Situated along Vietnam’s north central coast, Quang Binh province is a scenic region known for its spectacular natural landscapes and historic sites. Home to the famous Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and Vietnam’s largest cave system, as well as miles of untouched coastline, Quang Binh has plenty to offer visitors.
While many choose to explore Quang Binh as part of a tour group, renting a motorbike offers the freedom and flexibility to fully experience this beautiful province at your own pace. With the wind in your hair and stunning vistas around every turn, motorbiking through Quang Binh is an unforgettable way to soak up the culture and scenery.
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to plan the ultimate Quang Binh motorbike adventure, from choosing the right bike to mapping your route, packing tips, safety advice, top attractions, where to stay and eat along the way, and so much more. Let’s hit the open road and start exploring majestic Quang Binh on two wheels!
Background on Quang Binh
Tucked between the provinces of Ha Tinh to the north and Quang Tri to the south, Quang Binh spans over 8,000 sq km on the east side of the narrow central Vietnamese peninsula. It’s bordered by Laos to the west and hugged by the South China Sea along its entire 125 km eastern coastline.
Location and Geography
Geographically diverse, Quang Binh encompasses both mountainous areas and flat coastal plains. The western region is dominated by the towering Annamite Mountain Range, with peaks over 2,000m high, while the eastern half comprises a thin coastal strip with long sandy beaches and hidden lagoons. The province’s rivers, lakes, caves, valleys, and hills provide breathtaking scenery ripe for discovery.
Popular Attractions and Activities
Quang Binh’s main claim to fame is the magnificent Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 300 caves. Highlights include Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, and Phong Nha Cave, known for its subterranean river and beautiful rock formations.
Outside the park, other top attractions include the historic DMZ (De-militarized Zone) between North and South Vietnam, Vinh Moc tunnels, My Khe beach, and atmospheric Bao Ninh temple. Offshore islands like Con Co and Ly Son also make great day trips.
Activities abound, from hiking and mountain biking to kayaking, scuba diving, and exploring the extensive cave network. Quang Binh’s rivers and waterfalls provide options for rafting and canyoning, while the coast has world-class waves for surfing.
Benefits of Exploring by Motorbike
Travelling through Quang Binh by motorbike allows you to access places that buses can’t reach and stop spontaneously when something catches your eye. Renting a motorbike means:
- Freedom to create your own flexible itinerary
- Immersing yourself in Vietnam’s motorbike culture
- Feeling the wind on your face as you cruise scenic highways
- Reaching hidden gems away from major tourist sights
- Pulling over anytime to take photos of the stunning landscape
- Experiencing Quang Binh like a local by interacting with remote villages
With endless adventures awaiting, a motorbike rental is undoubtedly the best way to uncover Quang Binh’s magic. Let’s look at how to choose the perfect bike for your needs.
Choosing Your Rental Motorbike
With Vietnam’s huge diversity of available motorbikes, selecting the right rental comes down to factors like engine size, ergonomics, luggage capacity, and your budget.
Types of Motorbikes Available
Rentals in Quang Binh typically include:
- Manual geared motorbikes like the Honda Win and Air Blade for basic transportation
- Mopeds and scooters like the Honda Lead and Yamaha Nouvo for lighter riders
- Dual sport bikes like the Kawasaki KLX 150 for combining on-road and off-road
- Cruisers like the Honda Shadow for casual riding in comfort
- Adventure touring bikes like the BMW 1200GS for long-distance travel with luggage
Many rental companies also have vintage Vespas and sidecars for those seeking a retro experience. Electric scooters are on the rise too.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bike
The right motorbike depends on your travel style, experience level, physical size, and riding preferences. Key aspects to consider are:
This impacts power, acceleration, and fuel consumption. 50-110cc bikes are suitable for lighter riders, while 150-400cc offers stability for two people and luggage at higher speeds. Over 400cc provides comfort on long-distance highways.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Choose a bike that you can easily balance at stops, reach the ground with both feet, and control comfortably. Testing different seat heights and positions is wise.
Will you travel with big backpacks or just a day bag? Some bikes accommodate hard saddlebags, others just bungee straps. Ensure your luggage fits securely.
Recommended Models for Quang Binh
Great all-round rental choices for Quang Binh include:
- Honda Winner 150cc: A popular manual bike for strong power, reliability, and flexibility on any terrain. Easy to drive for beginners too.
- Yamaha Exciter 150cc: With sporty performance and twin shock suspension, it adapts well to bumpy rural routes while still being street legal.
- Suzuki Raider 150cc: A comfortable cruiser option for two riders, with the stability needed for highway sections.
For experienced riders on longer trips, larger adventure bikes like the Royal Enfield Himalayan 400cc allow packing more gear while tackling tough mountain tracks.
Keep your trip goals and riding ability in mind when choosing the ideal motorbike rental in Quang Binh. Now let’s look at rental companies and costs.
>>> Explore Further: The Essential Guide to Motorbike Rental in Quang Tri
Renting Motorbikes in Quang Binh
Quang Binh has dozens of rental shops across popular spots like Dong Hoi, Phong Nha town, and Ba Don. Dealing with reputable companies ensures you get quality bikes, spare parts, insurance, and support if needed.
