Motorcycle Tour through the Center of Vietnam
A motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam is one of the things everyone should do once in a lifetime. Vietnam’s center is one of most beautiful areas in the whole country. Mountains, jungles and old forgotten temples everywhere you look. It’s a part of this country that almost noone has on his/ her list of things to see even though they should. Because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on an incredible adventure.
As you can read in this post, I drove through all of Vietnam for 3,5 weeks with a motorcycle called “Foxy Roxy”, which I bought in Ho Chi Minh City. I got told about this motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam when I was in Thailand and it got me hooked instantly.
The guy I bought the motorcycle from was British and he already worked and lived in Vietnam since 2 years by that time. He was kind enough to tell me the best possible route. Because he did this journey a couple times before, he had already figured out the most enjoyable tour.
But first I want to give you some information about the most important questions that came up for me and for people I spoke to about this tour.
Motorcycle tour through the Center of Vietnam – Most important questions
When you do a motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam, you have to consider a couple things. Many people ask themselfs the following questions:
Accommodation, food and accidents
- Where to sleep?
You don’t need to worry about a place to sleep. Every 20 km there will be at least a small village, where you will find a place to stay. It might not be the best hotel you have ever been to, but the accommodation you find does its job. And, if you don’t find something, ask the locals. They are all extremely friendly and they will help you out. For sure!
- Where and what to eat?
To find food is not problem either. You will find street food or small shops in every small village as well. I always recommend to eat where the locals eat. You can never go wrong with that. It’s cheap and delicious. Trust me, they know where to go. But even, if you find something different for yourself, you almost can’t go wrong in the center of Vietnam. The locals always have fresh and healthy food, because most of it is from organic farms.
- What if I crash?
Yeah well, that’s not a cool thing. I had it one time in the north of Vietnam near Hanoi. The only three advises I can give you are:
– Drive carefully
– Get your bike fixed by a local
– Get up and keep moving
Dangers, road condition & costs
- Is the drive dangerous?
In general a motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam is not dangerous at all. You won’t find many other vehicles on the road.
The only thing you need to watch out for is rain, especially in the mountains. There are not many people to help you, if you crash. Plus the visibility is not good (lots of fog sometimes). So just drive a little slower.
- What are the roads like?
The roads during the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam are generally in good condition. You’ll find some damaged roads here and there. Other than that, the roads only go left and right, up and down. Enjoy the ride. It’s good fun!
- What are the general costs to calculate with?
The general costs for a motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam are not very high. Accommodation (hotels, hostels, etc.) costs between 6$-15$ per night. Calculate with 3$-15$ for food per day, depending on how much how want to spend. A full tank for your motorcycle costs about 8$. Crazy, right?
To give you an example: I lived with 12-20$ per day (low budget backpackers style)
Getting lost, communication & weather
- How to communicate?
Unfortunately Vietnamese people on the country side don’t speak the best English most of the time. Exceptions confirm the rule. But in many cases you have to use your body language. I also recommend to have a pen and a paper with you to maybe draw something, so that it’s easier to communicate.
- What if I get lost?
Usually this should not happen anyway. But, if it does, just ask the Vietnamese or drive back the same route until you have some internet connection again.
Short tip: Always make a screenshot from Google of the route you want to take, so you can always show it to the locals 😉
- What’s the weather like?
This is hard to say, but what I can tell you is, that the more you drive towards the center of Vietnam, the more humid it gets. It will probably rain and you should get yourself a good rain coat and something to cover up your belongings with.
Motorcycle tour through the Center of Vietnam – The route
I can only highly recommend to take the route the British dude gave me. He told me to drive inland a couple times and not only along the east coast. The coastline is also very pretty, but the real deals of Vietnam are the more unknown paths. Most of these path are more located towards the center of the country.
So I followed his advise and gave it a try. An absolute fantastic decision!
Qui Nhon to Pleiku
The journey was divided into three parts. The first part for me was to drive from Qui Nhon to Pleiku after I have been at Jungle Beach before. It’s quite a big distance to cover. Calculate with about 2-3 days of driving, depending on how much you want to sit on your baby on a day. I drove about 6-10 hours every day to cover some distance, so it only took me two days.
What you’ll see on the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam is absolutely fantastic. At first you still drive through some flat lands until it gets steeper. Nature is completely untouched. Raw forests, huge mountains, rapid rivers and beautiful lakes everywhere. So nice!
