4 Epic Motorbike Tours in Vietnam
These four Vietnam motorcycle tour routes are truly worthy of adding to your SE Asia bucket list!
These epic Motorcycle Routes in Vietnam should not be missed. Ask travelers who have been to Vietnam and they will tell you one of the best ways to see this beautiful country is traveling on your own bike and on your own timetable. I am an affiliate for BikesBooking as well as other affiliate programs, so I may earn a commission if you purchase through my links on this post.
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Whether you explore by motorcycle, scooter, quad, and bicycle these route are the most beautiful way to explore Vietnam. in Southeast Asia.
Hai Van Pass, Vietnam
Made famous by globally-renowned TV show, Top Gear, it’s one of the world’s most iconic motorbike trails: the Hai Van Pass in Vietnam. Winding its way between the gorgeous imperial cities of Hue and Hoi An (or Da Nang, depending on your route), it’s been called ‘the best coastal road in the world’, a 21 kilometer stretch of tarmac that sees lush greenery on one side and absolutely inspiring azure waters and white sands on the other.
Rising up over part of the Annamite mountain range, the pass is named for the mist that often emanates from the sea, cloaking it and making it slightly tricky to navigate.
Historically the division between the Dai Viet and Champa kingdoms, it became more of a standard travel route, although a very challenging one! With heaps of hairpin turns and ‘elbow’ bends, traversing this road is not for the faint-hearted. That’s why, nowadays, most people will use the tunnel beneath it for day to day travel with the pass itself really only for tourists seeking adventure. This is truly one of the most beautiful and iconic motorbike tours in Vietnam.
While the trip over the pass itself will only take about 30 minutes, the entire journey is definitely a fantastic day trip. Whether you start in Hue or on the Da Nang or Hoi An side, there are many picturesque places to stop – from rolling ricefields and quaint fishing villages to Lang Co or My Khe Beach, or the legendary Marble Mountains.
Regardless of your route, make sure you factor in enough time for all of the stops, to rest and refuel – it’s a long day on the back of a motorbike, with a hair-raising thrill perched right in the middle of this scenic motorbike tour of Vietnam.
Ride time: Full day
Start Location: Hue, the Da Nang or Hoi An
Contributed by James and Lee Scrivener from The Travel Scribes.
Ha Giang Extreme Motorbike Loop
Ha Giang is Vietnam’s northern-most province, lining the Chinese border. The North of Vietnam is filled with towering mountains, deep valleys, winding rivers, and overall breathtaking views. Ha Giang attracts its visitors with its gorgeous scenery, diversity, ethical villages and curvy roads surrounded all over by high karst plateaus.
Unlike the famous Sapa, which everyone has heard of, Ha Giang is a lesser-known and much less explored region often described as the most beautiful place in the North of the country, and the best way to explore it is on a motorbike.
The Ha Giang Extreme Motorbike Loop is a motorbike journey in the Ha Giang Province and a trip to remember. Starting and finishing in Ha Giang, the loop length can vary depending on where do you want to go and how much time do you have. You can complete the loop in 2 days, but with so much to see and enjoy on the way, I’d recommend you spare more time. In general, three days are enough to traverse 220+ miles (350+ kilometers) and see some of Ha Giang’s highlights. Food, accommodation, and ATMs are found along the way.
The most interesting places to visit on the way are the Lung Cu Flag Tower, the last stop before China, and the Ma Pi Leng Pass – my favorite spot on that journey. The Ma Pi Leng Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1 500m above sea level. It’s known to be the most jaw-dropping mountain road in all of Vietnam, as well as the King of the Vietnamese mountain passes. The views in that part of the ride are astonishing.
Please note that to embark on this journey, you must get a permit to enter the border area. Also, from 31 October 2018, it is now mandatory for all foreign riders in Ha Giang to have a Vietnamese license or International Driving Permit (IDP).
Distance: 220+ miles (350+ kilometers)
Ride time: 2 days
Start Location: Ha Giang
End Location: Ha Giang
Contributed by Bilyana from Owl Over The World
Hội An by Bike
Hội An, the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Town in Central Vietnam is renowned for its beautiful waterways and historic architecture, but whilst its popular and atmospheric town center is often busy, far fewer tourists explore its surrounding farmland and island network.
Exploring this area on bike is one of the best things to do in Vietnam, with a day outing giving visitors the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in local life. A local group of university students, keen to practice their English actually runs free cycling tours around this area, in return for conversation and the chance to chat to English-speakers. They’ve become so well-known for the excellent tours that they’re listed as one of the top things to do in Hội An on Tripadvisor now.
