Vietnam Country Guide

Getting Around


By Motorcycle

The 110-cc motorbike (or moped) is the preferred mode of transport for the Vietnamese masses. The large cities are swarmed with them and common to see whole families of four cruising along on a single motorbike. In most places where tourists go, you can easily rent one with prices ranging from 100,000 to 160,000 dong per day. Be aware that it is illegal for foreigners to ride a motorbike here unless they have a temporary Vietnamese motorcycle licence. This in turn requires you to have a current licence issued by your home country, country of residence or an International Driving Permit.
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To convert your licence or permit into a temporary Vietnamese licence you must hold a Vietnamese residence permit of at least three months or a three-month tourist visa. If you ride unlicensed and get into an accident, injuring or killing a third party, you could be subject to imprisonment for 10-20 years, as well as pay a large sum in compensation to the victim or the victim's family. Even if your travel insurance covers you for motorcycling, if you are injured when riding illegally, the insurance company will not compensate you for your medical attention.

Traffic in Hanoi by Franzfoto

Desk clerks at small hotels and tour booths often run a side business renting motorbikes to guests. In the small towns and beach resorts where traffic is light, it's a delightful way to get around and much cheaper than taxis if you making several stops. Riding in the big cities like Ho Chi Minh City, is a different matter and not advisable with its intense and chaotic traffic that doesn't seem to follow traffic rules. Riding in the countryside and major roads between the cities can also be harrowing passing through the narrow roads and undisciplined traffic

Motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh City by Milei.vencel

Traffic police in the cities pull over lots of locals (often for reasons that are hard to discern), but conventional wisdom has it that they rarely bother foreigners due to the language barrier. However, obeying traffic laws are nevertheless advisable. Cities like Ho Chi Minh City have several one way streets, and it is easy to steer into one unknowingly as there are limited signs. Helmets have also been required by law since December 2007, so if you don't have one, ask your rental agent to provide you with one.

Country Guide
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