Top Gear (2002–…): Season 12, Episode 8 - Vietnam Special - full transcript

The boys headed to Vietnam for epic road trip across the country. Each of them were given 15 million dong (about US$ 1000) to spend on buying some wheels and must make it to the north of Vietnam.

Hello, hello! Hello, everybody!

Hello and welcome...

Hello and welcome to a sea
of disappointed faces,

as these people have driven
all the way down here today,

only to find that the show isn't
actually coming from here today.

No, it is in fact coming
from 6,000 miles away,

here, in Vietnam.

Yes, we were told to meet
in the centre of Saigon,

and await further instructions.

So, sit back, enjoy the ride.

'We arrived in Saigon and got
straight down to business.'

No! Mel...

That was Mel Gibson!

Mel Gibson
is We Were Soldiers.

You're thinking of Hamburger Hill...
Since we left...

He sticks the knife... Yes, and
Private Pyle was Full Metal Jacket
which was shot in the Docklands.

Will you stop going on about
what I imagine are war films?!

Ah! Challenge! Hello. Thank you.

Er... "Since you can buy Rolexes here
for a fiver and lunch for 50p,

"you're standing in the world's
biggest pound shop.

"You should therefore have no
trouble at all buying some wheels
for 15 million dong."

15 million?!

Are these full of money?


Look at that! 15 million dong.

I love the smell of money
in the morning.

Smells like wheels!

'Delighted that for once,
the producers had been generous,
we headed for the showrooms.'

I love having inches of money!

'But our joy was short-lived,
as James discovered,

'when he tried to buy
a bog-standard Fiat 500.'

Can you tell me how much?

Um, 500...

560 million Vietnam dong.

560 million?! Yeah.

How much is 15 million dong?

Um, just about 1,000 US dollar.

'Even the back-street car dealers
were no good.'

Is it enough? For what?

For a car?

For the car? Yeah.

What happen with the car?
You want to... To buy.

To buy the car?!

Yeah. Oh, I cannot.

'Jeremy, meanwhile,
had become desperate.'

Would you sell me your car?
Can I buy your car?'

Sell me your car! Please!

'And Hammond had given up
and gone for lunch.'


It is quite tricky.

Pull up a chair, have a seat.

What?! They're not very big.

No! I've said to you all along,
you two are the freaks.

This place
is perfectly scaled. I love it.

'But Hammond's joy
at fitting in the chairs

'wasn't going to
get us out of our hole.'

I'll tell you the problem. Cars only
came to Vietnam a few years ago, OK?

Four or five years ago. They've got
a 200% import tax on them.

They haven't had time, in the
four or five years since they've
been here, to get cheap.

There are no bangers.

Everything's expensive
and we're actually quite poor.

'It did look like we'd come
a long way for nothing,

'but then James and I had an idea.'


Go on. No.

Look around us. What do we see
everywhere? No, I can't.

You know I can't do that.

What else is there?

I bet you can get a bike for that.

I bet you can get a lump
of excrement for that as well.

It doesn't mean... It's transport
with an engine. It's the only choice.
Come on.

No. Look, that's all we've got.


'James and I did have a point.

'Because cars are so expensive
in Vietnam,

'They're used for everything.
If you don't have a bike here,
you're a nobody.'

'So we took the plunge as well,
and an hour later,

'met up at the American War Museum
with our cheap-as-chips wheels.'

I bought this. It's a Minsk.

Russian, 125cc, and it's
basically the AK47 of bikes -

rugged, simple, easy to repair.

It is built specifically
to be used in countries
where there are no roads.

It will be - for whatever
they throw at us - perfect.

I've gone completely native
and I've bought this.

It's an an ancient
Honda 50 Super Cub -

the greatest motorcycle in history.

Over 60 million of those
have been built,

and it is a greater liberator
of the people than...

well, that American tank,
for example.

I've bought this, which is, um...
a motorcycle.

This is a scooter. It is.

Don't let go now. It'll fall over.
No. It's got a thing called a stand.

You really don't know anything
about bikes, do you? Nothing.

I tell you what,
it is actually very pretty.

But it's gonna be useless,
because whatever the challenge is,

tiny wheels and looking good won't
help you. Why are tiny wheels wrong?

Little wheels go further
into the holes. What holes?

The holes in the road.

You'll be all over the place!

How many cylinders has it got?

One?! It's two-stroke.

'It was time
for the main challenge.'

I promise you,
I'm not interested in this.

"You'll now attempt to achieve
in eight days what the Americans
failed to achieve in ten years.

"Get from the south
of Vietnam to the north.

"You will ride from here in Saigon
to Ha Long City,

"near the Chinese border,
which is 1,000 miles away."

That is excellent! Wow! That's
the best challenge we've ever had.

I'm going! Get his bike started.
Honestly, that is fantastic.

I can't do that.
I just...can't do that.

I can't do...

Guys, I can't do that.

I can't ride a bike.

I'm sorry, this is stupid.

I'm not joking. I don't know who
came up with this, but it's daft.

I'm more excited
than anything we've ever done.

I can't believe you're being
a misery-guts.

It's 1,000 miles in the rainy
season! That's the best thing!

1,000 miles, in the rainy season, in
a country with not very good roads,

and I can't ride a bike!

'There was good reason
for my despair.

'The cities in Vietnam
are a seething cauldron
of barely organised chaos.

'They're a death trap
for the inexperienced.

'And in the countryside,
there's even more peril.

'Four times more people here die
on the roads than in Britain.

'I honestly believed that at some
point on our long and torturous
route, one of us would be killed.

'Probably wouldn't be Hammond,
though, because unlike us two,

'he at least could get
a helmet which fitted.'

The reason I don't ride a motorcycle
is because I have a large brain.

No, you have a big head. The reason
why...crash helmets are small

is because people who wear
them haven't got a brain.

Otherwise they'd have a car.

