Vietnam is a spectacular country, and many people claim that the best way to see it is by motorbike. However, if you really want to do this there are a few things you’ll need to think about first.
If your travelling on a budget you will want to buy your bike on cheap. Check out Vietnam’s Craigslist, this Facebook group and local mechanics. The going rate for a Honda WIN, (what most travellers buy) is $250, and you can usually sell it for a similar price. Apparently you can buy a brand new motorbike for $600, so if your seeking a more luxurious, comfortable experience this might be a better option. Whoever you end up buying your bike off don’t forget that they are making money from you, so don’t believe all the positive things they say about the vehicle. Chances are you’ll have to pay for some form of maintenance during your trip, because these bikes aren’t exactly new.
Vietnamese police are renowned for being corrupt, so if you get pulled over you will probably have to hand over some money. There’s plenty of police checks on the roads around he country, and most travellers are stopped at least once. They might claim that you’ve committed a bogus driving offence or it could be a licence check; if you don’t have an international licence you will get fined as well. The biggest extortion I heard of was 1,000,000 vnd, so it’s not to expensive. Do drive carefully at all times to try and avoid this happening.
Despite this route being so popular with travellers, it’s not exactly legal. Unless you have an international and motorbike licence your insurance will not cover you, so if you have an accident you will have to cover the fees that could be exorbitant. Some locals told me that even that isn’t enough as you are supposed to have a Vietnamese licence to drive in the country. Do check with your own insurance beforehand.