Tips for cycling tourists in Vietnam

We’ve all heard of the scooter and motorcycle tourists in Vietnam, but what about bicycle tourists? Instead of buying a motorbike, why not buy a bicycle and ride along Vietnam? If you’re wondering if it’s possible – of course it is! The roads of Vietnam has many bicycles on it and it’s definitely safer to be on a bicycle than on a bike. If you have time, you’re fit and you’re up for an adventure, consider cycling through Vietnam! Read this article to get some information before you start rolling and start preparing for an adventure that you won’t soon forget.

Is it safe?

It’s definitely better to do Vietnam on a bicycle than on a scooter. What you need to consider is that traffic gets very hectic and you’ll be surrounded by thousands of motorbikes, cars and trucks, so always be aware of your environment. The locals are very used to the traffic though and they know how to drive.

What do I do if my bike needs spare parts?

If you’re in a big city, you won’t have any issues finding at least one shop that sells bicycles and that has people who can help you fix your bike if something has happened. If you’re in a smaller town, you should ask around if there’s a small bike shop where they can fix a flat tire or change some parts for you. You’ll most likely find it everywhere you go and fixing a bike won’t cost you much. The locals are friendly and helpful, so you can always be sure to find someone that’s willing to help you.

What’s the best places to bike in Vietnam?

Obviously, you might not really enjoy biking in the big cities if you don’t like chaotic traffic. Instead, try to get outside of the big cities and bike along the coast for example. The roads are a bit better there and you get a fantastic view while biking. It’s also easy to bike from coastal town to coastal town.

Why should I bike around Vietnam?

Biking is first of all a great way of getting around. It’s more environmentally friendly, it’s more of a challenge and it really allows you to travel in a slower pace. You can also take your bicycle anywhere you want to and whenever you want to. If you travel Vietnam by bus or train for example, you can only go from one city to the other, not being able to stop in the smaller villages for example. But when you bike, you can stop in the off the beaten paths and really get to know the locals and the places you go to. Most travelers don’t really get to know the locals because they just stay in hostels, go to the same restaurants like other backpackers and just spend time with foreigners. But when you’re on the road alone on your bicycle, you’ll guaranteed come across plenty of locals. You can stop and eat in local restaurants, sleep in local guesthouses and stay in villages where you can immerse yourself in the local culture.

What should I bring?

First of all, try not to bring too much. Remember that all that weight, you have to carry. So if you have a big backpack for example, perhaps ask to leave it at a hostel or a place you trust and only bring with you the essentials. Second, you need to make sure that your bike has a good lock so no one can steal it. Bring a good helmet, cycling shorts, gloves and a good sunscreen. You should also make sure that you always carry a few litres of water with you while biking. There might be places where you can’t refill or buy water. You should also download for example or get a reliable GPS system so you won’t get lost.

What do I do if I get tired of biking?

You’re not attached to your bicycle – sell it, leave it and start traveling by bus, train or motorcycle. It’s okay to not wanting to bike anymore. If it’s not enjoyable to you, then ditch it and start traveling in a way that makes you happy. What’s the point of traveling if you’re not even having fun anyway?

Before you start traveling in Vietnam…

… Make sure that you get a visa, if you need one to enter the country (most nationalities are required to get a visa). You can either get an online visa, which is by far the most popular option amongst travelers, or you can go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply with them. If you’re entering Vietnam by air, you can get a Visa on Arrival or E-Visa, which are acquired online. But if you’re planning on enter by land, you need to go to the Embassy.

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