'Since we were due to set off the
following morning,

'Jeremy and I
had to get helmets made...

'in a back-street metal shop.'



'With our orders placed,
Richard and I fettled our bikes,

'and Jeremy hit the bar.'

MUSIC: "The End" by the Doors.

'Departure day, and immediately,
there was a problem

'because in the workshop the night
before, my Vietnamese hadn't been
as fluent as I'd thought.'

Where did all those come from? These?
I can't really turn my head, so...

You're not excited, are you? No.

This is great, I'm very excited. It's
the beginning of an epic adventure.


Are you off then?

Yep. This is it? Yep.

1,000 miles? Yeah!

Right then! Three, two...

one, we're off!

'If we were to reach our overnight
stop in the mountain town of Da Lat,

'we had to get cracking,

'which is why James
immediately shed some weight.'

I've had to ditch my wok!





Stupid thing!

'Meanwhile, James and I were having
a ball in the madness of it all.'

Whoa! This is such a melee.

I've been riding bikes for 25 years
and I've never done anything like
this. I think just improvise.

It's amazing. It just sort of works!

Do you know how to start it? No.

All right, get on.

Well some Vietnamese people came and
they just trod on it and it started.

Oi! Whoa, wrong side of the road!

One, neutral, two, three, four.


There you go.

There you go...


You're getting it!

Yep, it's only been an hour,
and I've done, well...three feet.

That was a dog!

How does that work?

A bit more acceleration.

Oh BLEEP, he's going to die!

'We were now on the outskirts
of Saigon.'

I'm glad we couldn't afford cars.

This is better.

Er...that's one. No, there we go.

Yes, that's a gear.

'A passing banker had sold his
helmet, which meant I was now
completely safe(!)'



Are we going down there?
Where are we going?!



Is this your favourite place in
the whole world now? Yeah. And mine.

This is terrifying. It's just bikes
absolutely everywhere.

Oh my God, there's one stalled
in front of me.

Best motorbike I've ever had.

'This is the ONLY motorbike
I'd ever had

'and it was undriveable.'

Oh, get into gear, for God's sakes!
Stupid thing!

Gear box has a mind of its own,
there's no suspension,
it just wobbles!

It's just wobbling all the time!

You're going the wrong way!


'Eventually, though, I caught up
with Barry Sheen and his boyfriend.'


Thanks for waiting, mate(!) Well I
thought, "Jeremy always waits for
me, so I'll not wait for him."

I thought you were just behind us.
You knew damn well I wasn't!

'And then I discovered why my bike
was so undriveable.'

That nut is as tight as it will go
and that is...loose.

'The drive shaft was knackered,
which, on a Vespa, is bad news.'

We're going to have to
change the whole engine.

While we're doing that, the front
brakes are now being adjusted so

'Still, at least my mates wouldn't
leave me behind this time...'

Oh no, what if we have to finish the
whole journey without him?!

Oh! Oh!

in such a "bikey" country,

'a new engine was found in minutes,
and so I rolled up my sleeves

'and had some lunch.'

You look at this and you think,

"What noise did this make
when it was alive?

"Tweet, tweet, tweet,"

or did it go, "Neigh"?

I think it went, "Ruff! Ruff!"

But it's delicious.

Um, well I think this thing here
is a sort of squid thing with some
weird paste. Don't like squid.

OK, well you can have crab with...
I don't like crab.

Razor clams.

I don't like clams.

'By now, the workforce had swelled
considerably, and as a result,
I was soon on the move again.'

OK, the wheel is no longer wobbling,

got a new engine, got a new gearbox,

and it feels...exactly the same.



'As James and I made smooth
progress toward De Lat,

'we were reflecting on the pedigree
of our bargain basement bikes.'

These bikes are quite a common sight
all over the world,

and in certain places, they're
usually seen with members of the
Taliban on them, carrying AK-47s,

and rocket launchers.

This is the wheels of Asia.

Over 60 million of these sold,
so if you combine the Beetle,

the Model T, all the versions
of the Toyota Corolla,

and the Mini, you still haven't got
as many as you have of these.

'40 miles back, I couldn't care less
about my bike's pedigree.'

Work! Just work, for one minute!

Further up the road,
things were getting hilly,

which meant James was having problems

with his Honda's miserable four
horse-power engine.



We can do it! Faster!



And here we are again.
It's a lovely evening here in
south-east Asia, as you can see,

and I'd be enjoying it any means of
transport apart from the motorbike.

If somebody said to me,
"Would you like to hop to Hanoi?"

Yes, I would.

'The last few miles to De Lat
were really steep.'

Just admit it, you should have
bought a more powerful bike.

No! I'm not admitting it yet.

I'm still going.

I'm gonna check it out,
see if it gets steeper.

MUSIC: "Adagio For Strings"
by Samuel Barber

I'm just...coming to
a dignified failure.

She's going...
She's going. She's going.

That's it.

I've run out of gears...

I've run out of power.

'Still, at least he hadn't put 15
Quadrophenia-style mirrors right in
front of his own head lamp.'

God almighty, I'm riding along

with the head light illuminating
nothing but my own face!

'Our meeting point
was a restaurant in De Lat,

'and James had worked up quite an
appetite by the time he got there.'


Well, I went to check ahead if it
got any steeper. It did. I know.

Where is he, do you reckon? Dunno.

Do you think he's enjoying his first
biking experience.

I am the most miserable
human being alive!

Where's this restaurant?!

Where is it?!

I quite like it here. I like the way
the roof's been made and the way the
sticks have been joined together.

Whoa! Blimey!

Mate, how are you? Congratulations.

Do you want a beer? Yes!

We've drunk 'em,
but we'll get another.

'Hammond was loving my misery, but I
got revenge by ordering Set Menu B.'


What is "ran"?

You haven't eaten anything since you
got here, have you?
You just haven't seen me.

What have you eaten? Piles of stuff.
He had some cornflakes.

