Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam – All You Need to Know 2024

rent a motorbike in vietnam, Street

Thinking about renting a motorbike in Vietnam? You’re just one step away from the ultimate Vietnamese adventure! You can explore breathtaking landscapes, conquer mountain passes, and visit remote villages on your own. It’s the best kind of freedom when traveling.

This complete guide has everything you need to know to rent a motorbike in Vietnam, from the costs to the different types of bikes, along with a much-needed checklist.

This article is long and detailed, but we always try to get straight to the point. If you’re looking for some specific information, jump here to the right chapter.

8 BEST Hotels in North Vietnam

North Vietnam has many amazing places to visit, each with its best places to stay. Here are some handpicked recommendations.

  • Ha Giang: Connect with adventurous travelers at the Lotus Hostel

Should I Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam?

Pros of Renting a Motorcycle

  • Riding a motorbike is the best way to experience Vietnam.
  • You can enjoy the landscape and stop wherever you want.
  • It gives you a lot of freedom compared to tours and buses.
  • It’s very adventurous, authentic, cheap, and easy.

Cons of Renting a Motorcycle

  • The roads can be very chaotic, especially in big cities like Hanoi. 
  • You always need to be ready to react quickly to avoid accidents.
  • If you don’t have any previous experience in riding a motorbike and don’t feel confident with Vietnamese traffic, it can be very dangerous.
  • Vietnam is not the ideal country to learn how to drive.
  • It can require a lot of planning and may not be as convenient as tours.

5 BEST Tours in North Vietnam

Check out our handpicked tours in North Vietnam and tick off some must-see attractions.

  • Ban Gioc Waterfall: Explore Ban Gioc Waterfall and more in Cao Bang with this 2D/1N Tour
  • Hanoi Streetfood: Join a local Food Tour in Hanoi with visit to Train Street
  • Ninh Binh: Discover Ninh Binh on this small-group guided Full Day Tour from Hanoi

Can Foreigners Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam?

Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam, Sunset, Timo

Foreigners can easily rent a bike in Vietnam. You’ll likely be approached several times about it, both at your accommodation and on the streets. However, it’s better to go to a reliable rental shop.

You don’t need a driver’s license to rent. Some rental shops might ask just to inform you it’s not legal, but they will still give you a motorbike.

Do I need a Driver's License to ride a motorbike in Vietnam?

Yes and no. Legally, as a tourist you need a Driver’s License and the International Driver’s Permit (1968 IDP) to ride a motorbike in Vietnam. Only the 1968 IDP is valid, not the 1949. You can check this number on your papers. 

We highly recommend only riding a motorcycle if you have all the papers. However, the truth is, that many travelers ride without it in Vietnam and many other countries in Southeast Asia. It’s unlikely that the police will stop you to check.

How much does it cost to Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam?

A semi-automatic and automatic scooter will cost around 7-10€, and a manual motorbike will cost 15-19€ per day. You can try to negotiate a discount if you rent for a longer period. Generally, the longer you hire, the lower the price. Don’t forget to ask if the price is for one day (from morning to evening) or for 24 hours.

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TIP: The prices mentioned are for motorbikes intended for driving around Vietnam. If you specifically need a bike for getting around in a City like Hanoi, you can find a cheaper deal.

Types of Motorbikes for Rent in Vietnam

There are several options to consider when choosing a motorbike for Vietnam: electric, automatic, semi-automatic scooter, and manual motorcycle. Each one is suitable for different types of trips and skill levels.

Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam, Vietnam Motorbike Trip

Overall, in our opinion, opting for a Honda is a smart move. Honda is the most popular brand in Vietnam, making it easy to find places for repairs or replacement parts.

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DON’T DO THIS: Don’t rent or buy Chinese copies of the Honda Win, as they tend to break down often.

Let’s now go over the differences between the types of motorbikes.

Electric Scooter

The electric scooter is perfect for getting around town. The best part is, that you won’t need a license for this one, as it has a maximum of 50cc.

Automatic Scooter

Automatic scooters are great for city driving and paved roads, but not recommended for mountain passes like the Ha Giang Loop, as you will be missing the gears to handle the steep parts. These scooters are perfect for beginners and easy to learn, as they don’t have gears.

Semi-automatic Motorbike

The semi-automatic is the most popular bike for locals in Vietnam and is also a popular choice for travelers. They have gears but no clutch, which means they have more power than automatic scooters and are suitable for steep mountain roads.

