An interesting fact is that according to the 2023 statistics, Vietnam has the highest motorcycle usage rate in the Southeast Asia region. It won’t be difficult for you to discover that motorbikes are the most common mode of transportation in Vietnam and can be easily spotted in every corner when you set foot in the country. Exploring Vietnam on a motorbike has become an excellent experience and undoubtedly promises unique experiences. Currently, motorbike travel in Vietnam is becoming increasingly popular and has become a trend in recent years.
Why is motorcycle travel becoming a popular trend in Vietnam?
With the existing advantages in terms of geography and history, Vietnam continues to promote international tourism. The noteworthy result is that in 2023, the search volume for tourism in Vietnam from international tourists ranked the country sixth in the world. While travel agencies organizing tours are familiar to tourists, motorbike tours and self-guided motorbike travel are gaining more interest from international tourists. It is worth noting that the trend of tourists exploring Vietnam on motorbikes is increasing, and this is due to the following benefits.
First, it provides an adventurous experience, making the journey more exciting. It offers the feeling of being in control of the handlebars and navigating the route in a unique way, wandering on roads, enjoying the rare natural beauty, and importantly, experiencing closeness with the local culture and people.
Mr. Kien, the founder of AZ MOTORBIKES (https://azmotorbikes.com/ ), one of the professional motorbike rental companies in Vietnam, says: “Up to 90% of our customers choose motorbike travel because of the love for the feeling of being in control of the handlebars on these bikes and wanting to explore Vietnam in their own way.”
Second, it provides freedom and flexibility. Each traveller will write their own exploration story. They can schedule their destinations and routes, especially without being restricted by time, allowing stops anywhere and anytime, rather than following a pre-planned tour schedule.
If your upcoming destination is Vietnam, and you plan to explore the country on a motorcycle, you are sure to find useful information in this article.
Basic Information about Motorbikes in Vietnam
How are motorcycles classified in Vietnam?
In Vietnam, the classification of motorcycles goes beyond just the engine size; it extends to various criteria. Below 50cc, they are considered lightweight motorcycles, suitable only for short distances. From 50cc to 175cc, these are medium-sized and small motorcycles, widely used, accounting for up to 90% of the total traffic. Above 175cc, motorbikes are referred to as “big bikes” often preferred by speed enthusiasts.
Based on usage type, motorbikes are classified into scooters, semi-automatic, and manual transmission. Besides, they are also classified based on their purpose of use.
Travel bikes require powerful engines, compact and easy-to-use designs. On the other hand, commuter bikes are designed for daily commuting, focusing on fuel efficiency and lightweight design. Meanwhile, “big bikes” symbolize style and passion for conquering racetracks.
Additionally, electric bikes are gaining popularity in Vietnam, known for being environmentally friendly and emitting no greenhouse gases.
Which motorbike brands are popular in Vietnam?
In Vietnam, Honda and Yamaha are longstanding and reputable motorbike brands. They are the top choices for the quality of products they offer. For semi-automatic, the Honda Wave is highly popular due to its compact design, light weight (around 99 kg on average), fuel efficiency, and the engine operates with remarkable power despite being only 110cc. For scooters, Honda Vision and Honda Air Blade are the most popular choices, meeting criteria for easy use and smooth operation. Larger capacity motorbikes such as Yamaha NVX and Honda SH (125cc-155cc) are becoming more popular in recent years with their sporty and dynamic designs. In the manual transmission category, Honda Winner X and Yamaha Exciter (both 150cc) stand out with high recognition.
Yamaha NVX 125-155cc
Is it easy to find big bikes in Vietnam?
The above commonly used motorbikes are easily seen everywhere on the streets of Vietnam, especially in densely populated areas like city centres. Considering the current infrastructure of Vietnam, high-speed driving is not allowed in densely populated areas. Combining with the demand for only driving within the residential area, it is considered suitable.
If you are looking for big bikes or off-road bikes, they may be less common, but specialized stores can still be found. Some popular options include CB 500X, CRF 250-300cc, and CB500X.
What services related to motorcycles are available in Vietnam?
In Vietnam, renting a motorbike is a popular choice for tourists. Many tourist destinations and large cities have motorbike rental shops for travelers to move freely and explore the local tourism environment, as well as embark on self-guided long-distance motorbike tours. The rental process is straightforward and may require a security deposit depending on the shop.
Honda XR 150cc
If you want to buy a motorbike, it is not too challenging, and the process is quick once an agreement is reached on the price. However, it’s essential to note that when buying a motorcycle, it must have vehicle registration ( blue card) to avoid purchasing a stolen bike, which is illegal in Vietnam.
Moreover, motorbike repair services are always available in Vietnam. Repair shops can be easily found everywhere. Whether you rent a motorbike or own one in Vietnam, it’s crucial to know basic information to maintain the bike, ensuring its smooth operation over time.
Which type of motorbike is suitable for travelling in Vietnam?
If you haven’t been to Vietnam or it’s your first time, this question might be confusing. With the information provided above, you should have a general overview of the types of motorbike in Vietnam. However, the diversity of options may still be overwhelming when making a decision.
