16 Reasons Why Vietnam is popular for touring by motorbike

Jon Tigit

16 Reasons Why Vietnam is popular for touring by motorbike

1.Each tourist destination is within one days drive of each other

Vietnam is a long and narrow country with each major city or tourist destination being within one days drive of each other. Between the major cities is countryside which remains to be undeveloped and fairly run down.
Traveling by motorbike, A day of driving goes from the comfort of a big city or tourist location, to winding through spectacular mountain and coastal scenery which shows off fascinating local culture. By the end of the day it is possible to land back in the comfort of the next developed and comfortable tourist area.

Few places in the world can throw in developed areas and remote terrain all in a days drive. Perfectly setup to experience beautiful untouched roads without ever going too far from developed civilisation.

Walking the streets

2.Hotels are everywhere

Hotels in the major cities can be $5 dorm rooms up to 4/5 star resorts. In the countryside hotels are also frequent at around $10-15 a night, nothing to get excited about but they provide basic sleeping conditions and can be found everywhere. If a traveller fails to make it to the desired location, then a countryside hotel will get them through the night.

It is a common question to ask if Vietnam is a good place to camp. In reality, hotels are so common and cheap that there is no need to lug camping gear around.

Homestays and Airbnb have started to become popular. English is hugely important in Vietnam and salaries are low. Any Homestay or Airbnb host is likely to make you the centre of attention and give you are a warm and welcoming time. It is also good knowing that your $5-$10 bed is going a long way to contribute to the person that you are staying with. Local pride is important and people are desperate to show off traditions and foods whilst also being eager to pick up and learn any English along the way.

All in, Vietnam has a huge range of accommodation to suit every kind of traveller.

Hotels are everywhere

3.Restaurants for the safe eater and the adventure foody

Vietnamese food is famous, but often not talked about is the skills to replicate western dishes. Every major tourist city will have Pizza and Hamburger joints, often run by passionate foreigners. Under priced and usually delicious.
It goes without saying that Vietnamese food is popular around the world. In the countryside, Vietnam is setup for both the adventurous eaters and the casual safe player. Want to keep things simple, then Pho Bo (beef noodles) is found everywhere and a traveller will quickly learn this is the sign to look out for when searching for a safe meal in the most random of places. Banh Mi (baguettes) are also readily available as a quick pick up for a later lunch.

The adventure foody can find huge amounts of creepy crawlies and off-limit foods. Local ethnic groups and villages often specialise in some sort of delicacy and all you need to do is scope out your new destination to see where all the locals have landed. Want to get involved in the local spirit then walk into a random restaurant looking confused. This is a sure way to get some attention and provide entertainment for all round. Locals love a party and a confused looking foreigner is a great excuse to crack open more beers. The Vietnamese open and friendly hospitality will quickly shine through and you are seen as a respected person of interest, and not an intruder. Just remember that it is rude to drink alone and you must be able to handle your alcohol!

Countryside Vietnamese Food

4.Street vendors and convenience stores are everywhere

Vietnam has no shortage of convenience stores, rows of identical shops stocking the same stuff. Anything from shampoo to Oreos can be found in these little beauties. Sometimes when the going gets tough a little bit of the packaged western world needs to be enjoyed. Stop off for a bottled coke and some Haribo ready for your next mammoth drive. Well maybe not Haribo…. but the dirty and cheap Vietnamese equivalent!
These places do stock a surprising variation of items to the point of a surreal feeling to be holding a chocolate bar in the middle of the Jungle.

The keen and experienced eye can spot the drive by convenience stores which are moving on two wheels. Bicycles are ridden by an old woman with a yellow box on the back. Stocking cold drinks, random fruits, and edible sugar cane. These mobile shops can be seen casually moving down the road as you plough on by. Causing you to slam on the brakes and think… actually, yes, now is about the right time for a sugary drink.

The Vietnamese convenience store, more commonly seen outside the metropolitan areas.

5.Mechanic shops are everywhere

It wouldn’t be a Tigit article without some kind of rant or attack on the Honda Win Market.
Mechanic shops are everywhere, but they shouldn’t be needed! When renting a proper motorbike from Tigit a traveller can skip past this lovely phenomenon of mechanics every 5 minutes because the motorbike isn’t going to break down!
BUT, for your backpacker with no money on a Honda Win, these mechanic shops is what allows them to cover this glorious country on a $200 two-wheeled piece of garbage. In fact, I applaud cheapskate backpackers for the generous donations to the countryside economy as they go up the country spending holiday budgets in remote locations on breakdowns!

For the traveller with a motorbike and not scrap metal, these mechanics allow for quick roadside assistance for flat tires. Unfortunately, flat tires are often caused by these bored mechanics laying shrapnel on the road to get your business. I suppose it also aids in the contribution to the remote economy, but in a cheaper and quicker way. As a flash backpacker, you can also give yourself a pat on the back for the small contributions.

Genuine service centres are also in every town. Mechanical issues or safety concerns can quickly be dealt with by professional mechanics. If using Tigit we reimburse any maintenance occurred through the journey. A safe and convenient way to travel 2000+km in a foreign land.
In South-East Asia everything is created on scale, and motorbikes are no different. Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki throw out a select few standardised models on huge scales which allows for spectacularly quick and cheap fixes.

