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Easy riding motorbike tours boom in Southeast Asia

Adventure motorcycles get Western professionals on the road again

Touring in the hill tribe areas of far northern Vietnam on a BMW adventure motorcycle. (Courtesy of MotoTours Asia)

HANOI -- The large European motorbike purrs with pleasure as the road -- a concoction of gravel and broken asphalt peppered with potholes -- curls up the face of a 1,500-meter-high mountain pass in Dong Van, a remote frontier district in northern Vietnam. Whatever nature throws at it -- mud, rain, river crossings and even snow and ice -- is child's play for the BMW 800GS, which has suspension that can be adapted for different terrains.

This German-made high-tech road machine would have been unthinkable in past decades, when the only way for intrepid travelers to explore the back roads of Vietnam, Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia was on 250 cc trail bikes from Japan.

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