When travelling in the land of motorbikes, you’ve got to include a motorbike ride! This post shares the best roads to drive in Vietnam, where to rent motorbikes, routes and where to book Easy Rider trips.
Motorbiking in Vietnam is one of the greatest adventures to be had while travelling in Asia. Over the years of living here, I’ve been lucky to drive many of the best roads in Vietnam; from south to north and everything in between.
If you’re short on time or don’t want to do the haul hog, but still want to get a taster of the iconic roads of Vietnam then you might want to plan one of these beautiful routes in your itinerary. Whether driving yourself or taking an Easy Rider tour, you’re sure to be wowed by the scenery and thrill of the open road!
Planning a Motorbike Trip in Vietnam
Motorbiking in Vietnam is a huge bucketlist experience for many backpackers. Motorbikes are the main transportation for locals, and an exhilarating way to experience the varied scenery of Vietnam.
Vietnam is perfect for motorbiking across, with the major travel hub of Ho Chi Minh City in the south and the capital of Hanoi in the North. There are many companies where you can rent a motorbike in one city, and return it to another (check out this post for recommended rental companies)
The country is larger than it appears, so driving across the entire country might not be possible for everyone’s travel plans, but getting a taster of Vietnam from the road will enhance your Vietnam trip, especially for those that want to get off the beaten path.
Motorbike Safety in Vietnam
It goes without saying that driving a motorbike in Vietnam should only be done by those who have prior experience driving; the roads can be chaotic and dangerous if you are inexperienced.
While you can’t control everything on the road, there are some things you can do to be as safe as possible motorbiking in Vietnam; always wear a quality helmet, have insurance that covers you for driving and be sensible.
What if I don’t know how to motorbike?
If you don’t know how to drive a motorbike, join an Easy Rider tour! On an Easy Rider tour, an experienced local guide takes you as a passenger on their motorbike, enabling you to experience the thrill of the open road. Sometimes these tours can be a means of transport from one city to another.
This guide includes Easy Rider tours for each route so that even if you don’t know how to motorbike, you can safely experience the thrill of driving the best roads in Vietnam.
Essentials for Motorbiking in Vietnam
If you plan to motorbike by yourself then you might want to do a quick shop to pick up some essential items, like bungee chords to strap your luggage and rain ponchos. Easy Rider tours provide everything you need for motorbiking in Vietnam so you won’t need to bring anything other than yourself.
In terms of packing, make sure you have close toed-shoes and long pants and shirts for driving in. Many of the best roads in Vietnam involve driving through mountains which can be chilly, regardless of the season. Layers are essential, as well as a waterproof jacket.
If you’re driving in the North of Vietnam (Sapa, Ha Giang, and Cao Bang) during the winter months you will need to have warm winter jackets, scarfs and gloves as the temperature can drop towards zero. When driving a motorbike it’s bitterly cold.
Best Roads to Motorbike in Vietnam
Vietnam has no shortage of beautiful routes to drive, but there are a few that steal the show. Some of the best roads in Vietnam are known for their vantage points, high in mountain passes, while others are known for their iconic coastal panoramas.
The following roads are what I consider to be the creme-de-la-creme, the most beautiful roads to motorbike in Vietnam.
The Ma Pi Leng Pass
📍 Ha Giang, Northern Vietnam
The northern province of Ha Giang is renowned for some of the most breathtaking mountain roads in the world, but my favourite is the dramatic Ma Pi Leng Pass. Stretching 20kms, the Ma Pi Leng Pass features steep drops over a vast valley, the scale of which you will not find anywhere else in South East Asia.
The Ma Pi Leng pass connects the towns of Dong Van and Meo Vac, both popular stops on the Ha Giang Loop.
Renting a Motorbike in Ha Giang
For motorbiking the Ha Giang Loop, which includes the jaw-dropping Ma Pi Leng Pass, I highly recommend renting a motorbike from QT motorbikes. They have new model automatic, semi-automatic and manual motorbikes, and great customer service with route suggestions and assistance throughout your trip.
I recommend adding the optional damage insurance so that if you do encounter any issues, as I did with a flat tire, they’re just a phone call away to send a mechanic to your location to repair it on the spot!
💰 180 – 550k ($7-23), depending on the model
Easy Rider Tours in Ha Giang
Even if you don’t drive yourself, Ha Giang is a great place to get off the beaten path and experience the most dramatic scenery in Vietnam. So join an Easy Rider tour! On these multi-day tours, an experienced local guide will drive you around the Ha Giang Loop, enabling you to experience the dramatic mountain scenery on the back of a motorbike.
There are many different companies offering Easy Rider tours that include accommodation, food, gas and entrance fees. The following Easy Rider tours in Ha Giang come highly recommended:
The Hai Van Pass
📍 Da Nang to Hue, Central Vietnam
Possibly the most iconic coastal drive in Vietnam, the Hai Van Pass is the easiest and most popular route to take an Easy Rider tour. With mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, each bend reveals a postcard-perfect view. This road gained international recognition as one of the most beautiful roads to drive after being featured on an episode of Top Gear back in 2008.
Motorbiking the Hai Van Pass is one of the best roads to include in your Vietnam itinerary, as it connects two popular destinations. Skip the bus or train, and instead opt for a motorbike ride to travel from Da Nang, or nearby Hoi An, to Hue.