They are light, slim, and more affordable than manuals. They are perfect for solo travelers riding around North Vietnam on a budget. The most frequently seen and recommended one is the Honda Wave.

Semi-automatic scooters are way easier to learn and drive than a manual. Many travelers coming to Vietnam only have experience with automatic scooters. If it’s your first time driving a semi-automatic, the rental shops often provide short lessons on how to drive them safely. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it very quickly.

Manual Motorbike

If you’re an experienced motorbike driver, manuals are the best choice. They have gears, and a clutch, are larger, more comfortable, and offer more power. Perfect for steep mountain passes. You won’t see them often on the street, because they are unpopular among the locals, more expensive, and more difficult to drive for beginners. We recommend the Honda CB 150 or the Honda XR 150.

For couples like us, it’s better to go for a larger bike. Considering you’re carrying double the weight of a solo rider, it’s advisable to opt for a manual 150cc.

If you choose a bigger bike with larger tires, it’s a good idea to carry some spare tubes in case you get a flat tire. We learned that sometimes they won’t have the bigger tubes you’ll need, and they’ll have to use smaller tubes, which is also fine but not ideal.

Rental Motorbike Types in Comparison

Picking the right motorbike can significantly impact your trip. We hope this comparison will help you decide.

motorbike types table

Reliable Motorbike Rentals in Vietnam

After you’ve decided on the bike you want, it’s important to select a reputable motorbike rental shop.

We recommend opting for one with a professional website, clear pricing, and positive online reviews. This ensures you choose a rental shop that offers excellent assistance both before and during the rental period and that typically provides a guarantee for maintenance and engine repairs. While the cost may be slightly higher, the quality of service and support is well worth it.

We always compare prices, the latest Google Maps reviews, inclusions, and availability from various rental shops. To ask any questions, we reach out to them via WhatsApp. You can often find their phone number listed on Google Maps or on their website.

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PRO TIP: Don’t hire your motorcycle at your hotel; go directly to the Motorbike Rental Company. They usually have a 24/7 helpline, and the bikes are in good condition.

Best Motorbike Rentals in Hanoi (+ Tips)

Here are the top shops for renting a bike in Hanoi:


  1. Usually, when you pick up the bike in the evening, you’ll be first charged for the following day. This allows you to save money and time. You could start your trip in the evening or early morning, without the need to wait for the rental shop to open.
  2. It’s difficult to find secure parking in big cities like Hanoi. If your accommodation doesn’t offer indoor parking, avoid parking on the street outside, as it’s not safe. So, what can you do? There are monitored parking facilities where you can leave your motorbike overnight. A local told us that once you have to pay for parking, you don’t need to worry about the safety of your bike. One such place was located next to our accommodation, the Benh Vien Viet Duc Hospital, where we parked our bike overnight for only 10,000 VND (0,40 €)

Best Motorbike Rentals in Ha Giang

Here are the recommended shops for renting a motorbike in Ha Giang:

Motorbike Rental Checklist

Here’s a checklist to go through before hiring a motorcycle:

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IMPORTANT: Take a test drive and check everything carefully.

Things that should work perfectly for your safety

  • Newish deep-treaded tires
  • Newish brakes
  • Working blinkers and lights
  • Loud horn
  • Engine: the bike should start and drive smoothly without any noticeable noises
  • Stability and control of the handlebar
  • Check for oil or water leaks around the motorbike

Things that should be included in the rental price

  • Helmets with a visor that fits well
  • Rack and bungee ropes for strapping your backpack
  • (Phone holder and charging port)

Things you should check before signing the rental contract

  • Read carefully everything written in your motorbike rental contract
  • Get the contact information of the rental shop, do they have a 24-hour hotline?
  • Get the blue card or a copy of it (bike registration papers)
  • Money or passport deposit, ensure it’s written in the contract
  • Check again the date and time of return and the total amount you need to pay
  • Check the gas level, so you can return it with the same amount
Vietnam Motorbike Rental Checklist

Renting vs. Buying a Motorbike in Vietnam

There are a few situations where it might make sense to buy a motorcycle instead of hiring one.

  • You have mechanical knowledge and can identify a good deal. It’s easy to fall into a scam when you’re unsure about what to look for in a bike.
  • You are staying in Vietnam for a longer period. We don’t believe that staying in this country for 30 days is worth the process of buying and selling, as it takes time.
  • You plan to return the bike in a city different from where you rented it, and the rental place is charging a high fee for doing that.

