Vietnam By Bike - ROAD TRIP!
Firstly I’d like to tell you that Vietnam is the best country we have travelled so far. I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes it so special but go there and see for yourself! Absolutely fascinating landscape, very kind people, it’s cheap, and for $200 US a motorbike is yours for 30 days to be set free and endulge! Ah, it makes me so excited just talking about it.
This is us, all set and ready to go for our first day on Quinn.
A few points you may be wondering that I shall start with.
Our whole trip in Vietnam was 29 days.
We spent around £900 each.
We travelled from south to north.
We rented our bike for $200 US from Style Motorbikes.
Here is a guide and our itinerary of what we got up to on our trip to Vietnam. We were a little pushed for time due to bad weather and other plans, so it’s up to you how you do it. Defiantly travel south to north though as it gets more and more 'instagramable' as you go on.
All the hotels we stayed in I will leave a link for, they were cheaply priced most of the time as we are backpacking after all. Click here to get £15 off your next stay on booking.com! You have to book somewhere for £30 or more in total to get £15 back after your stay! You can only use that link once, so once you have used that one, use Sams next! Enjoy!
When you travel, the smaller your bags the better. But I really mean this when it comes to motorbiking Vietnam. It’s a pain in the arse having big bags on a bike and it makes it more uncomfortable for the passenger as the bags block leg space.
We downsized mid-trip which made our life 10x easier. If we could go again, we would share one bag and have it on the back, it would have been so much more convenient that way. If your thinking “I can’t just get rid of all our stuff” or “how on earth do we fit everything into one bag” fear not! The bike company that you rent your bike from (most in Ho Chi Minh, especially Styles) will send your remaining bags and your passport to their other shop in Hanoi, so when you're finished on your bike trip you can pick up your passport (deposit) and your bags! Perfect! Or option 2, you can take your bags with you and for about $30 they will fit racks to the sides of the bike for your bags to fit comfortably. They also supply bungee cords.
Biking through Vietnam isn’t always glamorous, it’s very dusty and dirty, so you’ll find yourself in the same dirty clothes most days whilst you're on the bike. When you stay somewhere more than 1 night you can get it all washed. You really only need one bike outfit and 2 day/evening outfits for when you stop for a few days somewhere, some warm clothes for the north and a rain jacket. It will rain, you will get soaked but at least try to be warm and covered to prevent “cold moods” or “cold, hungry moods” as I always was *slurps wine*...
Day 1-4 we spent in Ho Chi Minh City;
Hotel: Mi Mi Backpackers
We didn’t do thaaat much here because we were used to cities and shopping malls but something you should defiantly do is the Cu Chi tunnels. We didn’t do it but got told by 30 odd people that we were dumb and it was amazing... *has another slurp of wine*. We picked up our Honda Win with the flashy new name Quinn. (Quinn the Honda Win... guess who picked that name - *winks at phone*) Styles Motorbikes we’re great from beginning to end so 100% recommend using their services for your bike trip in Nam.
A few important things;
1 - AVOID MUI NE AT ALL COSTS!!! Everyone gets scammed there it’s a very well known problem with the police just in this area.
2 - Prepare to get up early (6-8am each morning) you will spend most of the day on your bike.
3 - Always wear your helmet. It goes without saying but South East Asia is very laid back with this kind of thing... Vietnam is mental. I really mean it. Don’t be a helmet.
Day 5 - Bien Hoa
Hotel: Royal Hotel
Kms from HCMC: 32
We travelled literally 32 kms down the road, purely for Sam to get used to the bike and for me to get used to the whole back of the bike thing. It sounds daft but I’m soo happy we did this. Vietnam traffic is mental most the time so having a bit of a drive around to get used to everything is a must. This was really industrial though so perhaps not the best idea. If you can travel between 20 - 40kms avoiding Mui Ne that would be great. I say avoid Mui Ne because it’s not worth the scam. Our friends (Sam & Maz) got their bike confiscated by police and they tried to charge them 5 million dong (£157) for absolutely no reason at all! They even had an international driving license.
