My crossing of Vietnam by motorbike, it's 22 days of travel, 12 cities, 16 mechanic stops, 55 litres of petrol, 2 flat tyres. Thousands of motorbikes overtaken, hundreds of animals dodged, dozens of buses avoided, an incalculable number of encounters and unforgettable memories.
You too want to make this trip, or you are simply curious. You want to know which visa to take, where to buy a motorbike, where to maintain it, where to live, where to eat and how much it will cost you?
You can now find all this information on Ryan's travel blog in the article Advice and guide for a motorbike trip in Vietnam.
As a complement, you can find below, the videos of my different trips to Vietnam.
If you like local and original means of transport but prefer to have a vehicle with a body, my article on the Tuk Tuk tour of Sri Lanka is for you.
AND HERE IS MY COMPLETE GUIDE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE
- Where you can buy and sell your bike and where to avoid!
- What you should definitely check before buying to avoid being ripped off
- Precautions to take to protect yourself from theft
- How can you go from Vietnam to Laos or Cambodia with your bike
- How to solve small problems on the road even if you know nothing about mechanics
- How much small repairs can cost
- How to find your way on the roads, which ones to avoid and which ones not to miss
- Several ideas of itineraries to visit Vietnam by motorbike according to your tastes and the time you have.
- All you need to know about how to get your visa
- Some nice addresses for accommodation
- How to deal with the police and bribes
- Which insurance to choose for your trip
And much more in this guide of almost 100 pages!
Now it's my turn to say these words that we've heard so often: "Have a safe trip".
Great article! It is very useful. In Vietnam, you can drive on average 40 km per hour, not like in Europe. This wastes a lot of time on the road. However, this gives you a lot of emotions and human encounters.
I'm looking in vain to find out how many km you can drive on a full tank of a Honda WIN 110cc but I can't find it!
Thank you in advance
It depends on how you drive but it's between 200 and 250km roughly
Have a good trip and happy holidays
Hello ! Thank you for this story which makes you want to go.
I'm going to cross Vietnam by motorbike from the South to the North in 3 days and I was wondering : how far can we hope to cover in one day ? Is riding 300 km in the same day once or twice crazy or is it feasible?
The distance per day is very random, it depends on you actually.
300 km in a day is achievable, yes.
For example, in 2012 I rode slowly at the beginning and I did 150km max
I went back this year, the 300 km in a day I did easily. But I was in the south under the sun.
Have a good trip.
I'm going with a friend in September for a month from south to north. My big question is the insurance... I have the impression that in the comments no one has ever had any problems, but it is considered a risky trip. It's my dream to do it but you see everything on the internet and also some very alarming people. I have never driven a motorbike before, but I think you learn quickly. Can we take a local insurance (even if I imagine that without a licence it won't work)? How did you do it?
Do you have any further advice on safety?
This is a key question, indeed.
As for any trip, I was insured by my VISA Premier card. This is something I don't talk about in the blog but for me it is a prerequisite for any trip. Of course in Vietnam, on a motorbike, it is essential.
The Premier visa only covers personal injury and repatriation. As for the motorbike and damage to third parties, this is your responsibility.
For any trip, it is essential to have an insurance that covers your care and repatriation, otherwise you may find yourself in debt for life for a broken leg...
As far as safety is concerned, I advise you to take the small roads. Avoid the AH1 which is ugly and dense
Have a good trip
Like all the others, a big thank you for the article which will help in the continuation of the adventure in Vietnam, that good information given the [^_^]
Thanks to you, have a good trip
Hi! And thank you for the information and the video!
I'm going to Southeast Asia and Vietnam in September, I'd have some questions about buying and reselling the bike (we'll be 2 if everything goes well):
how much? where? how? easy? not easy? possible scams for repairs (I know nothing about mechanics)?
Gladys seems to me to be very cheap for 2 people + 2 bags. I know you have already answered these questions and I'm sorry if you're fed up... You can reply by email if you want,
Hi, thanks for the message.
I'll get back to you, I'm not tired of it, otherwise I'd close the blog 🙂
The bike is basically between 200$ and 250$. You can find it on the internet or on the street, it's very easy, really.
The mechanics are pretty honest, repairs are very rarely more than a few bucks. 2 People + 2 bags is possible, but not the coolest.