But in our opinion, the pros of hiring a motorbike still outweigh the cons. Check them out and decide for yourself.

Pros of renting compared to buying a motorbike:

  • No struggle to sell and buy
  • You can contact the rental company for support when having problems
  • You don’t have to pay for maintenance or engine problems

Cons of renting compared to buying a motorbike:

  • More expensive than buying
  • Usually, you need to bring it back to where you hired it or you pay a fee for that
  • You have to pay for damages to the rental company when returning
  • You can’t bring the bike to other countries

Alternatives to Renting a Motorbike in Vietnam

Combination of Buses and Short-Term Motorbike Rentals

Rather than renting a motorbike for your entire stay in Vietnam, consider using buses to travel between cities. Then, hire a scooter locally for a few days to explore the surroundings.

Guided Motorbike Tours

Opt for a guided motorbike tour. You’ll still get to ride your bike, but there will be an experienced guide to assist you and handle all the arrangements. This means less planning for you and more time to enjoy your trip.

Hire an Easyrider

Consider hiring an Easyrider, a local guide who will drive the bike while you sit in the back. This option combines both a driver and a guide, providing a very safe alternative, especially if you prefer not to drive yourself. It is very popular to do the Ha Giang Loop with an Easyrider.

Local and Sleeper Buses

You could travel within cities the public transportation and for longer journeys, you can take sleeper buses, which are very popular in Vietnam.

Private Car with Driver

Another option is to hire a private car with a driver for a more comfortable and convenient travel experience.

Packing, Travel Tips & Costs for a Motorbike Trip

After 2 months and 4000 km on a North Vietnam Motorbike Trip, we’ve put together the ultimate packing list, tips, and costs to help you plan your trip.

Motorbike Maintenance Tips Vietnam

Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam, Mechanic

Ask your motorbike rental agency how often you should change the oil. Most bikes need an oil change every 500 to 1,000 kilometers. This should cost around 100,000 VND (≈ 4€).

When changing oil you can also have the chain tension checked for 20,000 VND (≈ 0,8€), along with the tire pressure.

Best Apps for Riding a Motorbike in Vietnam

We use Google Maps every day while traveling, and even more when riding a motorbike. It’s important not only to download the app but also the offline map, so you can use it without an internet connection.

The same goes for the app Download the Vietnam maps offline just in case Google Maps fails.

Another important app is an offline translation app, like Translate or Duolingo, for communication with locals, who often don’t speak any English.

Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam, Rainy View

Best Motorbike Route in Vietnam

Chin Khoanh Ramp, Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam

If you’re wondering where the best place to ride your motorbike in Vietnam is, it’s in North Vietnam, reachable from Hanoi.

We highly recommend exploring the provinces of Ha Giang with the Ma Pi Leng Pass or Mu Cang Chai with the Khau Pha Mountain Pass in North Vietnam with a bike. And if you have more time, consider completing the full North Vietnam Loop. We did this in 2023 and 2019, and we would do it again anytime because we loved it.

Best Vietnam Motorbike Tours




Riding a Motorbike by Yourself VS Joining a Tour

The choice depends on your interests and skills. Here is what you can expect from both options.

Riding by Yourself a Motorbike in Vietnam

Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam, Ricefield Street

You can explore Vietnam on your own, without a tour or guide. We did this twice, covering the entire north of Vietnam, still here, alive and well, to share the story, plus we loved it. It’s the best option if you crave freedom and want to be your own guide. You can go and stop wherever and whenever you want, without waiting for anyone.

However, you’ll need to take care of everything, from renting a motorbike to booking hotels, planning and navigating your route, and finding places for food, water, fuel, and assistance if needed. If you have experience riding motorcycles in Asia and in traveling in general, this option is for you. Plus, it’s the more budget-friendly choice.

Joining a Motorbike Tour in Vietnam

If you want to make the most of your trip and time, consider joining a tour with an experienced driver or guide to explore Vietnam. You won’t need to worry about a thing, as everything will be taken care of. You’ll have more time to enjoy the days, without any planning hassles. If you encounter any mechanical problems, you won’t have to handle them on your own.

This is a great option if you’re traveling with a group of friends or family, as everyone can enjoy their time together. It’s also a wonderful way for solo travelers to meet new people.

Is it Safe to Ride a Motorbike in Vietnam?

Driving in Vietnam can be challenging. If you’re not experienced, learning to drive a motorbike here might not be the best idea. However, you don’t need to be an expert. Hanoi can be quite chaotic, but once you leave the city, the situation improves. Don’t speed and be cautious; Vietnamese drivers may not always check before making a move.

