In just 24 days, we each rode a motorbike across 2000+ km of Vietnam. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, we had two fake Honda motorbikes, the company of just each other and the beauty of the mountains, and we nailed it. If you are considering taking on such a journey, it is not to be considered lightly as riding a motorbike in Vietnam can be dangerous. I have listed some useful tips below based on our experience.
Top tips for Motorbiking riding in Vietnam
- Learn to ride a moped or manual bike before you decide to ride one in Vietnam, it will help you to feel more confident when riding amongst the crazy locals.
- This is not an easy trip as the style of riding in Vietnam appears erratic, go with the flow of traffic and blend like a shoal of fish. Locals do not really check behind them when riding as they expect you to be aware of them when pulling out and manoeuvring. If you ride like the locals, your life will be much easier and safer.
- Take a poncho. The weather can be unpredictable and you may end up riding for long periods of time. If you have your backpack strapped on the back, make sure you get waterproof bag covers too.
- Do not rush or speed. If you are going slower, you have time to react in situations.
- Wear a helmet at all times. Many locals do not but the helmet can save your life if you come off the bike.
- Wear clothes that cover your skin as much as possible as you will shred your skin if you come off your bike.
- Carry a set of tools (if you have space) and some oil for the chain (if your bike is manual). Local mechanics are cheap so fear not if you do not have space for either but both items will save you time and money.
- Try to avoid the main A1 road. We stuck to inland roads which were much quieter, safer and more scenic.
- Learn how to say ‘Pho Bo’ or another common dish in Vietnam as you may find yourself eating at places where no English is spoken. We wrote a couple of dishes on a notepad and it worked every time.
- Try to fill up at actual fuel stations rather than the side of the road fuel that has been watered down as your fuel will last longer and not cause problems with your bike.
- Download Google maps (offline) to your phone and carry a map and make sure you pull over to check your location to avoid accidents.
- Know where you are going when entering the busy cities. This will decrease your chance of having an accident and make the riding experience a much better one.
- Carry some snacks with you and obviously water as it can get hot riding . Lots of places to eat closed early and sometimes we did not make it to our destination until the sun was beginning to set so we ended up having beer and crisps for dinner!
- Try not to ride in the dark. It is obviously much harder to see but wildlife is apparent at dusk and roads are rarely lit.
- Ride with a friend. Two heads are better than one in all situations.
Do you need an international license?
Before starting our journey, we read many blogs about needing an international license to ride a motorbike in Vietnam but we encountered no issues. Obviously it is better if you have one, but don’t stress.
Full blog posts, GoPro footage and photos to follow, but first a beer. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop us a message.
P.S. sorry mum(s) but we made it safely after the ride of our lives.