Top Gear

Season 12 Episode 8

Vietnam Special

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 28, 2008 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
121 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jeremy, James and Richard have a challenge: to travel the length of Vietnam in just eight days. Yes - eight days. They have millions of Dong [Vietnamese currency] to buy suitable transport to complete the journey, but they discover it's only enough to buy two-wheeled transport.

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  • Review.

    This show is the best show on British TV and this episode proves it. This episode is entertainment at its best, Imean the lads just have a great time I love these challeges they do this one is the best so far better than America and Bostwana (I think I spelt that right) and on top of this they where on bikes. I was in non stop laughter while watching this and the ending where they had to make boats out of there bikes was the best part james fell in the water enough said haha. Now we have to wait months for this show to return. At least they went out with a bang.moreless
  • Oh my god! this must be the bes Top Gear episode ever!

    Top gear without cars, at first I thought it would be just rubbish and then I started laughing and I didn't stop until the end and then I was awed by the scenery and then I was sold. This must be the best episode ever. I can only hope they continue to do better episodes, episodes as inspiring, funny, original and impressive as this! And I do hope that the rest of the world will lighten up a bit and be able to see the world like they show it through Top Gear the best motoring and in general show of the world!moreless
  • A wonderful episode with creative story and stunning scenery!

    This episode really stunned me. The story is funny, inspiring, creative, original, thoughtful although a bit disrespectful at some points. The shot scenes are just breath-taking. So gorgeous, so beautiful! The people there are amazing, so lovely and friendly and finally the three old, out-dated motorbikes are still awesome!

    I would like to end this short review by two quotes by Jeremy at the end of the episode. They say it all:

    "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. Nearly.

    " and


    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,

    "Vietnam... You don't know, man! You weren't there!"

  • this episode was brilliant

    I loved this episode, everything about it was great. Buying eachother gifts, just to make the other's lives difficult, was hilarious. The scenic views they had coming up around the hoi vahn pass )- spelling?? Comedy was top notch in this episode, but the challenge itself was also impressive. The ending was brilliant --don't worry, not spoilers--

    Jeremy on a bike? genius... (yes i realize he was playing a part, he actually DOES know how to bike, and he really does know alot about vietnam, he has done a show about it before (not top gear) i don't remember the name, but i saw it once before) Darcy was excellent... James: "Every time i shift down darcy jabs me in the back with her breasts- not a complaint, just an observation..."

    i now want to go to vietnam, hats off to top gear for a great episode.moreless
  • Another reminder that Top Gear is the best show on tv today.

    A brilliant, brilliant episode. Funny, exciting and unusually for TG, very moving.

    I want a job as a producer on this show. They must laugh all day long when thinking up fiendishly evil ways to torture the Top Gear boys.

    Who'd have thought that Jeremy would even fit on a motorbike (or was it a vespa?) let alone ride one the full length of Vietnam in the rain. Favourite moments: 1. Visiting a village at night with lanterns floating on the local lake. Were the boys drunk or just waxing lyrical about the beauty of the world?

    2. Stopping dead in their tracks at the top of a mountain to take in the panoramic views. That shot alone made me want to visit Vietnam.

    3. The Hampster trying to ride his bike with a rather large package on the back.

    4. James trying to find something he can eat.

    I'd actually like to see them try and sit a UK driving test. Would anyone pass?moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Based on exchange rates from shortly after this episode aired on 12th December 2008, the 15 million Vietnamese Dong which each presenter received was worth approximately £590, €655, or $858.

    • 6.1 million people watched this episode, a 22.7% share of the viewing audience.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Richard Hammond: 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 AK47s and rocket launchers.

    • James May: 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… me Dongs' going to be all soggy isn't it?

    • Jeremy Clarkson: I feel my new Mod look has been spoiled slightly because somebody has written 'penis' on my helmet.

    • Jeremy Clarkson: 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.

    • James May: [James and Jeremy have bought Richard a pink crash helmet] Now don't take this the wrong way because colours assume different significance in different cultures.
      Richard Hammond: Stop talking.
      James May: No seriously; in Britain you think of that as a feminine colour…
      Richard Hammond: Stop moving your face about with noise coming out of it like that.
      James May: … here it's the colour of warriors.

    • Jeremy Clarkson: The reason I don't ride a motorcycle is because I have a large brain.
      Richard Hammond: No, you have a big head.
      Jeremy Clarkson: The reason why crash helmets are small is because people who wear them haven't got a brain, otherwise they'd have a car.

    • Richard Hammond: [After hearing Jeremy answer a question in the oral theory part of their driving test in Vietnamese] How the hell did--...? What did you just do?!
      Jeremy Clarkson
      : It's eighteen. Eighteen years old.
      Richard Hammond
      : How did you know?!
      Jeremy Clarkson
      : The age you're allowed to ride a motorbike - which is what she was asking - is eighteen. It's "mười tám".
      Richard Hammond: How did you know what she asked?
      Jeremy Clarkson
      : Did you not bother learning Vietnamese before you came here?
      Richard Hammond
      : Well, no!
      Jeremy Clarkson
      : You're screwed then.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The bikes used:

      Jeremy: Vespa scooter
      James: Honda 50 Super Cub
      Richard: Minsk 125cc

    • In the end credits the presenters are listed as: Francis Ford Clarkson, Francis Ford Hammond and Francis Ford May.

      All crew members' first names are listed as 'Francis Ford' after the American film director Francis Ford Coppola, who directed the film Apocalypse Now. The film was set during the Vietnam war.


    • Jeremy Clarkson: With Darcey Bussel on the back of his bike, James was being even more careful than usual.

      Darcey Bussell is a former Prima Ballerina of the Royal Ballet, London.

    • Jeremy Clarkson: Eventually though, I caught up with Barry Sheene and his boyfriend.

      Barry Sheene was a British and world champion motorcycle racer. He became British 125cc champion at the age of 20 in 1971 and was 500cc world champion in 1976 and 1977.