Is Vietnam easy to travel?
Vietnam is a straightforward place to travel, for both the seasoned traveler and the novice backpackers. Even in the most rural of areas, you are likely to find a convenience store (run from someone’s home) with cold drinks and snacks. Locals are friendly and keen to help lost and wandering tourists. English is also widely spoken these days. Where there is no English, there is the internet, and Google Translate has Vietnamese very well understood. So you don’t have to.
Petty crime can be common in tourist areas, where opportunity lies. But the locals are wonderful people, and often seem to undertake this duty of making your Vietnam experience as amazing as possible. Violent crime is nearly unheard of. You feel safe traveling all parts of this country, whether it be solo or in a group.
How to pack for a motorbike holiday in Vietnam
How do Taxi’s work?
Unfortunately, most people’s introduction to Vietnam begins with getting ripped off by an airport taxi. Download the app “Grab” (Same as uber) and familiarize yourself with it before departure. Only use Grab when in Vietnam. The fares are set and very cheap! The address can be set in the app and you can track your route as you go. No need to worry about dodgy taxi drivers taking the long way around. The app is also in English and easy to use.
How do I order food?
We have a large article on Vietnamese food. Most travelers will land themselves in a tourist town of some sort, even if it is a small one. These days, it is possible to get a pizza nearly any place that could attract a single tourist. If you’re looking to expand your international palate, there are plenty of foreigner friendly Vietnamese foods that are easy on Western taste buds. Start with a bánh mì and work your way up to mắm tôm (at your own risk).
In the deep countryside, there will not be English on the menu. Instead, we have phones, and Google Translate will now do a live translation through your phone’s camera. Point it at the menu, and off you go. Life is effortless these days.
Driving your bike
Road speeds are slow in Vietnam. Crashes are frequent, but at paces where you are likely to get back up again. Overall, driving in Vietnam is not as dangerous as people might think. There is some method to the madness here, despite it being hard to recognise when riding amongst the chaos. We recommend having experience on a motorbike, but it is common for backpackers with no motorbike experience to tackle the entire country. This freedom puts Vietnam at the top of the list for adventure holidays, whatever your pace.
Use Googlemaps for navigation, but for more complex mapping read our offline map tutorial.
Tigit locations are heavily stocked with motorbike gear. We focused all our covid energy trying to survive by selling to Vietnamese and the surviving expats. We have cheap stuff, extremely expensive stuff and stuff that’s in between. We have gear that’s breathable and airy enough to avoid the heat stroke of the south. We have gear that’s snug enough for the mountains of the north. Also if you follow the Tigit booking platform, it is now possible to rent basic gear along with your bike.
For more information, read my article on what to bring and wear.
All our gear can be found over at www.chrunix.com
How do I book a hotel?
I use Agoda, but booking.com is also popular. Usually, these apps are cheaper than real life prices, I have no idea why. There is no need to book in advance. When you are getting tired and are 20 minutes out from your destination, do some quick research and book yourself a hotel. Use the ‘search on map’ function to reserve your beachfront room with ocean views. Accommodation becomes limited during Vietnam’s public holidays, though, so be wary of those.
Technology is key
The old paper map and a lonely planet are a thing of the past. Vietnamese love their technology, 4G internet and smartphones are everywhere. I have yet to find a place without wi-fi in this country. Get yourself a sim card on arrival from either Mobifone or Viettel. If you know how to use a modern smartphone, you can navigate Vietnam easily. There is nothing your phone can’t do in Vietnam!