Road Conditions in Vietnam

Curvy Road, Meo Vac, Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam

The roads in North Vietnam are generally wellmaintained, with just a few exceptions. Be extra cautious around animals, children, and locals walking alongside the road.

Motorbike Regulations and Traffic Rules Vietnam

  • For bikes under 50 cc, you don’t need a driver’s license.
  • For bikes with 50-174 cc, you need the Vietnamese driver’s license A1.
  • For bikes above 174 cc, you need the Vietnamese driver’s license A2.
  • You always need to have the blue card of the vehicle with you or at least a copy of it. You will need this in case the police stop you and want information about the owner of the motorbike.
  • You have to wear a helmet when driving.
  • More than two people on a motorbike are not allowed.
  • In Vietnam, people drive on the right side of the road.
  • You must be 18 years old to drive a motorbike.
  • The speed limit for motorbikes is usually 40 km/hr in towns and 60 km/hr on highways.
  • Always drive on the right side so cars can pass.

Motorbike Insurance Vietnam

Motorbike Insurance

Like in many places in Southeast Asia, you usually can’t get insurance for your motorbike when you rent it. It’s just not an option. If anything happens, it’s on you. We always make sure to take pictures and videos of the bike before hiring it, so there’s no argument when you return it.

Personal Insurance

For any traveler, having personal insurance is super important. You never know what might come up, and costs can be very different in different countries. This is even more important when you’re on a motorbike. But, you need to get special insurance that covers accidents on a motorcycle, as lots of regular personal insurance policies won’t cover these accidents.

Motorbike Break Down Vietnam

In this situation, it’s best to have a SIM card with internet connection to:

  • Contact your Motorbike Rental for assistance
  • Check on Google Maps where the nearest mechanic is
  • Have a translator to ask locals where the closest motorbike repair place is

Don’t worry, you’ll find mechanics in Vietnam, called “Xe May”, everywhere, even in the small mountain villages.

Motorbike Accidents Vietnam

If you find yourself in an accident, it’s strongly recommended to immediately contact your bike rental company. They have likely dealt with various similar situations before and know what to do.

Police Presence and Encounters in Vietnam

There are two opinions about police in Vietnam.

  • Some believe the police are looking for a bribe. This may happen either because you don’t have the right papers or, sometimes, even with the right papers, they may try to trick you by claiming you were speeding or something similar. After paying the fine/bribe, they will let you go. We will explain later what to do if this happens to you. 
  • On the other hand, some believe the police don’t want to get involved with foreigners unless they have to. They are usually very friendly, but they may not speak English. They do checkpoints to target unlicensed motorbike drivers but don’t often stop foreign tourists, because of the language barrier. With the right papers, you shouldn’t have any problems.

We completed the entire North Vietnam loop twice, once in December 2019 and once in October 2023, and we weren’t stopped by the police at all. If we remember correctly, we only saw them once. This is why we can’t confirm either of the two opinions above. However, in the next chapter, we explain what you need to do if the police are looking for a bribe.

Many people ride a motorcycle in Vietnam without having a driving license and don’t encounter any police checkpoints. Maybe you just have to be lucky. While we don’t recommend driving without an International Driving Permit, if you choose to do so, it’s unlike you will get pulled over for this, but if you have an accident it will be a disaster with police and insurance.

How to Deal with Police Bribe in Vietnam

Preparation is key. Keep around 200k VND (≈ 8€) in your wallet, and store the rest of your money and cards in your bag. This makes negotiating easier if you’re stopped. If you get pulled over, grab your keys and put them in your pocket to maintain control over your vehicle.

If you think they’re seeking a bribe, insist that you only have 200k VND (≈ 8€) in your wallet and show it to them. If they propose going to an ATM, insist that you don’t have your bank card. Stay patient. They want to make money, but they don’t want to lose too much time. This often leads them to accept the smaller amount and let you go.


We rented a motorbike in Hanoi and rode through all of North Vietnam twice. Both times were the most thrilling experiences we’ve had during our two years of travel in Southeast Asia.

In Vietnam riding a bike is the most popular way of transportation for locals and the most adventurous way to get around and explore for travelers.

What about you, have you had any experience in renting a motorbike in Vietnam? Is there anything you’re still unsure about? Let us know in the comments.

Rent a Motorbike in Vietnam, Timo Riding

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