Indochina Motorbike FAQs

1. How do I create a custom itinerary?

In our web site we provide many tour samples but if you do not find a suitable trip and want Vietnam-MotorbikeTour to do all the work for you, just click on "Customize ride" on our home page and send an email to tell us what you have in mind. Our travel experts will create a trip and provide your with invaluable information!

2. How do I book the trip?

To book our trip, please select your preferred trip and click on "Book now" on web page. Our booking form wizard will automatically call the trip name and ask you to fill out some fields for information. Once completed filling the form , you just click Submit to send us your enquiry or Reset to cancel what you have filled up. After receiving your reservation request, we will immediately make all the necessary arrangements in accordance with your request. This will takes less than 1-2 business days, and we will send you our confirmation message by e-mail with all the details of tours, the booking status and also payment term.

3. How do I pay for the trip?

To book our trip, please select your preferred trip and click on " Book now" on web page. Our standard payment policy is to ask for a  30% deposit of the package value at the time we send you the final confirmation and the booking code for your trip. The balance of the total package tour price should be paid at least 1 day (one day) before starting date of the trip.

4. What type of clothing should I bring?

Please note that Vietnam is a developing country and size selection and/or quality products are real issues. Local products are cheap but almost just one size for all or the quality is poor. Here are some suggestions:
- Clothing: helmet, rain gloves, wellington boots (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, bandannas, sunglasses and goggles.
- Personal items: basic toiletries, emergency cash, sunscreen and earplugs.
- Emergency items: first aid kit, emergency contact number, list medical conditions, list medications, flashlight, chargers and duct tape.
- Miscellaneous: small towel, bath towel, trash bags, bungee cords, camera and cargo net.

5. Im afraid that bikes in Vietnam will not be up to the task. Can't we ride anything larger?

Vietnamese traffic laws prohibited the use of motorbikes larger than 175cc until May 2007 when Vietnam joined WTO. It took sometime to have big bikes imported into Vietnam, but it's likely that nobody rents out these bikes as import tax is 90% and VAT is 10% (a bike costs twice as much as in your country!). Motorbikes in Vietnam will not break the sound barrier but the they will easily carry two people (locally, even more) down all of Vietnam's roads. They are light, balanced and fun to ride. We also offer Honda SL 230cc or Baja XR 250cc. They are our biggest motorbikes.

6. Is the traffic crazy in Vietnam?

Traffic in Hanoi is chaotic to the uninitiated driver. For this reason we always use the easiest roads (even if they are longer) to get out of town. We can also arrange for riders to be dropped off at the city limits by taxi. Once out in the countryside, the level of traffic drops off remarkably and on some roads it is possible to not pass a single vehicle for the whole day. That said, it must be emphasized that the conditions here are demanding and extremely defensive driving is imperative. All riders must be very careful and be fully aware that the purpose of the trip is not to ride performance bikes hard into the bends, but rather to trundle along nice and slow and enjoy the sites and sounds. Constant support from your guide will make your ride as safe as possible.

7. What's the best duration for a trip?

The perfect time frame to spend on the road would probably be eight or nine days, looking at a maximum of 12 days before the body starts to take the strain. However, for the indefatigable we can even offer a 16-day ride of the entire northern region of Vietnam or down on Ho Chi Minh highway.

8. What do I do and expect when I have an accident?

Vietnam can be a very strange country regarding how the accident is solved, just as the way people ride. The bigger usually pay i.e car drivers pay motorcyclists, motorcyclists pay cyclists... However, if you have an accident, first you have to talk with the other party (via our guide) to find out who has to pay and how much. If you don't agree with each other, then we call the police and they will do their job (usually takes time) and you have to stay in Vietnam until they have the official report. Vietnamese people usually expect you to pay, even if you are right. Don't be surprised and stay calm as our guide will help you to solve the situation.
If you purchased an insurance policy, and if you request we will contact the insurance company and ask them for instructions. You will need to pay us all phone calls in this case.


9. Would I leave some of my luggage at "base" until returning?

We used to provide saddle bags but they block traffic when we ride through many towns on the road. It's best to strap a medium size bag or rucksack onto the bike's back rack. Any other luggage can be left safely in storage at your hotel or at our office waiting for return.

10. How much cash do we need to take with us?

In terms of costs we cover everything except telephone calls, tips, souvenirs, alcoholic drink and personal medical insurance. As there are often some impressive minority crafts to be found in the markets or some more bizarre products of Chinese origin bank on US$150-200 extra.

11. Are there any hidden cost you do not mention? What about tipping?

All inclusions and exclusions are mentioned at our final confirmation for your trip, we don't pay any high commissions.
Generally, tipping is not compulsory. If you are satisfied with your guides, drivers, a small gratuity is an appropriate way in which to show appreciation to them.


12. Who is my guide(s)?

We have a strong and multilingual guide team coming from all regions of the country. They are chosen for their professionalism, rich knowledge, commitment, personal ties with the country and region and ability to inspire and communicate with you. They will be your dedicated friends during and after your trip(s). Many of our customers still exchange email with them long after their trip(s).

13. What is the time difference?

Vietnam is twelve hours ahead of New York and seven hours ahead of London, one hour behind Perth and three hours behind Sydney.

14. What do I need to know regarding Vietnam visa?

The most important thing is to make sure your Vietnam visa is stamped with the correct dates. The standard tourist visa is valid for a period of up to 30 days. If you’re going for less than 30 days you can either specify the exact dates, but it is probably best to ask for the maximum period to give yourself more flexibility. Processing normally takes between a week and ten days , but longer for overseas Vietnamese.

