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Self-Guided Motorbike Tours Of Vietnam

SELF-GUIDED MOTORBIKE TOURS OF VIETNAM

If you love motorbiking with a sense for fun and an unguided adventure on your own, you have come to the right place. Enduro bikes, motorcycles and riding gear are available for independent (self-guided) riders to hire on daily basis. They are in good working conditions. All rentals should be reserved and paid with a deposit before you pick up the bike(s). We have not offered one-way rentals yet. Many clients asked if we could deliver or collect bike(s) in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City – HCMC) and rode the same route like “Top Gear Vietnam Special” show and sadly the answer is “no”. All rentals start and end in Hanoi where our only office is located. Free advice and tips are available when you pick up the bike(s) from our Hanoi office. We share our passion for this truly amazing country and getting lost is also part of an adventure. Even a flat tyre/tire will give you a chance to have many more new friends and some clients were sad because they had no puncture!

Since December 2006, Offroad Vietnam has helped with over 400 self guided trips (about 1,200 riders). They all saw what they planned to explore and most had it beyond their expectations. Check out their words about our services, these are just a few customers who sent their thoughts while many customers posted their trip reports on riders’ forums across the Internet.

Novice riders or beginners are not recommended to hire our bikes. Even after you paid a deposit, there would be no refund if you couldn’t ride our bike(s). Riding lessons are not available to self-guided tour clients but guided tour customers only.

Bikes we provide were all made by Japanese Honda in Japan, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. They all come with electric start and some have kick start. Usually, kick start is an option on smaller bikes.

Riding in Vietnam is very dangerous, just after India. It’s not only crazy traffic but tricks some dishonest locals can play. These tips are provided from our clients who had the real experiences to tell. Please save this page for your reference.

To rent our bikes, you need to send a rental deposit before collecting the motorcycle(s) / motorbike(s) / scooter(s). There is no deposit refund if you cancel the booking or after you pick up the rented vehicle(s).

FUEL & LOCAL REPAIR SHOPS

“Only use safe hotel parking. Fill up from petrol stations where the gas is less likely to have been watered down.” According to Iain Stewart, 2009 Lonely Planet co-author who had the gas tank emptied overnight and they even put water in. Our advice is never fill up your bike(s) when you end the day, only fill up in the morning when you start the ride.

You need to check and adjust chain tension everyday in the morning. Oiling the chain should be done every day. A local mechanic can be useful and the cost is about 20,000 VN Dongs (1$US) per bike to have the chain adjusted and oiled. If you don’t oil the chain and sprockets or break them a full charge of a new set (30$US for XL or GL motorbikes or 80$US for XR250 dirt bikes) will be applied.

If your rented bike(s) has/have problem(s) on the road, first check the ignition & fuel. If you can’t fix the bike(s), bring the bike(s) to a local mechanic shop and call us so we can give the instructions. If the bike(s) is/are not ridable or the problem is not possible to fix then we will find a way to replace the bike(s). Popular places we can send replaced bike(s) are usually anywhere 200km from Hanoi and even in Sapa, but we do have problem in remote areas like Muong Lay, Lai Chau, Dien Bien Phu, Ha Giang etc. We will try our best to find a solution for you.

Most of the mechanics on the roads are honest but some are very dishonest. Keep an eye on what they are doing. Poor quality or generic Chinese parts are plentiful and they can change parts any time. One of our clients had the original CDI unit changed, then the replaced CDI exploded as it’s not the right type and finally they painted the original one to make it look “new” and installed back on the bike. Other Chinese parts they can change are usually the wheels, shocks, plastic parts, seat, carburettor, brakes etc. and if time allows even the inside of the engine!

PAPERWORK & TIPS

We try to be clear and time saving. You can download and fill in the rental contract before you come to our office. You can also download pdf version if fonts display correctly.

Useful words, phrases and terminology are recommended to print because they help communicate with local people or mechanics. They are extremely useful as no mechanic speaks good English and it’s sometimes hard to explain the problem(s). If fonts display correctly, you can download a pdf file here.
Basic words and phrases
Offroad Vietnam’s simple troubleshoot
Terminology page 1
Terminology page 2
Terminology page 3
Terminology page 4

IMPORTANT!

