Tips For Renting a Motorbike in Vietnam


In case you don’t know yet, Vietnam is the land of motorbikes. People use motorbikes for different purposes (hell, even as lighters!). As a native Vietnamese with a wealth of knowledge on motorbikes in Vietnam, I can assure you that if you ever plan to travel to Vietnam, regardless of visiting big cities like Hanoi or Saigon or rural mountains and coastal towns, only through motorbikes will your Vietnam trip experience be the best.

 

 

Renting a motorbike is fairly easy: you pay and you get to ride one for a day or for a negotiated time duration. But then if everything was that easy then I wouldn’t have to write an entire article to guide you through the process, right? For those of you who’re unfamiliar to motorbikes in Vietnam when you go here, I’d recommend that you read through this article.

First off, the PRICE. Most of the time you may enter Vietnam through Ho Chi Minh city or Hanoi then try to start an adventure with the motorbike to experience a trip to Vietnam from there. Before we go in numbers, pay attention first though, that the price for pretty much everything in Vietnam will be negotiable. Normally a good motorbike rental place would allow you to rent in one city and return it in another city. In big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, it’s not too difficult to find a place to rent a motorbike, even easier to find a place to repair them.

The average price per day in Hanoi will be around 150,000 to 200,000 VND per day (roughly $6.6 to $8.8) and in Ho Chi Minh city is 250,000 VND a day (roughly $11). Pricing can be cheaper in other places, for example, in Da Nang I rented a 115cc Yamaha Jupiter for a full day at 130,000 (roughly $5.7). If you aren’t happy with a negotiated price that the dealer gives you, feel free to walk away and seek out other places. As I said above, there are so many places to rent from, you won’t have a problem finding another one. However, do keep in mind that the above prices are the most common ones you’d find here.

Tips For Renting a Motorbike in Vietnam

Oh I almost forgot this too. If you are living in Vietnam for short and or long term you may consider renting a MONTHLY motorbike which will cost you around 900.000 to 1 million VND ($42-$44/month) for a scooter and slightly cheaper for a semi-manual motorbike. For those who plan to stay longer than a year, I strongly recommend that you BUY, not rent, a second-hand, semi-manual motorbike. Why? It’s fairly cheap, versatile, easy to maintain and repair when needed, as motorbike workshops are as common as a street hot dog vendor in Vietnam and they sell spare parts for your motorbike too! And the price to rent it for more than a year is already just as costly or even more expensive than the price you pay for when you buy it.

If you need consultation on buying motorbikes for short or long-term stay, contact me at anytime through my work e-mail: sm2@vietcenter.com.

Now during my work at Vietcenter, I was often asked this question, most of the time coming from tourists who visit Vietnam for the first time:

“Do I have to handover my actual passport when renting a motorbike in Vietnam?”

No. Well initially it sounds reasonable because your passport serves as sort of a fail-safe deal mechanism that ensures you won’t disappear along with the motorbike into the wilderness. You won’t do that, I know, but the rental owners don’t trust you that much because motorbike theft is common here. Many rental places will ask to hold your actual passport once you rent the motorbike, some even ask for your intended destination (if you rent for a long period of time, say, two days or more).

So in this case, what should you do? Hand them your passport? No. Give them a copy of your passport along with your visa page instead. Never hand over your actual passport since this is just too risky, as with every other important personal security documents. In less reliable rental places, they may also ask you to pay more than the negotiated price once you get the motorbike back. Wait, what did you do? You didn’t do anything, but hey, there’s a scratch of damage on the motorbike from God knows when. Of course from their perspective, you must be responsible and take care of the bike you rented.

Solution: Try to make a research and find a reliable place and rent the bike to get less trouble in case you damage the bike (of course you have to fix the bike and make it just like how it was when you rent the motorbike). Also, just to be safe, inspect the motorbike for damages and take a picture of it as a proof before renting that you by no means harmed the motorbike during your rental period.

where to rent a motorbike in Vietnam

Spending time to review the outward aspects of the motorbike for damages before renting can save you from a world of pain and an unnecessary quarrel with the rental guy once you return the motorbike.

Get a short drive and test the motorbike before renting

Now we’ve discussed the outside, let’s discuss the inside of the motorbike. Your best bet is to have a test ride and make sure that the engine runs well, the breaks are operating smoothly and also to show the owner that you double check the motorbike in front of him. The breaks are the most important part of the motorbike you going to ride especially if you intend to ride into the countryside and ride for long journeys. Safety is the first and foremost priority. Also, normally when you rent the motorbike they probably have enough fuel to keep you happy for a day, but if they don’t, ask the rental guy to show you the nearest gas station or just ask them to fill her up, at a charged fee.

Ah, and when testing the motorbike, check out other details such as tyres, handling controls, lights and horn too. You know, just in case. Inform the rental guy rightaway if you experience problems with any of the above.

How long can one drive per day?

This is for safety reasons, again. It depends on the type of motorbike you’re renting too. If you rent a small-sized, small engine motorbike like the one I rented in Da Nang and ride through the northern mountainous roads of Vietnam then this might be something like going of not more than 100km/a day since the roads are not well maintained, plus the uphill slopes will give you a hell of a pain in the butt due to the pathetic engine of your motorbike. If you manage to rent a fully manual, 150cc and above motorbike then your life will be made much easier. For scooters, it is best if you travel no more than 200km/a day on well-maintained and flat roads in the river deltas.

vietnam motorbike trip - vietnam tour pedia

So far these are the things that you should bear in mind when renting motorbikes in Vietnam. One can say the Vietnamese people are nice and really helpful and friendly and eager to help foreigners at any occasion. However, since this job is somewhat related to profit, some people are be more willing to trade off their dignity and accountability for more profit. Still, not everyone is like that, and well, every coin has two sides.

And as I’d tell some frustrated inexperienced tourists, take it easy and love Vietnam like I do.

David Nguyen,

Vietnam Tour Pedia

Add: 3rd Floor, No 23, Alley 37/2, Dich Vong Street, Cau Giay Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (+84) 4 6281 6212/13 | Fax: (+84) 4 6281 6210 | Mobile: (+84) 904830800. Email: sm1@vietcenter.vn | Skype: yen.hh