Vietnam Motorbike Tour – A once in a lifetime Journey
A Vietnam motorbike tour through the whole country is something everyone should do once in a lifetime. For me, this was one of the best things I have done in my life so far. Going on a Vietnam motorbike tour requires a little bit of guts, but, if you do it, you will make memories, that are better than most other travel memories you have made so far. Promised!
Guys, usually I give you some information about what you should know about the country/ area or the specific destination/ adventure. This time it’s more related to the actual Vietnam motorbike tour. It’s specifically adjusted to this unqique way of traveling/ crazy trip. And I tell right from the start:
A Vietnam motorbike tour through the whole country is probably one of the most amazing things you can do in your whole entire life!
Vietnam Motorbike Tour – General information
How to travel in Vietnam
First things first! Upfront you need to know, that I am an easygoing and relaxed person when it comes to logistical things while travelling. I don’t need a lot of material stuff to be happy while I travel. Have a look at this post to see what I usually take with me. I basically tried to keep it simple in Vietnam. Just like always. The only thing I did was, I bought myself a motorbike for 280$ from a fellow traveller, a guy from the UK, who travelled through all of Vietnam 6x. He was a motorbike salesman at that time in Ho Chi Minh and he gave me the coolest route you can possibly take for my own Vietnam motorbike tour.
I sold this beauty (my bike (Foxy Roxy) for 240 $. So, I only paid around 40 $ for my whole Vietnam motorbike tour (excluding accommodation, fuel and fare costs). After attaching my two daily backpacks with some elastic bands, getting myself a full body rain cape and buying a waterproofed blanket to cover my belongings from the rain, I just started the trip.
Best way to travel
I heard from other travellers, that a Vietnam motorbike tour is the best way to explore this country. And, because I love to explore countries on my own and especially having the freedom to go wherever I want whenever I want, this way of travelling through a country is just the best fit for me.
My recommendation for any traveller in this world is to rent or buy a scooter/ motorbike. I did that in Thailand as well as Bali already and I realised in that time, that there is no better way of travelling.
Where to stay
On a Vietnam motorbike tour you will always find a small hotel/ hostel/ homestay. You don’t need to do wild camping or anything, which is not allowed. You would not save that much money anyway. In other countries like Australia it makes total sense to do that, because the costs of living are very high. But in Vietnam it is completely redundant.
Almost every small village offers good accommodation for a cheap price. On an average I paid about 6-10 $ per night. All of the places I stayed at have been pretty decent. I got my own room, my own king size bed and my own bathroom. What else could you want as a traveller?
In cities like Saigon and Hanoi I stayed in backpacker hostels, because I wanted to get in contact with other travelers after driving on my own all the time.
This is something you gonna love on your Vietnam motorbike tour. I have never had better food in my whole entire life. Vietnamese food is just the best. Promised!
It is really, really cheap and insanly delicious! It’s fresh and it doesn’t have any additives, because it comes straight from organic farms. Every meal is really big. Sometimes you might not even be able to finish it. I only paid about 2 – 5 $ per day. How crazy is that??
What I really liked was the fact, that you gonna see so many different types/ ways of dishes. The noodle soup for expample, which is a delicacy in Vietnam from my point of view, gets interpreted in many different ways. And they all taste absolutely amazing!
The cherry on the ice cream: Beers only cost 25 cent per bottle… 😀
Traffic in Southeast Asia
This is something important to know before your Vietnam motorbike tour. Driving in Southeast Asia is way different than driving in other countries. You really have to learn and adapt the style of driving. The traffic is crazy and everyone drives just the way they want to drive. It seems like there are almost no existing rules.
I claim to be quite a good driver and even I really had to get used to the crazy traffic. It must be pretty similar in India for example. I have not been there yet, but from what I have heard and from what I have seen, these two countries might be quite comparable.
On your Vietnam motorbike tour you will see, that the truck drivers for example just don’t care about you. Actually no one really does. Sometimes 2-3 trucks drive next to each other and use the opposite lane…
So, you don’t have any other option than swerving onto the foot path. It’s crazy and you have to be careful. But it is definitely also pretty fun, once you get used to it.
