Riding Vietnam

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by The Jerk, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. The Jerk

    The Jerk Bring us some fresh wine!

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    Hey all,
    I'm in the beginning stages of researching a southeast Asia trip which will hopefully include some riding in Vietnam.

    What I'd ideally like to do is find a place that will allow me to rent a bike, ride the length of Vietnam, and drop off the bike at the opposite end of the country. So far my Internet research has revealed lots of companies that do local hires but I haven't really seen anything tailored to what I'm looking to do. Does anyone have any input or recommendations? I just stumbled across the web site of Flamingo Travel which has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Anybody have any experience with them?

    I have seen conflicting information on whether an international driver's license is valid in Vietnam. Anyone know for sure? I have read that you are only eligible to get a Vietnamese driver's license if you have a > 3 month visa.

    My goal for this trip is to eat my way through the entirety of Vietnam. :D
    #1
  2. Traveler1

    Traveler1 n00b

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  3. osbane

    osbane n00b

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    Vietnam is not a Western country, i.e. there's a big difference between what you are supposed to have (by law) and what you need to have in practice. In practice, there's no chance in hell you'll get an "official" Vietnamese driver's license; on the other hand, the "unofficial" drivers license is readily available: a bill of 100,000 Dong (or maybe 200,000 Dong if you stumble upon a really greedy cop). The truth is most cops in Vietnam avoid foreigners (as opposed to some of the other countries in SEA); something to do with the language barrier... BTW, the vast majority of Vietnamese don't have it as well (and they do drive).

    As for bike shops - I can recommend either Flamingo or Cuong's shop (both in the old quarters, within walking distance from one another).
    #3
  4. yempaul

    yempaul Adventurer

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    #4
  5. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    This past March I rode a motorcycle from Hanoi to Saigon with my friend Mike.
    We rented bikes from Cuong's (http://www.cuongs-motorbike-adventure.com/).
    We didn't personally meet Cuong because he was leading a group of riders in the north but
    his staff is very friendly, helpful and honest.

    Don't worry about a license. We never had one and just act like you don't know whats going on
    if you get pulled over :D
    #5
  6. StartAdventures

    StartAdventures riders on the storm

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    Hey guys U can enter in Vietnam with ur "big" bikes from the border with Laos, on the road n°8 of Laos. the border name is Cau Treo. I did not personal cross that border but i met a italian overlander like me in Thailand that pass over there thanks to the suggestion of a group of italian biker that cross over there.

    So they pass twice and they did let them. So YES IS POSSIBLE ENTER IN VIETNAM WITH MORE THEN 150CC :clap
    #6
  7. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    A real change of policy by the Vietnamese, or a few riders just got lucky? If it only happens on one border station, then I´m inclined to think it´s the latter (...but if I´m wrong, well that´s just great!!)

    Actually I have personal experience of trying to enter Vietnam, and this was on a 115cc scooter with Thai plates. We were a group of 8 falangs, and this probably affected things a bit, but still we tried a total 4 different border stations (3 in Cambodia, one of which we tried twice, and 1 in Laos), and the final outcome was, it wasn´t possible. It was close sometimes, though, and maybe if we had been only 1-2 persons, then maybe they would´ve let us in. We could have done it by smuggling the scooters in like some truck drivers offered, but did not want to take the risks involved (a group that big would´ve been kinda hard to ´fly under radar´ once inside the country).

    This was in December 2006, so not very recent, but I have not heard that there have been some major changes in their policy about foreign vehicles. And our trip also proved, that the persistent rumour on the web, that under 175cc are allowed to Vietnam, was in fact false.

    Don´t expect the Vietnamese authorities to speak a word of English (surprisingly we did meet one, who spoke it quite well, but only one!), and also do not expect to understand a word of Vietnamese, unless you´ve studied it. This adds to the complications.

