A Guide to Vietnam by Motorbike

Travelling Vietnam by motorbike isn’t the easy option but it as an incredible experience. Many travellers decide to see the beautiful southeast Asian country on the back of a motorbike and come away unharmed. Having said that, the roads are chaotic and road accidents happen regularly in Vietnam to both locals and tourists. Make sure you’re confident in your riding skills and have the appropriate paperwork and driving license in place to travel by motorbike in a different county.

How to get to Vietnam

Getting visa on arrival at the airport of Vietnam
Getting visa on arrival at the airport of Vietnam

When you intend to travel the country by motorbike, your best option is to fly into either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. Both are international hubs and have regular international and domestic flights. If you’re looking to see the entire country, you want to start either in the north or the south and make your way to the opposite end.

Before heading off to Vietnam, make sure you’ve arranged your Vietnam visa properly. Online based Evisa-Vietnam.com can help you find out what you need and get your visa before travelling. Purchase your E-Visa or Visa on arrival in a fast and hassle-free way with several options available including single entry and multiple entry visas.

Buying and selling a motorbike in Vietnam

Motorbike rental Ho Chi Minh City

It’s really easy to buy motorbikes in Vietnam with the main selling hubs being in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang and Hoi An. Travelling by motorbike allows you to visit secluded and untouched areas of the country that might not be available on a regular tour. In cities, you’ll always find someone selling a motorbike. Great places to look at are in hostels on noticeboards.

When buying a motorbike, you need to make sure you get the papers to make it official. This looks like a small laminated card and you need to keep it safe at all times. When it comes to selling your bike, you’ll need to hand this over to the next owner.

With motorbikes in Vietnam, you’ll likely have to choose between a manual Honda Win or automatic scooter. There’s not a lot of choice and it is dependent on personal preference as to which option you go for. You shouldn’t spend more than $300 on your motorbike, with that being the top end.

Get travel insurance

Remember to get travel insurance
Remember to get travel insurance

Accidents do happen, ranging from scuffed knees to something much more severe. Make sure you take out competent travel and health insurance so you can receive the healthcare you need if you were to come off your bike. To be covered by your travel insurance, most policies require you to have a driving license from both your home country and a Vietnam driving license.

Don’t drive at night

Young lady repairing a scooter on the rural road

There’s no need to travel at night unless you get caught by accident or are running late to your destination. Try and be as safe as possible and not be on the roads at night. Many locals walk and cycle on the roads at night with no high-vis or lights so you can barely see them. A lot of the roads aren’t lit well and other vehicles aren’t always obvious.

Buy a good quality helmet

A woman selling helmets in her street shop in Hanoi

You can buy motorbike helmets from as little $3 in Vietnam. Trusting a $3 helmet to protect a very vulnerable area is taking an unnecessary risk. Try and spend more, as much as $50 for a decent good quality helmet. Look for ones that go past your ears and at the back of your neck for more protection. You can sell your helmet with your bike so you will get some of the cost back.

Avoid busses and trucks

Please remember to avoid busses and trucks

Make sure you give busses and trucks a wide birth as soon as you see them. They are renowned for cutting across lanes without indicating and can be dangerous to drive next to. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid them as much as possible.

Accept that you will break down

Shot of adventurer enjoy touring motorbike stopped by a cliff viewpoint on mountain peak with pine forest in Vietnam

You will break down, accept it now and it will be okay. Vietnamese people are very friendly and if you’ve broken down at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, someone will pull over to help you. You will end up having to put more money into your bike but repairs are cheap and there’s always a mechanic nearby.

Travelling Vietnam by motorbike is an undeniably fantastic way to see the country. It lets you take your time and properly mould your journey to exactly what you want. Always be safe and aware of your surroundings on the road and enjoy your adventure.

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