Tips For Motorbiking In Vietnam

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“This is One Epic Vietphái nam Motorxe đạp Itinerary”

Are you planning on motorbiking Vietnam? Will your trip be two weeks or two months? Can’t decide if you will go from Ho Chi Minc to lớn Hanoi? Perhaps you just want khổng lồ explore the far north or south.

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Fear not, whatever direction, và however long you plan to lớn go for, this ultimate Vietnam giới motorxe đạp route is for you.

I’ve made several motorbiking trips around Vietphái mạnh where I’ve sầu visited large cities và small ethnic villages. Drank the strongest rice whiskey and the best mountain coffee. Slept in boutique resorts & in hammocks in the jungle. Now I’ve sầu combined that information here.

Throughout this article, there are links to more detailed guides I have written on individual destinations. I highly suggest having a read of them too.

A quick note on Renting vs Buying a motorbike. If you are riding around Vietphái nam for less than 2 months I suggest renting.

I’ve partnered with some great motorbike rental shops in Hanoi, Danang, and HCMC. You can get direct access to affordable, reliable motorbikes. One way drop-offs are also available, perfect for travelers. Clichồng here for an exclusive sầu discount!


Vietphái nam Motorxe đạp Route Map


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Stops from Ho Chi Minc to lớn Hanoi 

There is definitely no shortage of amazing scenery in this country. In this ultimate Vietnam motorxe đạp route, you will get khổng lồ ride along amazing beaches & scenic mountain passes, explore the world largest caves and get way more off the beaten track than you’d ever imagine.

This guide covers over 23 destinations (and growing). However, I have not included all the exact route numbers. For those, I highly recommend getting this detailed road bản đồ of Vietnam by National Geographic. You’ll thank me when you realize you need it.

Glad we got that out of the way… Ready? Let’s go!


1. Ho Chi Minc City (Saigon) – 3 nights


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Sit down, get a cold beer andomain authority bowl of Pho soup. You’ve sầu arrived in Vietnam giới with a huge (2300km+) journey ahead.

Now continue reading.

Ho Chi Minch City is the starting or ending point for most travelers in Vietphái mạnh. One way or another you’ll over up here. Why start in Ho Chi Minh City? It is the easiest place to buy a motorbike in Vietnam & get it fitted with a luggage rachồng for your long ride.

If you are arriving in Vietphái nam solo & want to find people lớn join you for the big ride ahead then be sure to lớn stay a couple of nights at the main backpacker street Ptê mê Ngu Lao (seriously awesome hotel đơn hàng for under 15 USD per night). You’ll know you’ve sầu arrived at the right place when you see loads of small street stalls selling beer at 25c per can.

There is a great motorbike siêu thị at the kết thúc of Pham mê Ngu Lao street. Though I don’t know the name of the road, just look for the big red neon bull sign. The siêu thị is there on the corner.


2. Can Tho – 1 night

(Riding distance from HCMC – 180 km)


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First stop, Can Tho. Instead of going north on this Vietphái mạnh motorxe đạp itinerary, we make a small detour south.

Can Tho is a few hours ride south of Ho Chi Minch City. It is home khổng lồ the iconic Can Tho Floating Market and the huge Mekong Delta. This is where the mighty Mekong River meets the sea, spanning an area of 39,000 square kilometers.

Riding south to Can Tho uses one of the busiest highways in Vietnam giới called the AH1. It can be a scary first ride in the country. Be sure to leave sầu early in the morning as riding at night gets dangerous due to lớn the number of trucks on the road.


3. Phu Quoc Isl& – 2 nights

(Riding distance from Can Tho – 260 km)


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Next, we’re taking the motorbikes khổng lồ an islvà. Phu Quoc Island to be specific.

