Located in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam, Hau Giang province is an ideal destination for motorbike travelers looking to explore the rural landscapes and waterways of the area. With an extensive network of quiet backroads winding through rice paddies, small villages, and fruit orchards, Hau Giang offers picturesque riding opportunities away from the busy cities. Renting a motorbike is one of the best ways to experience the province’s natural beauty, culture, and famous hospitality of its welcoming residents. This definitive guide covers everything you need to know to have an amazing motorbike adventure in Hau Giang.
Reasons to Rent a Motorbike in Hau Giang
Renting a motorbike opens up Hau Giang’s rural roads and allows travelers to fully immerse themselves in the local way of life. Here are some of the top reasons to rent a set of wheels for exploring the province:
Convenience of Getting Around
With limited public transportation options, having your own motorbike is the most convenient and efficient way of getting around Hau Giang. You can travel at your own pace, stop wherever you please, and reach destinations off the beaten path not served by tourist buses or trains. The flexibility of a rental motorbike is invaluable for independent exploration.
Ability to Explore the Province Independently
On a motorbike you don’t have to join group tours or depend on others for transportation. You’re free to create your own customized itinerary to the places that interest you most, from bustling local markets to quiet temples tucked away down country lanes. With the wind in your hair and open roads ahead, you’ll feel a wonderful sense of freedom discovering Hau Giang province independently.
Cost Savings Compared to Other Transport Options
Long-term motorbike rentals can be quite affordable in Vietnam, often much cheaper than hiring a car and driver. Gasoline is also inexpensive, so getting around by motorbike is gentler on the wallet compared to taking buses, trains, or taxis everywhere. The more ground you can cover at your own pace, the more value you get out of a rental.
Types of Motorbikes Available for Rent
Vietnam is motorbike crazy, so finding rental shops with fleets of bikes is easy. Here are the main types of motorbikes and engine sizes available:
Manual transmission motorbikes with clutch and gear shifters are the most common rental bikes in Vietnam. Models with smaller 100cc to 125cc engines are suitable for lighter riders and urban use, while more powerful 150cc to 175cc motorbikes provide extra torque for two-up riding and highway cruising. Learner riders should get plenty of practice on quiet streets before attempting Hau Giang’s rural roads.
For riders who don’t want to shift gears, automatic motorbikes provide twist-and-go convenience. Scooter-style models are very popular across Asia and are easier for beginners to operate. Heavier traffic-oriented automatics with 125cc to 150cc engines have power for rural Vietnam’s open roads.
A small but growing number of electric motorbike models are offered for environmentally conscious travelers. Rechargeable batteries provide zero-emissions riding, but limited battery range means electric motorbikes are best suited for sightseeing in town, not long distances.
Motorbikes with Sidecars
Want to experience Vietnam’s roads like a local? Try a motorbike with sidecar, modeled after old Soviet-style Ural motorcycles. With a friend along for the ride in the sidecar, it’s double the adventure across Hau Giang’s scenic landscapes. Sidecar steering takes practice, however.
Rental Companies in Hau Giang
Travelers can rent motorbikes from major national chains, local providers, or even some accommodations. Each has their advantages:
Major National Chains
Major rental companies like Tigit Motorbikes with outlets across Vietnam provide polished service, quality bike maintenance, and extras like saddlebags and GPS units. But they may have limited presence in rural areas like Hau Giang.
Local Hau Giang Companies
Smaller local rental shops offer lower prices and flexibility for one-way rentals between Hau Giang destinations. Ask hotel staff for trusted recommendations. Ensure bikes are properly registered and inspected.
Renting from Accommodation Providers
Some hotels, homestays, and guest houses in Hau Giang have rental bikes or can arrange them from local partners. This allows you to pick up a motorbike directly where you’re staying. Discuss terms and bike conditions clearly.
Cost of Renting a Motorbike
Motorbike rental prices are quite reasonable in Vietnam, though expenses add up the longer you rent. Here are typical costs:
Expect to pay around $5-10 USD per day for short-term motorbike rentals. Monthly rates can be as low as $150-200 USD. Compare rates between shops carefully for the best deal.
A deposit of around $100-200 USD is usually required, payable upon pickup and refunded when the undamaged motorbike is returned. This covers the rental shop in case of damage or theft.
Gasoline in Vietnam costs under $1 USD per liter. Figure around 25-30 miles per liter for motorbikes, so fuel costs are minimal. Allow extra for long-distance days exploring remote areas.
Motorbike rental insurance runs $10-20 USD per month. This is recommended to avoid large out-of-pocket costs for any damage or accidents. Verify policy coverage details carefully.
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Motorbike Rental Legalities
When renting and riding in Vietnam, be aware of the following legal requirements:
Carry the bike’s registration (white card), rental agreement, and your passport and valid driver’s license at all times. International Driving Permits (IDPs) are required for foreign riders.
Driver’s License Requirements
You must be 18 years or older and have a valid motorcycle license from your home country to rent a motorbike in Vietnam. An IDP or notarized translation of your license is mandatory.
Adherence to Traffic Laws
Know Vietnam’s road rules and drive defensively. Violations like speeding or drunk driving can result in license suspension, fines, or jail time. Bribery of police is illegal. Always be respectful and courteous if stopped.
Best Places to Ride in Hau Giang
With endless backroads and scenic landscapes, narrowing down must-see destinations is tough, but here are some of the best places for motorbike riding in Hau Giang province:
Countryside and Villages
Cruising along narrow bamboo-shaded lanes through rice paddies and stopping in remote villages to interact with welcoming locals provides an authentic cultural experience. Friendly children shout enthusiastic “hellos!” and water buffalos lumber down the road.