Mr. Kien, the owner of AZ MOTORBIKES ( one of the professional motorbike rental and tour unis in Vietnam) with 10 years of motorbike experience and motorbike tour management says: “ We often receive questions from customers such as: Is it safe to ride a scooter to Ha Giang? or Can we ride a Honda Wave to Sapa with two people and luggage? or Do you have a bike over 150cc suitable for a one-month trip from Hanoi to HCM?…Although customers may have some knowledge about motorbikes, they still need more specific advice.”
He also provides recommendations to choose a bike based on various factors such as riding experience, the terrain of the travel destination, and personal preferences. Here are some suggestions you should consider.
Firstly, small scooters with engine capacities of 110cc, such as Vision or Air Blade, are excellent choices for travelling within tourist areas with easy roads or for foreign tourists with long-term residency plans in Vietnam.
For scooters with engine capacities up to 155cc, like NVX, they are suitable for commuting within the city or suburbs, and even on hilly mountain roads.
Honda Air Blade 110cc
Secondly, semi-automatic bikes like Honda Wave (110cc) and Honda Future (125cc) are compact and lightweight, capable of handling both easy roads and hilly mountain roads.
Honda Wave 110cc
Thirdly, manual transmission bikes like Winner X (150cc) and Exciter (150cc) with powerful engines are perfect for long-distance trips.
Honda Winner X 150cc
If you love adventure and off-road riding, the following options are suitable for you.
Yamaha WR 150cc, Honda XR 150cc, CRF 250cc, CRF 300cc: Reliable choices suitable for the diverse terrain of Vietnam, popular for motorbike tours, handling all types of terrain and providing a powerful experience.
CB 500X: Ideal for long-term trips and riders with rich experience and a passion for speed. With a 500cc engine, it offers stable power and good handling on all types of terrain.
Should you buy or rent a motorcycle when travelling in Vietnam?
When travelling to Vietnam, the decision to buy or rent a motorbike should be based on personal needs, plans, and the duration of stay or travel.
Renting a motorbike is a suitable choice for short trips, especially if you don’t want to worry about maintenance issues (rental agencies will take care of that). It’s also a cost-effective option for those planning to use a motorbike for a few days or weeks.
Meanwhile, buying a motorcycle provides more flexibility in using the bike according to your personal preferences. The one-time cost of purchasing a motorcycle may be more reasonable if you plan to use it for an extended period. However, this also implies that you will be responsible for maintaining the bike to ensure its strong and stable performance.
Key Points for Motorbike Travel in Vietnam
The following points are based on the insights shared by Mr. Kien, who manages Az Motorbikes. With over 10 years of experience in the field, his shares are undoubtedly valuable.
SHOULD I BE CONCERNED WITH MOTORBIKES BRANDS?
The popularity of a brand reflects its recognition and the quality of the bikes. In Vietnam, Honda and Yamaha are the leading brands, trusted for their quality. People rely on them, and most bikes are from these two brands. If you hear that a bike is from China or Thailand, it’s worth considering. However, if the bike has a good running engine, it’s safe to use.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN SELECTING A BIKE TO RENT OR BUY?
Whether renting or buying, the first crucial step is to test the bike to check its running engine. Secondly, pay attention to the fuel gauge and the odometer system on the screen. Smart electronic screens are a plus, but not all bikes are equipped with them. Thirdly, horns, lights, and brakes are essential components. At Az Motorbikes, every bike undergoes regular maintenance, ensuring they are always ready for rent or sale.
For renting, you should also check for scratches or damaged parts, inform the rental staff, and take photos or videos if necessary. Choose rental providers with contracts to secure your rights and carefully read the terms.
When buying, each bike has a registration ( blue card). Verify the information on it with the bike to avoid purchasing a bike with fake documents, which is illegal in Vietnam.
Motorbike registration ( Blue card)
WHAT IS THE BEST MOTORBIKE FOR TRAVELLING?
“The best bike” should be understood as a bike that meets the requirements of powerful performance and good handling on all roads. For travel purposes, recommended bikes have a capacity of 125cc or more for scooters. You don’t need to worry about manual or semi-automatic bikes as they handle roads well. Note that for motorbike travel, every 800-1200 … km (depending on the bike type), users need to change the oil.
SHOULD I TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE AGE OF THE BIKE WHEN RENTING OR BUYING?
Many customers believe that the older the bike, the worse its performance. However, this is only true if the bike is not regularly maintained and checked. It’s important to understand that older bikes may occasionally encounter issues with the battery, electrical system, etc., and their rent or sale prices are often lower. In Vietnam, there’s a saying, “You get what you pay for,” so you must accept this if you rent or buy an older bike.
Tran Manh Kien, the third-runner up of Manhunt Competition 2022
Born and raised in Hanoi with a family tradition in motorcycle repair, he started his entrepreneurial journey with just 20 motorcycles for rent under the name AZ MOTORBIKES. Currently, AZ MOTORBIKES owns a variety of high-quality motorbikes for rent and offers professionally organized motorbike tours. Additionally, AZ MOTORBIKES also provides motorbikes for sale and motorbike repair. Their commitment is to deliver top-quality services that meet your needs.