Renting a motorbike is a great opportunity to get off the beaten track and discover Vietnam on your own. That is if you are able to deal with the manic traffic and less than stringent road rules.
Tigit Motorbikes, Office: 72 Nguyen Co Thach, An Loi Dong Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh,Vietnam.
Your passport will be kept as security, other than the motorbike rental fees, you do not need to pay additional money for security.
Prices of the motorbike rental are about VND 120,000 – 300,000 per day, depending on the make, model, engine size, manual or auto transmission. The common rentals are the Yamaha Nouvo, SYM Attila, and the Honda Airblade.
There are many places in tourist areas such as Pham Ngu Lao in Ho Chi Minh City and the Old Quarter in Hanoi that rent bikes to foreigners. You will need to fill out a form to rent the bike along with leaving your passport as a deposit and most places offer a selection of manual shift and automatic shift motorbikes. The rentals will also come with a helmet and remember that helmet use is mandatory in Vietnam.
So if you have the intestinal fortitude to get on the open road, we have compiled together a few tips for you to rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh.
How to rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh?
When you rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh you will need to provide your passport or for longer term rentals a copy of your passport. Most rental places will accept payment when you return the bike after your ride.
In most cases the rental place will not provide you with any paperwork, no contract / agreement and no registration for the bike. This could be a problem if you are stopped by the police which is very unlikely unless you have an accident.
Also note that most places will not ask for a driving licence, most foreigners in Vietnam are unlicensed but this is changing as getting a license is getting easier. If you plan to be here for more than a few months, get a licence.
The automatic motorbike is the easiest to handle, better to ride in metropolitan areas, and suitable for beginner drivers. The manual requires hand and feet coordination. And big engine bikes are for experienced riders only and suitable for the rugged roads in the countryside.
Should you rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh?
Don’t take this question too lightly. If you are not an experienced rider and want to ride around just for fun then be very careful. Exhaust pipe burns, scraped skin and hospital visits are not fun.
Yes, the traffic in Ho Chi Minh is not as busy as in Hanoi City or Danang but riding here is still a challenge. It is even more challenging when it is wet, windy or when the roads are extra busy during national holidays.
The cost of motorbike taxis or even regular taxis are quite cheap so maybe you are better off letting someone else do the driving.
In the event of an accident your insurance may not cover you unless you are licensed to ride in Vietnam, some insurance companies consider motorbike riding an adventure sport and don’t cover it.
How Much? Motorbike Rental Hanoi cost
The company will usually charge per 24 hours. When you rent for a day. the price you pay will vary depending on where you are, whether the bike is older or new, and an automatic or a manual one. In some places, you may have a discount for a weekly rental, most will for a monthly hire term.
If you intend to hire this motorbike for a long time (over a week), make sure you have a good deal with the company. (especially in peak seasons insist on a daily rate for how many days you hire)
Budget is about 120.000 to 200.000 VND per day or 800.000 to 1.200.000 VND for monthly rental. It depends on your motorbike preference.
Note that motorbikes rental prices in popular tourist destinations in Ho Chi Minu are higher compared to less touristy areas. If you plan to rent a scooter in Phuket, I recommend getting a bigger Motorbikes than 50cc.
I recommend renting a scooter from a scooter rental that looks trustworthy. Renting a scooter from your hotel is a good option although it will cost you more. But as we’re talking about a few dollars difference, it is a less risky option than to rent from a business that looks suspicious.
Some places for Hanoi Motorbike Rental
It is not difficult to rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh ( Saigon city ). There are several variants: Follow this Link.
small hotels and hotels.
You can hardly walk around any (especially central) street without noticing a dozen rental places where you’ll be gladly helped to hire a scooter.
If you are staying at a small hotel you’ll probably be told about such nearest places at the reception. They even can bring you a bike or something to the hotel as hotel owners often have contracts with the owners of motor transport.
If they don’t provide such a service, it’s enough to walk along the second and the third lines of Hanoi.
One more method of hiring motor transport in Saigon is getting in touch with the foreigners living there a long time and running some bike rental business. We’d advise you to turn to our good acquaintances – guys from the Moto Vietnam and they not only will help you to choose a good and suitable bike but will also give you some recommendations and several motorbike riding lessons.
More article: Tips for buying the right motorbike in Ho Chi Minh.
There are some places motorbike rental in Ho Chi Minh. But I recommend these fews stores as the quality of motorbikes are quite good and easy to find:
Safety Inspection and Checks
Before you set off, make sure you give a thorough check of the motorbike. The company will usually go over the bike and make a list of any dents, scratches and damage it might already have which you will be asked to witness. Pay attention when this is done as the contracts you are about to sign says that you hired the bike in prime condition. If it comes back with any additional marks you will be charged for this and be careful some companies motorbike rental Ho Chi Minh make alot of extra income this way.
Here are things you should check for.
1) Inspect the bike for existing damage and take photo’s on your phone
2) Sit on the bike and bounce up and down – make sure the suspension is working
3) See if the mirrors adjust and you can see behind you. Thai drivers hardly ever use their mirrors – but you do!
4) Ride the bike and check for size comfort (your knees should not be forced to stick out)
5) Ride the bike and test the brakes (some bikes have rear and front, some combined – know what you have)
6) Check the acceleration – sometimes you will need to get out of the way of some idiot quickly
7) Opt for bikes with thicker tires – thin tires and gravel will be your No one reason for an accident
8) Helmet – Get as good as you can and wear it. Seriously wear.
