Do you want to rent a bicycle in Ho Chi Minh but have no idea where to even begin? We hear ya, renting a bicycle in Saigon or any Vietnam city can be a daunting prospect. Well, Hanoi has the fastest and easiest solution for you when it comes to renting a bike in Ho Chi Minh- But first, let us get started on why renting a bicycle is the perfect way to discover a Ho Chi Minh city.
Renting a bicycle in Ho Chi Minh is the most touristy thing to do
Honestly, one of the most Vietnam things you can do while visiting Ho Chi Minh is exploring via a bicycle. Not only does it get you into the spirit of living in Vietnam, but it also helps you burn some calories while on vacation . Of course, if you’re just visiting for a while, you absolutely do not want to buy a bicycle just for a short period of time. And while there are many places that rent out bicycles to tourists, you want to make sure that you don’t end up getting scammed.
That is correct! Cycling is the easiest way to go around any city in the Hanoi. Traveling by Motorbike, unfortunately, is not always the best option. You can get stuck in traffic, finding parking spots is a pain in the butt (and it’s expensive!), not to mention paying for petrol can also be quite costly. It gets even more expensive if you’re renting a motorbike just for your trip! But having a bicycle eliminates all of that! No traffic, no problem with finding a parking spot, no petrol needed, and renting a bicycle in the Saigon city is a whole lot cheaper.
How do I rent a bicycle in Ho Chi Minh
You can hardly walk around any (especially central) street without noticing a dozen rental places where you’ll be gladly helped to hire a bicycle.
Most people don’twant to commit to buying a bicycle for a short visit, so renting is a great option. Most hotels and guesthouses provide bicycle rental services to their guests or anyone who walks in the door. Be aware that the majority of rental bikes available are notwell looked after. Besides, you can also book online on google search.
You should test riding your bike before agreeing to rent it. Pay close attention to the brakes and the tyres as the are the two things that you need the most when trying to avoid an accident.
There are some places bicycl rental in Ho Chi Minh. But I recommend these fews stores as the quality of bikecycle are quite good and easy to find.
Everythings you need to know befor renting Bicycle Ho Chi Minh
When you rent a bicycle, you will put down a deposit, and you can purchase optional insurance, which will cover the cost of the bike if it is stolen and you follow a certain procedure. Most bicycle shops require that if the bike is stolen, you have filed a police report, and you must return the keys to the lock to prove you actually locked it up. If you do not have insurance and/or do not return the keys, you will have to pay the cost of the bicycle. Given the high rates of bicycle thefts each year
Always lock your bicycle! Bikes get stolen all the time, so be sure to lock it up in a designated area. Rental bikes come with a lock that is permanently attached. Besides the bike lock, you might want to rent a bicycle from one of the shops that specifically rent out inconspicuous bikes. Mine was bright orange, which would surely mean “rental bike” to any potential thief. Luckily I didn’t have any problems, but I have heard that getting a bike that is black, blue, or red is a good idea. Look around before you park your bike. If there are no other bikes in the area, it may be an illegal or unsafe place to lock up, and your bike may not be there when you return.
Guide to Buying and Renting Motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh
You’ve probably seen Vietnam on TV: from travel, cooking or motor shows or even survival experts taking their turn exploring a beautiful country.
Buying vs renting motorbikes in Saigon is probably a hard decision, many people don’t know what to choose because of many options and availability. Below are the details and facts that we would like to point out to help you decide what is the better thing to do in buying vs renting motorbikes.
Some tourists complained about Vietnam having crappy motorbikes. In fact, they selected the wrong (cheaper) choice, trying to save money. There are better choices but like anywhere else you have to stretch your budget!
You must be even more careful checking your bike before purchase. If something like the horn or wheel is not functioning, try to negotiate down the price. You can even have the bike checked by a mechanic to ensure that it’s in good shape.
Want to ride a motorbike along the whole length of Vietnam as an adventurous traveler, or take a short trip inside the city? Don’t wait anymore! Read this article carefully and get ready for your road trip. We will guide you through buying and renting motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh.
Motorbike Rental Procedures
For motorbike rental, there are different procedures depending on the rental shop and the length of the rental. If you stay in a hotel and rent a motorbike from the hotel for a few days, the hotel will not require a deposit.
