Vietnam has an impressive landscape of both coastal areas and mountainous regions, which makes for beautiful routes that can only be fully experienced on the back of a motorbike. For adventurous souls who are planning to take on the country’s most challenging, yet rewarding, offer, here are the best motorbike routes in Vietnam.
Motorbike Routes in Vietnam – Know before You Go
The key to a successful, safe, and happy trip is always planning and preparation. The same goes for riding through motorbike routes in Vietnam.
1. Motorbike Rental – Buying a Motorbike
Travelers often question whether they should rent a motorbike or buy a motorbike. The ultimate answer is: it depends on your need. But if you only intend to make one or two trips throughout Vietnam, then renting a motorbike is more recommended.
See more: Buying a Motorbike in Vietnam.
Most trips in Vietnam can be done on a 110 cc to 125 cc motorbike unless you want to conquer rougher terrains in the North. It is also advisable to rent well-known brands such as Honda or Yamaha, so when your vehicle breaks down, you can take it to the brand’s service store. Motorbike repair shops on the road are cheaper, but you may get scammed if you’re not careful.
Always take safety precautions such as wearing a helmet while riding motorbikes
To ride a motorbike in Vietnam, a must-have is the driving license or else you may get in trouble with the local authorities. Read these articles on How to Get a Motorcycle License in Vietnam and Precautions on Riding Motorbikes for more information.
Usually, travelers will start their trip from either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi as it is easier to get gears and rent motorcycles there. Transportation to other parts of the country is also more straightforward. Here are our lists of trustworthy motorbike rental places in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
A common mistake that travelers usually make while exploring motorbike routes in Vietnam is building their trip revolving around hotels in the countryside. Don’t do that! You won’t want to spend your precious nights in a quiet area with no entertainment. You should try to aim for accommodations in a city or a populated town, which are easier to read reviews and book in advance:
That said, guest houses in Vietnam are great places to take a rest or a quick shower for a cheap price.
To best explore motorbike routes in Vietnam, packing light is key. However, you still need some essentials such as travel adapters, raincoats, sunscreen, insect repellents, etc. We’ve compiled a list of things you need to pack for Vietnam.
Avoid the rainy season to take motorbike routes in Vietnam
Knowing the weather is crucial for any trips, and even more so when you travel by motorcycles. It’s both tiring and dangerous to ride in the rain when your vision is impaired and the road is slippery. Especially in mountainous areas, the rain sometimes can cause landslides which poses great dangers. That’s why you should avoid the rainy season in parts of Vietnam where you plan to make your trip. See the weather in Ho Chi Minh City and the weather in Hanoi for more information.
5. How Long It Takes for Each Motorbike Routes in Vietnam
The estimated travel time for popular motorbike routes in Vietnam
The travel time is dependent on your speed and the route you take. Generally, a 150cc (and below) motorcycle can ride 150-200 kilometers per day, and for models above 150cc, 200 – 300 kilometers/day is possible.
However, you should take into account your health and travel itinerary. For the most leisure trip, having a rest day after a full day of riding is recommended.
Most Stunning Motorbike Routes in Vietnam
Ha Giang Loop
Want an experience full of adrenaline and thrill? Head to the Ha Giang Loop in Northern Vietnam right this instant
Starting from Ha Giang City to Meo Vac Valley and ending at the Lung Cu Flagpole – Vietnam’s Northernmost point, this route has uncountable cliff-side passages, sharp bends, and hairpin turns that make even the most skillful driver sweat. Because of this, the Ha Giang Loop isn’t for the faint of heart and it’ll push your riding skills to the limit.
However, if you manage to conquer this route, you’ll be presented with an awe-inspiring scenery of raw beauty. Vast landscapes of terraced fields, lush trees, soul-cleansing fresh air, and blooming buckwheat flowers in October will make you want to stay forever. Besides, you’ll be able to learn about the lives of the H’mong people and join in an ethnic market.
Read our full guide for Conquering the Ha Giang Loop on a Motorbike.
DT652 (Da Lat – Nha Trang)
The view changes drastically from Da Lat to Nha Trang
Out of all motorbike routes in Vietnam, DT652 offers the most comprehensive package: the chill mountainous city of Da Lat and the coastal party center of Vietnam – Nha Trang. For those who can’t choose between a relaxing getaway and lively nightlife, this route gives you the best of both worlds. It is also one of the easier motorbike routes in Vietnam to take, considering that it only takes 5 hours from one end to the other. Along the way, travelers can admire the winding greeneries of tropical trees and azure seas once you reach Nha Trang.
Hai Van Pass
Vietnamese bikers often regard Hai Van Pass as the most majestic route
Hai Van translates to an ocean of clouds in English, and if that isn’t a sign of absolute beauty then we don’t know what is. Hai Van Pass is probably the most famous out of all motorbike routes in Vietnam, stretching from Hoi An to Hue. It’s accessible, mildly challenging, and it requires a certain degree of navigation skills for a 4-hour drive. However, bikers will be rewarded with the perfect combination of an ocean view and vigorous forests. You can also make a stop at Lang Co Lagoon for some Instagram-worthy pictures and a taking a dip in one of Vietnam’s most scenic beaches.
Khe Sanh – Phong Nha
The Khe Sanh – Phong Nha route utilizes the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Those who are bored with the usual ocean-forest view can try this lesser-known route – Khe Sanh – Phong Nha. The route is full of twists and turns so your driving skills will be put to the test. And along the ride are peaceful rivers, picturesque farmlands, as well as untouched lakes that say mystery and beauty. But the most attractive thing about this route is what lies at the end of it – the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a diverse biological reservoir of Vietnam, and a breathtaking location to see ancient limestone karsts and caves.
Get the world-leading travel insurance for the extensive road trips in Vietnam:
Our Thoughts on Motorbike Routes in Vietnam
During the pandemic, traveling on beautiful motorbike routes in Vietnam is an exciting way to explore off-the-beaten-path wonders throughout the country. You can start small by going on short trips from 1-2 days and then try extended travel when you’re ready. Whichever level you choose now, we hope that this guide on motorbike routes in Vietnam has given you useful information and inspiration for a trip of a lifetime.