Renting a motorbike is an exciting way to explore Vietnam. The feeling of freedom and adventure as you cruise beautiful winding roads is unmatched. However, there are some important things to consider when picking up your rental to ensure a smooth and safe trip. Being well prepared with the proper documents, gear, and equipment will give you peace of mind during your motorbiking journey.
Have All Required Documentation Ready
Having the right documents with you will make the rental process quick and easy. Be sure to have the following:
- Valid Driver’s License – An international or Vietnamese driver’s license is required to operate a motorbike. Double check that your license is valid and not expired. This is crucial for legal operation and insurance coverage.
- Passport – Your passport will be needed for ID verification when picking up the rental bike. Be sure to bring your actual passport, not just a photocopy.
- Rental Agreement – Carefully review the rental agreement provided by the company. Know the terms and conditions like rental duration, payments, restrictions etc. Signing the agreement means you agree to abide by those policies. Bring a printed copy when picking up the motorbike.
Use Proper Motorbike Riding Gear
Operating a motorbike requires special protective gear to keep you safe on the road. Wearing a helmet is legally required in most parts of Vietnam. The appropriate jackets, gloves, pants, and boots will further shield you from injury in the case of accidents. Some key items to pack include:
- Motorbike Helmet – This is non-negotiable from both a legal and safety perspective. Only use a quality helmet that meets safety certifications. Make sure it fits your head shape and size appropriately.
- Jacket and Gloves – Leather or specialized textile jackets provide impact and abrasion protection during falls. Matching motorbike gloves improve grip and guard hands. Bring well-fitted items that allow flexibility.
- Footwear – Pack sturdy boots or shoes that protect your feet, ankles and give good traction on the pegs and road. Sandals or flip-flops are dangerous and should be avoided. Prioritize safety and comfort.
Verify Insurance Coverage
- Confirm that you have adequate motorbike insurance for your trip. This usually involves:
- Calling your credit card company to check if rental coverage is included. There are often restrictions.
- Purchasing additional insurance from the rental company. Compare policies and costs.
- Getting separate travel insurance for overseas medical care.
- Bring insurance documents and contact information in case claims need to be filed.
Have Sufficient Funds and Payment Items
You’ll need to provide monetary payment and deposits during the rental process. Be prepared with:
- Cash – Have enough physical cash on hand for paying deposits required by the rental company. They may ask for anywhere from 500,000 to 5,000,000 VND held against damages. Get cash during your trip, as most ATMs dispense maximum 2,000,000 VND per withdrawal.
- Debit/Credit Card – It’s best to make your actual rental payment with a card if possible. Inform your bank you are traveling to prevent transaction blocks. Keep cards easily accessible but secure.
- Local Currency – Have Vietnamese Dong available for purchases, tolls, fees that may arise during your trip. Obtain Dong from ATMs or currency exchanges upon arrival.
Download Offline Maps and Communication Apps
Being able to safely navigate and communicate during your motorbiking adventure is key. Some recommended mobile apps include:
- Google or Apple Maps – Download offline Vietnam maps for navigation without data connectivity. Review your planned routes beforehand.
- Google Translate – Helps translate Vietnamese signs, conversations in a pinch. Download the Vietnamese language pack.
- Ride-Sharing Apps – Consider Grab, GoViet and Be for emergency rides or parking assistance.
- Communication Apps – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger to stay in touch with your travel group.
- Travel Apps – Booking.com, Agoda, Airbnb to assist with accommodations and planning.
Pack Essential Safety and Repair Equipment
Carrying certain equipment like first aid kits and tire repair kits can be a lifesaver on the road. Some must-have items include:
- First Aid Kit – Stock a kit with bandages, antiseptic, medication and other medical necessities in case of injury.
- Flashlight – Small but powerful flashlights help navigate night riding or breakdowns. Ensure batteries are fresh.
- Tire Repair Kit – Carry a spare inner tube, plug kit, tire levers, and portable pump for flat tires. Know how to do basic repairs.
- Rain Gear – Pack a lightweight poncho or rain jacket. Sudden rains are common, especially during monsoon season.
- Zip Ties – Useful for makeshift repairs on the go. Can temporarily secure broken parts before getting professional help.
Pack Extra Personal Items for Comfort
Going on a multi-day motorbike trip means packing some personal essentials as well:
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- Sunglasses – High quality sunglasses provide eye protection and visibility on bright, sunny days. Make sure they fit comfortably with your helmet.
- Sunscreen – Vietnam’s tropical sunlight can quickly cause burns without proper protection. Apply and reapply SPF 30 or higher frequently.
- Water and Snacks – Stay hydrated and fueled, especially on long rides. Pack reusable bottles and on-the-go snacks.
- Electronics – Bring phone chargers, battery packs, cameras and other devices you need. Waterproof or protective cases are recommended.
- Hat/Bandana – Shield yourself from the sun and keep cool with a lightweight hat or headwear.
Review Rental Company Requirements and Make a Checklist
Each rental company may have specific documents, gear or other requirements for picking up bikes. Avoid problems by taking these preparatory steps:
- Review Company Website – Check the rental company’s website information thoroughly so you understand all policies and rules. This will vary by company.
- Ask Questions in Advance – Email or call customer service with any points needing clarification a few days before your pickup.
- Make a Checklist – Having a checklist ensures you pack and prepare everything required. Customize it based on your specific trip, rental company and packing style.
- Confirm Pickup Time – Verify when and where to pickup the motorbike. Arrive early to complete paperwork. Allot extra travel time.
- Share Itinerary – Provide your rental dates, destinations and trip plan. This assists if emergencies occur.
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Renting and riding a motorbike can be the highlight of your Vietnam travels. The sense of freedom exploring majestic landscapes on two wheels is incredible. However, safety should be the number one priority. Doing thorough preparation with documents, gear, equipment and planning helps ensure an amazing motorbiking experience in Vietnam. Focus on preventative measures so you can avoid issues and focus on the joy of the open road. With some smart planning and packing, you’ll be equipped for an unforgettable motorbiking adventure.
The key is having all required paperwork, wearing protective riding gear, verifying insurance coverage, carrying cash and cards for payments, downloading helpful apps, packing repair tools and first aid kits, reviewing rental policies and checklists, and confirming pickup logistics. Follow these tips, and you can head out with confidence for a fun, safe and memorable trip cruising Vietnam’s routes on a rental motorbike. The excitement of the open road awaits. All that’s left is following your sense of adventure wherever it leads.