Questions We Are Often Asked
• Where is the best riding trip in Vietnam?
• When is the best time for riding a motorbike in Vietnam?
• How long do I ride each day?
• What weather conditions can I expect?
• I am interested in a motorbike trip in Vietnam but I do not have experience riding a motorbike; what are my options?
• Do I need to have an international driving license to drive a motorbike in Vietnam?
• Do I require insurance?
• Where do I spend my nights during my stay?
• What should I bring with me for the trip?
• What gifts should I bring with me?
• What can I expect to pay for my trek?
• Do I need to pay a deposit and if so how much?
• How do I pay you?
• I am travelling from the South up to the North; can organize a trip from HCM City to Hanoi?
• I am travelling alone, is it possible to join with another group?
• Can I bring my motorbike with me to Vietnam?
That all depends on what you want to see but going up to the Northwest Mountains, which are full of beautiful colours from the traditional dresses of the local hill tribes is a spectacle. The Central North with its steep limestone mountains is striking. But for this you need to be a fairly experienced biker. The Northeast route is relatively easy riding and the people are very friendly. You will mostly stay with host families and discover their cultures. We rely a great deal on the information you provide us for planning your perfect trek.
When is the best time for riding a motorbike in Vietnam?
There are no best times to ride a motorbike in Vietnam as our country has an extremely long longitude spanning different climatic conditions at once. Vietnam also consists of four seasons, the winter isn't too cold or the summer too hot. The autumn is sometimes heavy with rain but usually it will only rain for 1 or 2 hours, then wonderful blue sky will appear again. In the spring, mist covers the mountain tops, and even though there is cool weather it is one of the most spectacular times of year with beautiful colours of trees and flower blossom. For the most beautiful scenery of rice paddies in the mountain, the best time is from September to November.
How long do we ride each day?
This is a difficult question, but it should be no longer than 5 hours riding a day, with a stop every 1 or 2 hours. This also depends on individual driving skill, road conditions, the number of stops we make, etc. We don't stick to a tight schedule while on the road; sometimes we make a stop for a drink, take a photo, or even go for an interesting short walk in villages we stop by.
What weather conditions can I expect?
Like other countries of the region, Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate dominated by South to South-Easterly winds from May until September and Northerly to North-Easterly winds between October and April. There is a twice-yearly period of variable winds at the time of transition from the North to South monsoon. In the North of Vietnam there are more cloudy days with occasional light rain during the period of the Northeast monsoon. The South of the country is more likely to be dry and sunny at this time. In the Southern and Central areas of Indo-China, temperatures remain high around the year, but in the North there is a definite cooler season as the North monsoon brings colder air from Central China from time to time.
I am interested in a motorbike trip in Vietnam but I do not have experience riding a motorbike; what are my options?
You could ride as a pillion passenger on the bike of a guide to enjoy the trip. Or we will give you a riding course before we start the trip that will give you confidence in the road and traffic conditions.
Do I need to have an international driving license to drive a motorbike in Vietnam?
If you have a car licence most of the local insurance companies consider that you can drive a motorbike. As a result, the authorities also consider this document as acceptable. The driving licence is not a problem in Vietnam. Police are generally very tolerant of foreign drivers as long as they adhere to the local traffic regulations.
The question of having or not a motorbike driving licence mainly concerns your insurance. If you are working in Vietnam under contract for at least 6 months you could easily get a local driving licence. Otherwise, we recommend you discuss it with your insurance company.
Do I require insurance?
Our tours do not include personal insurance and you are very strongly advised to take a comprehensive policy, including medical repatriation insurance, from an insurer in your country. Go Bamboo Vietnam Motorbike Treks will not in any circumstances assume the responsibility or the expenses caused in the event of accident or disease. Any expenses incurred by Go Bamboo in such circumstances will have to be reimbursed. You are not required to insure the motorbike as all Go Bamboo vehicles are fully insured.
Where do we spend our nights during our stay?
We can stay in four different types of accommodation on our treks. In the North we can stay in home-stays, 1-2 star guesthouses and 2-3 star hotels. On the coast we can stay in 2-3 star hotels and 2-5 star cruise boats. In the South we can stay in 1-2 star guesthouses and 2-3 star hotels. On the Ho Chi Minh Trail we can stay in 1-2 star guesthouses and 2-3 star hotels. All these places are very experienced in catering to foreigners.