Pho Quoc Island is located about 2hrs off the south-west coast of Vietnam. This island is a throwbaông xã lớn Vietnam’s earlier days. Dirt roads circle the islvà with undeveloped beaches dotting the coast. It also has one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia, a stunning stretch of trắng s& called Sao Beach,

Discover small fishing villages or vì a scuba diving day trip. Add Phu Quoc Islvà lớn your Vietnam giới motorxe đạp itinerary for a chất lượng destination that many other travelers are sure to miss.

After Phu Quoc Island we head bachồng lớn Ho Chi Minh City briefly before continuing north towards Hanoi.


4. Cat Thien National Park – 1 night

(Riding distance from HCMC – 160 km)


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Cat Thein National Park is my preferred first stop north of Ho Chi Minc City. The alternative route is to lớn head khổng lồ Mui Ne, however, that road has lots of trucks.

On the way to lớn Cat Thien National Park, you’ll ride bachồng roads for hours through small villages. Once you reach the park entrance take the ferry across the river and spend a night out in the jungle. This is one of my favorite things about motorbiking Vietphái nam, staying in places you’d never otherwise consider.

Wake up in the morning lớn the sound of Gibbons calling, then spover your day searching for the last White Rhino, an enigma of sorts. Relax by the riverside & enjoy Vietnam’s slow life.

Cat Thien National Park is less known but an amazing destination compared lớn Mui Ne. Definitely add it khổng lồ your Vietphái mạnh motorbike itinerary.


5. Dalat – 2 nights

(Riding distance from Cat Thien NP – 190 km)


The Cat Thien to lớn Dalat motorbike route passes through the small villages then head up into lớn the mountains. There are some steep winding sections và scenic lookouts along the way.

You might be familiar with Dalat from the coffee bean stores scattered throughout Hanoi và Ho Chi Minch City. Dalat is located in Vietnam’s southern highlands. It is home page lớn many of Vietnam’s coffee fields và fruit plantations.

Dalat is popular with local Vietnamese tourists for its French-style Chateau buildings và the large scenic lake in the center of town. Enjoy the slow lifestyle, the cool mountain weather, và explore the town with this Dalat City Guide. It is a nice change from the hot và humid coastal cities.


6. Nha Trang – 2 nights

(Riding distance from Dalat – 140 km)


Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s larger coastal cities, và a must stop destination if motorbiking Vietnam. The city was formerly a US Army Base during the Vietphái nam War. While many travelers visit the Vinapearl theme park, there are more authentic attractionssuch as the old war barracks and local art galleries.

Located 50km north of Nha Trang is the Ninch Hoa Salternative text Fields. This was featured as the cover for Lonely Planet’s 2012 Vietnam guide. To visit the Ninc Hoa salt fields you’ll have sầu khổng lồ be on your motorbike heading out of Nha Trang by 4am. Work here finishes shortly after the sun comes up. Arrive late and it’ll be a lifeless salt flat.


7. Buon Ma Thuot – 1 night

(Riding distance from Nha Trang – 190 km)


One of my least favorite things about motorbiking Vietphái nam is the trucks along the AH1 Highway.

To avoid the AH1 coastal highway, we head west khổng lồ Buon Ma Thuot. It is a detour, but there are far less tucks & the roads are much more scenic. Buon Ma Thuot is a small town bachồng in the highlands, similar to lớn Dalat but less touristy. The area is famous for producing Buon Ma Thuot coffee which you will see stocked in coffee stores all over Hanoi.

I suggest visiting Buon Ma Thuot as a thoroughfare destination, saving your time for Kon Tum further north.


8. Pleiku – 1 night

(Riding distance from Buon Ma Thuot – 180 km)

We try khổng lồ keep the daily riding distance between 150km and 200km in this Vietphái nam motorbike route. Pleiku fits this perfectly sitting 180km north of Buon Ma Thuot. Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to vì chưng in Pleiku, it is a small town.

There are ethnic villages in the surrounding areas which you can visit, though it is suggested a permit is required. The Bien Ho Crater Lake is an old volcanic crater which has been flooded. You can stop by here, 8km north of Pleiku, for a scenic view as you continue on towards Hoi An.


