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Motorbiking in Vietnam, Tips for Vietnam Motorbike Trip

Renting a motorbike is an increasingly popular way to explore Vietnam. But the traffic conditions, roads and rules are extremely different from those in America or Europe. In the West, rules are strictly (in most cases) adhered to. Generally speaking, drivers stay on the correct side of the road, stop at red lights and don’t carry water buffalo on their scooters!

Here, things are a little different. Reading these tips will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable journey!

1. Protect your head
Vietnam law requires both motorbike drivers and passengers to wear a helmet. It’s also just plain common sense. If you can, make sure your helmet is made by a reliable manufacturer such as Protec.

2. Learn before you ride
Many travelers have never ridden a motorbike before they rent one in Vietnam. Before setting off, ask someone for a five-minute rundown on how to start/stop/accelerate etc.

3. Left are gears, right is brake
Self-explanatory, really.

4. Think right
In Vietnam, people drive on the right. Especially important to remember when you turn corners!


5. Expect the unexpected
Drivers don’t follow the rules. Be prepared to think on your feet.

6. Park it
Most cities have parking areas to leave your motorbike. This usually costs around 2,000VND, so don’t listen to entrepreneurial parking attendants who try to charge you more than 10,000VND - they are likely trying to hustle you. Hold onto the ticket to get your bike back!


7. Fuel up
When you rent a motorbike, check the tank (don’t trust the fuel gauge) and find out where you can fill up if needed.


8. Biggest wins
The biggest vehicle has the right of way. So avoid buses, cars and trucks!


9. Think about what kind of bike you need
100 cc-or-more semi-automatic motorbikes are best for roads in Northern Vietnam’s mountainous areas. Look for a strong engine, gasoline-saving potential and flexible packing space.


10. Be well-prepared
When traveling to remote areas, bring a motorcycle repair tool kit. It might also be advisable to bring a spark-plug and extra key. Remember to ensure the motorbike is in working order before setting off. Change the oil and check the tyres, brakes, mirrors, horn and light. Fill up your motorbike with gasoline and make sure you know where you can make your next filling stop!


11. Check the weather
Plan the season of your trip carefully. The best time for exploring mountain areas is from late September to the beginning of December or after Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnamese New Year, in January or February), when there is almost no rain and the temperature is cool. Spring rain and summer heat are hazardous not only for your own health but for the road.


12. Statistics don’t lie
Thousands of people die on the roads every year. Drive safely so you can make the most of your Vietnam road trip!


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