Have a good trip.
Hey man! Great trip! I'm currently in Australia and will be in Vietnam in 2/3 months. I wanted to ask you some advice and information about buying a motorbike and about the licence. I only have a car licence, is it enough to ride there? And how much did you buy the bike for?
Thank you for your answer.
Hi Leo, thanks
You can ride without a license, it's not necessary. You can find a motorbike for 200$.
have a good trip
The motorbike is mandatory to fully enjoy Vietnam and Asia in general I think (or the scooter). To be integrated to the maximum the two wheels are part of the costume! Thank you very much for sharing and I look forward to reading about your next trip! 🙂
Thanks for the comment. I like your comparison which I find very true. I look forward to hearing from you.
Let's say I have 25 days, so I'll be solo, for the first time on a trip of this kind.
So I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's adventures and advice once I get there, and then doing my own 🙂
I've already heard a lot about this "law of the strongest" on the road... you'll have to get used to it lol
Your route is very common, (lots of Xmen to help me in case of problems, easier route, many hostels)
I'm going to make my stage choices now, or at least the things not to be missed.
I'll be back to tell you how the crossing went! 😀
Thanks GTLA for all the info!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I'm taking off in a few days for this adventure and your blog gave me a much better vision of what was to come.
(I've never ridden a motorbike, so this is a good opportunity to get started)
I'm thinking of following your route, but aren't there some landscapes to see in the north of Hanoi, before you set off towards Ho Chi Minh?
Hi Nico, glad I could help.
I've never ridden a motorbike before either, it's going to be cool.
There's a lot to see up north, the buddies I rode with were there before I met them. It all depends on how much time you have. It's up to you. In 3 weeks I had to make choices. Have a good ride
Great article! Well written and complete ! Thank you very much for sharing this article which will help a lot of people I'm sure !!! In any case you have to have the courage to leave with your backpack and your bike to cross a country ! Hats off to you !
Thanks for your comment, it's nice. Helping others is the goal.
We wanted to thank you for this blog, which we discovered while looking for information about motorbike roadtrip in Vietnam. It confirmed our desire, and gave us precious information. Great!
In June-July 2016, we bought a motorbike for 2 (Manu loves driving, Nolwenn has a big fear of 2 wheels). It took us 2 days to find it in Hanoi: we tested WINs, but with 2 big bags of 12-13kg and 2 small ones of 4-5kg, with a Manu of 1.92m, we felt like we were playing at dinette. In hindsight, we think it would have been playable (we passed 2 of them), even if not very comfortable!
In the end, we bought a Chinese bike in a garage for 480$: a Lifan 125cc. We negotiated in the price the guarantee to bring it back in case of pbm (rbt), the double luggage rack, and a new tyre.
We sold it to a couple for 400$ 1 month later in HCM.
If we had to do it all over again, we'd take 2 Win. The most common bike, so easy to repair, for cheap. We had to change a few things, without any problems, but for the rear tyre for example, we really struggled in the pampas! On the other hand, it was very comfortable.
Concerning the repairs, the Xmen (nickname given to our friends the mechanics) are indeed our best friends, they are everywhere, resourceful and nice. We didn't always get the little free repairs though 😉 but it was cheap.
We discovered a very nice population in the pampa, beautiful landscapes...
In short, Vietnam by motorbike, it was a great experience of our 2 years trip now !!!!
The kiss of us 2
Hi you two.
Thanks for the message, it's cool.
It's nice to read about your adventure and it will probably be useful to other visitors of this blog.
I went for a ride on your blog, your bike had a hell of a style. it made me want to go back. What you did with this Chinese bike (the tuning) the easy riders do with win, I don't know if you have come across any, but they have big saddles and big luggage racks to carry the tourists.
But the most important thing is, as you say, that this way of travelling really allows you to discover people and landscapes that are difficult to reach by bus.
Kisses to you and good luck in your journey.
Great blog, I came across it by chance and it's exactly what I was looking for 🙂
With my friend, we plan to do Hanoi->HCMC, but we don't know what to take because we are 2 with two big bags of 12-14 kg each and we have a budget a little bit limited so we would like to take if possible only one motorbike for two, the honda win seems a little bit limited for two.