I was trying them in case
they were different.

I like to try local
cultures and flavours
and they may have been different!

But I'd been eating a squid, soup,
clam, bamboo shoot arrangement before
you came in. I had!

'Then our ran arrived!'

Oh God, I don't like snake.
It's going to be delicious.

If I told you it was chicken...

We'll have chicken then!
Could I have it medium-rare?

What, a medium-rare snake?!

How would you have it?
Well done, I suppose!

'Richard didn't go for the snake
salad. Or the snake soup.

'And he really didn't go for the
still-beating snake heart.'

No... Oh, I can't... I'm fine.

I have sampled your world today...

Do you want vodka with snake blood
or vodka with snake bile?

I don't need a vodka with snake...

BOTH: Three, two, one...go.


'James and I liked the snake vodka.

'In fact, we liked it so much...'


'But later, we may have made
mischief with Hammond's helmet.'


Morning. Did YOU do this?


We just wanted to make sure
it was strong enough.

We were worried about you.
We were paralytically worried.

I was blind worried.

He was so worried on a couple of
occasions he fell over with worry.
How did you do it?

We tested it under the wheels
of a lorry and look what happened.

You tested it? Yes.

So now that's... Ruined. Yes.

Don't worry, though.

We've just been out to town
and we've bought you another one.

Don't take this the wrong way,
because colours assume different
significance... Stop talking.

Seriously. In Britain, we think of
that as feminine... Stop moving your
face about with noises coming out.

Here it's the colour of warriors.

He's not very happy with us.
He's not.

'But at least he was happier
than me, because today,

'I faced another 130 miles of rough
roads, endless breakdowns,

'massive discomfort
and general peril.

'Still, at least I'd been assured
it wouldn't rain.'

Name an upside to this, mate!

Name one upside!

Well you're not hot any more,
are you?

My light's dying. It's dying.

My light's dying!

'There was an upside though.

'Richard's Taliban bike
had decided it liked the rain
even less than me.'

Come on, now.

That's not as effective as I'd hoped.

Oh my God!

What the hell
is going on in my life?!

Why has my life gone so wrong?!

It's good for you! It's not!

It is! Stop whining.

Hit that. Cheer me up -
kill yourself.

# I'll take you anywhere
you want, girl
Ride my Honda tonight! #

I hate you!

# First gear, it's all right

# Second gear, I'm all right

# Third gear, hold on tight! #

MUSIC: "Little Honda"
by the Beach Boys

# It's not a big motorcycle
Just a groovy little motorbike... #

'All I could hope was that Captain
Beach Boy would have a disaster
on these awful, flooded roads.


This is a massive "Oh, cock!"
How can it have run out?

That rain makes a really annoying
noise on my colander...helmet.

And it comes through.

'On his much faster Minsk, Hammond
had passed his old mate James,

'not stopped to help,
and caught up with me.'


Sorry! I've stopped!

He's enjoying it!

He is... He's enjoying it!

He is.

This nice man has stopped on an old
Russian motorcycle, and I think he's
going to give me some petrol.

What a nice man.

In fact, I think I'll pay him.

My dong's going to be
all soggy, isn't it?

'At a filling station further up the
road, Jeremy and I had pulled over,
because my clutch cable had snapped.'

You see, my clutch should be there,
and it isn't.

'This became a big problem
for all of us.'

James! May, there's bad news.

What? The producers have got fed up
with us just replacing parts
willy-nilly on our bikes.

You two, you mean?
Yes. His clutch cable went. He went
and bought one from in there.

Yeah. So, they say that
if our bikes go wrong again,

we can't just keep them
going with tools,

they've provided back-up transport.

'Excellent turned out
to be the wrong word.'

Ooh! Oh my God!


Oh yes, that is a bit...
Oh God, I don't think so.

It's slightly conspicuous.

That's "Born In The USA", evidently.

That's thunder! And the village.

Have you noticed, there was a rumble
of thunder, and the village arrived.

I... C...

Children, if you're
watching this at home

and you don't know
why this is inappropriate,

ask your parents.

as inappropriate a bike

as it's humanly possible
to conceive.

MUSIC: "Paint It Black"
by the Rolling Stones

'Amazingly, all our bikes
suddenly worked perfectly.'

# I see a red door
and I want it painted black

# No colours any more
I want them to turn black... #

'However, getting to Nha Trang

'meant crossing
more spectacular mountains,

'which meant more bad news
for James.'

I might even get third gear.
Wait for it.

Here it comes!


Yes! No!

I am Francis Rossi!

This is staggeringly good.
We are in the clouds.

'By nightfall, we were on the
downhill run, and finally united.'

This is the first time
we've all ridden together
since the square in Saigon.

It's dark and about to rain,
but there we are.

ALL: Wow!

Did you see that one?!


'The lightning was biblical,
and from my point of view,
quite useful.'

Oh no! No!

No, my light! My light!

'Fearful of the Yankee bike,

'I strapped a torch
to my front mud guard

'and with just two days'
motorcycling experience,

'set off into the night...

'Where even Captain Experienced
found the going a bit tricky.'

This is where it gets bad. Got to be
careful on the downhill bits cos
only the back brake works.

Oh BLEEP! Huge truck with no brakes.

Well, there's no other word.
It's absolutely suicidal.

'Eventually, we careered
into Nha Trang.'

Hold on. James! Holy crapoly!

What do we do here?
James just went straight out then.

'It had been another hateful day...'

Wow, lightning!

' I decided to cheer myself
up by buying Richard Hammond
a small present.

"..If I can just stand this,
it'll warm up," and then it doesn't

and you think, "Oh, nice!"
That's what it's like.

Yes, exactly right.

What?! Bloody hell!

There you go. What, is that...?

There you go. Nice present.
That's for me?! Yeah.

Why?! Well...because I thought
it would look good

in your hall
in your new house.

Have you seen the detailing on it?
I mean, look at the bridge.

