Motorbiking in Vietnam
Without doubt, the motorbiking Vietnam scene is the most popular amongst backpackers. The freedom it brings riding the full length and breadth of Vietnam gives you plenty of opportunity to see some absolutely beautiful destinations.
But, you don’t have to ride 2000 km or more to see Vietnam by motorbike. You can also take shorter trips in some of the best destinations in Vietnam for just a few days.
You can either buy or rent motorbikes and prices range between $100 - $1000 to buy or $7 - $15 per day to rent.
Here is our recommendation where is best to ride a motorbike in Vietnam.
Hanoi is where most Vietnam travelers start their motorbike ride through Vietnam. There are a lot, I stress, a LOT of motorbike garages to buy or rent a motorbike.
The trick is who to trust because there are so many horror stories to tell and not enough space on my page. Maybe that's another article winging its way to you about the do's and don'ts when buying a motorbike!!
We know a very trustworthy & reputable garage owner in Hanoi I have known for years. I have bought a few bikes from him & had no problems at all. Contact us for his details and I will pass them on to you.
Motorbiking in Hanoi will require nerves of steel at first, as it is certainly a scary place when you first ride in the city. But, you do get used to it. As long as you just follow the flow and don't go too fast or make sudden turns, you will be fine! Always, always, always, look when turning in to a road. The Hanoians DO NOT, but DO NOT follow their lead...!
Firstly, to gain a bit of practice, we would suggest your first motorbike ride around Hanoi should be at West Lake. It is the biggest lake in Hanoi and fairly quiet roads. This will give you the confidence motorbiking in Hanoi once you have been round this once or twice.
If you are feeling up to it, head in to the Old Quarter and experience the amazing life on a motorbike as a Hanoian. Check out the 36 trade streets, Hoan Kiem Lake, St Joseph's Cathedral & many other landmarks you wish to see. Just be sure to ALWAYS lock or take away your helmet...it WILL be gone if you leave it hanging on the handlebars!
Once you have finished in Hanoi hit the road and enjoy your motorbiking in Vietnam adventure!
Ninh Binh is ideal for riding a bicycle, so it is no great shock it's also great fun to explore by motorbike too. The stunning forest covered limestone peaks, rice fields & dirt track roads through tiny villages give an amazing experience to the biker.
Ninh Binh has truly wonderful landscapes to visit while motorbiking in Vietnam.
Now you are powered by more than your legs, longer destinations are possible. Visit some hot locations used in the recent Kong Movie for example.
Such places as Van Long Bird park or even to the amazing Cuc Phuong National park and enjoy a trek for a few hours to relieve the numb bum.
Check out further gorgeous locations motorbiking in Ninh Binh. Explore Trang An, Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hang Mua, Thung Nham bird park to name but a few.
Ninh Binh is a also a good spot to head south on your way to Phong Nha by jumping on the Ho Chi Minh Highway.
Ha Giang Loop
You have probably heard of the Ha Giang Loop if you have done any research in to motorbiking Vietnam. It is top of any backpackers Vietnam bucket list & with good reason too.
The scenery you experience on the Ha Giang Loop is second to none in all Vietnam. Deep valleys, cascading rice terraces and wonderful minority villages to ride through. The loop can be done over a few days comfortably and gives you ample opportunity to bump in to other riders along the way and swap tips, photos and a rice wine or two together.
We would suggest taking a private car, if motorbiking in the Ha Giang Loop is not your cup of tea. We can provide this service for you and include accommodation in some of the most gorgeous homestays and locations imaginable.
Although Sapa is not the mecca of motorbiking in Vietnam and not as popular as the Ha Giang Loop.
There are still many routes in and around the Sapa region to take a motorbike and get in and amongst the rice terraces, minority villages and deepest valleys.
Basing yourself in either Sapa Town or even a cool homestay in the villages of Ta Van or Y Linh Ho. You can plan a ride out to the various locations such as Ban Ho, Ta Phin or Matra.
A good route to take would be Sapa - Tram Ton Pass - Love Waterfall - Silver Waterfall - Matra - Ta Phin - Sa Seng - Hang Da - Sapa. This is a round trip of approximately 70km & a decent days ride. You will need a cold beer and a hearty locally cooked meal at your homestay after this ride.
Taking a 2 or 3 day tour by motorbike is also common amongst Vietnam travelers. Opting to stay overnight in some of the best homestays in Vietnam en-route.
For a private motorbike tour of Sapa contact us and we will organise it including homestay and meals.
Ho Chi Minh Highway
This is part of the legendary road used as a major supply route for the North Vietnamese during the American War.
Today, it is a popular biking route to travel north to south or vice versa. Definitely a more interesting route & staying away from the overcrowded dangerous Highway 1a.
The trail is usually picked up near Hanoi and passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes known in Vietnam.
The route passes through Phong Nha, The San, Aluoi, Koa Tum and Buon Ma Thuot before heading towards Saigon.
Hai Van Pass
This was made famous by Top Gear many years ago. It is still one of the most travelled coastal road by motorbike, train or even car.
The lush rainforest on one side and the deep blue sea and pristine beaches on the other. Make this a fantastic photo opportunity.
The Hai Van Pass starts just south of Hue and ends in Danang and is approximately 30km in total.
There are plenty of opportunities to stop to take that perfect photo and also to head in to the forest. Here you can ride to the peak and get some wonderful panoramic shots over the bays!
When I started motorbiking in Vietnam back in 2011, some of the best roads to ride along were the coast roads. There are quite a few to choose from and a couple I managed to ride along bring back fond memories.
I travelled the length of the country by motorbike and enjoyed every minute of it. The lush rainforest and limestone peaks of Phong Nha were my favourite by far. I must have stopped every two minutes to take a photo, it took me ages to pass through!
But, having travelled along the coast from Tuy Hoa to Quy Nhon & Nha Trang to Quy Nhon among others. I fell in love with the coast roads too. Long stretches of empty white sandy beaches and practically nobody on the roads. WOW!!
What an amazing journey it was! One or two close shaves too, but I will leave that and more detailed routes of my trip to another article.