Motorbike trip in Vietnam
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Motorbike trip in Vietnam Reviews
How to do a motorbike trip across Vietnam May 01, 2012
Many people have asked me how to do the motorbike trip in Vietnam, my tips and infos and such. So I think I better write a review about this as general tips on what you should know and should do for a safe trip.
1-First of all: You need to have a motorbike.
Vietnam is a country of motorbikes, millions of motorbike and the best way to see Vietnam is on a motorbike. I know some people don't think so due to safety but trust me, the motorbike trip across Vietnam will be one of the best things you have ever done in your life.
The most famous and most reliable bike is a Honda. It is illegal for a foreigner to ride motorbike without Viet driver license. However, you can ride a bike that is under 125cc without a license. The police won't stop you because of their lack of English skill and they know that tourists will likely drive safe. Therefor, I recommend a Honda Win 110cc. It's cheap, costs around $300 for a used one and it's easy to fix, spare parts of Honda available everywhere in Vietnam, even in the rural areas.
But it all depends on you, you can also get a semi-automatic bike for $250 or a 125cc bike for $400 or a fully automatic bike for $500. Up to what you want and your budget.
You can buy it from other travelers that want to get rid of the bike after the trip for cheap or you can buy from bike dealers in Saigon and Hanoi. Let me know if you need help buying a bike.
2- Secondly: make plan, know the route, where you want to go.
You will need to have a good map. Best choice is a map book with distances from points to points so you will know if you can make it from here to there in a day. The map book also has English and some extra infos about the places. it costs around $15. I will post its picture and I can help if you want to buy one.
About the route. It depends on what you want to see and how much time you have. It takes 14 days on average to ride from Saigon to Hanoi, with lots of stops on the way, 2 nights here, 3 nights there or so. The fastest I can do is 9 days.
My recommendation for taking a route is to take the coastal roads to Central Vietnam then ride up the mountain passes, like the Ho Chi Minh trail for amazing scenery. Try to avoid Highway 1A as much as possible but you will have to take it once or twice.
This is a standard route to take so you can see almost every famous spots in Vietnam: Saigon >>> Long Hai >>> Mui Ne >>> Da Lat >>> Nha Trang >>> Quy Nhon >>> Hoi An >>> Da Nang >>> Hue >>> Dong Hoi >>> switch to Ho Chi Minh trail >>> Vinh >>> Thanh Hoa >>> Ha Noi. If you have more time, you can also visit Sapa and Ha Long Bay.
3- Safety and caution: tips on how to do it right.
_You will have to check the oil daily. I always carry a bottle of oil with me so I can change the oil myself.
_Do not ride close to the buses and trucks because they don't care about people on motorbike.
_Check everything carefully if you want to ride up to the mountain or to the Ho Chi Minh trail because its EMPTY there. I mean really empty. Check if your bikes work properly, carry extra water with you and always stay in a group if you don't want to be robbed.
_I wake up at around 7 or 8am, 1 hour for breakfast and packing stuff, then hit the road normally at 9am. Make it to the point around 2 or 3pm, find a hotel, shower then tour around the area.
_The Ho Chi Minh trail is parallel with Highway 1A and 70km away. You can ride on the trail during the day and switch to the Highway for some decent hotels and guesthouses.
_It is better if you have a phone number and know someone in Vietnam who can help you out with troubles: the bike breaks down and the mechanic doesn't speak English, you need to report to Viet police about the robbery,...
_You can also put the bike on train if you don't have much time left to ride or the weather is too bad to ride.
_Don't worry about not having a place to stay, you can always ask the locals at their places. Just need to be careful.
I can only think of few things now. I shall update if I remember anything else.
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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