I see what you've done. Yeah.
If you had a car, you'd pop it on
the back seat or in the boot. Yeah.

I see what you've done here now.


MUSIC: "Nowhere To Run"
by Martha and the Vandellas

# Nowhere to run to, baby

# Nowhere to hide... #

'We ploughed on northwards with the
monotony only broken by a light
sprinkling of massive discomfort.'



Maybe 90 degrees.

75% humidity.

'In fact, after a day-and-a-half
of solid riding in this sweatbox,

'our clothes were so rank,

'we decided to get some more
in the town of Hoi An -

'Vietnam's Savile Row.'

Buying off the peg in Vietnam, let's
be honest, is all right for you...

but the trousers... Gonna be an
issue for you, I grant you that.

Maybe in other areas...the girth!

This is cashmere? Yes.
And how much is this...?

The price for the whole thing,
125 US dollars.

A cashmere suit for... £70!

What, a whole suit,
or just the buttons? The whole suit.

Made to measure.
Made to measure! How long...?

It takes one day to finish.

A day! So we can have any style.

- Any style.
- And any material?


I might have some time on my own.

Linen, not good.
Makes you look even fatter.

Jonathan Ross would never wear...

linen for that reason -
because he's getting quite portly.

Ah, this is Chinese brocade.

Chinese brocade. Yes.

I don't know what that is. I don't
really know what I'm doing here cos
I'm not very fashion conscious.

Your suit's ready. Here it is.
Thank you, thank you(!)

Thank you, that's very nice.
It's perfect.

They're measuring the biceps now.
Tape measure's not long enough.
Of course(!)

If she leaves that tape measure
under my armpit any longer,
it'll rot.

'With our suits under way,

'I decided to go for some
tailor-made shoes as well...'

'..which turned out to be
extremely good fun!

'Since our new wardrobe wouldn't be
ready till morning, Richard and
James suggested we go to the beach.

'With our stupid bikes.'

Why are we doing this?!

I've fallen off it!

I've fallen off!

Come on!

Hey, this is great!


'Happily, however, I soon found
a typical Vietnamese hotel,

'where I could revert
to being a human.'



Thank you.

Oh, come on, it's like being on
holiday with two idiots.




'To get away from
the dreadful bike noises,

'I went to the spa
for a foot treatment.'

Bah! That one's a piranha.

Ga ga ga!

'On the beach, we were seeing
who could get their bikes
nearest to the waves.

'Which was a mistake.'


# Born in the USA

# I was born in the USA... #

Not now! Not while that's there.

Yes, no! Yes! No!

I am now officially the world's
most comfortable man.


'Meanwhile, I was getting my first
lesson in what, sadly,
put this country on the map.'

You, here, fighting the US?

1968, yes.


B52s, here?

You, here?



This beach, yours.

I'll go.

Good to meet you.

'As night fell, we decided to head
into downtown Hoi An,

'only to find the Minsk
hadn't recovered from its swim.'

MUSIC: "Born In The USA"
Hammond, I was born
down in a dead man's town.

# Born down in a dead man's town... #
It's lovely,
but I don't fancy it today.

The first kick I took
was when I hit the ground.

In a minute you're going to be
driving along with that blaring...

from that bike.

No more spare parts allowed.

No, nothing going on. Just work.

If he turns up on Bruce Springsteen,

I'll feel quite sorry for him,
but I'll still laugh.

'We had intended to nip into town
for something to eat.

'But in Hoi An
it's easy to get a bit distracted.'

Wow! It's very pretty,
I have to say.

Extraordinarily pretty,
and Hammond has missed it.

He is missing this...
How do I make these legs go down?

I didn't think you bothered.
Ah, well...

You getting fond of your motorcycle,
Jeremy? No. Are you sure? Yes.

# Born in the USA, I was... #


I don't want to sound like
Michael Palin, all gushing,

but... You're going to. Yeah.

This is like that duck racing thing
they do on British rivers

only much more beautiful.

Was that like Palin?
No, it was rubbish.


'The next morning we picked up
our clothes from the tailors'
and hit the highway.'

When I said I wanted the sort of
thing the locals would wear to work

I was thinking more working
in a shop or on a building site,

not working in an embassy
or going to a formal reception.

It's Brighton Beach!

1965, Mods and Rockers!

'Richard had a new look too,
but sadly not a new bike.

'Because annoyingly,
the Minsk had dried out.'

Love your work!
Is that a smoking jacket?!

Is that a Mod coat?
Oh, yeah, a full Phil Daniels!

Check out the lining! Ho-ho-ho!

'As usual, however,
there was one small problem.'

I fear my new Mod look
has been spoiled slightly

because somebody has written "penis"
on my helmet!

I did that.

'As we headed for
the ancient capital of Hue

'on the super-heated highway,

'James started to fall behind again.

'And all Jeremy and I could think
to do was buy him a present.

'Something nice and...heavy.'

It's depressing, being at the back.
I think he needs cheering up.

My thoughts exactly.
Which is why we've come to...

Kerry Katona's front room.

"Oh, it's all lovely, this!"

Er...leaping dolphins?

What about these lions?

This is a modern thing. He's not
modern. No, he doesn't do modern.

He won't like that. No, he's very...

May! Welcome! Thanks for waiting.

We decided to buy you a present!

You're standing right next to it.

That?! We thought about that
long and hard!

It's got...
Seriously, it's classical.

It's of ballet, and we know
that you like the ballet.

So you have actually
thought about it? BOTH: Yup.

That's a real present.

I need some straps.

'With Darcey Bussell
on the back of his bike,

'James was being even more careful
than usual.

'Which is more than could be said
of Hammond.'

Oof! Oh!

My galleon!
All your masts have come off!

They're all down!

I can fix it. I can fix that,
you'll never notice.

A toll booth.

Motorbikes go free.

What's he done?!

Sorry! I'm sorry!