If you rent directly from a rental shop, you need to give your passport to the owner until you return the motorbike or deposit an amount of money (from 1.5 million VND to 3 million VND). Leaving a passport with a shop while you travel the whole country is not ideal, so an alternative can be suggested. Often rental shops will accept a different form of valid identification or even a copy of the passport.
The rental shop will give you the blue registration card for the motorbike if you buy this motorbike. The blue card is enough evidence in Vietnam to prove ownership. However, the name cannot be changed on this card. If the blue card is lost, it can not be replaced. So take special care of it.
Cost motorbike rental and Buy in Ho Chi Minh
The rental price per day is around 80-150K VND for a manual motorbike, 150-250K VND for an auto motorbike, and more than 250K for the higher-grade motorbikes. If you rent for one month or more, the price will be lower. By the way, two helmets should always be included in the price.
The purchase price varies, especially for foreigners, 6,5 million VND to 65 million VND (300 USD to 3,000 USD), depending on the old or new model, engine capacity, manual, or auto.
Some motorbike shops deliver the motorbike directly to the airport, train station, or your hotel, but some do not. The list below includes information on reliable motorbike shops in Saigon. You can find a good shop below and contact them before arriving in Saigon a few days in advance to arrange the delivery schedule.
Things to Know When Renting and Buying a Motorbike
You must first decide which kind of motorbike to rent: automatic or manual. Automatic motorbikes are easy to use, for both experts and amateurs alike. Manual motorbikes are a little bit more complicated and require a higher level of motorbike and traffic awareness.
You must check the motorbike before renting. Ask the owner for a trial run. Then, check whether the breaks (handbrake, footbrake), lights, indicators, horn, wheels, and tires are in good condition. At least one wing mirror is required by Vietnam law. Take a video in front of the owner of the bike, this way when you return, you can’t get charged for scratches that were already on the bike.
If you are buying from a Vietnamese local, make sure you have the capability of translating. Some things are very difficult to communicate and you don’t want to miss anything. To also ensure your satisfaction, have a price in your head that is the absolute maximum. Negotiate from this price down, pointing out the flaws and greeting the seller with a smile. Another easy way to buy a bike is to rent first, then negotiate a sell if you truly like the bike. Many rental shops in Hanoi will sell their bikes for a fair price.
Pro Tip: Yamaha Nouvo Scooters are often rented or being sold, these bikes, regardless of model, all have very similar keys. This means that somebody can steal your motorbike very easily. There are key makers all over Ho Chi Minh and other cities that can make keys that work enough in any Scooter Automatic Nouvo.
Buy motorbikes form a backpacker Or a shop?
If you go to any of the backpacker districts in Vietnam, you will find hundreds of people selling their motorbikes. You can usually get a better price for a motorbike off of a backpacker, as they are often short of time when it comes to selling. But don’t be a douche bag and throw out a ridiculously low-ball price in the hopes of screwing another backpacker out of $50. Remember, we are all travellers and should all look out for each other!
Something to keep in mind when buying a motorbike off of a backpacker is that some (not all) try to spend as little money as possible on maintenance and repairs. If a biker tells you they did one oil change in 2000km, their bike is probably going to fall apart on you. You can almost tell straight away from the person and the way their bike looks whether they took care of it or not. Use your instincts.
If you buy a motorbike from a shop in Hanoi they usually do a full service before they sell it. The cost of these bikes will usually be higher, but they often come with a riding lesson and some gear. From the larger and more reputable shops they may even have a guaranteed buy-back scheme at the end of your adventure.
This is not to say buying a motorbike off of a backpacker is a bad idea – they at least know the recent history of the bike compared to a shop that just bought it from someone. Just make sure they regularly maintained it.
Read More: Buy motorbike in Ho Chi Minh.
Seling motorbikes in Vietnam
Once you have reached the end of your adventure you are going to want to sell your motorbike again. The easiest way to do this is to sell it directly to a motorbike repair shop. You will not get a great price for this, but at least you will get something and it is hassle free.