Getting some minor fixes in the countryside

6.Vietnamese are good at English

The major cities now have widely spoken English. Convenience stores, hospitals or any major services are likely to have some English speaking staff. Even in the countryside, it is amazing how many people speak English. Vietnamese culture is to send off the young to work in the big cities. They support the countryside folk by sending money back to the hometown.  This means that even in the most remote areas, a university graduate from the big city might pop out of the forest to assist you.

It has become common knowledge of how impossible Vietnamese is. With so few foreigners being able to tackle this language it has become of the up-most importance for the Vietnamese to speak English to understand the outside world. The Vietnamese love technology, Facebook, Western movies and outside fashions are widely followed. The internet is everywhere in Vietnam, and where there is internet there is English.

For the traveller, this makes any conversation with you worth its weight in gold. Speaking to a native English speaker is a rare opportunity outside the city and a local is going to want share everything and anything to prolong a conversation. It also means there is plenty of willing help, should you ever need it!

With beer, language is not needed to fit in!

7.Friendly and curious locals

The culture of the young working hard in the big cities to support countryside folk has given a lot of people nothing but time on their hands. Groups of men can be seen smoking pipes and drinking rice wine for breakfast, so if starting your day with a light head is your thing, then get involved!

For the more casual people out there, the roads are clustered with identical coffee shops. Roll up to one of these establishments and it is not long until the entire village fancies their chances at a conversation with you.

The locals consider the concept of motorbiking across the country an insane suicide mission. Perhaps they are right, but they are interested to know why you are doing this and the stories that you may have. Countryside folk are incredibly patriotic, so if you are enjoying their beautiful country then be assured that they want to know about it!

Drive like a local, live like a local

8.The Aodai will knock most men down

The Aodai must be one of the most elegant and beautiful clothing styles on the planet. Most people are struck hard when they see this amazing outfit. Unfortunately it seems to be a dying tradition, but it can still be seen in its authentic form in the countryside areas. The Aodai has hidden meanings with the different colours representing different messages. This Aodai, is a reason many men get stuck in Vietnam and never leave.

Wedding Aodai

9.The police are relaxed

Back on track and to the motorbike reasons for travelling Vietnam! The government is useless in Vietnam, they have no idea what they are doing. This trickles down to the police who have very loose guidelines of rules to follow. This can be seen throughout the country in far more areas than just road laws. Rules are guidelines and few laws are taken seriously.

The police gladly take coffee money from foreigners who’s papers might not be technically correct. This is partly because they have no idea of the rules themselves, no one does, and the documentation is such a confused mess that ignorance can definitely be used for bliss.

The police may be mostly a comical joke, but with serious incidents they are there to help you. The police act as professionals when the time is right. Take the rare inconvenience of a police stop on the chin, knowing that these guys will actually help if there was a real problem!

Behind the joke, at Tigit we hope the laws become clearer and it does seem like authorities are trying. A general lack of understanding of intentional agreements appears to be holding things back.

The police will help you when they are not helping themselves.

10.Everything is cheap

Once a traveller gets their head around the currency, it can be seen how cheap Vietnam is.

Here are some common costs when motoring around Vietnam.

  • A full meal in a tourist restaurant is likely to cost $5-10
  • Countryside beef noodles around $2.5
  • Beer from convenience stores around $0.5
  • Beer in restaurants or bars, $1.5.
  • Hotels are around $10-15 and to get a really good hotel is $50+
  • Gas is around $2.5 for 120km or $5 for a full days drive!

Money will go a very long way in Vietnam if used correctly.

Primarily in the well traveled tourist tracks, there is atwo-tierr price system with foreigners often getting charged more than locals. Keep your wits about you and don’t pay more than an item is worth to you. Try to avoid big purchases in tourist areas and use your motorbike freedom to visit local markets and shops.

1000 dong bills can be cursed so locals throw them. For me, this is finders keepers and a good day at the office.

11.The Weather is generally nice

Overall the weather is consistently pleasant with the South and North having different seasons. Most travellers will experience a bit of all weather conditions from cold to hot with some tropical rain thrown in. Providing you are prepared for a holiday of more than just beach clothes then the dynamic mix of temperatures can be enjoyable.

There is no magical “right time to travel Vietnam” due to the localised climates. On a motorbike it is possible to drive through the rain to come out the other side with blistering hot sun again.

Storms can do damage, but the Vietnamese are prepared and very quick to resume normal life. Articles of mostly fake news and destruction may continue to circulate the internet for weeks after the event, but the Vietnamese have already resumed life and the sun is often shining again. A traveller can simply take advantage of the slightly lower tourist numbers!

The South below Danang all the way to the far corner of Phu Quoc islad is consistently hot. For a safe holiday of nice weather, then keep to the South. The further North you go, the more beautiful the roads become. With this beauty comes random and volatile weather conditions.

There are no conditions that would make a motorbike holiday unbearable. Just make sure you prepare the correct clothing! This is an adventure holiday, and at Tigit we really do try to avoid renting to the wrong clientele.