Hammond just hit the sign
in the tollbooth. I know.

That bloke's furious.

'Then the Vespa
came over all Italian again.'

Do you know something
very interesting? What's that?

My bike isn't broken.

You're not going to believe how
they mended it. With a hammer? No.

They got a plastic bag,
filled it with weeds,

and kind of wedged all the electrics

so they can't joogle about.

See that mountain up there, James?
Yeah. We're going up that. Right.

I'll wait for you at the top.

'The mountain
was a bit of a surprise.

'Because you expect to find many
things when you come to Vietnam -

'communistical farming,
reminders of the war, stunning food,

'massive heat.
What you don't expect to find

'is a deserted ribbon of perfection.

'One of the best coast roads
in the world.'

'It's called the Hai Van Pass,

'and in this place,
I had an epiphany.'


I'm liking this.

Hang on! I'm going for an overtake!

Yeah! This is great!

At last I've got a playmate. Ha-ha!

Don't leave me!

# Born in the USA, I was... #

Man alive, it keeps getting better!

There are views in the world,
and then there's that one.

This is when I'm going to wish
I didn't have Darcey with me.

It's gone! Hammond!

It's gone again.

It's gone.

You know we mended it with weeds?
The weed bag, yeah.

The weed bag doesn't work.

'Mind you, there are worse places
to break down.'

We go round the world,
but some of the stuff here... Yeah.

It's made my hair all stand on end.

And there's nobody there...
Oh, I tell you who is here.

Has he arrived?
It's not a majestic sight, is it?

May. Yes.
Seriously, look at that view.

That's fantastic.

James? Yes. Have you got his present?
Or do you know where it is?

I put it in the camera van.
Go and get it.

Yeah. Have you really
got me a present? Oh, yes. Yeah.

We've both been amazed.
Your first bike ride,

coming up here on this road,
you deserve your present now.

James, present him. Your present.

That is very...

..striking, chaps. Yes.

Funnily enough,
that's the word I used. It is.

I shall try to look
after this, Hammond,

a bit better than you're looking
after the galleon that I gave you.

50 miles to Hue!

Down into second
for the difficult hairpin.

Oh, yes! Knee down!

Every time I change down, Darcey
clouts me with her breasts!

It's not a complaint,
it's an observation.

'We thought as we got to
the bottom of the pass
that we'd be back in the chaos.

'But no.'


That image really is
a metaphor for Vietnam.

The mountains, the coastline,

the big new engineering projects
and the traditional fishing scene.

With that soundtrack.

It is a fabulous country,
it really is.

'That night in the hotel,

'Hammond set about mending
his treasured galleon.'

I think I may have to cut
some of the rigging. Cos there's...

'Meanwhile, to pay him back
for breaking it in the first place,

'I decided to redecorate
his treasured bike.'

You know he will be
apocalyptically cross.

I know, but he's cross about
everything, so it doesn't really...

Oh-ho-ho. Let's have a go.

Oh, yes!


You like? Would you like to do some?

Would you like to do some? Pink!
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

If he asks, we just say,
"The chef did it."

If you painted the back,
he'd be furious. Down there.

Do you have a pencil I could borrow?
A pencil? Yes.

Now look what's happened.
The whole town has turned out to
paint Richard Hammond's bike pink.

James and I are doing everything
possible to stop them...

Please, don't do this!
I've given up trying to tell them.

And you missed a bit there
that you mustn't do.


Look, you can't just go...

Hang on, has she painted her own
bike? Seriously, don'
isn't hers!

What happened is, she's got hold of
this big paint and decided

everything in the entire car park
needs painted pink!


The sun rose over another
beautiful day in the 'Nam.

But among us three,
the atmosphere was a little tense...

I told you he'd be furious.

Can they really not organise a
bloody junction better than this?

I know he's cross
but I've told him a chef did it.

Did he not believe you?
No. Funny, that.

Oh dear.

Despite Richard's mood, we were told
to report to a nearby

government building for a challenge.

I think it looks good!

It matches your helmet now. Yes, I
have spotted that, that's the point,

very good, yes.

No, I am sorry.
We did everything in our power.

You know we're your mates.
Anyway, we need a challenge.

He is cross, but just read the
challenge, it'll cheer him up.

It'll be the person with the
pinkest bike wins, I'll bet.

The person with the pinkest bike...
There you go!

No, it doesn't actually say that.
What does it say?

You are about to enter
what was North Vietnam.

It's as well your papers
are in order,

you will therefore take a Vietnamese
driving test.

Well, that'll just be one of those
joke ones. You know, the Egypt one?
Forwards and backwards six feet.

Cheer up!

This is gonna be a doddle.


It wasn't.

First, we had to take
an aural theory test...

in Vietnamese.

May. May!


It's you. Stand up,
stand up, stand up!


Oh, no.

Always give way to
the car from the right.


You've a one in a hundred chance
of being right, there.

But you were in the wrong language.





How the hell did...
what did you just do?

It was 18. 18 years old.

How did you know?

What age you are to ride
a motorbike, which of course is 18.


How did you know what she asked?

Did you not bother learning
Vietnamese before we came here?

Well, no!

You're screwed, then.

So, only one of us had shone
in the classroom.

But in the practical test,
things would be better.

Is it you have to ride in a
figure-of-eight, then you can go out
and ride on Ho Chi Minh's highways?

Yes. That's it? So if you
touch the white lines, you fail?


Barbara Cartland went first.

Richard Hammond.

Ooh, it's me!

In. It's quite tight...

Well, it serves him right for riding
an enormous motorcycle.

Ooh, it's harder than it looks!

Is he doing well?


Richard Hammond, pass.

You've passed! He's passed!
You've passed!

James May.

He'll love this,
it's all about precision,

going slowly and being accurate...

Gone the wrong way...

It's a good spectator sport, though,
isn't it? It is.

They're really loving it.

James May.


