Semi-guided Motorbike Tours – a new type of tour from Offroad Vietnam. We have been providing since early 2013 and about 200 riders have ridden with us. It offers more flexibility and makes it easier for the most important jobs. It is an adventure for those who want to customize things as you ride. You simply hire bike(s) plus a guide, other things will be done by yourself. The guide takes care of the daily bike works and repairs, leads the group and finds out the best road(s), helps to communicate with local people and makes sure you don’t have to ride in the dark. You pay food, drinks, tickets and hotel rooms. Your guide is really an added value to your trip as he knows the bikes, routes and speaks the local language and is fluent in English.
Just send us your travel plan, ideas, and expectations and we will let you know what we could do. We are open to any suggestion or discussion to make your trip one of the best adventures you’ve ever had.
The final cost might not be cheaper than our guided tours but you have total flexibility and freedom. That’s the best value of our Vietnam semi-guided motorbike tours.
What To Expect On Vietnam Semi-guided Motorbike Tours
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.
To have an idea of our different tour prices, please click here.
Including On Semi-guided Motorbike Tours
You hire any type of bike that you handle best. We have cruisers and dirt bikes, all Japanese Honda motorbikes from 125cc to 250cc. Offroad Vietnam 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. Bike services, maintenance, and flat tire fix will be included. In other words, on Vietnam semi-guided motorbike tours you just ride and leave the rest of bike word to our team.
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. 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.
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 Semi-guided Motorbike Tours Of Vietnam. 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 Semi-guided Motorbike 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. You can have food at cheaper prices but food may not be fresh, in fact, they are frozen or chemically frozen food (Chinese products)!
Our guide will help with finding places to stay overnight. You choose which hotel to stay. However, you pay the guide’s room. 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.
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 checking 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 motorbike tours.
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 (except IDP) but take it easy you will be ok. We don’t require 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 where requested. The most expensive is a permit to visit border areas in Ha Giang for between 15 to 20$US.
The cost for taking a ferry, boat or train will be on you. Your guide will help with the paperwork or buying tickets.
GPS works in Vietnam, please check with your dealer about necessary software and/or updates. Broadband Internet connection is available almost everywhere and you can find a public Internet cafe easily. The cost for using broadband Internet is quite cheap (1$US = 4-5 hours). Many hotels offer free Wifi. Electricity is also available nationwide but there can be a shortage in summer. In general, 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. In addition, only 1968 Convention international driving license not recognized in Vietnam. 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 but if you violate the traffic regulations, a small tip of 100,000 – 200,000 VND (4.5 – 9$US) 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.
Motorcyclists in Vietnam becomes more aware of the traffic laws but you couldn’t say they always follow the rules. If you want to come back in one piece and have an enjoyable motorbike tour in Vietnam, please check the rules out.