The Mythical Minsk: It's time has passed
The Mythical Minsk: It's time has passed Reviews
Choosing a motorcycle for VietNam Nov 17, 2008
Many visitors to VietNam choose to rent / buy a set of wheels to see this wonderful country so they can be freed from the dreaded OpenTour bus system.
The aging Russian Minsk motorcycle has been talked up as a simple, basic machine which almost anyone can repair. Unfortunately spare parts are increasingly difficult to obtain and then, primarily, in Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh City.
This might have been the best choice in years past. However, with more modern motorcycles available in abundance, the choice today must be the Honda Dream.
I must admit to owning a Kymco motor-scooter (as well as a SUV and a Dahon bicycle) so my advice is not biased.
The Honda Dream motorcycle is the ubiquitous motorcycle in VietNam and is used for all manner of purposes including family transport, carrying caged pigs to market, baskets of vegetables, etc. As it is not a recent model, new and previously used pare parts are available throughout Indochina.
Its simplistic design lends it to do-it-yourself repair owners, newcomers to the motorcycle scene and the numerous unskilled roadside 'mechanics' throughout VietNam. It can be purchased cheaply and as it holds it value, most of if not all of its cost can be recovered when sold.
Furthermore, as an old model thieves tend to leave them alone.
So, please, forget the Russian Minsk and get practical!
A Note About Insurance in VietNam
Insurance is mandatory in VietNam and without it the police will seize your wheels and you will be stuck.
I recommend that ANYONE renting a motorcycle for more than 3 or 4 days buy their own insurance in their own name. Naturally, owning a motorcycle (you cannot be the registered owner in VietNam - you use a proxy) will also require insurance.
This is easily obtained for around USD$7 for comprehensive coverage! The price also reflects the value of the coverage and why most accidentals are settled at the scene. In cases involving fatality the typical insurance payout is equivalent to USD$25,000. There is no problem having more than one policy - the insurer is the same in most cases - and you have the benefit of being insured in your own name.
Purchasing insurance requires a copy of the ownership, a letter stating they may sell the coverage signed by the registered owner together with your passport and visa. Coverage is sold by many gas stations and licencing offices. Almost any driver can tell you where to go.
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