This blog post will cover the first half of my route for motorbiking through Vietnam.
Motorbiking Vietnam is a difficult, complicated process. Following specific Google maps like this one was essential to my success.
I have plotted out almost all of the major things you need to see. You will also notice that this map is not complete. I had so much information written down that Google maps made me split them into two.
I will detail my trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue in this one. Each section will have a route with a few locations on it. Then there will be a separate layer to the map with the major points in cities along the way.
I will explain each day of riding for you, so you have something to reference back to if you get confused.
Each day of motorbiking Vietnam is represented by putting “Day ‘X’:” with the X as the preceding day. If it does not have this, you are looking at various activities in the cities I have listed. I spent more than one day in each city exploring everything, so the riding days are only for reference of how long it will take you to get to each city.
Like I said before, I could not fit everything into one map. I also had to combine activities into multiple layers, so it was not just a massive wall of destinations. I felt like the reader would be able to grasp each place better if it was in a timeline format instead of a massive wall of text.
Each destination has an explanation for what you can expect at each place. It will also have my suggestions for each place. If I missed anything, let me know. With these maps that I am building, along with the packing list I have already created, you are already at a much larger advantage than I was!
Motorbiking Vietnam Day One: The first day of riding is split into two parts.
Leave at around 10 AM.
“Part I” is a massive pain in the butt if you did not know about it. You HAVE to take the Cat Lai Ferry across the river. The highway to the northeast is regulated, and they do not allow motorbikes on it. If you plan on motorbiking Vietnam, pay attention to this advice!
You will drive 15 minutes out of town to the south. Then head up to the Cat Lai Ferry directly to the east of the city. The cost is 2,000 VND (literally 9 cents) do not fret about that. It was a crazy experience getting shuttled across a massive river with 200 other motorbikes around you.
This one just goes straight up into the southern Vietnamese mountains. The roads are very straight forward but watch out for trucks on the road coming out of town. They will likely try and pass other big vehicles and potentially turn a two-lane road into a four-lane road!
That exact reason was my first wreck (not a bad one). I just got scared and pulled over to the side of the road. There was a pothole the size of my tire and I slid me off my bike. The bike and I were fine.
Eventually, you end up in this amazing local mountain resort. The price is 20 bucks for a room. If you are with someone, you get an incredibly luxurious cabin for ten bucks each. Nonetheless, it was strange rolling into this resort.
It was obviously off-season, and there were only three other guests besides my friends and me on this huge property. Dinner food is average. Breakfast is excellent and free! Just down the road is some amazing Bahn Mi place to have lunch, too.
The resort has some interesting stuff in it. You can choose to stay an extra day or not. It is up to you.
Motorbiking Vietnam Day Two: Matagui Resort to Dalat
Leave at 8 AM or 9 AM.
Matagui was a crazy resort. You likely were kept busy with a full gun range, a zip line, and many other activities to do! You never thought you would be shooting guns while motorbiking Vietnam, did you?
Anyway, day two has you going to the mountain town of Dalat. Google Maps is pretty sporadic with this one if you do not use my route. I got lost in a rice field with some old Vietnamese guy yelling at me because of the direction it told me to take!
Also, make sure you get an early start. It is not a long drive to Dalat, but it is through the mountains. You will go much slower than you went the previous day.
Another reason to leave early is to leave enough time for lunch. Stop at a roadside Bahn Mi place anywhere that you see one. The best Bahn Mi that I ever had was along this route. Unfortunately, this was the one place I did not mark on my map! It is 2 1/2 hours away from Matagui (in Baò Loc I think).
There are some stunning sites along the way, as well. Once you get closer to Dalat, you will notice some crazy rock formations. Stop to take a look if you want.
Motorbiking Vietnam Day Three: Dalat to Nha Trang
Leave at 9 AM.
This route is not particularly long, but it is likely one of the most scenic rides I have ever ridden. The picturesque mountains along the way will have you stopping every 45 minutes.
This route is also one of the most dangerous parts of your trip so make sure you got your bike checked out in Dalat before leaving. The roads are incredibly windy and not in the best shape. The gravel will be the worst part, though. I could almost feel my wheels slipping every time I went on gravel.
If rain is in the forecast, consider staying in Dalat for another night. You do not want to be on these roads while it is raining.
If you do not like the idea of sketchy roads, look into a bus service to Nha Trang from Dalat. You have to pay for you and your bike (usually 200,000-300,000 VND). They will put your motorbike in the luggage space below the bus.
You will miss some excellent views on your motorbiking Vietnam trip, though. I still remember every single detail about this ride. It was all worth it, even after I slid off my bike and took a chunk out of my knee.
Motorbiking Vietnam Day Four: Nha Tran to Qui Nhon
Leave at 6 AM if you are riding through to Hoi An or 9 AM if you are going to Qui Nhon
This part of the trip is the only place that my motorbiking Vietnam trip will differ from yours. You can choose to stay in Qui Nhon or keep riding all the way to Hoi An. This day will also be the longest ride of your trip if you decide to drive straight through.
Our plan was to drive straight through to Hoi An. Unfortunately, we hit a massive rain storm and had to stop less than halfway. My choice of hotel was not ideal, though. We stayed in a sketchy hotel a half hour past Qui Nhon.
Qui Nhon has some lovely beaches and some beautiful temples scattered throughout the city. Do not be like me. Just stay here instead. You might even decide to stay here a few days and relax on the beach!
I do have some interesting stories from this night, though! The entire town came out to the only Pho shop in the city while we were there. It was crazy.
Motorbiking Vietnam Day Five: Qui Nhon to Hoi An
7 AM or 8 AM is fine. Make sure you are leaving early, though.
This ride is remarkable but hard. Many of the roads have constant maintenance going on with many gravel roads along the way. It will likely lengthen your time that Google says.
Also, if you are going to break down, this stretch of road will be when it happens. The constant vibrations of your bike from the road maintenance will give your bike a proper test. It will also test your patience if the traffic starts to slow down as it did for me. I never said motorbiking Vietnam was going to be easy.
Not much else to say other than to stay focused while you are riding.
Motorbiking Vietnam Day Six: Hoi An to Hue
You can leave as late as you would like on this drive. It is only three hours on the road. I suggest leaving at 10 AM, though.
This day is the most scenic road on the trip. It is so scenic, in fact, that it was featured on the popular British TV show “Top Gear.” Take your time on this one and enjoy it. Stop often to take in the views. Consider bringing a packed lunch (or road Bahn Mi!), even!
The roads are well-maintained, but they are wrapped around the mountain like a snake. You will not have nearly as much trouble here as you did on the roads after Dalat. Motorbiking Vietnam can be hugely advertised between these two cities.
Also, try to coordinate this drive with a sunny day. The landscape that it overlooks warrants a day or two in Danang to wait for good weather. Danang is an excellent city, by the way. It is not a bad city to be stuck in.
There you have it!
Feel free to reference this post along with the map that will be embedded at the bottom of this page. Stay safe out there guys!
Also, check out this short clip from my Instagram about how crazy the Vietnamese traffic can get!