The wind whistling through your hair, beautiful landscapes whizzing by. The freedom! Travelling through Vietnam by motorbike is one of the best ways of seeing the country, a way to reach nooks and crannies others don't. With no timetables to rely on except your own flights of fancy, it's both exhilarating and relaxing at the same time.
This is the romantic side of travelling Vietnam by motorbike. The reality, although incredible and one of the top experiences in the country, is challenging: it takes a lot of preparation and research. With busy city streets and reckless driving the norm, Vietnam roads can be dangerous, and you'll need to know your stuff. These are our top tips and tricks for staying safe and making the most of the adventure of travelling Vietnam by motorbike.
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For the latter, you'll need a Vietnamese driving license (an International Driver's Permit is only acceptable if your country of issue has signed the 1968 convention – the UK, Australia, USA and Canada have not). Plenty of people do still drive without one and risk getting caught, but it's not a good idea as if anything happens to you without one, your travel insurance will be invalidated.
Main route:Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (or vice versa) is the main route people take, with a travel time of between one to three weeks. The roads here follow the east coast, with access to other must-see destinations such as Hue, Hoi An and Da Nang.
Ho Chi Minh Road: Starting just outside Ho Chi Minh (no surprises there), this road takes the western border route from the city towards Hanoi, particularly amazing for nature lovers who want a bit more peace and quiet with incredible scenery.
Ha Giang Loop: If you thought Ho Chi Minh Road's scenery was stunning, you haven't seen anything like the Ha Giang Loop. In the very north of Vietnam is Ha Giang, where this route starts, and circles back, taking about three to six days to complete. Road quality varies, so make sure you're prepared.