Rider Testimonials

$350,000+ for Charity. 700+ Tours Since 1999.

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Charley Boorman and Digby on a Ural motorcycle
The TV star, best known for The Long Way Round, rode with us back in 2008. He wrote about the adventure in his book, By Any Means by Charley Boorman.

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Rider Tour Experiences

Scott Evans

My trip was incredible.  I still can’t believe I made it back with all my body parts intact.

Glenn did a great job of taking care of me.

I may come back next year and do a Northern Loop trip.

Thanks for putting it together, Digby.

Justin Parry

Thanks Diggers for an awesome ride, I really enjoyed it.

The eye is fine. Looking forward to the next ride.

Take it easy.

Nick Xavier

Wow…. what a trip!!

How else could you enter China by swimming and not get caught – those Minsks can out run anyone!!!

Cheers for everything, Digby!!

Lauren Thollander

Just wanted to give you some feedback about our trip. It was GREAT!!!!

The guides were wonderful. They were helpful when needed, and I felt very safe and comfortable with them. I loved the stir the bikes made at every stop. It wasn’t us, it was the bikes, I’m sure. I told Wes I want to do another trip, maybe to Cambodia and Laos. The only thing that would have been better was if we had more days on the bikes.

Anyway, Digby, your company gets a thumbs up from me and I’m passing the word on to one and all.

Jason Melgaard

About to find myself visiting Vietnam for the second time, I wanted to make sure I did it right—on a motorcycle. I was to be travelling with my girlfriend’s family, and because her Uncle Tom rides, we wanted to set up a little excursion away from the ladies. A friend who had spent some time in Asia had told me about Explore Indochina and explained how that should get me going in the right direction. And it did. If you have found yourself at this site, it is most likely not by mistake, so let’s get on with it.

The motorcycles we chose were the Russian-made 650 Urals, a stoic machine filled with as much history, conflict, struggle, resistance, and victory as Vietnam. It was a great choice.

The Urals ate up the majestic countryside in and around the Sapa area as we rolled through beautiful hills and valleys that were lush with vegetation. Twisty roads gave way to the tiered rice paddies for which the place is famous.

As timing would have it, our trip coincided with the fall harvest and patches of yellow blanketed either side of the road that stretched out and up for as far as the eye could see. Large mud-covered water buffalo stood as silent observers as the banter of our engines sent a drift of piglets scattering—perhaps to their mother’s dismay. The sounds, smells, and dust-covered visions still linger in my memory.

Digby and Explore Indochina run quite the operation. We were in good hands. Digby was funny and conscientious. The food was as good as the company we kept, with an array of delicious dishes from that area, as well as a few comforting surprises. Our stomachs were very happy. The end of the days brought cool beverages and nice conversation to wind things down.

All in all, Digby was able to take our limited schedule and fill it with as much riding and enjoyment as possible. My hats (helmets) off to you guys, it was a great trip!

Looking forward to the next one!

Eddie

On the morning of our third and final day, Digby said, “If it’s alright with you, I’d like to try out some new roads today.”

I was game. A new road had been built in the mountains near Mai Chau that connected some previously inaccessible villages. “New” is stretching it – “unfinished” is more like it.

But if you give it enough gas, those Minsks can make it over just about anything. The younger kids stared in wonder as we drove by. Digby rode in front and broke the ice, and by the time I rode by, the older kids had run out to wave and shout. “I doubt there’s ever been any tourists up here,”  Digby told me as we stopped for some photos.

Two days earlier, the trip had begun in a construction lot outside Hanoi. I had never really ridden a motorbike before, and so I was getting the basics before hitting the road. I got a bit frustrated. But Digby was patient, and before long, we agreed I was road-ready, and we headed out.

Surprisingly to me, by midday, I was comfortable on the bike, just in time to enjoy the incredible scenery that had gradually emerged. Jungle-covered Karst rose up all around us. There had just been strong rains, and the rice paddies were greener than any land I had ever seen. We made some stops for lunch and bia hoi (local brew) and chatted with the locals. The last stretch of the day was a winding, rolling jungle road through Cuc Phuong National Park. I felt like I could have ridden that road for days. Pure joy.

Good dinner, great talk, a full bottle of antler rice wine, a good night’s sleep in the jungle lodge, and back on the road the next morning. I was ready for the tougher roads that would take us even further off the beaten track.

That day, we rode around the Park, over a mountain pass and down into Mai Chau. We braved muddy roads, washed-out roads (just keep revving to keep the water out of the exhaust pipe), bridges made with sticks, and plenty of construction (apparently, the first step to making a new road is to cover it with 10-inch boulders. Sure they laughed, but the workers were happy to get me going again when I’d stall.)

Around midday, we suddenly came to a 50ft wide river with rocky rapids. The road started back up on the other side as if it went straight across underwater. I looked at Digby.

“Well,” he said, “There used to be a bridge here.” A flash flood had taken out the stick bridge the week before.  A pair of industrious young locals had strapped together a bamboo raft and were gouging us for 25 times what the fare had been to get across the bridge. This was one time the term “all inclusive” came in handy for me.

On the other side of the pass, we rode through little towns that backpackers would no doubt throng were they ever found by the Lonely Planet. On the last leg of the day we descended into the valley of Mai Chau along a windy road hugging the mountain, looking down at the paddies and villages below. Something about following the curves in the road, the soft early evening light, knowing we had earned the views of the valley, the word ‘sublime’ came to mind, and I thought that these had been the best two days of my five week Southeast Asia trip.

Riding into the village felt like riding into the Shire. Clever channels and water wheels carved into the hills regulated the water in the paddies, small clusters of stilt houses, all nestled in the bowl of mountains on every side. We stayed in one of the stilt houses, friends of Digby. He had been invited to a family wedding in the fall, and we talked with them about the plans and the customs. More great food, another bottle of local brew, more good talk and deep-earned sleep.

That next and last day, after the ‘new’ road had taken us up in the mountains for a breathtaking view of the Halong-esque reservoir below, it winded down to meet the water. We came to an earthen pier where a weekly market was just ending, and we hired one of the leaving boats to take us back to the main road. The only way down to the pier was by four flights of stairs, and a few of the market-goers helped us ease our bikes down.

The karst and calm roads slowly gave way to the rush of Hanoi traffic for the final approach. I had been quite anxious about that final ride through the crazy streets of the city, and it happened that we arrived at the height of rush hour. I had gotten in quite the groove over those three days, though, and shadowing Digby through the traffic was actually great fun; I was taking part in the city instead of just watching it.  I felt much more at home in Hanoi after doing it. When we arrived at my hotel, I had a hard time saying goodbye to the bike, Digby and the trip.

He called ahead to Sapa to arrange a hotel for me and took me to get my ticket for that night’s train. He told me about the roads out there and how to bike them. After our trip, I didn’t have to be glued to the very popular tour companies. I rented a Minsk and saw Sapa the way I wanted.

I discovered a great new way to travel. To really be part of the country.

Digby, thanks for a fantastic adventure!

Gregor

The tour really was good, and Dagmar enjoyed it also very much (which I was not that sure before, because she has never done anything similar and it was her first time in Asia).

If there is another snake festival to be had we will come for sure.

We really enjoyed the time we had.

All the best Digby and greetings to the rest.

Thomas

At first, we want to say: Thank you very much!

We hope you have a good time without us !!! In sunny feelings in cold Vietnam!!!

It was a great organized tour! Digby was an amazing guide!

What a shame – it was the coldest winter in over 50 years for South East Asia!

But Vietnam was an unbelievable adventure!. The Minsk 125 was the best bike for the whole tour!!!