GPS works in Vietnam, please check with your dealer about necessary software and/or updates. Broadband Internet connection is available almost everywhere and you can find a public Internet cafe easily. The cost for using broadband Internet is quite cheap (1$US = 4-5 hours). Many hotels offer free Wifi. Electricity is also available nationwide but there can be a shortage in summer and power-cut is common between May and August (luckily, not normally at night!).

Officially, you can’t own or buy a bike or ride it with a tourist visa and most of international driving licenses are not recognized in Vietnam. However, traffic police tends to ignore foreigners as very few of them speak English. If they stop you, they will let you go in a few minutes but if you violate the traffic regulations, a small tip of 100,000 VND is recommended.

The traffic looks very crazy at first, but it’s not that bad. It’s like a river and when you are in it you have to flow. First rule is no rules.

Vietnam is still a developing country (or a third world country) and standards are different (lower) than Western countries. Some people complained about hard mattresses in hotels or small and simple restaurants. Please don’t use Western standards for a country like Vietnam. We saw a sign in Thailand and it said “Thailand is still a developing country and you will have a different experience. If you want to feel at home then stay home.” Please be aware of this fact, especially if this is your first time to Vietnam.

Restaurants may look small and simple but the food is great. They offer authentic Vietnamese food that is normally not available in bigger restaurants or hotels. On our motorbike tours, we support local businesses and local restaurants offer things of a real Vietnam.

Insurance: We don’t require any sort of license to book a trip but it’s more about insurance. Most of insurance companies don’t provide a policy that covers a motorbike tour accident if you don’t have a Vietnamese driving license. Sadly, it’s impossible to get a Vietnamese license with a tourist visa. You need a business visa of at least three months, a work permit, a sponsor company and a valid passport. All these documents should be translated into Vietnamese at a notary office and a license will be issued after 7 or 10 days. It’s just too complicated and time-consuming. With just a normal personal medical insurance you will still be covered about 19 hours a day when not riding because we only ride about 5 hours a day on average.  Some companies like CHI Insurance, World Nomads and Allianz didn’t require a local driving license and covered larger displacements.

PRACTICAL ROAD RULES

The traffic looks very crazy at first, but it’s not that bad. It’s like a river and when you are in it you have to flow. First rule is no rules.

Motorcyclists in Vietnam becomes more aware of the traffic laws but you couldn’t say they always follow the rules. If you want to come back in one piece and have an enjoyable motorbike tour in Vietnam, please check the rules out.

Types of guided motorcycle tour packages in Vietnam

- Fully guided motorcycle tours
Semi-guided motorcycle tours

Contact us at offroadvietnam@gmail.com for more details and options of Offroad Vietnam’s Self-Guided Motorbike Tours Of Vietnam.

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  1. Marcus potter Reply

    Hi Anh – Just wanted to thank you for a fantastic series of resources on this site, its not gone un-noticed. I will be coming to Hanoi between 12 and 19th of April. Im an pretty experienced on/off road rider over the years.

    Looking to do a 3 or 4 day self hire – Just convincing the other half to do 4 days bike North Vietnam and only 3 days Ho long and other usual suspects. Luckily its not a hard sell now she’s been on the back of the bike on a few other Asia trips – so she finally appreciates the open air and sights which only a bike can bring!

    Having spent weeks (on and off) looking around for shorter trails, routes from maps, terrain and hours of youtube videos. Finally found a website (linked from customers video which you responded too). This site, not only tackles such questions, but also
    – can also hire gear such as Knee and elbow pads is a bonus.
    – give language tips
    – decision trees for getting the bike going!

    Off road Vietnam rocks! – I’ll be in touch, only wish i could do a 9 or 16 day tour with you guys in the future.

    Great job on the site.
    Marcus (from England)

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Marcus,

      Thank you for your feedback. If you come up with any question during the planning part of your trip just get back to us. I know a safe and successful motorcycling trip needs lots of work and therefore we try to post as much details as possible on our websites.

      Look forward to hearing from you soon.

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