Maybe if we weld on a bigger luggage rack it would fit?
Also how much would it cost?
Wouldn't it be cheaper to resell it because of the larger rack? ( less pretty ) Or more expensive ? ( more practical )
But as you said above, wouldn't it change the centre of gravity?
We're not very heavy, 55kg on average each, but it will still be about 140kg in total on this poor bike, 110kg between front and centre and 30kg at the rear.
What would you have done in our place?
Hi Alan, thank you for that.
If I were you I would have taken a motorbike, per person, because it's more comfortable and it's really fun to drive there.
If your budget doesn't allow it, being 2 on a honda win is possible. The easyrider (Vietnamese riders who organize motorbike tours) do it easy-riders.net
The honda win will hold the shock, the Vietnamese use it to carry or pull big loads (like on this picture vietnam_lang_son_cochon.jpg )
Concerning the luggage rack, it is essential. You should have a side rack installed, to put a bag on each side and distribute the weight better. I have no idea how much it costs, but before you buy your bike, go and ask a mechanic.
The resale is very simple and the luggage rack is a plus, it will not cause you any problem.
Have a good trip.
Great Blog! Ultra-detailed! I'm going for it now!
Thank you Carl.
Have a good trip,
Take care of yourself.
Hi! Excellent blog, thank you for this information! I'm currently in Sapa and the motorbike adventure tempts me a lot ! I could have your email to ask you some questions 🙂 ! Thanks in advance
Hi, thanks. I sent you an email.
what hotel are you talking about exactly in hanoi? there are plenty of them called "hanoi backpacker something" 😉
can you give me the exact name? thanks!
This is him, downtown-hanoi
have a nice trip
Thank you for your blog. It's really good. I would like to know more details about the GPS you use during the trip. I am preparing a similar trip to Vietnam.
Thank you Philippe. In Vietnam, I had no gps, no smartphone. I followed the road signs. The Vietnamese use the Latin alphabet. Have a good trip
Hi, great article, thanks for all this information 🙂
I'm going to Vietnam this summer, and I didn't really think about travelling on a motorbike because I've never ridden one before, and also because I've read on a lot of websites that it's very dangerous to drive a two-wheeler in Vietnam; but reading your article I have to say that it finally seems possible and above all really cool.
So I wanted to know, how are the roads in Vietnam? Are there many difficult slopes?
I drove a scooter in Thailand, but it was never to go very far and I had 3 accidents in one month so I'm a bit skeptical, if you could tell me what you think, if the motorbike is safer than the scooter... all your info will be useful 🙂
Hi Oceane. Thanks, that's cool.
3 accidents in 1 month is a great score, take care of yourself 🙂 If you feel able to drive a motorbike, do it.
Hello my friend!
It's 2016 and this is a trip I want to try! Please send me an email so I can chat with you personally! THANK YOU
Hi, it's done
Thanks to gtlavery clear overview. Thank you for thinking of others.
Thank you John for your message.
Have a good holiday.
Hello, I loved your blog, I plan to go on a motorbike trip to Vietnam next summer and I have a small question: I drove a car and rode a scooter in France but I don't have my licence in France (I started driving with a companion, but I don't have any money for the licence afterwards)! Is it a problem to ride a motorbike in Vietnam?
Hi Louis, thanks for your message. The permit is not necessary, just do you and the others.
Hi, I find your article very interesting! I have a small question about the Honda win, is it really as unreliable as what is said on the internet? do you think that the waves are more reliable?
I've just moved to HCMC for 2 years and wanted to get a win to have fun during the week, but I haven't seen any Vietnamese with this type of bike yet... I'm hesitating
Hi Harold, thanks. The Honda Win is unreliable in the sense that it often breaks down. But these breakdowns are easily repaired, you change a part for a few dollars. The Vietnamese all drive a Wave, which is more modern and more suitable for short trips. I think the Win is more comfortable, more stable (bigger wheel) and therefore more suitable for long trips. Try both and tell me what you think. Have a nice stay.
I have just read your article and I must say that you have perfectly summarized and detailed a motorbike trip in Vietnam!
In fact, I just came back from there too. I rode around the country on a Honda Win for a month - July (I also wrote a few articles, which I'm still writing as I have lots to say)!