Renting a Motorbike for the Hai Van Pass
As a popular route for motorbiking in Vietnam, there are lots of options for one-way-rentals to drive the Hai Van Pass; pick up the motorbike in either Da Nang or Hue, and drop it off in the other. If you can drive a semi-automatic then I recommend this, however, it is possible to drive the Hai Van Pass on an automatic scooter.
Check out these reputable companies for one-way motorbike rental for the Hai Van Pass:
💰 450 – 600k ($20-25)
Easy Rider for the Hai Van Pass
I’ve done a couple of Easy Rider tours on the Hai Van Pass over the years, but the best was with Hue to go Tours. The drivers were amazing and we had so much fun exploring the route with them. Their tours are on the cheaper end of the scale making them perfect for budget-savvy travellers who want to include the iconic drive along the Hai Van Pass in their Vietnam itinerary.
💰 1mil ($45)
Khanh Le Pass
📍 Dalat to Nha Trang, Central Highlands
This was one of the first mountain roads I drove in Vietnam, as part of my south-to-north road trip. It took my breath away winding down into the valley and I loved it so much that I’ve returned twice to drive the route again!
The Khanh Le Pass is a stretch of the route between Dalat and Nha Trang that takes you from the mountains down to the ocean. Starting at 1,600m above sea level, you’re treated to panoramic views down the valley. Make sure to stop at the 1,500m viewpoint (pictured).
Renting a Motorbike for the Khanh Le Pass
To motorbike the Khanh Le Pass from Dalat to Nha Trang, I highly recommend a one-way motorbike rental so you can pick it up in Dalat and drop it off in Nha Trang. It is possible to drive this route on an automatic, but a semi-automatic will give you more control on the mountain roads.
Check out these companies for one-way rentals in Dalat:
💰 600k ($25)
Easy Rider for the Khanh Le Pass
While it is possible to drive the Khanh Le pass as part of a day trip from Dalat, I recommend doing this drive as a transfer from Dalat to Nha Trang. There are many Easy Rider tours that take you along the Khanh Le Pass route, but these ones come recommended:
Tram Ton Pass (Đèo Ô Quy Hồ)
📍 Sapa, Northern Vietnam
Claiming its title as the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, the Tram Ton Pass winds around the largest mountain in Indochina, Mt Fansipan. Just a short drive from Sapa town, this road sees you driving past the infamous rice terraces, past waterfalls and down into the valley where you can explore the local tribal villages.
As the highest road in the country, there’s a high chance you’ll be dipping in and out of the clouds so make sure you dress in layers to keep you cozy!
Renting a Motorbike for the Tram Ton Pass
There are lots of places in Sapa to rent motorbikes to drive along the Tram Ton Pass. The road is not particularly steep, so you can drive it You can drive this route on an automatic, but I do recommend checking that the bike is powerful enough before setting off.
Check out these shops for motorbike rentals:
💰 80 – 200k ($4-$8.50)
Easy Rider Tours of the Tram Ton Pass
I did an Easy Rider with Ethos Vietnam and I cannot recommend them enough! Run by local guides from the Hmong tribe, this Easy Rider tour is equal parts exploring the beauty of Sapa, and learning about the culture of the tribes that live there. Alongside driving the highest road in Vietnam, you’ll glimpse Mt. Fansipan, wind through the rice terrace, venture into caves and visit some of the traditional tribal villages where you cook lunch with a family.
💰1.7mil ($73) depending on what you chose to include in the tour
Me Pia Pass
📍 Cao Bang to Ha Giang, Northern Vietnam
If you’re planning a trip to both Cao Bang and Ha Giang then it’s worth driving between the two along the Me Pia Pass; it might be the craziest road in Vietnam.
Not for the faint-hearted, the Me Pia Pass is technically challenging with a section of 14 switchbacks. It’s also one of the most remote routes to motorbikes, brushing alongside the border with China. Take your time to enjoy the route, which also includes the winding Bong Nam Pass, by breaking up the drive from Cao Bang to Ha Giang with a night in Bao Lac town.
Renting a Motorbike for the Me Pia Pass
I only recommend driving this route if you are an experienced driver, as the switchbacks combined with the steep roads can be challenging. To motorbike the Me Pia Pass you will need a one-way motorbike rental; I recommend renting from Cao Bang Eco Homestay, partners of QT Motorbikes in Ha Giang. The owners are lovely and their bikes are great.
You will need a semi-automatic or a manual to take on the Me Pia Pass.
💰 250k per day ($10) plus 600k to rent one-way ($25)
If driving this road in winter, make sure you are prepared for the weather; you’ll need many layers, jackets, scarves and gloves to keep you warm.
Easy Rider for the Me Pia Pass
The route from Cao Bang to Ha Giang, which includes the Me Pia Pass, is long and remote. For this reason, the Easy Rider tours that include the Me Pia Pass are multiday tours including both Cao Bang and Ha Giang (which means you’ll also drive the Ma Pi Leng Pass).
There are a few companies, like Ha Giang Easy Riders, who offer this route but be prepared to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a multiday trip like this.
💰 Approx. 10mil ($445) for 5 days on the road
À voilà – the best roads to motorbike in Vietnam! Whether you drive yourself on your own ride or opt for an Easy Rider tour, you will not regret including one of these jaw-dropping drives in your Vietnam itinerary! Let me know if you need more advice (or if you have more roads you would include!)