Vietnam Motorbike Tour – Highlights & route
I want to explain the highlights and which way to take by telling you about some special situations and the route, that I took. I guess, you will experience something different on your Vietnam motorbike tour than I did, but still, I guess some stuff will be pretty similar.
During my Vietnam motorbike tour I had countless unforgettable moments. I will tell you about three of them. The first one was in Dalat.
- Driving around the area on a beautiful sunny day – Absolutely amazing!
There is maybe nothing better than that on your Vietnam motorbike tour. You just can not imagine how divine this is. You feel truly free and relieved. Maybe you can relate to that, but most people can’t, because they have never experienced true freedom. I tell you: It is just an incredible feeling!
The city of Dalat and the surrounding area are absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend to go there. Valleys with wide coffee plantations, raw forests, thriving meadows, untouched lakes and stunning views from the mountains. How could a trip get any better?
The second moment on my Vietnam motorbike tour, which I will always remember, is the following:
- Being integrated into a Vietnamese “family”
After a couple days on my Vietnam motorbike tour, I arrived in Mui Ne. A quite known city by the ocean in the south of Vietnam. That day, I got examined by the police, I had problems with my bike and it got dark already. I drove for 9 hours straight and my motorbike was not very comfortable to be honest. You can not call it the Rolls Royce of motorbikes. But the biggest problem was, that I had no place to sleep. I felt completely lost and I thought, I would need to sleep on the street.
Booking an expensive hotel was not an option for me (I did not have that much money). I could not find a hostel, because it was very late and I had no clue where to go. So, I stopped and asked random people for help. Literally no one spoke English. It felt like I have asked a million people.
Who saved me
Finally, I met this good dressed woman. She was a business lady and she spoke perfect English. I was so happy. After telling her my story, she invited me to stay at her beach hotel with her family. She offered me to stay for backpacker prices (6$ a night) – How sick is that???
I stayed for 2 nights and lived like a king. They (she and her family) invited me for free food and drinks. We even had dinner together and it felt like, if I would have found a new Vietnamese family on my Vietnam motorbike tour. Honestly guys, Vietnamese people are extremly friendly. It is way different to other Southeast Asian countries, where you only get treated like an ATM machine. Vietnamese are just genuine human beings!
- The siluette of Halong Bay
The third situation on my Vietnam motorbike tour, which I will always remember, was the incredible moment when I drove to Halong Bay and I could see the shining siluettes of the huge mountains in the distance for the first time. I almost don’t have any words to describe the feeling that I had in this situation. It felt like a magical fairy tale.
This is one of the things during your Vietnam motorbike tour, which you just have to experience for yourself and then you will understand what I mean…
I try to keep this part short, because otherwise the size of this article would go beyond the contstraints.
My Vietnam motorbike tour started in Saigon. I did a route, which got recommended to me by a motorbike salesman from the UK, who lived in Saigon by that time. He drove through Vietnam 6 times. So, I guess, he knows where to go.
Please notice: Everything I say, is more of a guideline. It is not the route you have to take. It’s just one of many, but it is a special one, because most people don’t have the guds to go where I have been. So, this is for people, who really want to witness the full beauty of this country and experience an unforgettable adventure.
Please notice as well: I stopped and slept at small villages in between the different main stops.
First I went to Vung Tao (small fisherman town). After that, I went to Mui Ne (wonderful town with huge sand dunes and nice beaches). If you have the opportunity to drive along the coast, then always do it. It doesn’t matter where you are right now in Vietnam. Driving along the coastline is just awesome!
I went on with my Vietnam motorbike tour by driving inland to Dalat (the area around Dalat is nothing but breathtaking). From there, I drove to a city called Na Trang (make sure to drive along the coastline from there on).
After Na Trang, I drove up north for a little while and then turned east to a wonderful spot named Jungle Beach (brilliant beach – good to relax, no people around – managed by an old Canadian dude).
The next stop on my Vietnam motorbike tour was Pleiku, because the dude from the UK said, I should drive inland after Jungle Beach, because it’s suppose to be amazing. And he did not promised anything wrong. It was incredible!
After Jungle Beach just drive along the coast until Qui Nhon and from there turn inland onto the “QL19”. Make stops in small villages like Bao tang Quang Trung. You will love it. From Pleiku I went to Kontum and from there back to the eastcoast onto the “Q24” (also a gorgeous drive, scenic mountain areas and an incredibly beautiful landscape all along) towards Quang Ngai.