Pleiku to Kontum
This is not even a day drive. It takes a couple hours to get to Kontum. It’s basically the same you can see here, even though the landscape changes a bit. I had the feeling that it got more and more jungle like the further I drove, which also means that it got more humid and rainy as well.
The landscape during this part is just insanely beautiful, but you got to drive a little more careful. Most roads get more slippery, because of the humidity. I have stopped at various lookouts on the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam, because I was just fascinated what surrounded me…
Unexpected things might happen
When I drove from Pleiku to Kontum I also met a tour guide, who guided a couple from eastern Europe through the area. At one particular moment I was quite afraid during my drive through the mountains, because it was so misty and wet that I could not even look 5 meters ahead of me. I could honestly not see anything!
This is why I said you have to drive carefully on this part of the route…
I stopped at a huuuge waterfall (literally next to the road – that’s what you get on a motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam 🙂 ) where the tour guide and his clients drove by as well. He was so kind to take me with them to a nearby hostel and he also showed me around. He brought me to lost temples called My Son Sanctuary and very special lookouts on the next day. So awesome!
You might even get lucky and meet a guide yourself. There are a couple of them on this route 😉
Kontum to the coast
The third part of the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam led me back to the coast. This was the most impressive part of the route in my opinion. Even though the other two are awesome as well, this part just takes the whole trip to another level. It takes about another 2-3 days again. But it is unbelievably scenic. The weather gets better and the drive itself is not from this world.
You’ll come along and drive through some huge mountain ranges with even more impressive rivers and waterfalls than you will have already seen. Hardly noone drives on these roads. It’s almost completely empty. You’ll feel like a lone wolf out in the prairie.
I have been a little unlucky, because my motorcycle broke down on this part for the 2nd time of my motorbike trip through the whole country. Luckily I was already back in the more flatter regions again, which is why I got help from an old Vietnamese, who brought me and my motorcycle to a nearby mechanic.
At the shop (his own small home) they gave me food for free and fixed my bike for less than 10$. I got invited for lunch by them and had a great conversation. The old Vietnamese dude also got 5$ from me. Where else can you get all that for 15 bucks? Just brilliant!
Motorcycle tour through the Center of Vietnam – What I have learned
The motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam told me a lot again – 4 very important things that I try to remind myself as often as I can.
The first thing is that more travel related:
Go for unconventional trips
They are just the best. Do them as often as you can. They are the most fun and you’ll see the most amazing places that only a few others will ever see. It will be something you never forget. Memories for life!
The 2nd lessons from the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam was that it is really important to not only try unconventional paths on your travels, but also in life in general.
Accept big challenges
It’s a tool to grow as a person. You’ll become stronger, if you take big challenges. You might loose some battles but you’ll win the war. The harder your challenges, the stronger you get.
So it’s always a good idea to take a different path than most people do. Do whatever you love to do and work on that as much as you can and you will eventually live an awesome life that is a good example for many other people.
The third lessons from the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam was to
Always trust in your journey & to trust in the universe
Guys, everything will somehow fall into place. I extremely believe in that, because it always does. You’ll always go in the direction you are focusing on and sooner or later things will happen the way you want them to happen. You need to trust!
Before my own motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam, I did not have a clue what was waiting for me and, if I will make it. But I believed that it would be a great adventure and it really was. If I would have been a crybaby, who argued about the rain, the motorcycle break down or my butt pain from sitting on “foxy Roxy” everyday for 8 hours, then it would have not been a good journey. But I believed and it eventually turned out to be a fantastic time.
The last thing I have learned on the motorcycle tour through the center of Vietnam was that you have to trust in the people and that
People are good
There is a lot of negativity in our worldwide society ever since. A lot of hate, a lot of criticism and (still) a lot of racism. All this leads to war and resentment. This is not what we want…
Trust me, all the people are good deep in their hearts. If you are nice to them, they will be nice to you. Of course there are exceptions. Some, people are just full of negativity and they might want to do you bad. You can’t change these people , even if you’d want to. That’s just how it is…
But as said, you get what you focus on. And if you focus on being surrounded by good people, you’ll almost always only meet good people – just like the guide, the old Vietnamese guy and the mechanic family…
Want to know more about the east coast of Vietnam? Read here
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