Really congratulations because you remembered and thought to talk about some details that I completely forgot (I took the opportunity to invite my readers to read your article for more information)!
Have a good trip! 🙂
Thanks for your message and for sharing. It's nice to know that we share the same feeling about this adventure. I'm currently travelling but when I get back I'll read your articles. See you soon
Hi gtlaGreat blog! Very detailed, ideal for a future traveller. Your information is very precious.
I am planning to go to Vietnam (mid November). The idea of a motorbike road trip in Vietnam came to me, I searched for information and I found your Blog.
Certainly, I would ask you a question or two before leaving 🙂
by the way, why an external hard drive in your backpack?
Hi Mathieu, thanks for your message, it's great to know that my blog is useful!
Don't hesitate, if you have any questions. To answer your question, I brought an external hard drive to store my videos, except that I didn't shoot much and that my SD card was useful enough. My external hard drive was not useful, in fact I never took it on a trip again. The sleeping bag is not very useful, if you don't camp. I didn't use the mp3 player either, on a motorbike, in view of the traffic, it seemed wiser.
(sorry I copy and paste my comment here because I made a mistake and posted it for Kyrgyzstan...)
first of all, thank you for sharing this experience on the internet, your website helps us a lot in the organisation of our trip,
We are planning a motorbike road trip from Hanoi to Bangkok with two friends.
We are planning to do Hanoi -> Ho Chi Min in 8 days.
After reading your site our opinions differ on this last point. I am of the opinion that it is quite feasible by passing through the interior road (as you say on the site the traffic is better), especially as we are confirmed bikers for a long time with the habit of eating the road.
So I have a few questions to ask you so we don't get stuck there.
Are the roads so bad there? The traffic outside the cities does not allow to ride at a correct speed? In your itinerary details, you do 250km in 7 hours on the longest routes => 35km/h average. Do the conditions really not allow you to ride faster? Or did you take breaks or ride slowly to enjoy the places you rode? Or maybe you had a lot of mechanical problems?
Thanks a lot, I'm looking forward to your answers =) And thanks again for the site!
Hi Valentin. Thank you for your message. 8 days seems really short to me. It's probably doable but it's short. I met an Englishman who did it in 9 days. In the north the roads are not in very good condition and the traffic is really heavy. The 250km in 7 hours was because it was the end of my trip and I had little time left. As said the traffic is dense, there are a lot of animals (cows, chickens, pigs) crossing the roads so you have to be careful. School leaving time also requires attention, the roads are full of kids on bikes who don't pay much attention to the traffic. Finally, you have to watch out for buses that drive like crazy and can force you to stop on the side of the road.
In short, I couldn't see myself riding any faster. I stopped exclusively to eat, pee and to repair the bike. The mechanic stops are every day and it's normal. I didn't stop much, I just rode slowly.
The night falls also very early, around 6pm, and because of the absence of road lighting, I didn't ride at night. As we used to leave quite late with my friends, the night often stopped us.
Anyway, if you can't make it, you can always put your bikes on a bus to finish the trip faster.
Have a good trip, enjoy and keep me informed after your escapade, it will please me.
I really loved your article, it's really exciting and it made me want to do the same. I'm doing a 3 month trip (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) and I was thinking of taking a motorbike but nothing was sure and I didn't know how to set up everything,I started to think about other projects and here I am, I came across your article a little bit by chance which is really well done, complete and which answered a lot of my questions and it really made me want to cross Vietnam on a motorbike, I thank you for your article which will be of great use to me.Seb
Hi Sebastien. Thanks a lot for your message, it's really nice. It makes me really happy if I could help you to convince you to try the adventure. It's really an unforgettable experience. Have a good trip, and send me a picture of your bike.
Wow, awesome blog, and very detailed! I'm in Seoul right now and I really want to do Vietnam on a motorbike... I'll probably do it with a friend, it seems more fun when it's shared 🙂
Thanks again for your blog!
Thank you Valou for your message. Have a good trip. Have a good time.
That's it, for us too, Vietnam by motorbike is over. But your precious info really helped us, it was a great experience. We did it differently, with a bigger motorbike as we were 2 on it. But there was nothing wrong with your article, it was really perfect, so we put it on our blog.
Good luck and thanks!
