“How does it feel to travel by motorbike in Vietnam? Why do people keep going crazy over it?”
Let me tell you something – it’s the pure feeling of freedom and enjoyment! Imagine the spine-chilling thrill driving through gorgeous natural landscapes, the sharing and beautiful friendships with like-minded travelers established along the way, and the overwhelming sensation of only you, your best “companion” – the bike, and an open road!
BUT those amazing views can easily turn into scary-looking horror movie scenes with blood spilled and missing body parts! I know it sounds gross but you aren’t likely to make it through the traffic madness of Vietnam without these life-saving tips.
Let’s dive deeper into this matter-of-life-and-death topic!
Tip 1: Stay Out Of The Way Of Buses
Apart from motorbikes, buses are a common means of transport in Vietnam due to its cheap price and wide operation network all over the country.
One of the most hair-raising and heart-thumping experiences in Vietnam is when a “giant bus” creeps behind your back and starts launching a deafening “attack” with its horn!
Moreover, some bus drivers are “notorious” for their bold and reckless driving. They often encroach other vehicle lanes and exceed the speed limit. Thus, you’d better be clear of their way and resist challenging them if you still want to stay alive for your life Vietnam motorbike travel trip!
Tip 2: Check The Kickstand
Most of the motorbikes in Vietnam have a kickstand and it’s also the cause of many unfortunate accidents.
What would happen with a misplaced kickstand?
Well, consider this situation: you turn right at the crossroads and a terrifying-looking truck comes in the opposite direction while your bike’s kickstand leaves a screeching mark against the road’s surface.
What happens next is you lose your balance, you and your bike fall to the road, and if the oncoming truck cannot give a prompt response, you may be next on the increasing list of people who died by traffic accidents. I’m 100% serious!
So please check your kickstand carefully to ensure it’s in the right place and out of your way whenever you start your bike!
Tip 3: Make Friends With The Back Brake
The motorbike’s back brake is considered much safer than the front one. When back tires skid against the road, you still have control over your bike, which saves you from falling headfirst off the bike and making a scene on the street.
Resist using the front brake for your own safety! When the front wheel is locked up, you’ll find it hard to keep the bike upright and the next minute, your face is “kissing” the road!
Tip 4: Don’t Try To Be A Hero Or A Pioneer
You’ve seen the horrifying “spider web” of traffic in Vietnam and don’t tell me you haven’t screamed in silence with fears when taking your motorbike out for the first ride?
Well, if not, you and the Vietnam traffic may be a match made in heaven!
To be honest, engaging in traffic in Vietnam’s big cities is one of the most intimidating experiences. One big advice for foreign motorcyclists is “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Follow exactly what Vietnamese people are doing. Don’t try to be different! Don’t be the first crossing the crossroads or the only motorbike on a highway full of trucks! Don’t be the pioneer in doing anything! So keep in mind that no matter whether you take a motorbike ride by yourself or go on a Vietnam motorbike tour, just go with the flow and you’ll make it out alive!
Tip 5: Prepare Some Cash When Spotting The Police
If you are “lucky” enough to be pulled over by the police, don’t panic or waste your time arguing with them since 1. They have no clue what the hell you’re talking about and 2. They know when you play dumb.
So the fastest way to get out of this is to give them some money. Hide the biggest currency and show them the smallest amount of money you’ve got, like $10, and you’re on your way in the next few minutes!
Negotiation with the police is not uncommon in Vietnam so be my guest!
Tip 6: Purchase Health/ Travel Insurance
Before starting your Vietnam motorbike travel trip, remember to buy health/travel insurance in advance. The worst scenario that can happen without these insurances is that you find yourself badly injured in a traffic accident, taken care of by unqualified, drowsy, and careless medical staff, and stuck in a crazily hot hospital ward in the middle of nowhere with children crying and yelling!
With a Travel/ Health insurance and a valid driver’s license, you receive the best treatments from the best doctors in modern international hospitals. You see, your chance of survival is increasing so grab your insurances real soon! Read more about how to convert driving license in Vietnam.
Tip 7: Be More Cautious When Driving At Night
Night falls means the peak operation times for “bia hoi” and restaurants. Although the Vietnamese government has implemented strict control and fines over drunk driving, there is always “one scabby sheep that spoils the whole flock”.
No matter how careful you are, you may encounter a drunk guy with dreamy eyes and mistaking red light with a green one! Thus, it’s advisable to use Uber or Grab to get home in one piece!
Tip 8: Save Money For A High-quality Helmet
It’s a matter of life and death so you’d better take it seriously. A reliable and durable helmet can save you from getting your brain or skull severely damaged, or worse, getting yourself killed.
DON’T be stingy over a couple of dollars to purchase a low-quality helmet easily falling apart after impact. Which is more valuable – your life or money? Answer that question yourself!
Stay Safe And Sound Through Vietnam Traffic!
Driving a motorbike in Vietnam can be scary and risky so don’t ever let your guard down and take these life-saving tips for granted. The line between life and death is very fragile, so be a conscious and smart driver!
Stay safe and have an amazing Vietnam motorbike travel journey!