How to drive a scooter or Motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh?
Traffic in Vietnam is an organised chaos. It seems terrifying and busy, but it has a couple of rules worth following.
Observe other drivers first. Take a motorcycle tour, or a motorcycle taxi, and watch what the driver does and how Vietnamese people survive on the roads.
Always wear your helmet. You will see that everyone in Vietnam has them. The ones that you will get at the rental shop are cheap and not very well made. You can buy better ones at authorised dealers.
Drive slowly. Start from around 30 km/h and try to keep some distance between you and the other bikes.
Beep, beep and beep at everyone, especially at intersections and roundabouts, and when you overtake other vehicles. This is a warning sign for others, so they don’t turn, or change lanes, suddenly.
Remember that the person, who drives out from a side street into a main street has a priority, so many people don’t look around when they join the traffic.
Be aware of other cars driving on other lanes. Look at the arrows on the road if you are driving on a road with three lanes. Many times people driving on the left lane are allowed to turn right at the very last moment.
It is illegal to drive in Ho Chi Minh without a valid driving license, but it’s Vietnam… So, carry your international driving license with you or around 500,000 VND to ‘pay’ your fine when caught by police. I heard that if you talk to them in French they will let you go as no one speaks it in Vietnam. Try it out and see if it works. Good luck!
SEE MORE ARTICLE: Hiring a bicycle in Ho Chi Minh.
Thing to do Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City used to be known as Saigon although this was officially changed after Ho Chi Minh unified Vietnam following the Vietnam War. As such, Ho Chi Minh City is a place that is steeped in some of the most important modern history in the world, and you will find references to this on every street corner. If you want to learn more about the period of reunification in Vietnam, then you can visit monuments, museums and spots used during the Vietnam War like the Cu Chi Tunnels, but you will also find a vibrant modern side to the city at the same time.
Despite its historic and cultural significance, Ho Chi Minh City is also one of the most dynamic spots in Vietnam, and you can see this through the cutting edge buildings and the exciting nightlife on offer here. If you want to sample some of the local delights, then the street food scene in the city is also one of the best in the country, and you can happily spend your days eating your way around Ho Chi Minh City, or join a dedicated food tour.
Here are the 2 best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City…
Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
In the past you might have heard of the Gia Long Palace or the Revolutionary Museum, but now, the same place is officially known as the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City or HCMC Museum.
When my wife and I visited, on a weekday in the middle of the morning, it wasn’t busy at all (unlike the War Remnants Museum which was packed out), so it was nice to peacefully walk around and enjoy the exhibitions.
Most of the displays show the history and making of Ho Chi Minh City, and also there are a number of Vietnamese culture exhibits as well.
But what I liked best, was just the amazing mansion palace that the Ho Chi Minh City Museum was housed in, yet another beautiful neoclassical structure built in 1885, with big pillars and wooden staircases.
This museum, I thought, was a little old and sleepy, but for just 15,000 VND for entrance price, I thought it was still worth having a quick browse.
Address: Hồ Chí Minh City Museum, 65 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Open hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily
Entrance price: 15,000 VND
How to get there: The HCMC Museum is located near the Dong Khoi area of the city, walking distance from the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Pham Ngu Lao (District 1)
Sort of like Bangkok’s Khao San road, the area of Pham Ngu Lao, and also Bui Vien Street, is the most famous budget backpacker district of Ho Chi Minh City.
There are dozens of hotels, guest houses, and hostels along these two streets, ranging from very budget to mid-range, and I even noticed a few (sort of out of place) higher end hotels on Bui Vien Street as well.
Since this area is dominated by foreign backpackers and travelers, Pham Ngu Lao is also a big party nightlife area, and among the hostels are numerous bars, nightclubs, and massage parlors.
If you want to be right in the thick of the energy of Ho Chi Minh City, with plenty of restaurants (many international restaurants) and nightlife options, and just a short walk from the famous Ben Thanh Market, Pham Ngu Lao is a good area to look for accommodation.
A Few Tips on Safety
You may read some stories of theft and snatching in Ho Chi Minh City.
And just like any fast and busy city, there’s always going to be a risk of carrying belongings with you. One of the main safety concerns in Ho Chi Minh City are thieves swiftly swinging by on motorbikes and grabbing bags or mobile phones or cameras, right out of your hand.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk:
- Phone – Never pull out and use your mobile phone facing or open to the busy street. When I busted out my phone I usually went to the side of the street, and tried to duck into a business patio and sheltered myself with the wall.
- Camera – Likewise with a camera, you sort of have to use your own discretion of when and when not to be holding your camera out in the open to take photos. Again, try to have your back against a wall or stand to the back of parked motorbikes when you take photos of the open roads to provide a bit of a bunker.
- Wallet – I typically like to keep my wallet in my front right pocket, and then I like to keep some small money in my left pocket. When I buy something small on the streets, I just reach into my left pocket to pay, rather then having to take out my entire wallet. Use whatever system works best for you, but it’s a good idea to have some small money to buy small things, where you don’t have to take out your full wallet.
- Touristy areas – The majority of muggings happen in touristy shopping areas, so use extremely caution with your valuables in these areas.