Day 6 - Bao Lac
Hotel: Memories Hotel
Kms from Bien Hoa: 156
Ohh my golly my arse was dead! Make sure you get U neck cushions to sit on they helped sooo much for the rest of our journey.
We didn’t do much in Bao Lac it was more of a stopover to then travel to Da Lat the following morning.
Day 7-9 - Da Lat
Hotel: Dang Uyen Hotel
Kms from Boa Lac: 111
We’re a bit gutted about the next week or so because the latest Typhoon (Damrey) had hit and pretty much destroyed everything. Day 8 I spent in the hospital with Gastritis *sighs* and the rest of the time we could barely leave the hotel because the storm was so bad. But the time we managed to get out, we went to a really cool crazy house which you can go and walk around, plus plenty of other activities like waterfalls and pretty flowers, great food etc... it was such a shame that the weather ruined our time there but I wasn’t feeling to fab so some rest was good too.
Day 9 - Na Trang
Hotel: Nha Trang Wonderland Hotel - The room was lovely, but the service and food was ridiculous, I WOULD NOT recommend.
Kms from Da Lat: 137
Even writing about our time in Na Trang actually gives me goosebumps. It was by far the most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed. Houses destroyed. Peoples liveliness destroyed. Even graveyards, destroyed. There was glass and derby everywhere. Na Trang is supposed to be a great place to see but unfortunately, it was a quick and emotional visit for us.
Day 10 - Quy Nhon
Hotel: Ly Ky Hotel
Kms from Na Trang: 220
This was just a 1 nighter too. Grab some food and hit the sack!
Day 11 - Kon Tum
Hotel: Hong My Hotel
Kms from Quy Nhon: 194
This was just another stopover so nothing really to do here apart from eating and sleeping! Getting from Quy Nhon to Kon Kum was mostly motorway but gets better towards the end. Probably the most motorway driving you’ll do this trip.
Day 12 - Quang Ngai
Hotel: Thanh Lich Guesthouse
Kms from Kon Tum: 196
This was another stopover, we arrived quite late here due to the stormy weather. Just a heads up, the route we took was very “un-touristy” so absolutely no one speaks English by this point. But this is a good thing, finally travelling just the way we like it! Google translate isn’t very good from English to Vietnamese either so you might have to do actions if you're a vegetarian... *thinks about my last “no chicken” charade*
Day 13 - 15 - Hoi An
Hotel: Fusion Villa
Kms from Quang Ngai: 119
Woaaah Hoi An is beautiful. Rent a push bike and cycle around it. It’s just lovely. If you want to get a custom suit or any real leather custom bags/belts/wallets etc, here’s your town! All the cute fairy lights at night, the boutique shops and the cute little restaurants. You can try a “weasel poo coffee” if that tickles your fancy!
Day 15 - Da Nang
Hotel: Nesta Da Nang Hotel
Kms from Hoi An: 29
Da Nang was where they held the most recent world leader meeting so it was really cool being in the same city whilst it was on. There was police escorting blacked out range overs with god knows who in, maybe Trump, maybe not... Da Nang is a pretty city that comes to life at night. Make sure you check out the rainbow bridge.
Day 16 - Hue
Hotel: Glenda Hotel
Kms from Da Nang: 96
When you get to Hue you have to check out the war citadel. You can eat some really good food in Hue too! From Mexican to Indian *tries not to dribble*.
Day 16 - 18 - Hue to Hanoi to Sa Pa
We got a sleeper train from Hue to Hanoi and then from Hanoi to Sa Pa. we did this so we could spend more time up in the north and we had arrangements to meet a friend in Hanoi. If you still have enough time then you can just travel the whole way by bike. But the north was soo beautiful I’m glad we had some extra time this way seeing it all. (For an extra ticket you can put your bike on the train with no problem) ... unless they put your bike on a train that arrives 3 hours later than you *tries to stay calm*. Don't be alarmed when they empty all of your petrol out of the bike it's just a safety precaution.
Day 18 - Sa Pa
Hotel: Asiana Sa Pa Hotel
Kms from Hue: 966 (mostly by train).
