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Learning how to ride a motobike in Saigon, and renting !

Hey all,

I am planning to go on a road trip by a motorbike, but I have never driven one before.
Is it easy and quick to learn, and shall I buy one or rent? Since I am staying here for at least 3 months.

Also, if anyone is willing to teach me I would really appreciate it :D

I live in Binh Thanh District, HCMC

Cheers,
Sami

There are many funeral directors available, but you may well prefer to make sure your travel insurance covers repatriating your body.

or .... this is a really bad idea.

lol that wasn't helpful at all, thanks though.

Basically, you needs eyes up for bum and excellent control of your machine to ride anywhere in South East Asia, and that's before you consider getting a driving licence that'll help keep you out of trouble with the cops.
What you're suggesting is likely to end up badly, especially as you have zero experience on a motorbike.

However, if you survive, please post the videos and photos on the forum - I'm pretty sure a lot of people would like to see them.

well, thanks. That WAS helpful.

I've read lots of blogs and watched YouTube videos of new Riders thật are foreigners traversing Vietnam on long trips.

The road looks pretty empty once you are outside the city.

I think most people are worried if you are riding in the city which can be overwhelming and dangerous for a new rider.

Stick to the far right and don't speed I think you should be alright which I've seen most of the riders ride as such on YouTube.

Sticking to the far right is usually a good idea, that is until some idiot drives out from a small pathway onto the road and doesn't look left. In the countryside you will see many chalk markings on the road marking accidents, most are always near a small pathway. Be prepared for the unexpected, the locals don't care about rules, looking left or for anyone else.

khanh44

  Oh yea I am relying on the fact that I will be riding on a highway so it will be less interactions with other bikes and cars.
I will keep researching and finding out how I can practice.
Thanks bro

colinoscapee :

Sticking to the far right is usually a good idea, that is until some idiot drives out from a small pathway onto the road and doesn't look left. In the countryside you will see many chalk markings on the road marking accidents, most are always near a small pathway. Be prepared for the unexpected, the locals don't care about rules, looking left or for anyone else.

That's interesting, I noticed in this city that following driving rules might get you hurt

If you come out to my place in Bien Hoa plenty of empty space to practice. The roads are all nicely paved and probably 1 bike an hour travelling on it.

colinoscapee :

Sticking to the far right is usually a good idea, that is until some idiot drives out from a small pathway onto the road and doesn't look left. In the countryside you will see many chalk markings on the road marking accidents, most are always near a small pathway. Be prepared for the unexpected, the locals don't care about rules, looking left or for anyone else.

My experience in agriculture taught me that the water flows best in the middle of the pipe.  Stay away from the left and the right.  One bike lane away from the right side may be best.

What matters is not learning to ride a bike which is relatively easy especially since auto and semi-auto transmissions with no clutch make things a lot easier.  What is tough is a whole new set of ideas of who has the right of way.  Although I rode a motorcycle in the US, it took me at least 3 months to learn the new unwritten rules of the road.  Most of these actually do work to keep things moving.   Sudden stops no matter if based on caution are not appreciated.  Left turns across traffic are mostly a matter of a mad dash to beat the oncoming traffic.  If you don't manage that you will need to gradually ease your way across while others go past you at full speed.  The whole list of unique techniques is too long to cover and you really just have to internalize them.  I figured I was there when I did something  really harebrained and my wife riding behind gave me the left handed compliment of "Now you are Vietnamese driver."

i think rent the bike is better coz u just stay here in 3 months only. its fun when u practise driving. Have a good time my dear!

This is a very late reply so hope this is still helpful. Since you can already ride a bike, it's not difficult to pick up easy driving
At slow speed for better balance, keep one hand on brake and other on light throttle, as this is needed in traffic crawls, especially at school out and end of work days.
Be very aware that Vietnamese in general have a one thing in common, keep eye to eye contact with anyone in front of you.
Having said that, you will find them quite predictable,
eg. Old broken bikes which are drivable must be given wide berth coz they don't value their life.
Middle aged women will not give way to anyone
Failed x-gen types will drive fast and loud, don't try to keep up with them
When turning left or right , be prepared that anyone will come from the most improbable side.
If you drive in the city, drive slowly due to all the above.
In the countryside you will be tempted to drive fast, watch out for police radar, even 1kph over the limit will cost you direct payment to the "boys in beige"
Also be aware that as a foreigner you are supposed to be able to afford any fine and touts who are waiting to pounce saying they can help.
Finally be aware that in all of Vietnam there are very brash and bold thieves so you should not dress in any way which shows you have money, this applies to everyone, not just tourists
Safe trip

Driving with out a VN Drivers license is a very bad idea. But, getting a VN DL is not especially difficult for vehicals that you hold a current and valid foreign

https://www.internations.org/vietnam-ex … -vietnam-2

What if I do not apply for a Vietnamese driving license?

We strongly recommend you must hold a Vietnamese driving license or temporary license converted from international driving permit because the penalty for not holding a driving license when you drive can be harsh: from 3 years up to 10 years in prison if causing accidents, and even 20-year sentence if accidents causing death.

For more details related to procedures on obtaining a driver license in Vietnam, please check out the official website of the Department of Transport!

https://visavietnamonline.org/Page/how- … namese-one

Fred did make some very good comments. The bright side is that Vietnamese driving today is a thousand times better than it was in the early to mid 1970's. At least, that is my view. Anyone else who was driving in Viet Nam at that time that disagrees, please, let me know.

Note, to add a bit to what Fred said. My VN DL covers cars, light trucks and motorcycles(that I have ridden since the early 1960's including a bit of dirt track). The only thing she allows me to drive is our 1963 Jeep CJ-5.

Start with an automatic and a local sitting behind you teaching the unspoken rules of the road.

As THIGV say's it's not learning to ride a motorbike that's going to be the dangerous part, especially with an automatic or semi automatic, it's understanding the mentality and habits of the people on the road in Vietnam. It's different from anywhere else I have been.

At red lights, do not go until the lights are green and ignore the countdown clock. People will be beeping at you like mad but the few seconds the lights are switching is the most dangerous time. You get people trying to jump red lights at speed on one side then you get people shooting off with seconds left before green and they quickly meet in the middle.

People don't give way so never take chances with bigger veichles. you don't want to pick a fight with a bigger vehicle for right of way. Inside the city, the motorbikes are like a shoal of fish and you can find protection from bigger vehicles. Outside the city, these big veichles are dangerous, they don't give way and would drive on without a care in the world if they knock you down. It happened to me in Ha giang where the lorry drove off knowing he would never be caught.

Since you don't know the roads get a 3G data sim card for google maps. It's surprisingly good at finding one way road systems to avoid that could get you in trouble. It also helps your confidence knowing your route.

Be careful of those school kids riding their electric bikes, especially at night because they ride them without lights to save battery.

Insist on renting a motorbike with mirrors! You will see a lot of vehicles on the road without mirrors and this reflects (pun intended) the mentality of the person in control of it. That they don't care about what's around or behind them, it's just go go go.

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