The next stops on my Vietnam motorbike tour were Hoi An, which is a very famous fisherman village, Da Nang, Hue, Dong Ha and Dong Hoi. They all lie by the coast. This part of the drive is so pretty. Trust me!
Almost in Hanoi
This is the second time in this post, that I can not really find words for what you see there. It’s basically one of the biggest cave systems in the whole world. You get into caves with a hight of more than 60 meters and you’ll see beautifully shaped limestone figments, which developed over millions of years. You need to see this!
After this highlight, you can either drive all the way up to Hanoi, which is the capital of Vietnam, or take a bus. The bus companies will store your motorbike in the back of the bus. I did that, because there is nothing really special between Dong Hoi and Hanoi according to the dude from the UK.
Where to go after Hanoi
When you have arrived in Hanoi, you should do two things:
- Drive to Halong Bay and go on a 3 day boat cruise
- Either drive to Sapa, which is one of the most impressive rice terrace areas in the whole world (it lies north west of Hanoi – Most people would go for that), or you drive up northeast to explore an even more untouched area
Usually nobody does that, because they say there is “nothing” to see. Roads are in bad conditions and sometimes they do not even exist. But I did it!
If you want to have a crazy adventure, see the loveliest landscapes and go, where only a few travellers have been, then drive up northeast. Drive in a circle. First go to Thai Nguye. Then take the way to Vuon quoc gia Ba Be. After that drive to Lang Son towards the southeast again as far as you like. You will sometimes have to go through the mountains (literally no roads there), but you will end up back in Hanoi eventually.
This might be the most adventurous part on your Vietnam motorbike tour. But let me tell you: This is not for sissies!
Vietnam Motorbike Tour – What I have learned
What you need/ need to know for your Vietnam motorbike tour:
- Know, that your bike will break down (a couple times)
- Good body language (only a few people speak English)
We all tend to only talk about the good stuff of our travels. Everyone of us only wants remember the interesting stories. That’s just how humans are. But we all know, that’s not how traveling works. You will struggle a lot during the Vietnam motorbike tour. And I did too. Believe me, I struggled very hard and I have already experienced some crazy shit during my travels.
I have had a motorbike accident, got completely lost in the mountains (thought I am gonna die up there), my bike broke down multiple times, I felt really lonely and much more.
What the Vietnam motorbike tour did to me
What helped me was the happiness, which I got from the learnings of the Vietnam motorbike tour. I knew, what I did there would make me stronger. It also was the certainty, that not a lot of people have done or will ever do the crazy shit that I have done – the good AND the bad. I am really proud of that. And you will be too…
A couple weeks later, after I finished my trip, it got even clearer to me. What I did on my Vietnam motorbike tour is quite brave. If you want to master this adventure, you have to have some endurance. Driving through a completely unknown country, where you have to communicate with hands and feet and figure everything out on your own, is something that will make you grow a lot as a person. And that’s the cool part about the Vietnam motorbike tour. It’s not only the incomparable landscape and people you gonna meet, it is also about what it does to you as a person and what you learn from this journey…
From my point of view, people have to realise, that travelling is not only this “good time, party time” or “I fly around like a happy bird” thing…
It will be hard and exhausting sometimes. You will get pissed off at certain things. People might steal from you. Some people will fuck you over. You will be sad sometimes. You might even wanna stop and just go home.
I guess you get the point – Travelling is not fun all the time!
Lessons for life
But still, travelling has way more positives than negatives. And they are unbelievably valuable.
The biggest thing, which people claim is:
You find yourself through travelling
Yes, you might do that in a way. But you won’t just find yourself from one to another second. It’s more of a learning process. You will learn so much over time from all the good and bad stuff that happens on your travels, that you eventually get to know yourself way better.
You will learn about:
- Your good and bad sides
- What you like and what you don’t like
- What you are good at and what you need to improve on
- People, other cultures, nature and history
- Politics and how the world works
- What you want and what you don’t in life
A Vietnam motorbike tour will just extend your horizon a lot and change your view on a lot of things. And that’s an absolutely priceless gift.
Want to know more about what I pack? Read here
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