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How to make a motorcycle trip in Vietnam,

How to travel by motorbike in Vietnam.

On this incredible type of adventure, we make our way through the mountains, staying overnight in hotels and at the odd home stay, right in the heart of the Vietnamese Hill-tribe Villages. The tours are predominantly on tarmac and compacted dirt roads. Where pillions are accompanying us on the tours, there are options to follow the support vehicle along the main routes when we take the occasional rough beaten tracks.

You will be riding the trail bike as Honda XR150/200/CRF250/ Kawasaki KLX 250 or similar (CB400/Kawasaki 300 option for pillions), through some of Vietnam’s most spectacular scenery, through streams, shallow rivers and along narrow tracks and trails, (all optional) even suspension bridges and sampling some of the most incredibly delicious food in Asia whilst learning much about their culture and experiencing the very humble and hospitable nature of the Vietnamese people

Northern Vietnam is a mountainous region, sharing borders with Laos and China. This area is sometimes known as the Northeast and Northwest. It’s one of three sub-regions of northern Vietnam

With rugged terrain, Northern region has many mountains and large rivers. The Hoang Lien Son mountain range runs northwest-southeast, high as 1500m, 180 km long, 30 km wide, with a number of peaks over 3,000 m. Two major rivers, such as the Black River and Thao River( Red River).

Northwest Vietnam is the best place to ride a motorcycle, as the scenery changes fast from one region to another and the road conditions are good.

You will experience the culture of this beautiful country first hand as the tour includes “home-stays” – this is where we get to stay in large traditional bamboo houses that accommodate large families. It is shared accommodation on these evenings, usually on the first floor accessible by a set of wooden steps. Comfy mattresses, privacy curtains and mosquito nets are provided along with clean bedding, showers and toilets.

ACCOMMODATION: Our accommodation is always of good standard. The hotels and home-stays are typically clean and friendly.

DINNER: During the home-stay we sample the delicious food, cooked by the owners, this usually consists of chicken and pork, rice, omelette, noodles, spring rolls and greens followed by fruit for dessert. During the evening we may be treated to some traditional dance from the local women in the village.

When in Hanoi or other larger city we are likely to eat out and other than on your rest day, your guide will take you either to a street restaurant or an indoor restaurant that serves excellent freshly cooked food and plenty of Beer and rice wine!

BREAKFAST: Each morning for breakfast we are treated to fruit, pancakes, eggs, bread etc. It’s all very delicious topped with a drizzle of fresh honey!

DAILY ROUTINE : Every day we leave at around 8.30 – 9.00 and head off on the bikes once they have undergone some maintenance from our local tour guide and his assistant. The luggage is loaded onto the 4×4 and we spend the day stopping frequently to take photos, learn about the culture and told stories of the history that makes Vietnam so intriguing. You will get plenty of time off the bike, when we first arrive in Hanoi you have a free day to do as you please. Your local tour guide is on hand to advise and provide you with details on what you can do and see. We also have a day off in Sapa, in the mountains, also known as the adventure capital of Vietnam. When in Sapa, you can have your clothes laundered if you wish, grab a massage and explore the region. You can also get a pizza or burger and chips here if you begin missing the typical diet of the Brits!

LUNCH: At lunchtime, around 12.00 – 13.00, we stop for about an hour and indulge in some noodle soup, rice, spring rolls, meat and other fine food, all freshly prepared for us. The food is clean and freshly prepared.  After lunch, we head off again and may even take in some dirt tracks and narrow pathways, often crossing shallow streams and rivers or negotiating rope suspension bridges, it’s all brilliant fun.

CAMERAS: By the end of each day, your camera memory cards will be bulging with photos captured and memories that will last forever. Bring a small camera so you can carry it in a small backpack or hydration pack, even better. A small helmet camera is also a good option

COSTS: Vietnam is relatively cheap outside of the main cities, such as Hanoi. Lunch is approximately 3 – 5 usd each day and beer is around 1 usd a can. Fuel, breakfast and dinner (dinner excluded on the rest days) is included, as is airport transfers and bike hire

BIKE INSURANCE : We always have an agreement with all our customers that if you break it, you pay for it. This simply means if you dropped your bike and snapped a wing mirror you would be expected to cover the cost ($10). For any engine or tyre damage you would not be expected to pay as this is wear and tear

GETTING AROUND: Mopeds in Vietnam outnumber cars by approximately 300/1. This is due to zero rated tax on mopeds. As such it can seem hectic at first even crossing the road. The key is not to look and just walk slowly, seriously, they will move around you!!

Moped taxis are very common in the cities and charge around $5 for 15 – 20 mins journey but be warned, it can be quite daunting weaving in and out of the traffic hanging on for dear life!

Below are some types of questions that may help you about what to do before making a motorcycle trip in Vietnam

What is a motorcycle?

In Vietnam, as defined by laws, a motorcycle is a motor vehicle powered by a motor with a displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor or moped.

What skills do I need before I attempt to ride a motorcycle for the first time?
We provide riding lesson for the “first time” riders, to do the lesson, You MUST be able to ride a bicycle proficiently. Some of our customers are avid bicyclists, not only due to familiarity with two wheels, but also because of their fitness level. Riding a motorcycle requires a minimum level of physical strength, coordination, and energy


How much time will I get to ride? 
Each lesson is 3-4 hours of instruction with 1 hour riding time. The lesson is divided between two thirty-minute sessions. 


