The roads in Vietnam are in bad condition, because there is a lot of traffic, especially around peak times. Stalls, marketplaces, and cattle line the highways. Vietnam, on the other hand, remains one of the finest destinations for travellers to explore by motorcycle. You will have a terrific driving experience while motorbiking in Vietnam if you understand the traffic rules and are able to pick the road that is best for you. Exploring cities and villages will provide you with a rudimentary grasp of the culture, but riding between them in motorbikes will make you feel like you’re a part of it. It’s a one-of-a-kind adventure that can be readily accomplished with a little forethought and little funds.
License and legal requirements for motorbiking in Vietnam
In Vietnam, you may ride a motorcycle approximately 50 ccs without a licence, although these motorbikes are rather tiny and not appropriate for long trips across the nation. You’ll need a driver’s licence if you’re renting a more potent motorbike. Furthermore, if your home country has signed the 1968 convention, you will be issued an International Drivers Permit.
You must have a motorbike licence issued in your native country and registered with the IDP. Your driver’s licence is not valid if you are from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, or Canada. In either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, you’ll need to convert your licence from your native country to a Vietnamese licence. Many travellers skip this step, however, be aware that your trip insurance will be invalid if you do not have a valid motorbike driver’s licence in Vietnam. If you plan on renting a motorcycle in Vietnam, you should be aware of the guidelines to follow in order to have safe motorbiking in Vietnam.
The ideal season for memorable motorbiking in Vietnam
The weather in Vietnam is classified into three climatic zones, and it varies widely based on the time of year and location. When you start your vacation, you’ll need to figure out what you’re searching for or what sections of the nation you want to see. The warmer and drier months are ideal for motorbiking in Vietnam, but they may also be highly crowded. Winter months might be intriguing, but they can also be freezing to ride in.
From May through August, temperatures in northern Vietnam climb, and rains fall. The remaining of the year is typically dry, with the months of December to March being the coldest and most commonly gloomy. The rainy season in central Vietnam, on the other hand, lasts from October to January, with the rest of the year being generally dry. Summers in the dry season may reach the mid to upper 30s, so February to May is the best time to come. Heavy rains happen from May to November, although generally just for a few hours in the daytime.
Whether rent or buy a new one for motorbiking in Vietnam?
For motorbiking in Vietnam, you’ll need to select whether to rent or buy a motorcycle or scooter. Renting a standard motorbike is inexpensive, costing less than $50 a month. You won’t have to register your buy or have to make repairs if they’re needed, which will save you a lot of time. Though, you can only purchase a motorbike if you have a residency card. Choosing a used one will make registration much easier and save you a lot of paper.
Motorbike Rental Scams
It’s common for visitors to desire to experience the freedom of the open road in Vietnam, and it’s easy to see why: the country has some spectacular landscapes and mountain passes to travel. Motorbike rentals, on the other hand, can occasionally be a rip-off. Fake or defective components are used in this scam, at worst, owners take your rental motorcycles and demand you to repay.
In Vietnam, you’ll also need a legal driver’s license, however, some rental companies may claim that you don’t need one to hire their motorcycles. As a result, if you ride without a license, you will be apprehended by the police, your bike will be forcibly removed, and you will very certainly have to pay a hefty fine for it to get back.
The owner of the motorcycle you rented may pursue you and take the motorbike back, asking for payment. Conversely, the rental agency might claim that engine problems arose after your rental and demand money. To avoid these issues, make sure you’re renting a motorcycle from a reliable firm. Alternatively, you may plan a vacation with a reputable tour operator that will take you on a structured motorbike tour of Vietnam.
Best places for motorbiking in Vietnam
Happiness Road in Ha Giang
The Happiness Road is one of the best roads for memorable motorbiking in Vietnam. It runs from Ha Giang City to Dong Van and Meo Vac, covering a total distance of 185 kilometers. The first 20 kilometers are level, then you travel through mountain ranges, passing through spectacular sights like limestone walls, rocky exposures, rice terraced fields, and tall pine trees. You may stop at Dong Van districts to see the Lung Cu flag tower, and weekly markets, and Ma Pi Leng Pass, which has various perspectives above sheer cliff cliffs.
Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass, also known as the “Ocean Cloud Pass,” is a famous and popular mountain pass in Vietnam, featuring hairpin twists, thick forests, and views of the sea on one side and Vietnam city on the other. Danang and Hue are connected via a 13-mile pass for a smooth motorbiking in Vietnam trails. The Old French Bunker and the Hai Van Gate national relic monument are both located on the pass. Since clouds cover the past year-round, many people come here to ‘hunt clouds.’ You may also relax at Vietnam beaches, Lang Co Lagoon and Elephant Springs.
Ninh Hoa Salt Fields
Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s main seaside cities and a must-see for anybody riding a motorcycle around the country. During the Vietnam War, the city served as a US Army base. While the Vinapearl theme park attracts many visitors, there are also more traditional attractions like historic military barracks and cultural centres. The Ninh Hoa Salt Fields are 50 kilometres north of Nha Trang. To see the Ninh Hoa salt fields, you must leave Nha Trang by 4 a.m. on your motorbike. Work here is completed immediately after the sun rises. If you arrive late, the salt flat will be lifeless.
Buon Ma Thuot
The vehicles on the AH1 Highway are one of the least favourite aspects of motorbiking in Vietnam. Therefore, travel west to Buon Ma Thuot to avoid the AH1 coastal highway. It is a diversion, but the roads are far more picturesque and there are significantly fewer tucks. Buon Ma Thuot is a tiny highland village, comparable to Dalat albeit less touristic. The region is known for producing Buon Ma Thuot coffee, which can be found in coffee shops across Hanoi.
Pleiku, 180 kilometres north of Buon Ma Thuot, is the ideal location for motorbiking in Vietnam. Being a tiny town, this place doesn’t have much to offer in terms of entertainment, though the picturesque views will make you travel more. You can visit ethnic settlements in the surrounding areas; however, it is advised that a permit must be taken before handed. Bien Ho Crater Lake is a flooded volcanic crater from the past. You may take a break here for a magnificent view before continuing on to Hoi An.