Tiny... Jeremy Clarkson.

Get on with it! Yes, yes...

Ah! Ah!

No, that's not right!
What he's doing is,

rather predictably, going too fast.

This is just impossible on these
wheels. They're too small!

Jeremy Clarkson...


You've failed! I've only been
riding a bike five days!

Happily, in Vietnam, if you fail
you are allowed to try again.


He's spent less time in the circle
than he has out of the circle.


Jeremy Clarkson, fail.


Obviously, it was
the Vespa's fault,

so I had a go on the Cub.

Give it gas, man! There you go!

helping massively here.

Oh, this is disastrous.

How's he ridden this thing?!

Jeremy Clarkson, fail.

Is he the most ridiculous human being
in the world currently, or ever...

ever previously?

Yes. Yeah.

We're gonna have to get going.

But we haven't got a licence.

Well, that's cos you
failed your theory.

You haven't been granted a pass for
your practical, it's pathetic.

But as a team... As a team we've
done both halves of it. As a unit...

we are licensed.

We are now licenced. We could have
a Top Gear licence, with
all our faces on it.

As long as we stick
together. No! Oi!

It was important, that.
I am sorry, James. I am.

You're not sorry. Please shut up.

To apologise for Darcey's head,

I bought James some flowers
and then we headed out of Hue.


You've knocked one
of my mirrors off!

Even though we were against
the clock, we felt we had to
stop at the citadel.

Scene of one of the fiercest battles
in the Vietnam War.

Bullet holes everywhere.

And everywhere you look,
it's just...

You can track them as well, can't
you, sometimes? That is
machine-gun fire there.

I think, for most people, Vietnam
is a war, not a country. Yes.

And this was pretty much
the epicentre.

It's nice that they haven't restored
it. That's a better memorial than
anything else, isn't it?

It was now day six
of our epic road trip,

and the finish line was still more
than 400 miles away.

What's more, the traffic
was getting worse.

You can tell we're getting close
to the North... What, more bikes?

Well, a lot more bikes.

The heat was worse than ever,
and even James's Cub

was starting to feel the strain.

That's just not as sweet as it
was this morning.

Progress, then,
was slower than ever...

and over lunch, the penny dropped -
with a horrible clang.


Yeah. Those are bamboo shoots. Yeah.

And that's...meat. Some meat.



We can't make it.

If you think how far
we've come so far,

and how far we've got...
well, we're about halfway.

Well, thinking about it,
probably that...

that day spent playing on the beach
and having a massage,

while we had our suits made...

wasn't actually the... No. No.

We can't just give in.

So what're you saying?
We must try harder?

No. We must find a way of making
the bikes faster? No. Cheat.


We decided to take an overnight
train to Ha Long City,

which is something the Americans
never thought to do.

But we couldn't celebrate our
ingenuity, because at the station...

James was a bit upset that my spare
wheel had come through my painting.

Now look what you've done.

What, I did it on purpose?
Hammond paid for it,

and it was...well, we won't say
how much it was, but it
was quite expensive. Yes.

You're not making me feel any
better. How d'you think we feel?
Let's not get bogged down

with who did what to who.

No, cos you did all of it.

Argh! Come on!

Wait, wait, wait.

Ooh, sorry, sorry.

In the night, can you water
the flowers for me?


Sorry. Yeah, a tyre went through it.


James had bought the tickets,
and great news for licence payers -

they were for third class!

13 hours!

There are people sleeping.

13 hours!

How long have we done?

Four minutes.

Getting through it!

We decided to pass the rest
of the time by mending each
others' presents.

Ooh. Oooh...

Moves about more than I expected,
but that's OK.

It'll give the painting some motion,
some fluidity. It's good. It's good.

That's like trying to unravel
the mystery of the universe.

Made of string.


In the accident,
we've lost her hand.

The thing that...maybe
I could improvise that
and make that her hand,

and then she's like
a sort of mutant.

What I've done is inject
a touch of the familiar

to this otherwise quite alien scene.

Aah! Aah!

Aah. Why is that so hot?

Is that glue?

Why's it so hot?

My suit!

I've dropped hot glue on my suit!

Do you have anything to cure
superglue burns through silk?

My hand's in the front
of my trousers, don't read
anything into that.

MUSIC: "Ring Of Fire"
by Johnny Cash

In the morning, the train was
approaching our destination.

James is going to be extremely
pleased with...

Not so much with this, but
the surgery on her shoulder...

That is the work of a top doc.

It's difficult to explore
the allegorical significances

and layers of the painting when
I'm...well, sober.

What you've done...

is you've painted a Land Rover in
the middle of a Vietnamese scene.

Yeah. The... Mind you, you're in
for a bug surprise when you see

what May's done to your galleon.

It's not brilliant, mate,
if I'm honest.

And what are these? Chopsticks.

But what are they representing?


It's the best I could do with
the bits that survived

and stuff I could buy from
the woman with the trolley.

Finally, two days early,

we arrived in Ha Long City.

Where's her hand?

I've completely lost it.


Move this out the way... Sorry?

This is heavy presumably...

Darcey's head's come off again.

Don't touch it! OK.

This has been the clumsiest arrival
at a finishing point.

It hasn't been an elegant arrival,
but we are at the finishing point.

It's very hot. Is it hotter
here than it was?

Isn't there a sea breeze?

How do you spell Ha Long?


It's two words.

G-A. I think that means train
station, I think. Ga.

Ha Noi. Ha... Ha Noi.

Well, where did you
book the tickets to?

There's nothing wrong
with the tickets. Well, clearly,
we're in the wrong place.

Yes. But...

Ha Long City. Ha Long City.
Ha Long City.

You chose the platform. You said,
"I know where it is!"

There's one platform, James.
There's one line.

There was a line either
side of the platform,
like there often is.

'A quick look at a map showed us
the scale of my colleague's cock up.'

There is Ha Long. Yeah.