Meeting up at the edge of Hội An on Hai Bà Trưng Street, you head straight down to the water to jump on the small local boat with your bike (this costs 50,000 VND) to cross the Thu Bồn river.
This stunning cycling route takes in the beautiful unspoiled countryside, with stops at Kim Bong Village, Tra Que Vegetable Village and Cam Thanh Water Coconut Village.
You can stop and chat with the locals, and learn how they weave bamboo mats and baskets, make rice noodles, or harvest rice using water buffalo. It’s an idyllic route, weaving between rice paddies, tiny fishing villages, and offering rural scenes that few tourists have the opportunity to appreciate during their time in Hội An.
You can even stop at Huynh family temple, a traditional local temple with a huge family tree on it where local couples come to check they’re not already related before getting married!
It takes around 4 hours to cycle the route, which is completely flat and well-marked, and you can of course follow this route alone and without the company of the university students. The islands are located directly opposite the main town center of Hội An, and you access the first island via Cầu Cẩm Kim bridge. As cycling is one of the main modes of transport in Hội An, you’ll have no trouble finding bikes, and it’s very likely your accommodation will provide these too. Shared by Clare from Stoked to Travel.
Ride time: 4 hours
Contributed by Claire Stokes from Stoked to Travel.
Sapa, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos
This route from Sapa, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos is roughly 670km and includes the highest pass in Vietnam, an international border crossing, many pleasant towns, and an optional boat ride. By bicycle, it’s an epic journey of at least 10-12 days, or 4-6 by motorbike, but most people will want to spend several extra days enjoying towns along the way.
Beginning in the popular mountain village of Sapa, highway 4D climbs dramatically over the highest pass in Vietnam surrounded by views of jagged Mount Fansipan. Follow route 12 through the countryside and a few towns to bustling Dien Bien Phu, then climb steep and winding road 279 up to the border with Laos at Tay Trang (check visa requirements in advance).
From the border, you’ll coast down into Laos on quiet highway 2E through more lush greenery to the riverside town of Muang Khua. From here cyclists can take an optional shortcut via “slow boat” on the Nam Ou River, with a stop at the relaxing village of Muang Ngoy (don’t miss the hike to the scenic viewpoint) before taking to the road again in Nong Khiaw.
Highway 13 takes riders south on the final stretch to iconic Luang Prabang and the Mekong River, the perfect place to rest, enjoy delicious Laotian food, and explore beautiful temples. This section is a highlight of bicycle touring in Laos, which is saying a lot since much of the country is fabulous for biking.
This ride covers a variety of roads, from small barely-paved lanes to steep mountain climbs to substantial highways. Traffic is mostly light but riders should copy the local driving style, flowing smoothly with traffic and yielding to larger vehicles. Highlights throughout the route include excellent food, curiosity and friendliness from locals, and abundant scenic beauty.
Ride time: 10-12 days by bicycle | 4-6 days by motorbike
Start Location: Sapa, Vietnam
End Location: Luang Prabang, Laos
Contributed by Alissa Bell from Exploring Wild
Vietnam Motorbike Rental
How to Rent a Motorcycle, Scooter or Bike in Vietnam
BikesBooking.com is an online booking service for motorcycles, scooters, quads, and bicycles all over the world. 50,000 vehicles are available for booking in more than 2,000 locations around the world.
- BikesBooking provides an alternative to car rentals
- The service is a key player in the online booking market for motorcycle and bicycle transport
- Unique base of rental transport (mountain and road bikes, scooters, Vespa mopeds, road and off-road motorcycles, Harley Davidson motorcycles, quads, and buggies)
- Car rental websites can’t offer the same transportation options
- Best price guarantee
- Over 2,000 pick-up locations around the world
International Drivers Permits
There are currently only two places that are authorized to sell International Drivers Permits. They can be obtained from AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). There are many places online that offer them, but the two providers listed here are the only two authorized by the US State Department to issue them. If you are planning on traveling to Europe, it is extremely helpful to obtain one, and the cost is low – you can expect to pay little more than $20 for an international drivers permit. In some locations it is mandatory to carry an IDP in order to rent a car. There are also instances where you can be fined for not having one should you be pulled over by the police.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are a few recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis. Click here for a DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses and Oregon Coast Travel alerts..
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.