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Southeast Asia forum

Driving from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok - Is it safe?

Posted by bzmar on 25/7/2013 at 09:31

Hi all!

We are flying to Ho Chi Minh and returning from Bangkok. Due to limited days (only 2 weeks) we were thinking of renting a car and drive by the coast from Ho Chi Minh, through Cambodia and end up in Bangkok. When looking at distances on Google map it's 1,500km so approx 20 hours driving. So quite doable in that scene as we will do it within 15 days. We also found that Avis offers drop-off in a different country so that's fine. My concern is if it's actually safe to drive in those countries and if it's feasible. If any of you have done this then your help and tips would be hugely appreciated. We have a British driving license so not sure if that would be valid too?

Thanks!
B.M.

#1 bzmar has been a member since 25/7/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by MADMAC on 25/7/2013 at 10:49

I think on the license you would be OK, but I can't state that categorically. Certainly I would recommend you getting an international license before you depart.

I think you will find that you are talking more than 20 hours driving. Some roads will suck - a lot. But still should be doable.

What I don't know, but suspect the answer is no, is that you can rent a car in Saigon and not return it to somewhere in Vietnam. You'll need to check with car rental agencies in Saigon to see if this is doable.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 25/7/2013 at 11:47

Avis and Budget do dropoffs in different cities but different countries I've never heard of. I've done the drive from Bangkok to the Laos border in Ubon and back. Very nice drive and easy. Lots of things to see like Kymer ruins and also Khao Yai NP. Phimai also has an excellent museum.

#3 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by daawgon on 25/7/2013 at 12:14

There is no self-drive in Vietnam for persons without a Vietnamese license. You can rent a car with driver. If you have never been in this country, you will be shocked to see the driving style and etiquette and driving skill here. I feel Vietnamese roads are extremely dangerous (especially your proximity to poorly maintained trucks and buses). I know nothing of driving in Cambodia or Thailand.

No, the International License will not be accepted in VN.

#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 25/7/2013 at 20:39

You can hire cars in Thailand without an international license but for insurance purposes you really should get an international one otherwise if things go wrong you can't make a claim. I wouldn't recommend driving in Bangkok but other cities are ok but be aware there are plenty of risky drivers around who speed and talk on phones whilst driving and 1 hour either side of Bangkok can be busy and you won't know the roads and it can be confusing. I would suggest you hire a car in the country regions and do a drive to other cities. You could do Ubon to Udon or Udon to Chiang Mai. Easier to navigate and cope with traffic in those cities.

#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 26/7/2013 at 00:32

"No, the International License will not be accepted in VN."

Wow, I knew the place was screwed up, but I didn't know it was that screwed up. My friends in Hanoi did warn me. I thought they were exagerating.

bzmar, perhaps you should check out Saigon and it's environs, then fly to PP in Cambodia and move from that point on by bus (as admitedly uncomfortable as that is).

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by bzmar on 26/7/2013 at 01:48

Thank you all guys, those are some great tips! I guess it may mean that we have to change our plans slightly but definitely great advices :) Really appreciated.

B.M

#7 bzmar has been a member since 25/7/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by Captain_Bob on 26/7/2013 at 07:02

"We also found that Avis offers drop-off in a different country"
Are you sure about that? Normally in this region you can only take a vehicle across international borders if it's registered in your name and you have the proper ownership documents, plus customs declaration form / temporary export/import of vehicle. I've never heard of a rental company allowing their cars (or motorbikes) to be driven out of country in the SE Asian region. If you have a link to that information on the Avis Vietnam site please provide. I had a quick look and for international customers it appears to be chauffeur-drive only (no self-drive allowed).

#8 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,903

Posted by bzmar on 26/7/2013 at 10:17

To be honest I literally went to all car rental websites and did the same search and only on Avis it gave me results - I didn't process it further as it was a quick look to see if it'e even possible. literally go to http://www.avis.co.uk/default.aspx and do a search to pick up a car from Ho chi minh airport and drop off at Bangkok airport and then you will see the results

#9 bzmar has been a member since 25/7/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by MADMAC on 26/7/2013 at 11:21

Just have a plan B in your pocket if it turns out you can't drive and you'll be fine.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Captain_Bob on 28/7/2013 at 04:40

^^I followed that Avis link and chose pick up in HCMC drop off in Bangkok. Then proceed to vehicle selection and note every car option has "Chauffeur Drive Only" written below it. Again it appears you can't self-drive in Vietnam.

#11 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,903

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 28/7/2013 at 19:31

It pays to actually read links.

#12 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by travellingsarah on 29/7/2013 at 02:10 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Travelfish wires come in handy too ;) It's old and about but still relevant now and in HCMC: https://www.travelfish.org/blogs/vietnam/2011/07/19/hiring-a-car-in-hanoi/

#13 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 681
 Where has travellingsarah been?   Website 


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