When you visit Vietnam for the first time, you will feel overwhelmed by the number of motorbikes and scooters you see around you. The two-wheelers are part of the country’s culture and people of all ages, genders, and professions use motorbikes or scooters to travel around the country and across cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.
As a first-timer, all these might be a little too much for you to take in when you travel to Vietnam. So to help you out, here are a few things that you can expect when it comes to the motorbike culture in Vietnam.
Renting a Motorbike is Pretty Easy
Renting motorbikes in Vietnam is easy as well as cheap. Daily rents start at around 10 USD. Many tourists end up buying a motorbike for the duration of their stay instead of renting. Prices for these start at around 200 USD. Try to buy or rent reliable two-wheelers from brands like Honda or maybe Yamaha. Also, make sure to check the vehicle properly before signing anything.
You need a Vietnamese driving license to ride motorbikes over there. However, getting a license can take a lot of time. You should get an IDP – International Driving Permit – while in your home country before landing in Vietnam. That will allow you to ride motorbikes legally in the country without an additional driving license.
You Can Ride It Anywhere You Want
Motorbikes became a part of the Vietnamese culture for two main reasons.
The first reason is from an economic point of view. Given the state of its economy, it is much easier for people to afford motorbikes or scooters than cars. The second reason is that Vietnam has narrow roads, something that will not favor cars at all. Hence, most people opt for two-wheelers instead.
You can ride these motorcycles and scooters anywhere you want in Vietnam. The roads, although narrow, are well-built in most cases, so you will not face any problems. However, the roads are known to be notoriously dangerous at times. So you must stick to the rules and drive safely with utmost caution.
The Rain Might Seem Bothersome
Vietnam’s weather is characterized by two different climate regions. In the north, you have a subtropical climate whereas the south has a tropical climate. The best time to visit the country is during spring, which technically lasts from March to April. The temperature ranges from 15 to 20°C (or 59 to 68°F) during this time. After that, from May to October, you have the rainy season, which will make bike rides feel a bit uncomfortable.
Unless you have prior experience of riding motorbikes in the rain, such a situation will feel a bit bothersome at first. Yet, this is an experience you do not want to miss. There is this thrill of riding a bike in the rain through narrow criss-cross roads. You will enjoy the stunning post-downpour scenery around you as you pass along them on your motorbikes or scooters.
Make sure to drive carefully during the rain. You do not have to force yourself to do so if you are not comfortable with it.
It Feels Rather Refreshing
Traveling across Vietnam in a car will make you feel comfortable. However, doing the same on a motorbike will give you a refreshing vibe. Not to mention, you will get to enjoy a better view of the majestic scenery around you.
Using two-wheelers, like motorbikes or scooters, allow tourists to not just see Vietnam and its natural beauty, but to experience it as well. In a car, you would just be going from point A to B, looking around for a bit, and then on to the next destination.
On bikes, however, you can have a more soulful experience. You are not just going along for a ride, like in a car, you are actually dictating the way you want it to be. You can stop anywhere you want, enjoy the roadside view for a while, have a warm cup of tea, and then continue on your journey once again. On a bike, you are basically enjoying life itself.
Now that you know what to expect, what do you think about the motorbike culture in Vietnam? Does it not seem like a beautiful experience to enjoy? So do not let motorbikes or scooters intimidate you. Instead, embrace that culture, and give it a shot. You are bound to fall in love with it, just as you will with Vietnam itself.
Nastasia, originally a Labor & Delivery nurse turned travel blogger, has leveraged her passion for travel, photography and has founded Dame Traveler, a curated women’s travel blog where solo female travelers can inspire, and connect with, one another. Her eye for stunning travel visuals has helped build a large Instagram following, with over 600,000 followers on @dametraveler and 100,000 on her personal account, @nastasiaspassport, in addition to a large network of travel bloggers. Her hard work has led her to be featured in publications such as Travel & Leisure, Fodor’s, Vogue and more.
55+ countries into her journey, her passion for the world has led her to create a sizeable community of female travelers where her mission is to empower them to travel more, do more and be more. Whether sipping on chai in Istanbul or volunteering abroad in South Africa, Nastasia continues to find and share the beauty of this world, thus inspiring people to change the way they see and experience life.