9. Kon Tum – 2 nights

(Riding distance from Pleiku – 50 km)


Kon Tum is another coffee producing district located in the southern highlands. It’s actually one of the poorest regions in Vietphái mạnh and is trang chủ lớn many ethnic hill tribes in the surrounding areas.

Explore the area surrounding the thành phố to discover the local village lifestyle. You will find the traditional tall houses which are the village community centers. Along the way, you’ll likely run into lớn crows of kids walking khổng lồ and from school. They are all too keen lớn have a chat with you in Vietnamese & are always up for a pholớn.

A visit to lớn Kon Tum is an essential addition to your Vietphái nam motorxe đạp itinerary. It will open your eyes lớn Vietnam’s true rural culture.


10. Hoi An – 3 nights

(Riding distance from Kon Tum – 280 km)


The ancient town of Hoi An is an idyllic spot in central Vietnam. Chinese style shophouses line the river banks while locals go around the small streets by bicycle. Head down lớn the Thu Bon River at night where you can get dinner và a beer on a junk boat. Did I mention it is also cheap?

Hoi An is also famously known for its clothing production. With plenty of tailors begging for your attention as you walk the streets you’re sure khổng lồ get sucked in. Piông xã up a custom screen printed t-shirt here as a trip souvenir for as little as USD 5 per piece. I still have sầu mine!


11. Hai Van Pass


The Hai Van Pass (which some hotline the Hoi An motorbike route) is the road which Top Gear did in their 2008 “Vietphái mạnh Special.” You seriously motorbike across Vietnam without doing this route.

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The views from the Hai Van Pass are stunning, even more so when you ride at sunphối as I did. This 21 km winding road only requires an hour or so lớn conquer. It will form part of your long day’s ride from Hoi An or Danang lớn Hue. Some people even ride it back và forth a few times in one day to make the most of it!

There are no overnight stops here unless your motorxe đạp breaks down.


12. Hue – 3 nights

(Riding distance from Hoi An – 140 km)


Hue is one of the most cultural cities I’ve experienced while motorbiking Vietnam giới. It is a đô thị which combines layers of history over many centuries.

Whether you want to visit the Imperial City from Vietnam’s Dynasty Era or see the destruction left behind of the Vietnam War there are plenty of things to lớn bởi in Hue.

I suggest allowing three nights in Hue in your plans. Ditch the motorxe đạp for a day và cycle or walk the sleepy streets. Another great way lớn get around is a boat cruise down the perfume river. Lots of people say you should skip Hue, but they’re wrong!


13. Dong Ha – 1 night

(Riding distance from Hue – 70km)


Dong Ha is a lesser-known thành phố located north of Hue on Vietnam’s east coast. The most iconic attraction is the Vinch Moc Tunnels from the Vietphái nam War. The Vinc Moc Tunnels are similar khổng lồ the Chu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City, yet far more extensive sầu và large enough to lớn walk through.

Secretly you didn’t get this tip from The Lost Passport, but ignore the ‘no entry’ sings underground và you can find a secret exit khổng lồ the beach.


14. Khe Sanh – 1 night

(Riding distance from Dong Ha – 60km)


Khe Sanh is was trang chính lớn the bloodiest & longest battle of the Vietphái mạnh War. Over one thous& soldiers died fighting here.

These days this little mountain town is the gateway to lớn the amazing Ho Chi Minh Trail West. The 300km winding mountain route makes its way up khổng lồ the Phong Nha Khe Bang National Park. This single landed concrete road is one of the emptiest you’ll experience in this entire Vietnam giới motorbikeitinerary.

Warning: Be careful wandering off the traông chồng up this way as there are plenty of unexploded lvà mines still lying about.


15. Phong Nha Khe Bang National Park – 3 nights

(Riding distance from Khe Sanh – 200km)


If you are a National Geographic người then you are sure lớn know about this place. Phong Nha Khe Bang National Park is trang chính to lớn Hang Don Soon the world’s largest caves discovered only in 2013. This outranks the world’s second-largest, Paradise Cave sầu, which is also in the same national park.