    But it is Asia afterall, so nothing is guaranteed, and sometimes someone could succeed simply because it´s their lucky day. Problem is, can you make travel plans based on luck? But we certainly had a great time on the trip, even though we weren´t allowed to Vietnam. BTW, those 4-stroke scooters are a great (and dirt CHEAP!) way to get moving in Asia, I was surprised that they can actually do almost everything that a big bike does, unless you need to go fast 2-up on the highway.
    #7
  8. goodwithafork

    goodwithafork Adventurer

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    Consider me subscribed to this thread. I'm considering planning a bike rental and trip for two or so weeks in Vietnam at the tail end of 2012.

    This would be a solo trip, which has been fine in the US every time, but haven't gone to a country like this to do so. I don't really dig the idea of being on a tour either, so I've got some thinkin to do I suppose!
    #8
  9. Eat my dirt

    Eat my dirt n00b

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    Contact the guys at www.voyagevietnam.net they got experirnced on organizing permit to enter Vietnam
    #9
  10. Motoguy

    Motoguy Adventurer

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    I'm looking at renting a bike in Vietnam and traveling through Vietnam and Laos in November. My sister and brother-in-law live in Saigon and my plan is to depart from their residence and make at least a two-week trip. Any information would be apprecaited.

    I'm not worreid about the license issue, just bike rental and any trip information in regards to traveling through Vietnam and Laos.
    #10
  11. DanTheMan07

    DanTheMan07 Been here awhile

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    License doesn't matter, In vietnam they don't care and wont stop you, just keep your nose clean.

    Not sure how much for a rental but i bought a minsk for 400usd when i was there in 2010. You can probably find cheaper 250$.
    #11
  12. ColdC

    ColdC Been here awhile

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    One of my favorite places to ride. I've ridden in 'nam 3x & thinking about doing it again this Summer.
    Last time my buddy & I rented from Cuong's. He had 225 & 250cc available.
    I've never even thought about a driver's license & never heard anyone mention it....
    #12
  13. bobobob

    bobobob badbadbad

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    PM Misery Goat/Mark. He got back from Vietnam a couple of months ago.
    #13
  14. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

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    Somewhere in Europe on a Motorbike :)
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  15. DanTheMan07

    DanTheMan07 Been here awhile

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  16. LastWalkman

    LastWalkman Adventurer

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    1. International driving license is not eligible in Vietnam and almost you can't get one.
    2. Nomally, local police do not stop forgeiner except some case in Mui Ne. However, if you obey Vietnam traffic law (speed), no police has competence for stopping you.
    3. For motorcyle ranging of 100, 110, 125, 150cc in Vietnam is cheap, you can get one with under 500$. But for bigger cylinder motorcyle (over 175cc), Vietnamese government limit importation, so their price are very expensive so most of them is illegal (without registration or fake registration). You can buy old 250cc dirtbike with $2500 and over.

    Do you have any detail question more?:clap
    #16
  17. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

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    I just begin to write my report, but still there are some informations for you. I rented my bike from Flamingo Travel: helpfull and professional.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=838798
    #17
  18. uk_vette

    uk_vette n00b

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    Perhaps do what we just did.
    Rent a pair of Honda's in Hanoi.
    $35 US for the month each bike.
    Ride out to Cat Ba Island via ferry and back a few days later.
    Then once back on then mainland, take the rest of the month to ride south to Saigon.
    Lots of great trails and beaches on the way.
    At Saigon, put the bikes on the train back to Hanoi, I think from memory, that was about $30 US each bike, and our sleeper train tickets back was about $70 US back to Hanoi.
    Collect the bikes at Hanoi station, and ride them the very short distance back to the hire shop.
    Don't bother with licence, when a road side cop, starts to wave you down, as soon as he sees you are non-Vietnamese, he just waves you to carry on riding.
    BUT just respect the speed limits.
    In and out of every town, there is a big blue square sign, must be a good 1 meter square, actually showing you depictions of buildings, just don't be looking for trouble by continuing your "highway speed" all the way through the town.

    vette
    #18
  19. The Jerk

    The Jerk Bring us some fresh wine!

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    Just got back. It was brilliant! :D

    I'll have to put together a ride report.
    #19
  20. ShaneBaby

    ShaneBaby Been here awhile

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    Freakin amazing aye, Love that place :D
    #20