Venice or Hoi An

12.Flights, trains and buses are efficient

Vietnam is an incredibly well connected country allowing for easy and cheap transport between the major cities. Motorbikes can also go on both trains and busses with the passenger.

For the traveller this allows for easy skipping of the boring sections utilising over night trains or busses. If time has run short an internal flight can quickly and cheaply get you to a major airport.

For Tigit, the amazing transport network allows us to send motorbikes around the country for bookings. Customers in times of desperation can also be rescued even in the most remote areas of Vietnam. There are few areas of this country we don’t have some sort of trucking access to, and although not often mentioned on our site, this is a huge benefit of using Tigit Motorbikes.

Not a Tigit XR 😀

13.Beaches and mountains are near to each other

Look at a map and it can be seen that Vietnam is a long and narrow country. The coast being flat highway driving with areas of beautiful beaches. The Cambodia, Laos border being spectacular mountain ranges that get bigger and bigger the further you head North.

To get from the coast to the mountain ranges is a few hours drive and certain routes incorporate both elements within a single day. The variety of scenery that can be enjoyed in a day is amazing. More importantly though, for the motorbike enthusiast the variety in driving styles and skills required in a day is amazing fun. Open coastal roads to meandering mountains in the South to technical narrow tracks or offroad in the North.

The narrow landscape means a traveller can get remote, without ever being more than a few hours from a major city. This easy bail out in times of trouble is invaluable to safety and allows people to travel by their lonesome across this spectacular country. A traveller may think they are all alone, but guaranteed a local will pop out of the bushes when you need them.

Yamaha Exciter on the beach

14.Cheap motorbikes

A new Honda motorbike can be bought for around $1000, and with the incredible service centres through Vietnam, these bikes can have very long life cycles. Tigit rents the Honda Blade for $250 for 1 month, travellers can do between 2000km and 5000km in this time. This is unbelievably cheap and there can not be many countries in the world that can compete with these vehicle rental prices.

However the “high end” rental services like Tigit are not the cause of budget backpackers flocking to Vietnam to ride motorbikes. This is caused by the Chinese motorbike market of replica Honda’s which can be bought for $600 new, or $200 when second hand.
This market is a great area for lies, horror stories and failed holidays. However, travellers tend to bury the bad and only promote the good. So this ideology of buying $200 “good” motorbikes circulates backpacker groups and keeps people coming!

In the end, most people complete the journey and at the very least get a story out of it. So even if the $200 two wheel trash heap didn’t make it… there are worse things to lose money over. Besides, there is nothing stopping a traveller adverting a motorbike with “no breakdowns” to the next clueless backpacker. So it is possible to leave Vietnam with the wallet packed and ready for another adventure!

Honda Win Scam

Honda Win Scam

15.Low powered motorbikes

A good or a bad thing? Definitely a good thing!
One of the hardest concepts to promote online is this idea that 150cc really is enough. Motorbikes in Vietnam are optimised for maximum power to weight ratio and travellers never complain about a lack of power.
The low skilled, chaotic driving style of locals is more than enough to divert your attention away from the fact you are only buzzing along at 60km/h. A wonderful speed which under the circumstances of local chaos can get your adrenaline flowing. The low speed means mistakes can usually be forgiven and most accidents can be successfully walked away from without huge harm.

Low CC motorbikes are light in weight, and where they lack in power they make up for in handling. The roads in Vietnam are mostly narrow and mountainous and a light weight go-kart style motorbike fits perfectly for the conditions.

A traveller still wanting a big 250cc needs to be very confident on a motorbike. Wielding a high capacity machine around Vietnam takes some serious skills and concentration!

The Winner is the fastest 150 in the country

16.Tigit Motorbikes is in Vietnam!

There can not be many adventure activities that allow for a month of travelling entertainment off a $250-$450 rental motorbike. We try our best to reach the international thrill seeker and adrenaline junky. Rather than a ski holiday or a diving holiday… try a touring by motorbike on your next holiday. There are some crazy customers that come back yearly for their adventure fulfillment, tackling Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos on a Tigit Motorbike. There is lots to see and do in this part of the world!

If time is short or you want to leave the city with a bang, then check here for a look at our fully guided motorbike tours.

When it comes to value for money, motorbiking Vietnam must be right up there as one of the best activities to do.

Tigit Motorbikes has three offices across Vietnam which allows for an easy pickup and drop off. Drive the length of this beautiful country for as little as $250, and tick the box of motorbiking Vietnam from your bucket list!

This could be you!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(your message will only be visible after moderation)

  1. Paul says:

    This is a really cool article. I was wondering is it possible to rent a motorbike like this https://royalenfield.com/motorcycles/himalayan/ at Tigit? I saw some post but I don’t see it for rent on your site.

  2. Henry says:

    Great article! I am inclined at taking the plunge later this year. Are prices you mentioned still up to date?

  3. Vadim says:

    Great article. I was thinking about a summer holiday by bike. Is August better than September and how easy is it to make it across the country in three weeks?

    • Jon - TigitMotorbikes says:

      The weeks is fine.
      I don’t think there is a right or wrong time to travel here.

      Watch this video that explains in more detail.