There are multiple options you can take to explore the caves depending on time and budget. You can explore the first 4 kilometers of Paradise cave for a few hours from USD 10, or take a four-day trekking và camping package khổng lồ Hang Don Soon for over USD 3000. I

When you are done exploring caves, make sure you visit the Phong Nha Farmstay & enjoy a cold beer on the rooftop for sunmix. These are some of the best countryside views khổng lồ enjoy in Vietnam giới.


16. Ninh Binc – 2 nights

(Riding distance from Phong Nha – 400km, overnight stop at Vinh)


Ninch Binh is commonly referred khổng lồ as the inl& Halong Bay. Thisname refers to the thousands of karst mountains & lakes scattered throughout the countryside. It is also equally as beautiful as Halong Bay & really a must-visit on this Vietnam motorbike route.

You can get really off the beaten trachồng by exploring these small rice farming villages with your motorbike or by renting a bicycle at the town center. The villagers are extremely friendly. Expect lớn get stuông xã inlớn a conversation in Vietnamese & be offered some homemade rice spirits!

Read More: 7 Awesome Things lớn do in Ninh Binh


17. Hanoi – 3 nights

(Riding distance from Ninch Binc – 100km)


Hanoi is the capital đô thị of Vietphái mạnh & the finishing point for many in their Vietphái nam motorbike itinerary.

Home to 7.5 million people, Hanoi still feels lượt thích a large village rather than an industrialized đô thị. Expect khổng lồ see women pedaling around the street selling fruit và plenty of coffee stores. The food in Hanoi is amazing, & there are a few cool bars khổng lồ hang out around the old town too. Cheông xã out my Hanoi travel guide so you don’t miss out on what this thành phố has to lớn offer.

Although we have reached the main đô thị in the north of Vietnam, this ultimate Vietnam giới motorbike itinerary does not kết thúc here. From Hanoi, you still have sầu the option of traveling east khổng lồ Halong Bay or north khổng lồ the highlands on the China border.


18. Cat Ba Isl& – 3 nights

(Riding distance from Hanoi – 120km to lớn Hai Phong)

Have sầu you considered taking your motorbike into Halong Bay? Sounds crazy but it is possible. Cat Ba Island is technically located in Lan Ha Bay, slightly north of Halong Bay. Although less known it is arguably more amazing khổng lồ visit.

Cat Ba is one of the largest islands in Lan Ha Bay & offers plenty of accommodation, secluded beaches, rock climbing, & day trips out on the water. You can get khổng lồ Cat Ba Island with your motorbike by taking a ferry from Haiphong. The ferry goes fairly slow & the trip across takes a couple of hours.


19. Bac Kan – 1 night

(Riding distance from Hai Phong – 250km)


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Credit: Mr Linh Homestay Agoda

Bac Kan is a rural town in northern Vietnam giới & home khổng lồ the picturesque Ba Bae Lake. This destination is located mid-way up from Hanoi to lớn Cao Bang Province and is an igiảm giá overnight stop.

There are a number of budget hotels and homestay accommodation options around the lake in a relaxing countryside setting.


đôi mươi. Ban Gioc Waterfall – 1 night

(Riding distance from Bac Kan – 230km)


Located on the northern Vietnam-Đài Loan Trung Quốc border, the impressive Ban Gioc Waterfall is the largest waterfall in Vietnam giới. Although plastered all over the walls of travel agents in Hanoi, this waterfall is rarely visited by western tourists. You can take your motorxe đạp right down near the water’s edge then explore the area for a while. Be sure to lớn drop inkhổng lồ the nearby Ngam Ngou Cave sầu if you have time also.


21. Cao Bang – 1 night


Cao Bang is both the province and đô thị in northeast Vietnam giới. The đô thị of Cao Bang feels lượt thích an oversized village but not on the same scale as Hanoi. You can explore the riverside và stop by small cafes and the morning markets. You can quickly get a local feel of this authentic northern Vietphái mạnh town.

