BootsnAll Travel Network

Goodbye Vietnam

My last stop on the road out of Vietnam was the town of Diem Bien Phu. I really knew very much about the place but I learned that it was the site of the Frenchs last stand in Vietnam. Basically, the US tourists come to visit the DMZ and the French come to visit DBP. It turned out to be a fairly interesting town as they focused on the history rather than strictly knocking everything down and rebuilding it like every other new town. Everywhere you go there is some old piece of military equipment lying around as well as some recreated bunkers and such.

I think this is where one of the French commanders committed suicide after his plans went to hell.

The view from a hilltop overlooking the city and the valley.

The new Vietnamese border complex which looks like it will be opening soon. The Tay Trang border which I crossed had just opened within the last couple of years and has made life a lot easier for travelers visiting the north. Immigration was a worry as I had the bike but also because I lost my customs/exit card (actually I never got one because I didn’t go to customs when I came into Vietnam.) It turned out to be nothing as the Vietnamese was a quick five minutes for passport stamp and nothing for the bike. FYI, you are not supposed to drive through the Immigration area so you have to dismount from your bike and push it through.

On the Laos side it was also fairly straight forward although they did register the bike. Again, they don’t like people driving through the Immigration area so you have to follow the arrows around the complex and back to the building. Where there is a stop sign you have to park and then walk into the admin area. I ended up paying $35US for my Visa, 50,000K for registering the bike, 5000K for processing, and 2000k for spraying the bike to prevent Bird Flu. It took around 45 minutes and I was on my way.

One huge swing came after leaving the Laos side. The skies cleared and the sun came through. No shit. It was the weirdest thing. Five minutes after leaving the check point (which is at the top of the pass) I had my jacket off and was basking in clear blue skies. It hasn’t been cold since.

And that is the end of Vietnam.

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