Will I really know how to ride a motorcycle after a course from your company?
The riding lesson course is designed to give you the basics of operating a motorcycle and teach you proper techniques. You will learn how to practice safely. How well you ride will be determined by how often you practice and how well you practice the techniques taught to you during the course


Do I need a license if I want to travel by motorcycle in vietnam,

The question of having or not a motorcycle riding license mainly concerns your insurance.when you ride a motorcycle..READ MORE

Is it safe to travel in Vietnam ? Can I travel solo?
Traveling in Vietnam is generally safe, you are probably safer anywhere in Vietnam than you are in most American Cities. In Vietnam, if natives are convicted of a crime like shoplifting it is an automatic three year prison sentence. With that kind of a consequence, stealing and petty crime are almost unheard of. It simply is not worth taking the chance. Furthermore, Communist prisons are not as user friendly as American prisons.
You can travel solo. Women and independent travelers have found it relatively hassle-free and easy to travel throughout the country. However, when traveling anywhere in the country, travelers should exercise caution and use common sense to avoid incidences of personal misfortune. 

Planning a motorcycle trip to some remote areas of Vietnam as a solo traveler might not be the best decision, primarily due to the need for special permits in the less well-discovered areas. 
Take a guided motorcycle tour from a tour-operator in Hanoi or Sai gon is the best way to discover the country as all the necessary paperwork can be looked after by the tour leader or local guide, they also play an important role when you have a conversations with the tribal communities.

Can I travel as a pillion passenger ?

A motorbike adventure is an excellent means of exploring if you are planing to discover the Northern Mountains of Vietnam. You care about your riding experience, just don’t hesitate to be a pillion passenger, with a camera in hand while seating behind an experienced local rider, you will have more time to enjoy the scenery during the ride.

We own a team of tour guide/riders who have had many years guiding, taking pillion passengers on motorcycle. They are highly appreciated by most of travelers to Vietnam.

What's the best duration for a motorcycle trip in Vietnam?
The perfect time frame to spend on the road is seven to nine days, depending on your riding skills and stamina. The wildest country lies atop the highest mountains, and they tend to be along the Chinese border. Our trips are always wide loops, so the longer the ride, the more chance we have at getting you deep into the most remote locales.
 

When is the best time to ride in  northern Vietnam?
In the north, there's no best time to ride, as there are four distinct seasons, each with their own unique advantages. Summer runs from April to October, winter from November to March. Hottest months are June and July, coldest month is February. Expect the possibility of passing rain from April to August, while winter months are normally dry. 

I hear the traffic is crazy in Vietnam. Is it safe to ride there?
Traffic in Hanoi is chaotic to the uninitiated driver. For this reason we always use the easiest roads to get out of town. We can also arrange for riders to be dropped off at the city limits by taxi where the bikes are waiting. Once out in the countryside, the level of traffic drops off remarkably and on some roads it is possible to not pass a single vehicle for the whole day. That said, it must be emphasized that the riding conditions in Vietnam are demanding which means extremely defensive driving is imperative. All riders must be very careful and be fully aware that the purpose of the trip is not to ride performance bikes hard into the bends, but rather to drive along nice and slow and enjoy the sites and sounds of the passing countryside. Motorbiking is just the link between so many facets that make up the touring experience with us – people, scenery, markets, food, drink, historical vestiges, rural life. We will send you an extensive document covering all aspects of driver safety particular to the conditions found in Vietnam. This document and constant support from your guide will make your ride as safe as possible.

What I have to do when an accident happens.

We all know they happen, but we hope they never happen to us. One minute you’re cruising along enjoying the ride and the scenery, and the next thing you know, your whole world has turned upside down, literally.

The first thing you need to do is to ensure that everyone is okay physically. Take note that even if you think you’re fine, it might be later that you discover that you are not fine. When you can, take out a camera or better yet, a smart phone that can take photos, and take several photos from different angles, distances and make sure you get the license plates. It also helps making photos of bystanders. If at all possible, move your motorcycle away from the road, and if possible, help the other vehicle off the road. Obstructions on the road are dangerous for you and other road users. Others might not be pleased with a traffic jam and seek ways to speed through, endangering you and others.

So clear the road as quickly as you can. The photos you took will help prove where all vehicles where and in what shape, so no worries there. All the works afterwards will be taken care by your tour guide.

Can you arrange accommodation for me in Hanoi?
We can make reservations for you at any hotel in Hanoi and also organize a car to pick you up from the airport. Commonly we recommend people to stay at a particular hotel in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter. The central location makes it easy to get around the city and the hotel offers comfortable and spacious rooms in the US$30-40 per night price range. They also provide safe storage for baggage during the duration of the motorbike tour.

Do we carry everything on the bike, or can I leave some of my luggage at "base"?
We provide you with spacious saddle bags which can carry a large amount of belongings. It's also possible to strap a further bag or rucksack onto the bike's back rack if required. Any other luggage may be left safely in storage at your hotel in Hanoi waiting for your return.

What type of clothing should I bring?
Before departure we will send you a complete listing advising you what may be useful for your trip and how best to prepare. 

Where do the tours start from?
All tours start and end in Hanoi after a hearty breakfast on the first morning. Return to Hanoi is either by road or sometimes by overnight train.

Do you need a deposit?
We ask for a deposit of US$100/person in order to confirm the tour from our end with the balance to be paid upon arrival in Hanoi. We will provide you with the necessary bank account details to transfer this deposit into once a ride has been agreed upon.

What other expenses should we expect? How much cash do we need to take with us?
In terms of costs we cover everything except telephone calls, tips, souvenirs and alcohol. As there are often some impressive minority crafts to be found in the markets or some more bizarre products of Chinese origin, bank on carrying from US$50-100 worth of local currency with you

How will I meet you in Hanoi?
When you arrive in Hanoi, we could arrange the airport pick-up service or you will call us on a number sent to you beforehand. We will then arrange a pre-departure briefing session to introduce to you the route and equipment, and  to cover any other outstanding issues.

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