“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Sure, that’s true. Drive to your destination, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride. A motorbike road trip can be frustrating, but also rewarding if you prepare for them properly. Here are a few practical tips to make your next Vietnam motorbike road trip go as smoothly as possible! And, if you don’t have first hand experience yet on how to ride the mean streets, check out how to drive in Vietnam with Sam Morgan.
Tip #1: Get A Good Motorbike
While motorbikes are generally easier to rent than cars, it is still important that you choose a good motorbike rental company and ask for their best motorbike available. Don’t just go with the first place you see on Google Maps without knowing what other options are in town. It’s worth spending a bit more for a motorbike that is in good condition and will make your journey more comfortable. If you already own a motorbike, get it checked by a mechanic before you go to make sure it is in good condition for the road. And remember, you don’t have to get the best motorbike. Just one that’s good enough for the trip.
Tip #2: Bring the Right Gear
This one should be obvious, but it’s worth reiterating – bring the right gear! Make sure you have a good backpack with rain cover, sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hats. If you’re driving up the highlands, bring warm clothes, or even a waterproof hoodie. It’s also important to have sturdy shoes that can handle long walks and motorbike trips. It might make sense to invest in a full face helmet. You never know what creepy crawlies might hit you in the face at 60kmph!
Tip #3: Know Your Route
If you’re not familiar with the area you’re travelling in, take some time to research the route before you leave. There are plenty of online resources (including this blog post) that can help you plan out your trip before you go. Not only will this save you time and money, but it can also make your motorbike road trip a fun experience. Try using Coracle, for some tried and tested routes, or join the Flying Monkeys for feedback on recent road trips. At the very least, plot it out on Google Maps, and get a mount for your phone.
Tip #4: Prepare for the Worst
Bring along tools that will help fix any issues with your motorbike or other travel equipment that might occur on the way. Make sure to have extra parts as well, just in case! A good repair kit should contain everything from oil to puncture kits to basic bike spanners. At the very least, bring extra food and water just in case of a middle-of-nowhere breakdown.
Tip #5: Gas. Always get gas.
Whenever you see a gas station, stop and fill up. On motorbike road trips in Vietnam, there will be long stretches of road where you won’t find a single gas station for miles. Or, you might mis-time your mileage. Trust me, as soon as you hit 40% on your meter, fuel up.
Tip #6: Avoid Driving At Night
Riding at night is not recommended if you’re heading through rural areas without proper street lighting; otherwise accidents are more likely to happen on dark roads than during daytime hours when visibility is better and motorbikes tend move faster because of less traffic congestion during those times too. Plan accordingly. Again, trust me, I’ve made the mistake of riding on bad roads, with no lighting. I will not do that again.
Tip #7: Safety First
Bring your wallet in an inner pocket of your backpack (not loose in one of the outside pockets). Keep valuables somewhere that is difficult to steal from – if possible, keep them on yourself. Avoid wearing big jewelry as well. Avoid driving behind people like our friend here, Mr Fridge Guy. When stopping overnight in rural areas, make sure to park close enough to other motorbikes so they might provide some security against theft during the night-time hours when you’re sleeping soundly under mosquito nets after eating delicious Vietnamese food 😉
Tip #8: Have Fun!
This is your motorbike road trip, so enjoy it! Take lots of pictures, stop at interesting places along the way, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Motorbikes are a great way to see more of Vietnam than you would be able to on foot or in a car. The best part is that you can go at your own pace, and make as many (or few) stops as you please.
For more motorbike road trip tips, check out the following resources:
- Flying Monkeys Vietnam Motorcycle Club Forum: This online community is packed with information on routes, safety, bike repairs and more.
- Vietnam Coracle: An excellent website for anyone looking to do a motorbike road trip in Vietnam. They have detailed route maps, plus plenty of advice from seasoned travellers.
- YouTube: A quick search for “motorbike road trips vietnam” will bring up lots of great videos from people who have already made the journey – take advantage of
So there you have it! 9 tips to make your next motorbike road trip in Vietnam a breeze. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy the journey while avoiding some of the common pitfalls that can occur during motorbike trips around this beautiful country. Safe travels!