A Word of Advice to Motorcycle Vietnam
Speeding along the well-paved roads of Vietnam is not the safest activity. Make sure to take the proper motorcycle safety precautions (full-face helmet, jacket with padding, motorcycle boots, and some form of GPS), and you’ll set yourself up for the ride of a lifetime!
Keep on reading for a few tips for the first-time traveler to Vietnam, including a bit of info for the first-time motorcycle rider.
Getting Your Motorbike
Those of you planning on buying or renting a motorcycle can do so easily in any major city. Start in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and inquire at the hostel you are staying at (they’ll have a hook up). You can expect to spend about 250 USD. Make sure the shop does a full service on the bike and that you are fully kitted out before leaving.
If you are buying your bike off another tourist, take it to a shop with them (there’s never an auto-repair shop far off) and have them cover any additional expenses incurred for a basic tune-up.
If you’re an absolute novice like I was, get a Honda Win. It’s the most widely repaired bike in Vietnam, which means when you (inevitably) break down, someone will be there to help you.
Be safe while riding – invest in some motorcycle safety gear
Motorcycle safety gear in Vietnam is not the best. The standard for most folks here is flip-flops, t-shirts, and shorts…along with a flimsy helmet that somewhat resembles a children’s toy.
That said, it isn’t a bad idea to do your own research and bring the proper gear from home if possible. A full-face helmet, jacket with padding, motorcycle gloves, and motorcycle boots may be pricey back home and take up a lot of space in your pack, but the quality will be much better than anything you can get once you’ve landed in Vietnam.
Generally a smartphone with GPS capabilities will suffice for riding around Vietnam if you are planning on sticking to the main highway, which is incredibly well paved and well marked. But, for those of you who are planning to ride unbeaten paths, consider investing in a proper GPS instrument to make sure you don’t get lost in the middle of a Vietnamese forest.