There is Hanoi.

Well, we're miles away!

We'll have to go along there.
It's a day's ride.

All right, anyway,
welcome to Hanoi!

"Oh no, I'll get the tickets.
I know what I'm doing.

"I understand public transport."

"No, no, trust me. I promise
you it's this platform."

'To make matters worse, the traffic
was more mental than ever.'

I'm utterly, utterly marmalated
here. I've never been more in peril.

'But we were ahead of schedule,
so we went for breakfast.'

These are chicken innards.

Well, actually it doesn't say
innards, it says "internals".

Mm. We've ordered pickled pig's ear

with vegetables dipped in
seasoning sauce, spelt wrong.

'Hammond didn't fancy
any of that and nor did he
go for the main course.'

Speak of the devil! The sparrows
have arrived.

Oh, look at that!

Wafer-thin sparrow? I'm fine.

Go on! A "wafer-thin" sparrow!
I'm fine.

'But after seven days,
he had to eat something.'

Good news!

Richard Hammond is eating rice.

It's rice crispies, but...

Is it rice?

Yes. Am I eating it
with chopsticks? Yes.

Then I am native and local as you.

'After breakfast, we set out
for Ha Long City.

MUSIC: "Stuck In The Middle With You"
by Stealers Wheel

That's part of a shot-down B52,
which landed there...

and they never bothered to move it.

'And soon we realised it
wasn't just Hanoi's traffic
that was confusing.'

I have no idea where
we are and no idea...

Not one sign post.

this park once already.

'Eventually though, we found our way
out of the city,

'and into the countryside.'

Ha Long and Hanoi
are two big cities.

I doubt they're connected by
a three-foot wide dusty path

covered in hay.

You know when we got the 16th
century, I think we turned left.

We should've gone right.
Now we're in the 13th century.


Well, we are completely lost. Yeah,
are we finally admitting that? Yes.

Even I will admit this
is not the main road from... No.

Anywhere to anywhere.


Where is Ha Long City?

No, no. This isn't
Ha Long City, is it? No.

I like being lost here.

Yeah, this is a nice place
to be lost.

Hello, hello!

Hello! Oh, oh!




'Eventually, though...'

We've found a road!

'It really did look like we were
going to make it.'

I've always said to my children,

that if they buy a bike
I will burn it,

and if they replace it with another
one, I shall burn that too.

Now, however, if they buy a bike,

I will completely understand...

..and then I'll burn it.

With just 50 miles to go,
Hammond went berserk.


The speed!

He's just a prat.

Oh, no! No, no, no!
I'm breaking down.

'Bruce beckoned, but
having come this far,

'I wasn't going to give in.'

Plenty of fuel. It's not that.

'Happily, Jeremy ploughed on.'

Now I'm motoring!

Oh, yeah!

'And without his hammer-fisted
approach to pretty much everything,

'we'd have the bike mended
in a jiffy.'


Woah! I'm in gear! Ah!

I got a... Oh!

So you simultaneously headbutted me
in the gentleman's region

and snapped the prow
off the galleon.

You complete numpty, Hammond.


I am now boldly going where no
American has been before!



'Unaware that we had a man down, we
were even still buying each other
silly presents.'


So there we are. It's
my first bike crash, so I'm
a member of the club now.

Don't like it. Hate biking.

It's a stupid idea.

My foot hurts quite badly,

cos the bike landed on it.

Got cracked ribs probably,
my elbow's ruined.

Look at my suit!

'Luckily, the Vespa was undamaged,
which meant I could catch the others

'and thank them for suggesting bikes
in the first place.'

You short-arsed little Birmingham...



"I've never been abroad
and I don't like it and I'm
with my piano-playing,

"idiotic friend!"

We're nearly there!

'Actually, the faddy
Brummie was right.

'It was no time for squabbling.'

What a journey!

700 miles on my bike.

250 miles on a train,

and about 50 miles on my face.

If we've done it... If we've nursed
these old, broken, tiny wee bikes

the length of Vietnam...

Ten miles to go!

Ha Long City! There it is!



We're in Ha Long City!

My little Minsk!
You little buffalo, you!

Ah! Ah! Ah!

We've gone from the South
to the North of Vietnam.

We've proved to the Americans
it's possible!

We did it!

Fantastic. I cannot believe all
three bikes...


Oh! Oh, dear.

Congratulations. Congratulations.

Congratulations. Wounded?
Yes, I am a bit. Well done, mate.
Good stuff.

That's it. I became a biker.

Oh, I'm being left
in the field of battle,
but a few beers and it'll...

What? That'll just be to say

It'll just... Open it. "Well done!"
It won't say that.

You think it'll say that?

Well, it is. "Well done." It doesn't.
What does it say?

It says, "You haven't finished."
Oh, come on!

No, well, that's...

But we have finished.

It says, "The actual finishing
point is...

"Bar Hang in Ha Long Bay.

"It's only accessible by water.

"It's probably a good idea to modify
your bikes so they can float."

No, but look on the bright side.
No. What?

No. No, think.

If it's possible here to get
a helmut made overnight,

it must be possible to get your bike
converted into...

a Jet Ski overnight as well.
It has to be.

I'm sure they do it all the time(!)

How hard can it be? Don't say that!

'So it was time to find a workshop
and cue the music.'


The wheels will be there and there.

# Da da-da da, Da da-da da... #

The engine needs to
be the other way.

The next morning, we stood
on the beach and looked out
over Ha Long Bay,

which was quite simply Vietnam's
biggest surprise.

It is a spectacular limestone maze,
and hidden in there somewhere
was our bar.

All we had to do was find it,
and luckily we had just
the machines for the job.

James had attached his bike to a
traditional fishing boat,

using the engine to power
the propeller.

You've just completely disassembled
your motorcycle. It isn't
a motorbike any more.

Front wheels, gone. Engine isn't
where it's supposed to live.

