How to make a motorcycle trip in Vietnam
What is a motorcycle?
In Vietnam, as defined by law, a motorcycle is a motor vehicle powered by a motor with a displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor or moped.
What skills do I need before I attempt to ride a motorcycle for the first time?
We provide riding lesson for the “first time” riders, to do the lesson, You MUST be able to ride a bicycle proficiently. Some of our customers are avid bicyclists, not only due to familiarity with two wheels, but also because of their fitness level. BRC students who have been "couch potatoes" for many years often find it difficult to ride for ten hours within two days. Riding a motorcycle requires a minimum level of physical strength, coordination, and energy.
How much will I get to ride?
Each lesson is 3-4 hours of instruction with 1-hour riding time. The lessons are divided between two thirty-minute sessions. Your session starts when you put on your wakeboard and jump into the water. The 5 to 10 minutes traveling to nice water does not count as your lesson time.
Will I really know how to ride a motorcycle after a course from your company?
The riding lesson course is designed to give you the basics of operating a motorcycle and teach you proper techniques. You will learn how to practice safely. How well you ride will be determined by how often you practice and how well you practice the techniques taught to you during the course
Do I need a license if I want to travel by motorcycle in Vietnam?
Motorcycle trip If you plan to rent a bike and travel alone on the 'roads' then yes you must be a licensed rider and your motorcycle must be licensed as well. However, a riding license is not required if you take a guided motorcycle trip from a local motorcycle tour-operator as they’re in charge of solving this problem. Read more about drive license and Vietnam visa.
Is it safe to travel in Vietnam? Can I travel solo?
Traveling in Vietnam is generally safe, you are probably safer anywhere in Vietnam than you are in most American Cities. In Vietnam, if natives are convicted of a crime like shoplifting it is an automatic three-year prison sentence. With that kind of a consequence, stealing and petty crime are almost unheard of. It simply is not worth taking the chance. Furthermore, Communist prisons are not as user friendly as American prisons.
You can travel solo. Women and independent travellers have found it relatively hassle-free and easy to travel throughout the country. However, when traveling anywhere in the country, travelers should exercise caution and use common sense to avoid incidences of personal misfortune, furthermore, planning a trip to some remote areas of Vietnam as a solo traveler might not be the best decision, primarily due to the need for special permits in the less well-discovered areas.
Take a guided motorcycle tour from a tour-operator in Hanoi or Saigon is the best way to discover the country as all the necessary paperwork can be looked after by the tour leader or local guide, they also play an important role when you have a conversation with the tribal communities.
What's the best duration for a motorcycle trip in Vietnam?
The perfect timeframe to spend on the road is seven to nine days, depending on your riding skills and stamina. The wildest country lies atop the highest mountains, and they tend to be along the Chinese border. Our trips are always wide loops, so the longer the ride, the more chance we have at getting you deep into the most remote locales.
When is the best time to ride in northern Vietnam?
In the north, there's no best time to ride, as there are four distinct seasons, each with their own unique advantages. Summer runs from April to October, winter from November to March. Hottest months are June and July, coldest month is February. Expect the possibility of passing rain from April to August, while winter months are normally dry.
I hear the traffic is crazy in Vietnam. Is it safe to ride there?
Traffic in Hanoi is chaotic to the uninitiated driver. For this reason, we always use the easiest roads to get out of town. We can also arrange for riders to be dropped off at the city limits by taxi where the bikes are waiting. Once out in the countryside, the level of traffic drops off remarkably and, on some roads, it is possible to not pass a single vehicle for the whole day. That said, it must be emphasized that the riding conditions in Vietnam are demanding which means extremely defensive driving is imperative. All riders must be very careful and be fully aware that the purpose of the trip is not to ride performance bikes hard into the bends, but rather to drive along nice and slowly and enjoy the sights and sounds of the passing countryside. Motorbiking is just the link between so many facets that make up the touring experience with us – people, scenery, markets, food, drink, historical vestiges, rural life. We will send you an extensive document covering all aspects of driver safety particular to the conditions found in Vietnam. This document and constant support from your guide will make your ride as safe as possible.
Can you arrange accommodation for me in Hanoi?
We can make reservations for you at any hotels in Hanoi and also organize a car to pick you up from the airport. Commonly we recommend people to stay at a particular hotel in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter. The central location makes it easy to get around the city and the hotel offers comfortable and spacious rooms in the US$30-35 per night price range. They also provide safe storage for baggage during the duration of the motorbike tour.
Do we carry everything on the bike, or can I leave some of my luggage at "base"?
We provide you with spacious saddle bags which can carry a large number of belongings. It's also possible to strap a further bag or rucksack onto the bike's back rack if required. Any other luggage may be left safely in storage at your hotel in Hanoi waiting for your return.
What type of clothing should I bring?
Before departure we will send a complete listing advising you what may be useful for your trip and how best to prepare. See what to bring here
Where do the tours start from?
All tours start and end in Hanoi after a hearty breakfast on the first morning. Return to Hanoi is either by road or sometimes by overnight train.
Do you need a deposit?
We ask for a deposit of US$250/person in order to confirm the tour from our end with the balance to be paid upon arrival in Hanoi. We will provide you with the necessary bank account details to transfer this deposit into once a ride has been agreed upon.
What other expenses should we expect? How much cash do we need to take with us?
In terms of costs we cover everything except telephone calls, tips, souvenirs and alcohol. As there are often some impressive minority crafts to be found in the markets or some more bizarre products of Chinese origin, bank on carrying from US$50-100 worth of local currency with you
How will I meet you in Hanoi?
When you arrive, you will call us on a number sent to you beforehand. We will then arrange a pre-departure briefing session to introduce to you the route and equipment, and to cover any other outstanding issues.