When you arrive by train you get to a place called Lao Cai and you have to ride about 42kms up a mountain to get to Sa Pa. From Sa Pa and onwards, you are going to need WARM CLOTHES. It’s very cold in the mountains especially when you're on the bike. Sa Pa is really cool and quirky. They have traditional village hill tribe that live there who will probably try to sell you a bracelet.
Day 19 - Ha Giang
Hotel: Ha Giang Backpackers Hostel (this was the only dorm we stayed in)
Kms from Sa Pa: 227
We spent the next 3 days riding around the Ha Giang loop. Oh, wowza this country is beautiful! We went the whole way up to the Chinese border. You can actually climb over the illegal crossing if you're brave enough. It’s an official point of interest on maps.me (obviously we wouldn’t be so dumb) hmmmmm moving on...
We thought it would be a good idea to go and get absolutely trollied with some new friends we made. I was not feeling okay the following morning that’s for sure. The cold air on the bike defiantly helped though. Apart from getting drunk here, I don’t think there is that much to do. The town seemed a little sleazy actually and people were trying to rip us off everywhere.
Day 20 - Yen Minh
Hotel: UNKNOWN - We struggled but found a few homestays here.
Kms from Ha Giang: 96
Again this was another stopover on our route, not much to do here either. There are a few cafes for breaky in the morning though!
Day 21 - Dong Van
Hotel: UNKNOWN - Another homestay. There were more options for hotels here but most of them were fully booked when we arrived.
Kms from Yen Minh: 96
Ah, we had such a cool experience here! We were looking for a famous cave and thought we found it (but we didn’t) we got met by 2 children probably around 8-10 years old, and they took us up this mountain and right into a cave which was a beautiful hidden gem. The inside was shaped like a heart and it was huge! The children were running around it barefooted, but I was very much watching my step and trying not to freak out, we were so high! This didn’t cost a penny but we gave them some money as a thank you and they were beyond grateful and happy. Sam went the whole way in and around the cave with the boys and had the best time trying to communicate with them.
Day 22 - Na Phac (Na f***)
Hotel: UNKNOWN - Eventually found a homestay but there is hardly anything around here!
Kms from Dong Van: 214
This place isn’t the best place to stop. We thought there were hotels there (even looked on booking.com) but when we arrived we couldn’t find any. We asked about 3 people before one of them directed us to a homestay (thankfully). It was soo so cold and raining too it was not an ideal situation. Do your research people.
Day 22 - 24 - Cat Ba Island (Ha Long Bay)
Hotel: Thanh Trung Hotel
Kms from Na Phac: 348!!!!!! Our longest day which took around 12 hours.
Cat Ba island is lovely with lots of seafood restaurants (if you like that kind of thing). Also, you can get day tours to Ha long bay which is just breathtaking. However, due to the typhoon, we still had miserable weather and it was pretty cold and wet when we were there.
Day 24 - Cat Ba to Hanoi PROBLEM
Hotel: We stayed with our friend in Hanoi but there is plenty of options here for you to choose from!
Kms from Cat Ba Island: 182
This was our final day of travelling Vietnam before heading to Hanoi to spend some time with our friend. Obviously, it didn’t go to plan. Quinn had picked up an engine problem and decided to break down before even getting off of Cat Ba island. 5km of pushing him, 5 hours of waiting around and a long 4-hour truck drive to Hanoi. Luckily the engine was covered by Styles Motorbike so they sorted everything out for us thankfully.
Day 24 - 28 - Hanoi
Loved Hanoi! A busy town with lots going on. It’s quirky and happy. I understand why so many people settle there to work. Our friend Ben who we met in Bangkok let us stay with him. He teaches English in a few different schools and we were lucky enough to visit and take part in a class. The school was so excited they even got a photographer in, we made it to the school newspaper and their website. Everyone was so excited to have guests from England and we loved our time there.
We got our flight on our 29th day in Vietnam and travelled to Hong Kong for some more plodding adventures.
I hope you enjoyed this blog/guide on what we got up to in Vietnam. If you have any questions or need some advice just drop us a message!
Make sure you comment below and tag us in your travel pics!
I hope you enjoy Vietnam as much as we did!
Pair of Plodders