a modest home in Hanoi. He’s considered a tourism expert, serves as a consultant to travel agencies and is the proud owner of a start-up company home/ that specializes in customized motorcycle tours.

Ngoc loves Vietnam, reveres Ho Chi Minh as the George Washington of his country, lives to ride a motorcycle and raves about the scenic beauty of his native northern landscape. He is not, however, a member of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Two-thirds of Vietnam’s 85 million people were, like Ngoc, born after American combat ended in 1973. They are reminded of the bloody clash by their elders, monuments and museums – all of which tout victory over “American imperialism.” But the war does not grip the Vietnamese psyche the way it weighs on the American mind.

Furthermore, the country’s communist leaders no longer insist on command and control of everyday life. People are encouraged to show initiative and get ahead. Ngoc estimated there are only about 3 million card-carrying communists.

“You join the party if you want a career in politics or government,” said Ngoc. “Otherwise, there’s no need to belong. As a nation we are comfortable with the arrangement. We all want a prosperous Vietnam.”

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