Platypus Mountain Run – North Vietnam 2015

By Mark McCarthy (member & rider)

The Platypus mountain run for 2015 was completed between November 22nd and December 5th 2015. This was a superb ride through North Vietnam’s high country. This year we had 11 male riders, 2 female pillions a lead guide rider and a support crew. It turned out to be one of the best rides ever and all riders shared a very special experience that very few people would ever get the opportunity to experience in a lifetime.

The start line just outside Hanoi where we started our adventure. Koony our lead guide standing at the back above the riders.

Start line

With about 2000 kilometers in front of us everyone were eager to going. Mother Nature provided a large array of weather conditions from the get go. As the first days riding opened up it was clear why this ride was going to be special. The scenery from day 1 was spectacular as we approached the mountain foothills.

The group stayed at a variety of hotel accommodation and home stay accommodation along the route. The home stays were my personal favorite because the group all slept together (not in the same bed) and ate together and really got to know each other. There was always plenty to discuss after each day’s riding, plenty of great food and local rice wine to sample.

Highlights of the ride are too many to mention but some of the memorable locations for me were Sapa, Ha Giang ,Meo Vac, Ba Be National Park, Halong City.  Relaxing after a day’s riding and sharing experiences and a drink with the other riders was a pleasure we shared daily.

rest break

Happy riders enjoying a road side break.

first group shot

This years riders and pillions from the Left (rear), Mark, (me) Velko, Brendon, Bob, Peter, Neil, (Front) Teresa, Julie, Warren, Ron,  Frank and his two sons, Terry and Steve.

The ride yielded many surprises along the way. One special moment was after stopping roadside to wait for one of the riders, the group was asked to join a wedding celebration adjacent to where we stopped. The groom and his male wedding party were celebrating and getting ready to be joined by his bride that afternoon. They were extremely hospitable and friendly. They fed us and we toasted the good health and future of the groom many times. (Just sipping the rice wine as we still had half a day’s riding ahead). The riders all chipped in 100,000 dong and we gave the groom a wedding gift of 1,000,000 dong and once again toasted to his and his new wife to be’s future. Good fun was had by all and we had the quintessential wedding photo group shot.


Group shot with the riders and the wedding party. This would only happen in Vietnam. The local people are so friendly.

No one could every say this ride is boring, there is a surprise around every corner. The road conditions range from nice bitumen to every surface known to man including, dirt, clay, rock, rubble, roads under construction, blue metal and dusty tracks, and that’s all in one day!

On a daily basis you will share the road with locals riding step through motorbikes with up to 3 pigs onboard, dodge chickens, dogs, water buffalo, horses, trucks, cats and of course the odd pothole.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words so please enjoy the following few thousand words;

mark bunny ears






school shot

mountain fog

mountain pass

karaoke bar

water buf


finish line

End game was Halong City where our riders spent a relaxing overnight stay on a classic Halong Junk Boat on Halong Bay. The Motorbikes were put on a truck and sent back to Hanoi with Ngoc our support crew.

Here’s some actual footage from a GoPro mounted on my bike.  This is 2000k in 4 and a half minutes so turn up the sound and enjoy the ride.

The ride this year raised much needed funds to support the Platypus scholarship program. 40 children will be educated next school year because of the kindness and generosity of the 2015 riders. A huge thank you to you all.


One Response to “Platypus Mountain Run – North Vietnam 2015”

  1. Peter Hocking says:

    Great round up Mark. One ride experience I will never forget. If your thinking about doing this ride contact any of the crew here and they will tell you everything you need to know. The run was faultless, well planned and everything ran smoothly. I will definitely be going again.


Leave a Reply

Latest Stories & Reports

Become a friend of Platypus

Click here to Subscribe

Donate and help change a child’s life today

All cash donations over $2 are tax deductible