You want to hire our bike(s) and then enjoy the ride without worrying about the roads, bike works and repairs or possibly you don’t know mechanic basics? You have found a right company. We supply you bike(s) and a professional guide who knows everything about our bikes. In addition, he will lead you where you want to go and helps with finding places to eat and stay. This means you can enjoy the ride, order your own food and choose any hotel you want and leave the rest to us. The final cost of semi guided tours might not be cheaper than our all-inclusive guided tours but you have total flexibility and freedom.
Vietnam is a developing country and standards are different (in fact lower) than Western countries. Some people complained about hard mattresses in hotels or small and simple restaurants. Please don’t use Western standards when travelling in a country like Vietnam. We saw a sign in Thailand and it said “Thailand is still a developing country and you will have a different experience. If you want to feel at home then stay home.” Please be aware of this fact, especially if this is your first time to Vietnam.
Our office is in a small alleyway, not on the main street. Please save or print this page to find us in Hanoi. Navigating Hanoi traffic is not easy but once you get used to it you will love the way it works.
INCLUDING ON SEMI GUIDED TOURS
You hire any type of bike that you handle best. Bike details are in this link, all Japanese Honda motorbikes from 150cc to 250cc. Vietnam Offroad doesn’t use Chinese copy cats or any other brands, we stick with just Honda (Honda doesn’t sponsor our business). Your guide will ride the same type of bike in case you want to swap on the road.
A professional motorcyclist who is also a tour leader will guide you throughout the trip. The guide speaks English, Vietnamese, and some local dialects and is honest in providing information as it is. In addition, he takes care everything about the motorcycle(s), finds the roads you want to ride and helps with hotel room reservation and ordering food. The guide carries a tool kit and spare parts. All in all, he adds much more value to your whole experience on semi guided tours.
You simply follow the guide. On a quiet road, you may ride in front of him but at a crossing, you should stop and wait for him because he knows which direction to take. You can start a day ride at around 9am and end it before dark. Riding in the dark is not advisable because trucks, cars, and motorbikes usually use high beam which makes it extremely dangerous since you see nothing. FYI, most of the serious accidents happen at night.
It’s your own trip but we assist in designing a frame. Based on this rough itinerary, you can sit down and discuss with your guide exactly what you do for the next day. There is no pressure to push it hard, do it at your tempo.
We are with you from the moment you click the Send button until you return to Hanoi. Our staff will provide information and do the best to get you on the right track or solve any issue occurring during your holiday.
NOT INCLUDING ON YOUR SEMI GUIDED TOURS
A filling station is easy to find and your guide knows where the best one is located. There are at least two gas stations in every town (every 5 or 10km), the longest distance between gas stations in North Vietnam is about 50km. You pay all fuel for your bike(s) and the leader’s bike.
Our guide will help with finding places to eat. You order your own food that you like. The guide’s food will be paid by you, we suggest to try well-cooked Vietnamese food and the guide will translate your request to the restaurants if needed. Most restaurants have a menu with prices printed. Restaurants may look small and simple but the food is great. On average between 5-8$US per person, you will have a delicious dinner or lunch. Breakfast goes for around 3$US/person.
Our guide will help with finding places to stay overnight. You choose which hotel to stay. The guide’s room will be paid by you. He may stay in the same hotel or a different hotel. To get a real insight into Vietnam, we recommend local home stays wherever possible. The condition is basic but this is where you experience a real Vietnam, your guide knows many places where the host families welcome foreigners. One thing you may need to know is hotels in Vietnam use hard mattresses because in Vietnam people don’t use very soft mattresses. Homestay costs about 6$US/person and a decent hotel room costs 15-25$US/room/night. You could share a room with our guide.
First, none of the foreign licenses is valid in Vietnam, including your country license. There are conflicting reports about this but the reality is unfortunately not a good news.
However, the good news is IDP (international driving permit) is now valid in Vietnam from August 1st 2016 with the 46/2016/ND-CP decree. You can purchase an insurance policy easily when you have an IDP. Please also bring your home country driving license with motorbike endorsement.
In case you have no IDP or Vietnamese driving license, the police rarely stop you to check license unless you do something wrong. It’s more to do with personal medical insurance that we cover below.
This is another very important thing for planning semi guided tours by motorbike in Vietnam.
We don’t require any sort of license to book a trip but it’s more about insurance. Most of the insurance companies don’t provide a policy that covers a motorbike tour accident if you don’t have a Vietnamese driving license. Sadly, it’s impossible to get a Vietnamese license with a tourist visa. You need a business visa of at least three months, a work permit, a sponsor company and a valid passport. All these documents should be translated into Vietnamese at a notary office and a license will be issued after 7 or 10 days. It’s just too complicated and time-consuming. With just a normal personal medical insurance you will still be covered about 19 hours a day when not riding because we only ride about 5 hours a day on average. Some companies like CHI Insurance, World Nomads, and Allianz didn’t require a local driving license and covered larger displacements.
Even Vietnam doesn’t recognize any foreign license but take it easy you will be ok. We don’t need a license to join our tours or hire our bikes. More details are at this link.
Tipping is popular in Vietnam now. There is no percentage or the certain amount we suggest. You may not need to tip at restaurants and hotels but at home stays and your guide if you think they are delivering good services.
Tickets and permits
These things are cheap, you pay the admission tickets and permits were requested. The most expensive is a permit to visit border areas in Ha Giang for between 15 to 20$US.
The cost for taking a ferry, boat or train will be paid by you. Your guide will help with the paperwork or buying tickets.
GPS works in Vietnam, please check with your dealer about necessary software and/or updates. Broadband Internet connection is available almost everywhere and you can find a public Internet cafe easily. The cost for using broadband Internet is quite cheap (1$US = 4-5 hours). In addition, many hotels offer free Wifi. Electricity is also available nationwide but there can be a shortage in summer and power-cut is common between May and August (luckily, not normally at night!).
Officially, you can’t own or buy a bike or ride it with a tourist visa and Vietnam has not accepted foreign and international driving licenses yet. However, traffic police tend to ignore foreigners as very few of them speak English. If they stop you, they will let you go in a few minutes. However, if you violate the traffic regulations, a small tip of 100,000 VND is the solution.
The traffic looks very crazy at first, but it’s not that bad. It’s like a river and when you are in it, you have to flow. The first rule is no rules.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any question, suggestion or recommendation about our Semi Guided Tours by motorbike in Vietnam.