Hello to you both. Thanks for your message and thanks for sharing it on your blog. I'm glad my advice was useful. I've been to your blog, your bike is indeed much bigger than mine. It's easy to repair with mechanics, this kind of car? Good choice I think the interior road, it's more relaxing to drive and more spectacular for the eyes. Good luck to you too
Hi GTLA and thank you for this great article !
I'm going to South-East Asia with a friend at the end of June and your blog made us want to ride a motorbike through Vietnam! Would it be possible to have your email to ask you 2-3 practical questions? Thanks again 🙂
Hi Tinmar, thanks for your message.
I just sent you my email, by email 🙂
Great article, detailed and everything!
I'm leaving mid march from saigon, I'm going to buy a Win and a ....
I'm going to buy a Win and a trailer!
In order to cross Vietnam from North to South in one month you have been very good advice!
Thanks Aurélien, I'm glad I could give you some information.
Why do you want to buy a trailer?
In the meantime I wish you a very good trip and be careful on the road.
Have a good trip
Very nice blog, informative and precise.
It makes you want to leave
Thank you, Serge.
So when are you leaving?
We're getting ready to go to Vietnam, my girlfriend and I, and after reading your blog, we decided to go by motorbike. The only problem is the luggage.... Can we leave them alone on the motorbike without risk, if not, how do we proceed? Thank you for your precious advice
Hi Dominique, thanks for your message.
It's cool that my blog made you want to travel around Vietnam on a motorbike, you'll have a blast.
The luggage on the bike? The time of a visit during the day?
If that's your question, the most reassuring thing for you is to park your bike in a paid car park with a guard or to tip a shopkeeper to keep your luggage. Personally, I've never put a lock on my bike and I've always found it intact.
Hi bigbiker, thanks for your message. The only thing you can't miss is the mechanics you'll go to every day! I would say that my favourite city is Hoi An. It's a beautiful city, the surroundings are splendid and it's a very lively place.
But the most magical part is really the motorbike trip and the unexpected encounters it brings. Every day you go from surprise to surprise, from discovery to discovery, and the feeling of freedom is unique. In short, take your motorbike and let yourself be carried by the road.
Have a good trip and send me back a message to tell me about it
Wow!!! what a complete and well done article! Thank you for sharing your trip with us! For my part it will be very useful as I plan to do the same trip in the near future! Is there any place that you would tell me not to miss?
Really super extra your blog, very precise....very well done, thinks of everything or almost!
I'm getting ready to leave in 2015, a wealth of information like this deserves a gold medal!
thanks to you
Hi, thanks for your comment, it's nice. You're going to have a great experience there, both on the bike and in the encounters it will allow you to make. Don't hesitate if you have any questions and above all, send me an email when you get back to find out how it went. Have a good time
Very nice experience shared. I lived in Vietnam for 3 years and, to avoid getting money from the Police (because it's not parking tickets...) you have to behave and not drive on weekends and mainly at the end of the month. (rent, credit to be paid back etc... and many times, the salary is not enough...)
Personally I have a Vietnamese licence and I had a car and I didn't go out on weekends/end of month. To avoid the Police you need either a new, very high end car (= knowledge of influential people, much higher than the local Police officer) or an old car (= I'm broke!). New medium car (= I have access to welfare so I can pay!!!)
For motorbikes, as long as there is no accident, no problem but when there is one, the one who will be wrong is the one who has the most money (tourist) or the one who does not know an influential person.
NB: insurance can be bought at the petrol station by presenting the "grey card"!
I'd be curious to know what name was on the bike's papers?
Thank you for your comment. It's interesting to hear from someone who has lived there. I really enjoyed that country, you are very lucky to have been able to stay there for so long. If you have any other advice, I'd love to hear it, I'd definitely go back.
Nice vision, I feel there is a lot of experience behind it, I like your way of thinking.
Thank you very much
bravo ... I am leaving next week and your advice will be very useful.
Thank you. Have a good trip. Enjoy this adventure. Send me an email when you come back to get your impressions, I'll be happy to hear from you.
A work of gold, you really make us happy.
I really liked your article, I hope to read more soon
Thank you very much for your comment. I was late in replying to you because I didn't know how to manage the comments on the blog 🙂 I hope to write some soon, it will mean that I have travelled. See you soon.