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International Riding in vietnam

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by HeavyNinja, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Just trying to find out from anyone with exp riding in vietnam how it was. My soon to be wife and I are going to singapore for our honeymoon kid free, I was thinking flying to vietnam on an early flight, renting a bike for the day and looking around, then fly back that night. It is stupidly cheap to fly return and seems like a waste to not go and check it out given the in expensive cost of travel and short travel time.

    Both of is will have plenty of exp riding a bike by then, but I have seen just how insane traffic is over there. Is it worth hiring a motorbike for a day and if so how scary is it really hahahahahaha.

  2. It would be safer if you travel with a guided group IMHO but that may not be possible if your trip is too short/short notice.

    Jacob and I are currently in the planning stages for a 10 day trip riding through Vietnam and one thing that came up was that there aren't very many 'large' bikes for hire. A lot of scooters, a number of 250 or smaller road/trail bikes and not many large bikes.

    There are companies that offer 'self' guided tours as well as guided tours but one thing that came up was the riding was all about 'getting out of the city' and into the countryside (whether that was on road or off road).
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  3. I did a 3-day motorcycle tour of Vietnam about 5yrs ago from Hoi An to Hue with stops at Khe San, the Hai Van Pass and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Honestly, one of the best things I ever did. Wonderful way to see a country, even just going through villages it feels so much more intimate seeing the places and people at street level rather than from a bus window.

    For a day trip, it's easy enough to hire a scooter to get around town in. Their helmets are rubbish though, so BYO if you're really concerned.

    For a longer tour like ours, you get something like a 125cc cruiser (think GN250, but smaller). Seems slow, but so is everyone else on the road (except trucks) so it's not a problem.

    The traffic ... Well it depends. Around the countryside and villages it's not so bad, but in a major city it's insane. We went through Hue in peak hour - everyone gave my mate (6-foot and pasty white) plenty of room, but I think they all thought I was a local so I had to duke it out with everyone else. I found the trick is to commit to where you're going - hold your line and people will ride around you. It's when you hesitate and try to give way that you end up in all sorts of trouble.

    Not sure how much you'd see in a day though. It's not a big country but the bikes are slow and the roads are ... inconsistent. And if you're in a big city, the traffic is going to slow you down a bit.
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  4. Yeah I am in the process of changing our plans (not booked stuff just yet) will got to vietnam for 3 days.
  5. One thing I'll add: if you're riding in Vietnam then you're doing it illegally (it's pretty much impossible to get licensed without a 3-month visa or longer).

    We never got checked, but our understanding was that our guide would 'talk to the police' on our behalf it we did. Also, we only really spent a couple of hours in a major city; most of our riding was out in the countryside where police enforcement was a lot less visible.

    Also, as it's an illegal activity I wouldn't be hugely confident of your travel insurance honouring a claim if you stack it.
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  6. That means no bike for me :( my mrs won't take that risk and with my heart condition going to be hard enough to get insurance. Got a few weeks to work out exact plans, won't know for 2wks if we are def kid free. If we are not, then it is a local honeymoon with kids in tow
  7. That's a shame, mate. It's a beautiful country and it's better on a bike - I'm not exaggerating when I say there were times it literally took my breath away.

    There's always the option of going on a tour as a pillion - costs a bit more (because obviously you need to pay the riders, and possibly it would need more bikes for a given party size) but you'd still be able to enjoy the scenery without the legal / insurance worries.
  8. It'll take you 3 days to find your way out of Saigon on a bike! The place is massive. Hanoi is easier to get out of - but the weather is inconsistent - Oct/Nov the best months. The import duties on cars and 'big' bikes doubles their initial cost and then the on road costs on top. That's why scooters are so prevalent.

    Hyper is correct - you wont be able to ride legally without a Vietnamese license, not that they're bothered if you have $20 cash in your pocket to hand over. Although i wouldn't like to be involved in an accident under those t&c's.

    Personally i still think the place is worth visiting, i'd certainly go back to Saigon. Planning on Hanoi in November. Dirt cheap too.
  9. We will still go to vietnam but I will suss out bikes. I have no probs but my mrs is a bit of a hesitant driver and was brought up to be by the book. We couldn't decide between vietnam and singapore, so will do a bit of both, then do a proper trip with kids in tow to each destination.
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  10. I've only ridden in Saigon on a rented scooter. It's awesome. All the scooters are at the front, and as the traffic lights count down 3..2..1 there's a revving like a motogp start and then everyone races up to about 25 k's an hour.