Rivers and Waterways
The iconic image of sampans gliding along the wide, muddy Mekong River and its tributaries is mesmerizing. Ride along the banks for glistening water vistas and to experience the timeless rhythms of life on Vietnam’s waterways.
Cultural and Historical Sites
Visit imposing Khmer temple ruins dating back centuries and other ancient relics testifying to Hau Giang’s rich history. Parks dedicated to Vietnam’s revolutionary heroes provide scenic backgrounds for learning about the country’s struggle for independence.
Motorbike Safety Tips
Vietnam’s roads can be challenging for rookie riders. Follow these tips for staying safe on your wheels:
Assume other vehicles won’t obey traffic laws. Drive cautiously, keep your eyes moving, use mirrors, and don’t assume you’ve been seen. Vietnam’s roads demand your full attention at all times.
Wear a quality helmet, enclosed shoes, eye protection, and lightweight protective jacket/pants to reduce injury in a crash. Bring a poncho and bungee cords too.
Dealing with Weather Conditions
Vietnam’s rainy season means you’ll encounter downpours on rides. Slow down, turn on lights, and pull under shelters to wait out the heaviest rain. Sun protection is also essential year-round.
Use your guesthouse or hotel’s secure parking when available. Otherwise park on busy streets and use dual disc locks on wheels plus a chain lock to secure the bike and helmets. Don’t leave valuables unattended.
Packing and Preparing for a Motorbike Trip
A well-planned packing list and pre-trip prep ensures you have an enjoyable ride. Bring:
Tools and Spare Parts
Carry basic tools, tire patch kit, spare tubes, light bulbs and fuses, zip ties, and duct tape for roadside troubleshooting and repairs.
First Aid Kit
Pack essential medicines, bandages, antiseptic cream, bug spray, pain/fever relievers, and medication for travel-related ailments. An accident far from hospitals could be serious.
Clothing and Rain Gear
Bring lightweight, breathable clothes in layers to adapt to Vietnam’s climate, plus a quality rain suit. Waterproof your belongings too.
Use sturdy saddlebags and rear travel trunks. Bungee cords securely fasten bags and belongings for the bumpy ride. Protect valuables in hard cases.
Finding Accommodation Along the Way
Vietnam offers many types of interesting lodging for motorbike road trippers:
Hotels from simple family-run guesthouses to luxury resorts offer creature comforts like soft beds, private baths, restaurants, laundry service, and secured parking.
Immerse yourself in local life by spending a night or two at rural Vietnamese homestays. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked food and wonderful cultural exchange.
Pitch a tent under the stars for an adventurous overnight stay along your route. Quality camping gear protects from wet weather and bugs. Seek permissions if camping outside designated areas.
Apps and Resources for Motorbike Travelers
Smartphone apps and online resources help with navigation, finding lodging, translating, and more:
Offline maps like Maps.me allow navigation without mobile data. Frequent paper map reference is essential too.
Websites like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree connect travelers for advice. Viet Nam Coracle has excellent motorbike touring tips.
Apps like Google Translate with Vietnamese offline packages are invaluable for navigating signs, menus, and conversations. Data access difficulties limit usefulness in very remote regions, however.
Recommended Motorbike Routes and Itineraries
With limitless possibilities, Hau Giang could take months to fully explore. But here are some terrific 1 to 2-week loop routes to see the best highlights:
Mekong Delta Loop – Starts and ends in Can Tho. Rides along River Road through Vinh Long, Sa Dec, Long Xuyen, Chau Doc, Ha Tien, Rach Gia, and back to Can Tho.
Coastal Loop – Starts and ends in Rach Gia. Rides through Ha Tien, Hon Chong hills, Nam Du Archipelago, Ca Mau, and loops back via Can Tho.
Northeast Loop – Starts and ends in Long Xuyen. Visits Sam Mountain, Cho Moi, Phung Hiep, Soc Trang, My Xuyen, Kinh Quoi Temple, and back to Long Xuyen along Tien River road.
Mix and match sections of the above routes to create your ideal custom itinerary based on length of trip and personal interests. Leave room for spontaneous detours and discoveries!
When to Visit Hau Giang
Hau Giang’s climate and tourism seasons influence the riding experience:
Dry vs Rainy Season
The hot dry months from December to April offer pleasant weather but are very busy. For fewer tourists and lush scenery, visit in the May to November rainy season, but expect daily downpours.
Holidays and Festivals
Avoid the major Vietnamese holiday seasons of Tet Lunar New Year in January/February and National Day in late August to mid-September, when masses of local tourists swarm the roads. Attending vibrant festivals like Ooc Om Bok in November/December is a unique experience.
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Alternative Transport Options
While motorbikes are ideally suited for exploring rural Hau Giang, travelers have other options:
Cars provide more luggage capacity and protection from the elements but limit you to main roads. Driving skills are still required to handle chaotic traffic conditions. Prices are higher than motorbike rental.
Very cheap but also very slow, hot, and crowded. You’re limited to major stops along set routes only. However, interesting encounters with friendly locals are likely.
Pedal power allows immersive travel at cycling pace. But Hau Giang’s longer distances and variable road conditions pose challenges compared to gentler northern Vietnam.
With an adventurous spirit and this definitive guide’s tips for renting a motorbike, navigating, packing properly, finding accommodations, and more, you’re all set for an amazing journey into the heart of fascinating Hau Giang province. Vietnam’s welcoming hospitality and spectacular landscapes promise you memories to cherish for a lifetime. The open road awaits – let’s ride!