If you are desperate to get some more cash back for your bike, your best bet is to sell it to another backpacker. Go to a popular hostel in a backpacker district and make a poster. Also make an advert on an online classifieds website such as Craigslist or an expat group on facebook.
With this comprehensive guide to renting and buying motorbikes, bicycle in Hanoi, you can plan your bikes trip now.
How to get around Saigon
Just like in Bangkok, there are many different methods of getting around Saigon, and you may have to take a couple of methods to get somewhere you want to go.
Though I’ve heard a rail or subway system may be in the plan, as of now, it’s all ground transportation in Saigon.
From the Airport to the City
If you fly into Saigon, you’ll arrive at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport.
From there, the easiest way to get to your hotel is probably to take a taxi. Walk outside of the airport, take a left, and you’ll see the taxis waiting for you. Vinasun is a good brand to choose. It cost me a little under 160,000 VND to get from the airport to the Pham Ngu Lao area.
You can also take the bus, which costs just 5,000 VND (pictured above). Walk out of the airport, cross the street, and look for bus #152. The bus will take you all the way to Ben Thanh Market.
With motorbikes that control the streets and even sidewalks, Saigon is not quite as pleasant as a city for walking as somewhere like hanoi.
But that being said, I like to think of walking in Saigon as sort of like an obstacle course; You’ve got to dodge oncoming objects, jump over blockades, go around sprawling businesses, and cross the rivers of motorbike traffic.
For most of my time in Saigon, especially in the central areas of town, my wife and I walked everywhere (but we are kind of crazy for walking, we like to walk so we can eat more).
Some of the central and most famous things to do in Ho Chi Minh City are located within walking distance, if you can handle the traffic and heat (and traffic fumes).
I think walking is one the best ways to explore any city, and you can stop whenever you like, and find delicious food along your route.
By far the most noticeable way everyone that lives in Ho Chi Minh City gets around is by motorbike (also known as the scooter).
Saigon may very well be the scooter capital of the world. There’s an astounding quantity of scooters in the city.
There are two ways to join the army of motorbike scooter traffic:
- Rent a motorbike – If you have the confidence to rent and drive a motorbike yourself, there are plenty of rentals agencies, especially located in the Pham Ngu Lao area. You’ll probably pay around $10 per day.
- Motorbike taxi – On just about every corner of every street in Saigon, you’ll see men reclining on their motorbikes, sometimes sleeping, sometimes just gazing into the traffic and patiently waiting. These men are motorbike taxi drivers. For a price, they will take you anywhere in the city you want to go, small journeys usually start around 20,000 – 40,000 VND.
Take the local bus
The bus system in Saigon is actually quite good (and not too difficult to figure out if you just go up and down some of the main streets), and it’s a very cheap and safe way to get around town.
There’s a color coded map, and though it’s kind of blurry to see all the numbers and city bus routes, it does help to plan a bus route to somewhere you’d like to go.
My wife and I took the bus in Saigon many times during our stay, and some buses cost 5,000 VND and others were 6,000 VND per ride.
The biggest challenge of taking the bus in Saigon is figuring out all the one-way streets, but just study the bus map a bit, and you can easily take it at least up and down the main streets.
Before you go to Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll probably read some articles about how bad the taxis are.
Yes, there can be fakes, and drivers occasionally do some extra driving to rack up the meter. But on a whole, I thought the taxis were quite reliable, and even many of the drivers were quite friendly.
We hardly had a problem with taking any taxis when we were in Saigon, and they are very affordable, and I really like how they are almost all comfortable vans.
However, when you take a taxi in Saigon make sure you take a reliable company and pay attention to confirm the taxi is an authentic brand. Also I like to keep my phone GPS with the map open so I can follow where the taxi is going to make sure we’re on track.
Here are the main best taxi companies:
- Vinasun – Vinasun is one of the most reliable taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City, and they are also one of the largest. You’ll see Vinasun taxis, with their green and red stripe, everywhere you go in the city. Just make sure the logo is correct and make sure the phone number (38 27 27 27 – written on the side of the taxi) is correct as well.
- Mai Linh – Mai Linh is the other big taxi company in Ho Chi Minh City. Honestly though, I probably took Vinasun 90% of the time.