There's nothing in the rules that
says the engine has to stay
in the same place. magnificent! I know.

I've gone with the Minsk principles
of simplicity, you see.

I have a rudder,
steerable from the bars.

Cables, and then it's just a chain
drive down to prop and I'm away.

And that's just the standard pedalo,
sort of...

Yeah, this is a pedalo with
extra floats on it.

'I'd been even more ingenious,
turning my Vespa into a
Mississippi-style paddle steamer.'

Now, as it turned out, my simple
plan was very difficult

cos the Vespa weighs 940,000 tonnes.

So I needed four canoes
full of foam.

'The main problem though
is that with cracked ribs,

'I couldn't operate
the kick start.'

Could you start my engine for me,
cos neither of my legs are working?

As you're injured,
I'll reduce the price.

900,000 Dong.

'It was time for the off.'


MUSIC: "Ride of the Valkyries"
by Richard Wagner

It's working!

I have propulsion!

Hey, hey!

'But then in true Top Gear
amphibious tradition,

'it all went wrong for James.

'First he crashed into me.'

Go away! I'm trying.

Why are you doing this to me?

It's that way, you blithering idiot!

'Then he crashed into some netting.'

Oh, bloody hell!

'And then as Hammond
and I got going...'

Yeah! Once you've got it going,
it's like...water-skiing! Woo-hoo!

'..he sank.'

No! No! Cock.

Why's it done that?

'As his boat was towed
back to shore,

'Richard and I thought about
going back to help...

'but we didn't.'

I did not expect anything like this.

It's magnificent!

James meanwhile on the beach, in
what can only be described

as a crashed airliner.
A scene from Lost.

I've found Hammond's spare pontoons

from the workshop over there.
I've employed these local blokes
to use the best traditional,

Vietnamese boat-building
knot technology
to lash it all together

to give me more buoyancy,
stop the stern falling into
the water and stop it filling up.

"Phut, phut"s away
and off I go, but I've got
a lot of catching up to do.

'Out in the bay,
there are problems too.

'My Vespa had stalled
and I needed Hammond's leg
to kick it back into life.'

OK. Ah!

Right. I'll get on my bike.




That was truly ridiculous.

All we've got to do
is get back to yours.

Oh! Arse-y hell!

We're going well so far(!)
Very well(!)

'Half an hour later, my new,
improved boat was ready.

'So I set off in pursuit
of the others,

'and the illusive bar.'

Come on!

1,969 islands in here.

Bar Hang? Hello. Bar Hang?

Bar Hang? I think
he thinks we're idiots.

Come on!


Where'd they go?

'We'd got desperate,

'and had even resorted
to looking in caves.'

You know when Attenborough travels
the world and goes to incredible
natural sights like this?

He doesn't usually pitch up on a
homemade amphibious scooter. No.

And that's where
he's been going wrong.

# It's not a big motorcycle

# Just a groovy little motorbike

# It's more fun than a barrel
of monkeys, that two-wheel bike... #

OK, if you've just tuned in to
Britain's favourite car show,

what's happened is, Richard
and I have driven into a cave,

looking for a bar that isn't here
and we have no reverse gear.

'Still...could be worse.'

God, that was going so well. My
traditional Vietnamese fishing knots

have come undone,

and my centuries-old fibreglass
outrigger has drifted away.

This is gonna work.

'After a 1,000 point turn, Jeremy
and I were out of the cave!'

I wasn't worried, I wasn't scared.

'And with only a few hours of
daylight left, we really couldn't
afford any more problems.'


Water has got into
the electrical system,

and the 60,000 V is coursing through
everything that's metal,

including the frame on the boat,
the frame of the bike...

'Our bike-skis were in a bad way.'

Come on!

'But then...'

Life! There's life!

It's an umbrella! It's a bar!


The little speck over there
is Hammond, I'm sure of it!


It's there!

'Sadly, there wasn't much I could do
with this information...'


BLEEP! ..piece of... BLEEP!

'..because my steering was broken.'

All I can do is go in circles.

'And so it seemed the non-biker
would get there first.'

Come on!


And that is how we do that.

'The question now was
would all of us make it

before the eight-day deadline
expired at sundown?


Wah! I can't do anything cos I
haven't got reverse.

'Eventually, blind luck brought
Hammond close to the pontoon

'where I was sadly too busy
to help him moor.'

Just that bit of rope there, look!
That rope is long enough.



Come on.

Another foot.

But your back into it!

'With the swan lined up, I gave
the engine a burst.'


Ah! A-ha!

Damn it. Ha ha ha!



Ha ha ha!

Using nothing but currents
and the wind,

Richard Hammond's idiotic Minsk
appears to have made it.

Have a beer.

'Now there were two of us to savour
this amazing location.'

I've just been finding out
about this place.

The people who live here
are born here.

They live here, they fish here
and they die here.

They never go on dry land.
Never go on dry land.

They spend their whole lives
floating? Yeah, they float around.

'Floating, though was becoming an
issue for our colleague, who'd just
lost his second pontoon.'


It's fallen apart.

Oh, come on!


Yeah, when we left Saigon, "But I
think one thing I can guarantee

"is that my bike will make it"!

It's been quite a journey.
That's the way it ends!

I don't believe it!


This is the worst arrival at a place,
ever made by anyone, James.

The fact is though,
it was an arrival.

Our little bikes had made it.

Oh, sure, there'd been breakdowns,
accidents and squabbles,

but through the rain,
the draining humidity,

the mad traffic
and the tricky roads,

they'd brought us 1,000 miles.


I have to say though
that despite the success,
I'm still not sold on biking.

There are good moments,
but it's mostly bad.

And I'm sorry, but our machines
were completely overshadowed

by this incredible, beautiful,
brilliant country.

It's hard to sum it up, really.
Perhaps that's why people when they
get back from this place,

Always say the same thing


"You don't know, man!

"You weren't there!"