What should I bring with me for the trip?
Before departure we will send you a list of what should you bring with for the trip as this depends on how long the trip will be, where the trip will adventure to, and when it will be. Only then will we be able to give you specific advice on clothing, shoes, etc. You are welcome to bring your own helmets and gloves if possible as it seems there is “one size for all” (small size) available in Vietnam. Riding suits and rain-coats are available in various sizes. Last but not least, a strong pair of shoes/boots is needed. Safety at all times is the most important concern for us here at Go Bamboo. You don't need to bring with you all of your travel bags as we provide each bike with a pair of saddlebags. You can leave your bags free and with safety at any reputable hotel in Hanoi. (We can advise on and arrange bookings at such hotels.)
Here are items we generally suggest for motorbike touring: Clothing: helmet, rain gloves, rubber boots for rainy season from April to September, summer gloves, balaclava, t-shirt, socks & underwear, long sleeved shirt, turtleneck shirt, extra jeans, light jacket, leather chaps, zip-lock bags, riding boots, bandanas, sunglasses and goggles. (This is an all-seasons list. We will supply you with a more refined list dependant on the season you will be travelling in.)
Personal items: basic toiletries, emergency cash, insect repellent, sunscreen, earplugs, medications, etc. (Most of these items are unavailable in remote areas.)
Emergency items: first aid kit, emergency contact number, list medical conditions, list medications, flashlight, chargers, cable ties and duct tape.
Miscellaneous: small towel, bath towel, trash bags, bungee cords, camera and cargo net.
What gifts should I bring with me?
If you would like to come prepared with small gifts for the people and hosts you meet along the way, your thoughtfulness will always be greatly appreciated. Here are some ideas. Useful objects or typical items from your country would be appropriate. For example, a torch, a knife, or sewing kit – something simple but of quality. Pencils, pens, exercise books and other school supplies would be very helpful to local teachers in under-resourced remote villages. (These can be purchased locally in cities and larger towns). Sweets such a lollies, chocolate, chewing gum and soft drinks (Red Bull, Coke, Sprite, etc) are not suitable gifts to village children because of their health impact. Fruit, vegetables, a live duck or chicken would be greatly appreciated as a “thank you” to families in most villages.
What can I expect to pay for my trek?
The cost of your trek will vary depending on lots of factors such as the size of the bikes, so it’s best to work it out directly with Thai. Some general guidelines for the costs are as follows:
• Option one is a daily fee to cover nearly all costs i.e., motorbike hire, all fuel, experienced English-speaking local guide, all accommodation, all meals and all entrances. Not included, alcoholic drinks, tips, snacks, purchase of souvenirs.
• Option two is a daily fee to cover basic costs i.e. the experienced English-speaking local guide. Not included are the motorbike hire, fuel, accommodation, meals, entrances, alcoholic drinks, tips, snacks, purchase of souvenirs.
Do I need to pay a deposit and if so how much?
Yes, we ask for a 10% deposit in order to confirm your tour and also to cover expenses for all the necessities prior to the trip. We will give you our bank account number to transfer the deposit.For special requirements we will ask for a 30% deposit. You are advised to ask your bank how much they charge and if they have to go through a third bank before Vietcombank. Some of our customers were double charged without notice. We will provide you with our account details prior to your payment. You may also make a direct payment through Western Union.
How do I pay you?
On the tour we accept payment in cash, in $US, EURO and/or VND. Payments can also be made by bank transfer to Vietcombank or Western Union.
I am travelling from the South up to the North; can you organize a trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi?
We are based in Hanoi but we also organize trips from Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hoi An and Hue all to Hanoi. The Ho Chi Minh City Trail trip, passing by Laos, can be started either in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, whichever you prefer.
I am travelling alone, is it possible to join with another group?
We can customise an individual trip for you. Joining a group will make the cost lower and we will try to link you with another group if you prefer. Keep in mind that both your needs and riding skills have to be similar; or if any member of the group has special requirements, for example taking photos, you will have to agree to meet the other group's needs.
Can I bring my motorbike with me to Vietnam?
Vietnam no longer allows the importation of used motorbikes. Capacity limit for Vietnamese citizens is under 175cc, no limit for foreigners. If you have a work permit and an international driving licence, you can bring your own bike to Vietnam and register it under your name. However, when you leave Vietnam, you have to take your bike out of the country or sell it very cheaply.