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Vietnam forum

Saigon - Hanoi by Rental Motorbike

Posted by jammac on 23/11/2011 at 17:23

Hi all,

I'm planning to rent a bike and ride it from Saigon to Hanoi, Via Cambodia and Laos and then back to Saigon.

I've some questions on the roads and places to visit en route/return route;

How many miles can you expect to cover in a day of riding?
How often are repair centres? (I take it not all rental places keep their bikes in 'mint' condition)
Do the roads differ in Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos?
What places would you reccomend to visit/stay at?
Is 3 weeks enough for this journey? approx 2500 miles? I'm guessing I could cover at least 200 miles a day?
I'm also doing this from 7th April for 2-3 weeks depending on peoples thoughts.

Any other information would be appreciated

Many thanks,

#1 jammac has been a member since 23/11/2011. Location: Earth. Posts: 12

Posted by jammac on 23/11/2011 at 17:40

After finding a thread in another part of the forum, I will have to consider increasing this to 4 weeks minimum if I go both Ways!

#2 jammac has been a member since 23/11/2011. Location: Earth. Posts: 12

Posted by stik86 on 7/12/2011 at 21:03

When are you planning this trip, I my self are doing the same in Jan 2012 starting the 3rd!
Have you read the thread on the motorbiking in the region? it suggests that 120km is a good estimate of distance per day and that you don't want to be doing that everyday.
Four weeks seems a little short to go from north to south and see Cambodia and Laos?
was going to go straight up Vietnam then in to Laos the straight down to Cambodia.
Oh and a better option than renting a bike is to just purchase one costs about 300 USD and you can sell it once finished.

Cheers Nick

#3 stik86 has been a member since 5/11/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by jammac on 11/12/2011 at 08:44

Hi Stik

I'm planning on starting around 7/8th April until 28/29th April.

True I am a little short on time and I think now I've decided to just go from Saigon to Hanoi in the 21 days. Having read what people have wrote, I really want to enjoy and experience Vietnam and not rush through the country.

Where have you got all your info from?

Where can I purchase a bike? Ideally I don't want to rent because the companies I contacted don't seem to offer any kind of accidental damage insurance and I don't want to be charged an arm and a leg! (not that I plan to have an accident)!


#4 jammac has been a member since 23/11/2011. Location: Earth. Posts: 12

Posted by stik86 on 11/12/2011 at 22:43

Where have you got all your info from?

Info has come through:
1. having been to all three countries last year. I did Phnom Penh to North Laos then through to Hanoi all by bus. this took me about 5 weeks to accomplish with out feeling rushed or as though i missed a lot.
2. a close friend has been very helpful in lending me a road atlas of the countries (Nelles Atlas, South East Asia by: Nelles Verlag) 1992 edition
3. I read that including break downs and set backs i will probably end up averaging 120-170km per day but i am allowing for a couple of days in-between each long day.
4. I have also worked out a contingency so that if the ride takes longer than expected i can just alter my route half way up Vietnam as i have already seen a lot of the north i will opt for more time in Cambodia and Laos but you may want to spend the whole time in Viet....

I am going to be in Ho Chi Minh in Jan and am planning to purchase a bike off an ex-pat however usually you can find other travellers who are selling their bikes through notice boards in hostels, café's etc.
Good idea not to rent as the companies who rent the bikes dont usually have different drop off points that i have seen. So you couldnt rent from Ho Chi Minh and drop it off in Hanoi, but there maybe someone who does this? (let me know if there is would be good to contact them)
Another thing that i was planning to do before i go is get my hands on an mechanical guide to the type of bike 125cc honda "wind" they are called there however this has proved to be harder than it sounds as they are not called that in Australia where i am and the only similar bikes are the old Honda CBR but so far the book has not been locatable.

hope this was helpful if you have any ideas on how far you were planning to get each day and time allowed in stops etc let me know

#5 stik86 has been a member since 5/11/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by daawgon on 12/12/2011 at 00:32

You might want to read this article before buying that bike.

#6 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111

Posted by jammac on 12/12/2011 at 12:34

Some useful information in there, about insurance companies specifically, which I will thoroughly check before I leave and make adequate arrangements.

Having never been to Vietnam before I don't know what expat's driving are like or if they do drink and drive like the article says. It is rather bias tarnishing all foreigners with the same brush.

Personally however, I would always wear a helmet and probably full face if I have room for it, I've 10 years of racing downhill mountain bikes and 2 years of grasstrack motorbike racing. Also having lived in cities and cycling through traffic this should put me in a good position.

Anyway back on topic; there was a link on there that allows you to rent in Saigon and drop off in Hanoi.

Thanks for that info, don't really know where to start with buying a bike.

I'm going to come up with a route at the end of the week to see how far I think I can get each day.

#7 jammac has been a member since 23/11/2011. Location: Earth. Posts: 12

Posted by stik86 on 12/12/2011 at 19:32

Hey yeah saw the article the only problem is that i do not hold a full motorbike licence which means that i am not covered by travel insurance while on the bike, but i have ridden bikes in all three countries before and cycle on the road a lot back home in Australia, also have a full face helmet and leathers so fingers crossed :) this is a good thread for shops that are good places to start for buying motorbikes found it yesterday, the contact on the HCM store i have contacted and is very helpful.
cheers Nick

#8 stik86 has been a member since 5/11/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by Kelli123 on 21/12/2011 at 08:00

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi if you have your foreign license you can transfer it into a vietnamese one for about $100.
Its actually cheaper if you do it yourself but its a real headache.I know cos i did it the hard way and should have just paid someone.
And Im selling a good suzuki 110cc $300 scooter
or a fully restored suzuki gn 125 $1300 if you wanna go with some style in Saigon..
Or you if you are doing it el-budget, you can get some old hondas for around $150
Let me know if u wanna see pics .

#9 Kelli123 has been a member since 21/12/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by stik86 on 21/12/2011 at 19:48

Hey thanks for the offer i have just found a dealer for travelers but would like to look at the hondas if you could send a pic would be good thanks and will the still be around on the 3rd of jan


#10 stik86 has been a member since 5/11/2011. Posts: 10

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