man riding motorcycle on road during daytime

Motorcycle trip in Vietnam

Despite the well-stocked network of organized buses in Vietnam and my propensity for this type of travel, this time I want to talk about a different trip or at least in a different vehicle, exactly what I believe somehow characterizes the entire country: the motorbike.

If from Laos, passing through the splendid Sapa you arrive in Hanoi, here it is easy to realize that to feel part of this country an alternative but also very local way is to travel by motorbike, I think it is not exaggerating if we can identify this culture as a “moto culture”.

Liberating and highly inspiring, a motorbike trip across Vietnam can transform into a ride towards heterogeneous destinations passing through cities of 7 million inhabitants, desert dunes, the sea, pine forests and villages in the middle of nowhere.

3 weeks on a motorbike to discover Vietnam which in addition to a past of war and an extremely interesting history offers a colorful and diversified path completely different from that of neighboring Buddhist countries.

The journey begins in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam in the north of the country, about 2 hours away from the spectacular Halong Bay and ends 3 weeks after a Ho Chi Minh (or Saigon if you prefer) a few hours from the border with Cambodia.

The itinerary is simple and smooth, facilitated by the favorable geographical conformation of the country which extends in length. An 1800 kilometer long race along one of the most scenic coasts in the entire South East Asia.

Read also: Documents to enter Vietnam: Passport?

Motorcycle trip

Motorcycle travel itinerary in Vietnam

From chaotic Hanoi you head towards the city on your own torpedo Ninh Binh where Tam Coc is located, one of the most beautiful places in the country comparable to Halong Bay but cheaper and more accessible.
We then continue to the National Park and UNESCO heritage site Pong Nha Ke.

A stop in Thai Hoa, along the northern coast where the stop is probably necessary more for reasons of tiredness rather than for a real interest in the town and a further race to reach Hueimperial capital of Nguyen dynasty and also a UNESCO site, where you can visit the splendid Citadela, a forbidden palace to which only the emperors and their concubines had access, and, to this day, practically intact.

We continue for Hi An, from my point of view the most beautiful and elegant city in Vietnam and a paradise for women from all over the world. This is in fact the capital of the manufacturing of tailor-made clothes, it’s easy to lose your mind and redo your wardrobe. Attention!

Following along the coast I arrive at the note Nha Trangwhich is said to be splendid for its beaches and scuba diving but which I found to be mainly a Russian colony as Mui Ne later turned out to be, and where I stopped for just 2 days.

On the road to Mui Ne instead of following along the coast direction divert to Da Latwhose name is the acronym of the Latin phrase He gives joy to others and temper to others (Gives pleasure to some and freshness to others), home of the Hang Nga guesthouse (whose translation is Crazy House) built by the Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga who was evidently inspired by Gaudì.

Stop in Mui Ne for a few days of kitesurfing, this is in fact one of the most renowned kitesurfing spots in the world, and finally the arrival in Ho Chi Minh, a chaotic city yes, but perhaps special also for this reason.
Capital of South Vietnam in which to appreciate the fusion between the typical Vietnamese style with remnants of French colonization which has left an indelible mark along the boulevards and historic buildings.

3 weeks of motorbike travel in one of the most attractive and emblematic countries in South East Asia, time to celebrate. And what better way than to eat at one of the typical tasty restaurants Pho it’s a Banh Xeo ?

man sitting on the motorcycle

What to know before traveling by motorbike in Vietnam

Before thinking about taking a motorbike trip in Vietnam there are some things that I think are important to know, to avoid problems and be able to travel peacefully.
I remember that the roads are not always easy and that the cities are very dangerous for motorcyclists, so it is always necessary to keep an eye out when discovering this memorable country on two wheels.

Before entering Vietnam

Before entering Vietnam it is important to have an international driving license, a visa which must be obtained at the Embassy before crossing the border or arriving at the airport, a mobile phone with GPS and a Google map.

Buy the motorbike or rent it?

If the intention is to travel for more than 3 weeks it is better to buy a motorbike and then resell it before leaving the country. Generally hostels and places frequented by backpackers display motorbike sales messages on the noticeboard. Alternatively, you can rely on the Craigslist site which is very active in Vietnam and you can often find numerous opportunities for second-hand motorbikes.
Before buying the motorbike, make sure that everything is in order, inspect it and take enough time, at least 30 minutes, to be able to try it on the streets of the city. Generally you pay in Dong but US dollars are also accepted.

What bike to buy

Obviously the costs for a motorbike vary depending on the characteristics, in particular age and condition.
Generally speaking a Honda Win costs around $400, Suzuki GN $300, Honda Dream $500.
These are the most common motorbikes in Vietnam and good enough for cities and along the coast.

Motorcycle trip

Assistance and emergencies

Any shop with an Xe May sign or an air compressor in plain sight is the perfect place if your bike has problems. Here you can fix everything and above all quickly, you will be amazed at the speed with which the mechanics solve any type of problem.


Vietnam, although small in size, is characterized by 3 different microclimates. Before venturing on a motorbike road trip it is important to make sure that it is not monsoon season and that you are well equipped in case you travel in the cold season.
To buy accessories, including clothing and helmets, purchases can be made in Hanoi where it is impossible not to find what you are looking for.

Road safety and dangers

Vietnam is famous for “insecurity” on the streets, motorbike riding is the cause of death for many locals and accidents to the detriment of tourists are not a rarity but…, don’t panic!
The important thing is to always keep to your right, go at the speed you feel comfortable with and follow your acquired road space (especially in large cities). At this point Vietnam will be yours!

Read also: Vietnam Visa: What to Know and Documents – 2024

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