For a true countryside experience try staying at the Kieu Chinch family homestay. This homestay is located about 50km outside of Cao Bang in the rural district of Quang Uyen. Full directions available in my article.


22. Bao Lac – 1 night


The small village of Bao Lac is located at the foothills of Vietnam’s northern mountain ranges. The tranquil town is trang chính to a twice-monthly market in which hundreds of ethnic villagers desckết thúc from the mountains lớn sell their local produce. On these weekends the town is a lively place, but it can be difficult to lớn time your trip accordingly.

Every other day of the month the town is rather quiet, but a peaceful rest stop before heading up the mountains. Cheông xã out some of the small restaurants along the river.


23. Dong Van – 1 night


Get ready for the most scenic part of this entire Vietphái nam motorxe đạp route. The road from Bao Lac to Dong Van is one of the best motorbiking roads in the world. It is called the Ma Pi Leng Pass.

You will ride up the steep mountain pass to lớn an altitude of over 2,000m. The air temperature drops khổng lồ a cool 5 degrees C in the winter, so be prepared with a decent jacket.

As you ride along this route you will be completely awestruck with panoramic views that seem to lớn go on & on. The views over the mountain range are incredible. In the distance, you will actually be looking at the mountains of southern Đài Loan Trung Quốc in Yunnan Province. Be sure to read my full guide to lớn the Ma Pi Leng Pass for all the essential details.

This is a road that you will ride once & never forget. I wouldn’t be surprised if you end out riding it baông xã and forth a few times!


24. Ha Giang – 1 night


Ha Giang is a medium-sized thành phố at the western foothills of the mountain range. This đô thị is a popular launching or rest point for adventure motorcycle riders heading up the mountains.

The altitude at Ha Giang is where the temperature starts to drop down to a cool 5 to lớn 10 degrees in winter. Be sure lớn paông xã your jacket, scarf, and gloves if you plan to continue motorbiking up the mountains from here.


25. Sapa (Lao Cai) – 3 nights


The northern district of Sapage authority has been growing in popularity over the past few years. Sapage authority is famous for hill treks, & homestay accommodations. It is a great place to lớn visit while motorbiking Vietnam’s northern over, however, I still think it the more touristy version of Ha Giang.

If you vị visit Sapa I suggest staying at least two days. The first day you can go hiking through the terraced rice fields, the next day you can climb Mount Fansipan. Both great one day activities.


Can you vì this with only 3 weeks in Vietnam?

You will not be able khổng lồ complete this entire motorxe đạp route with only 3 weeks in Vietphái nam. Vietnamese motorbikes are slow, the road condition is bad, và there are too many stops. Ultimately, you will be too rushed.

I suggest doing only part of this trip. Here are a few suggestions with only 3 weeks in Vietnam:

Ride from Ho Chi Minc City to Hanoi, although even this will be a quiông chồng rideRide north from Hanoi khổng lồ Ha Giang, Cao Bang, & SapaRide south of Ho Chi Minc City lớn Phu Quoc, Can Tho and up the coast to Nha Trang

If you have sầu less than 3 weeks in Vietnam, I’d also suggest hiring a motorxe đạp. With a shorter trip, you will probably waste valuable time buying & selling a motorxe đạp. Renting is just easier, và possibly cheaper.


How khổng lồ Buy a Motorxe đạp in Vietnam

Before even starting your adventure you will need to buy yourself a motorbike. Whether you purchase this in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minc City, there are a few options for you.

Hondomain authority Win (Chinese rip off version) is the most comtháng at just under USD 300. The Belarusian Mink is a chất lượng, & fun, but totally unreliable two-stroke machine. The Hondomain authority Wave sầu is an easy-to-ride semi-automatic motorxe đạp perfect for beginner riders.

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Learn the pros and cons of each, where to buy a motorbike, & what lớn look out for in this guide.