Guide to Motorbiking Through Vietnam

Did you know it’s entirely possible to motorbike through Vietnam.

It is a truly unique way of experiencing a country. Even Top Gear decided they couldn’t miss out on it!  Before you begin your journey, you may have all sorts of questions such as, where to ride, what to pack, and most importantly, is it safe?

If you are looking for a shorter motorbike ride route in Asia, it’s worth checking out:

Motorbike Solo from Chiang Mai to Pai LIKE A BOSS

 

What to rent and how?

It is recommendable to rent from a motorbike rental shop that allows you to rent motorbikes long term and lets you pick it up and drop it off at different locations. Motorbikes can be rented Hanoi and dropped it off in Ho Chi Minh. 

There are 3 main rental providers that specialize in long term rentals for motorcycle tours:

A popular option amongst most travelers is Style Motorbikes, as they provide really useful maps and itineraries for the journey. It costs around $300 to rent a 250cc* manual motorbike for one month. It is important to note that you need to factor in the cost of buying a helmet ($30) and a pair of gloves ($15) into your budget.

 Note- if you don’t know how to ride a motorbike, don’t worry, they will give you lessons before you begin your journey. 

*cc is the size of the bike engine. On a basic level, the higher the cc, the faster the bike. 

 

What to pack? 

 

A motorbike is heavy, a motorbike with a backpack full of clothes is even heavier, so pack light if you want a speedy, comfortable journey. The essentials to pack are: 

 

Essentials:

2 shorts, 3 tops, 2 pairs of trousers (one to ride in, one to relax in), 2 shirts, a jacket, trainers, flip flops, 2 socks, a raincoat, 7 pairs of undergarments, a quick-dry towel, a scarf, a battery pack, deodorant, sun cream, antihistamines and painkillers.

 

Non- essentials 

A light dinner outfit, you never know if there is an opportunity for a hot dinner date on your journey! A small blanket (similar to the ones you get on planes), body cream and makeup for females. Gotta look good for the Gram ’J

If you can’t lift your backup with one arm, then you have overpacked, as it should weigh no more than 15kg. Strap your bag to the back of the bike with bungee cords and buy extra bungee cords, as some of them will snap on the way. 

 Also, make sure you protect your belongings from the rain with a waterproof bag cover, although a black bin bag is equally effective, but less glamorous. 

 What to wear 

 ‘That girl in that motorbike accident was wearing a cute dress’, said no one ever. Please wear clothes that protect you if you have an accident. At the very least, wear a helmet, shoes, and gloves.

 Avoid flip flops as you will need to press the clutch and to have a proper grip on the floor when the bike slows to a stop. Although not as good as proper boots, a pair of comfy slip-ons will do the job. The gloves will protect your hands from blisters during the ride and in an accident, your knuckles won’t be ground to a pulp.

 

The route

 Vietnam has a countless number of scenic routes, but a good route is to ride around the North and then to the South of Vietnam.

 Your bike rental company will give you a map and recommend places to stop and explore. Another way to explore routes is to search through prominent social media profiles, usually promoted by a company like The Marketing Heaven, and find recommendations for the best motorbike ride routes from people who have already been there. Decide on the number of days you want to ride, study the map in great detail and plan your route wisely.

 Every evening plot the location you want to ride to and spots to stop at along the way, how many kilometers, and then how long it will take you. It is not recommendable to ride more than 6-7 hours and you should also ALWAYS arrive before sunset.

 

Tip 1 – Factor 2 extra hours as the motorbike will always be slower than a car, especially since you will most likely ride nothing faster than a 250cc and if you intend to ride safely.  

Tip 2 – Less scenic or more treacherous parts of the journey can be done via train or bus. The motorbike can be brought on both. You can ask your bike rental company for more advice on this but it’s entirely possible and has been done many times before. 

 

Safety 

 When you travel you are responsible for your safety, so take it seriously. Before you commence your journey, ask the motorbike rental for numbers to call if and when your motorbike breaks down. It’s important to get your bike serviced halfway through the trip to prevent it from breaking down (there will be plenty along the way, just google them). 

 You can book accommodation in advance on Booking.com or just walk up to the reception of most guesthouses. Get a feel for the place and listen to your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, hop on your bike and stay at many of the other places that will be on offer. 

 It is important to have a phone signal and mobile data on your trip, so purchase a sim card and let your family and friends know your plans every day i.e. where you are going and the time you expect to arrive. It will be easier to raise an alarm promptly and help you if you keep people informed. Finally, it won’t hurt to carry an extra bottle of fuel but make sure its securely fastened. 

 

If you are travelling solo, here are some top tips to keep you safe:

Top Tips for Solo Female Travellers

 

 Things to watch out for

 Floods

If you ride during the rainy season (May- October), please be aware of the floods. Riding with a 180kg piece of metal in the floods can be extremely challenging and your engine might cut out. Try and ride during the morning and plan your journey to accommodate for the rain.

 

Potholes 

As you ride and in the countryside, the quality of the roads will deteriorate, and you will start to encounter deep rubbly potholes. Beware. If you are not careful you can lose control and crash. Ride slowly and keep an eye out for them. 

 

 Lack of streetlamps

It is recommendable to always arrive before sunset as there is a distinct lack of street lamps as you ride further into the countryside. It will be difficult to see any potholes or debris on the road. 

Motorbiking through Vietnam is an exhilarating experience. If you want to truly immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture and experience all its Instagram worthy spots first hand, with a bit of planning and courage, you can too

 

About the Author

Aisha Preece ditched her corporate job in search of a career that allowed her to work remotely. She now LOVES Mondays and is passionate about helping others make and save more money, so that they can live life on their terms. 

www.outandbeyond.com / Instagram:@aishapreece / Facebook: aishapreece

 

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