    Got totally lost but Osmand+ (open street map) or google maps are fine.

    Try the roadside fried squid, it's very nice. You don't even get off your bike.

    But in HCMC (saigon) the taxis are so cheap. Get Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis only, most of the other ones will try to rip you off. Those two have working meters and are reputable. So that's fine for you and wifey.
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  11. If that's a thing, you could do what my missus did where I rode my own bike while she pillioned with the guide (my choice, I didn't want the additional complication while I dealt with the Vietnamese road system). Or you could both pillion with the guides.

    Because I hate to sound like a broken record, but there are some pants-shittingly stunning places to ride through in Vietnam but you wouldn't get the same effect on a tour bus (anyone who's ridden the middle part of the Ho Chi Minh Road will know what I'm talking about).
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  12. You can get an International Drivers License before you leave they are now accepted in Vietnam since around 2015.

    You can also get a Vietnamese license on a tourist visa for around $150US but the time you are going to be there and the time it takes to do is not worth it.

    Do some research and you will see International Drivers Permits are accepted in Vietnam, don't rely on people in the forums do your own research.

    Check out Buy and sell or Rent Motorbikes in Vietnam - Tigit Motorbikes these guys get rave reviews and can hook you up with a scooter if you message them on facebook they respond straight away, also check out www.vietnamcoracle.com and http://www.nomadasaurus.com/category/vietnam/
  13. Another thing,

    A year and half ago I was in Vietnam before I could even ride a motorbike I was riding pillion on a few, I got chatting to this guy in the photo he was parked in in the park opposite McDonalds Ben Thanh in HCM anyway he showed me his reviews from people that had written in his book about how awesome he was mind you these reviews where from like 2010 it was 2014 anyway took a risk figured id go half a day and at worst lose a few dong ended up being fantastic ended up getting him back the next day and took me all over HCM to tourists destinations and places only locals know he just waited for me to finish at a destination, he offered to take me to the Mekong Delta but I had to decline.

    If you are short on time try and find someone like this go for a few hours and if you like get them to take you around will make it much easier then trying to figure out where your going, don't ruin the little time you have by trying to navigate places yourself save the time and get a local :)

    Attached Files:

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  14. They are but not Australian ones.
    Australia is party to the 1949 convention, NOT the 1968 one which Vietnam uses
    You can get one for a hell of a lot less than that.
    The fee at the SGTVT is only a couple of dollars and the translation letter from a notary costs not much more
    It does take a couple of weeks and a bit of running around to get one, more info here
    Vietnamese Driving Licences

    Converting Driver License Guideline For Foreigner living in Vietnam

    This From Randy in Hoi An, I had a similar experience in Saigon.

    Getting an A1 motorbike license (up to 175cc) is very easy, if you have a valid motorcycle license from your own country.

    Here is what to do:
    - Have the license from your own country translated into Vietnamese (probably any translating agency will do)
    - Copy your passport and the page where your current visa is.
    - Get one 3x4cm photo of yourself
    Go to the Ministry of Transport in Danang (140 Hai Phong, opening hours 7:30-11:00 and 13:30-17:00), take your number for counter #3 and ask for an application form. The form is on the website of the Ministry of Transport too, but they will only accept their own version.
    Hand over all paperwork and show your passport and original license (you can keep these). If your documents are OK they will take a photo of you and you must pay VND 135,000. That’s it.
    You will get a receipt with a date on which you can pick up your license (one week later). Collect your license at counter #4.
    Piece of cake!
  15. For 3 days might just hire someone to take us around. Pretty sure 3 days I won't get out of ho chi mihn. I am eager to visit the war museums etc. I am also a lover of food and will definitely want to try as much new stuff as I can.
  16. Make sure you get your money out in the rain so you can use the epic top gear James May line "Oh no, my dongs all soggy".
  17. I spent a month there, never got out of D3
  18. I've spent 7 weeks there this year so far in 2 stints mostly down in D7 but have ridden a scooter around. Just make sure you have easy access to 200K VND in your top pocket and your wallet hidden in a cheap crappy bike. Then the police won't bother you. If they think you have money it will be taken for sure.

    I also rode over in Vung Tao and my best method was to pretend I was Spanish and didn't understand English...
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  19. In 3 days you're barely scratching the surface of what's out there. You'll love it.
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