Renting a moped, scooter or motorbike is almost a backpacking rite of passage – especially in Asia. You look like a badass (kinda), definitely feel like one, and you can strap on your backpack, run on your own schedule, avoid public transport, and really see the location behind the tourist facade.
First time I hired a bike was in Taiwan, on Valentine’s Day in 2014. I wanted to do something awesome to mark my first February 14th of freedom for six years. And seriously, it was amazing. Since then I’ve hired bikes all over Asia.
– Post in collaboration with Tigit Motorbikes
Vietnam is a great place to test your two-wheel driving skills though. Whether for a day, week or month, a bike rental can have you zipping round the likes of the Ho Chi Minh’s pagodas, Danang’s beautiful beaches and Hanoi’s Imperial Citadel. Or travel even further and go up the Hon Ba Mountain, head north to Ha Giang or do the Sapa loop.
Adventure in Vietnam
I hired a moped in Vietnam, on the island of Phu Quoc – no problem. The feeling of freedom, of knowing I could do exactly what I wanted every day was incredible and really made that trip.
No doubt you’ll have seen the Top Gear episode, where they drive the bike round Vietnam, well imagine doing that, alone or with friends, and totally on your own time. That could be YOU!
READ MORE: 16 Reasons to Tour Vietnam by Motorbike
Imagine seeing sights like these as you drive yourself through beautiful Vietnam…
You can either hire a bike for yourself, for the ultimate adventure, or if you fancy easing yourself in gently how about trying a tour?
You could do a nighttime one of Saigon or a day tour to Duong Lam. Alliteratively, download GrabBike, aka Uber for mototaxis. This will give you a feel for the rules (or lack of) on the city roads and a quick lesson on how to survive the likes of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The Tigit Mekong Motorbike Adventure looks awesome.
Choosing the right bike for your Vietnam adventure
Don’t feel pressured into thinking the bigger the better. Most rental shops have nifty mopeds, Instagrammable Vespas or even full size bikes to choose from so have a think about what’s going to work for you. Consider whether or not you plan to put a friend on the back, how much luggage you need to haul onto it and what power you’re comfortable driving.
Tigit Motorbikes have a good range of wheels, from scooters, manual motorbikes, dirt bikes and now even custom touring Harley style bikes too. Perfect for touring from beach to beach in Vietnam, on your own terms and time. Check out the Tigit website for more information.
As a general rule, the more modern the bike the better. While the vintage looking ones can be tempting, often petrol prices are higher and so are the chances of a break down.
You can always ask the rental company for a test drive if you’re undecided.
If you do decide to hire a motorbike in Vietnam then make sure you bring your driving licence and a credit card to pick it up. Also, make sure you have some good travel insurance that has you covered for moped and motorbike-related accidents.
Also, many people don’t wear helmets on Vietnam’s roads, but you do. Choose comfort over style so there’s no chance of it flying off over Danang’s Dragon Bridge. Ask yourself if it feels snug enough, check the clasp works and inspect the visor. Also, give the bike a once over to check any damage to safety or cosmetics and take pictures.
One last point on safety, but make sure to write down the rental agency’s address and phone number. These may come in handy if you have a problem with the bike, need some advice or just really struggle to find the office when it’s time for drop off. All the buildings can start to look the same when you’re desperately searching for a specific one!
READ MORE: An Awesome Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam
Hiring a motorbike in Vietnam
Hiring a motorbike in Vietnam is an ADVENTURE. That’s the whole point of renting it out, right?
London rush hour doesn’t have a patch on Ho Chi Minh at 6pm so ride with caution. You’ll soon pick up that traffic lights are more gentle reminders and that lanes don’t mean too much. That means you have to keep it slow, watch out for other drivers and make the horn your new favourite friend.
Don’t be afraid to beep your way out of the city until you can escape to the open road where, although a lot less traffic, you should keep an eye out for potholes, random rocks and ridges. I can guarantee that riding a motorbike in Vietnam will be different to back home, wherever home might be.
Just let me know if you have any questions about hiring a motorbike in Vietnam, happy to help!
More on Vietnam
Click here to read all my advice on travelling to Vietnam. I’ve got over 30 posts, so you’ll be well prepared!
Top Tips for Travelling Vietnam Solo
Your Vietnam Packing List
Travel to Vietnam: How to Plan the Perfect Trip