15. How I can extend my  Vietnam visa?

If you need to extend your stay for any reason, it is relatively easy to apply for a visa renewal at present. Again this is handled by tour agents. The first renewal costs around $25-30 (including a handling fee) and takes three working days to process (please note that government offices are only open Monday to Friday). The maximum period you can ask for is 30 days and it costs the same whether you ask for 1 day or 30 days. A second 10-day extension is possible at a cost of around $35-40. For this second extension you will be asked to show an air ticket dated after the expiry of your visa.

16. How can i get Vietnam visa on arrival?

For those who travel with Vietnam Motorbike Tours , we can arrange the visa approval letter allowing them to obtain visa on arrival at Noibai Airport in Hanoi, Danang Airport  in Danang, Tan San Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh. To apply for visa, you are required to provide us such information as full name, gender, date of birth, home address, passport number, expiry date of passport, nationality, date in & out of Vietnam, arrival flight number, place of getting visa.  After 3 or 4 working days, we will send you the visa approval letter. At this time, we charge  US$ 50 for visa on arrival at the airport. This fee is subject to change without prior notice.

17. What medical precautions I need to take?

At the time of writing, no vaccinations are required for Vietnam (with the exception of yellow fever if you are travelling directly from an area where the disease is endemic). However, typhoid and hepatitis A vaccinations are normally recommended, and it’s worth checking that you are up to date with boosters for tetanus, polio etc. Other injections to consider, depending on the season and risk of exposure, are hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis and rabies. It is best to discuss these with your doctor.Malaria is present in Vietnam. However, at the time of writing both Hanoi and HCMC have very low incidences, while the northern delta and coastal regions of the south and centre are also considered relatively safe. The main danger areas are the highlands and the rural areas, where Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous strain of malaria, is prevalent. Your doctor will advise on which, if any, anti-malaria tablets you should take.If you do fall ill, pharmacies in Hanoi and HCMC stock a decent range of imported medicines (check they are not past their “use-by” date). Both these cities also now have good, international-class medical facilities. Elsewhere, local hospitals will be able to treat minor ailments, but for anything more serious head back to Hanoi or HCMC.

18. What about medical insurance?

It is advised that travelers should have some form of medical insurance before arriving in Vietnam. Although there are several international medical clinics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, generally the country still lacks adequate medical care for serious illnesses and injuries, especially in other areas. Therefore, we advise that travelers have sufficient cover for emergency medical care as a precautionary measure.
Should I take my money in cash or travellers'cheques?
The official currency of Vietnam is the dong, which can not be purchased outside Vietnam. The main banks in Hanoi and HCMC can handle a fairly broad range of currencies nowadays, but the dollar is still the most widely accepted. I therefore recommend taking a combination of US$ cash and US$ travellers’ cheques, with the bulk in travellers’ cheques for safety. American Express, Visa and Thomas Cook cheques are the most recognised brands.

19. What recommendations do you have about eating in Vietnam?

We strongly recommend you try the small local restaurants, especially the street kitchens which consist of a few tables and a stove in an open-fronted dining area. Most of expensive restaurants usually price their menus in local currency. In the middle of the range it could be in either dollars or dong, but at this level prices are often not indicated at all, which makes for tedious ordering as you go through each dish. When it comes to eating, the most important thing is to choose places that are busy and look well-scrubbed, and to stick to fresh, thoroughly cooked foods. Despite appearances, often the small local restaurants with a high turnover of just one or two dishes are safer than expensive, Western-style places. Restaurants where the food is cooked in front of you - for example, steaming bowls of pho soup at a street stall - are usually a good bet, as well as being lots of fun. However, steer clear of shellfish, peeled fruit, salads and raw vegetables. On the other hand, yoghurt and ice cream from reputable outlets in the main cities shouldn’t cause problems.

20. Where can I change money?

You can change cash and travellers’ cheques at exchange desks in big hotels and at authorised foreign exchange banks in the main cities. Among the banks, Vietcombank usually offers the best exchange rates and charges the lowest commission (around 1-2%). Note that commission rates are slightly lower if changing travellers’ cheques into dong rather than dollars. Vietcombank does not levy commission when changing dollars cash into dong, though some other banks do. It’s worth bearing in mind that you get a slightly better exchange rate for $100 and $50 notes than for smaller denominations. When cashing travellers’ cheques you may be asked for your passport, though this practice seems to be dying out. Outside the main cities and tourist areas, authorised foreign exchange banks are few and far between. So if you’re heading off the beaten path, stock up with enough cash (dollars and dong) to last the trip. Wherever you are, you’ll always find someone willing to change dollars cash into dong, though rates will vary. When receiving dong, you’ll be presented with a huge pile of notes. The largest bill is 100,000d (, so bear this in mind when changing $100! Refuse any badly torn notes and ask for a mix of denominations so that you always have a few low-value notes in hand.

21. Is it better to use dollars or dong for daily expenses?

Despite government attempts to outlaw the practice, the US Dollars still acts as an alternative currency which is almost completely interchangeable with the dong. Many prices, especially for hotels, tours and expensive restaurants, are still quoted in $, though you can pay in dong if you’d rather - just check what exchange rate they’re using.
For everyday expenses, I recommend carrying a mix of US Dollars cash and dong. For larger items or when the exchange rate works in your favour, use dollars. For cyclos, local food stalls and small purchases, it’s best to use dong. In either case, make sure you always have a stock of small notes so that you don’t have to worry about change.


22. I have more questions and don't find the answers here...

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