Major Rental Companies
Recommended companies to consider include:
1. Phong Nha Riders
- Located in Son Trach town, near Phong Nha caves
- Owner Cuong is well-known and trustworthy
- Over 30 new bikes of different models
- Provide maps, rain gear, tools, and luggage storage
2. Tam’s Cafe Motorbike Rental
- Based right in bustling Phong Nha
- Rent scooters, dual sports, and street bikes
- Offer free hotel drop offs in Phong Nha
- Can arrange multi-day tours with accommodation
3. Highway Riders
- Veteran company with shops across Vietnam
- Comprehensive insurance options
- Extensive spare parts and repair capability
- One-way rentals between branches available
Ask any hotel or hostel for their recommended rental outlet too.
Expect to pay around 100,000-150,000VND ($5-7 USD) per day for smaller bikes and 200,000-300,000VND ($9-13) per day for larger motorcycles. Renting for multiple days or weeks often brings the daily rate down.
Many shops require a deposit of around 5,000,000VND ($200-300) depending on the bike value, to cover any damage. This is usually payable by credit card or cash. Always verify if deposit insurance is included, so you’re covered for theft or crashes.
Insurance and Deposits
Reputable companies provide insurance, but triple check your coverage for damage, loss, or injury. Ask about paying extra for comprehensive protection.
To recover your deposit afterwards, make sure to thoroughly check the bike and take photos immediately upon rental and return. Handle any scratches or issues right away.
Checking the Motorbike Before Renting
Don’t just take the company’s word that the bike is in good mechanical shape—inspect it yourself:
- Are the brakes and accelerator working smoothly?
- Does the chain have enough lubrication?
- Are the tires properly inflated with sufficient tread depth?
- Do all the lights and signals function properly?
- Is registration and insurance paperwork up to date?
Take it for a quick test ride too. A little diligence now prevents headaches later!
A well-planned route maximizes your time to experience the best of Quang Binh. Smart navigation approaches help keep you on track in this remote region.
Studying the Area and Route Options
Get a comprehensive map of Quang Binh province and research must-see attractions and roads. Plan day-by-day sections, estimating distances between overnight stops.
Decide if you want to focus on the coast, the national park, historical sites, or looping the entire province. Leave room for spontaneous stops too!
GPS vs. Paper Maps
GPS on smartphones is helpful for big cities, but unreliable in rural Vietnam where data coverage is spotty. Offline maps like Maps.me work better, but battery life is limited.
Having a paper map as backup is essential in case devices fail. Ask your rental shop for detailed regional maps.
Useful Apps and Resources
Apps like Maps.me and Roadtrippers allow pre-downloading Vietnam maps for GPS navigation without data. iTinerary helps build routes and share with travel partners.
For research, scour travel blogs for suggested Quang Binh itineraries and highlights. Check development websites for new road or attraction openings too.
Building in Flexibility
Leave wiggle room in your schedule for detours or delays. Trying to rigidly stick to a rushed plan will only lead to frustration in Vietnam’s laidback environment.
Aim to cover around 100 km per day max to allow time for sightseeing, photos, meals, and mishaps. Expect rides to take twice as long as Google Maps estimates.
Packing and Preparation
Proper preparation prevents problems down the road. Be sure to pack smartly and bring essential supplies for a smooth motorbiking adventure.
Clothing and Gear
Pack lightweight, breathable clothes that offer sun and wind protection:
- Helmet – Required by law. Many shops rent them. Bring sunglasses and a bandana too.
- Eye protection – Keep bugs and debris out of your eyes.
- Sturdy shoes – Boots or sneakers for riding safety.
- Gloves – Reduce hand fatigue and risk. Fingerless versions allow using controls.
- Rain poncho – Essential during rainy season months.
- Light jacket – For chilly early mornings or cloudy days.
Tools and Spare Parts
Carry basics like:
- Tire repair kit with plug patches and mini air pump
- Multi-tool and Duck tape
- Spare bulbs and fuses
- Bungee cords for tying down bags
- Chain lube and degreaser
This allows handling minor breakdowns roadside versus waiting for mechanics. Ask your rental for recommended extras.
First Aid Kit
Motorbiking mishaps can happen, so come prepared with:
- Antiseptic wipes and antibiotic cream
- Bandages, gauze, and medical tape
- Pain relief medication
- Motion sickness tablets
- Electrolyte powder for dehydration
Snacks and Water
Stay energized and hydrated between towns by packing:
- High protein bars or nuts
- Dried fruit and trail mix
- Sandwiches and fruit if stopping at markets
- A large water bottle you can refill
Pro tip: Hang a small daypack on the handlebars to access snacks easily.
Safety Tips for Motorbiking
Vietnam’s roads can be challenging for novice riders. Caution and defensive techniques ensure you arrive safely at every destination.
Assume other vehicles don’t see you, especially approaching intersections. Drive slower than cars, allow extra stopping distance, and use your horn liberally.
Be very cautious of pedestrians, animals, and vehicles entering the road suddenly. Scan the roadside constantly for potential hazards.
Following Traffic Laws
Though rules are loosely enforced in Vietnam, avoid fines and accidents by:
- Obeying speed limits, lane markings, and traffic signals
- Not drinking alcohol before riding
- Carrying your license and the bike registration
- Never driving the wrong way on one-way roads
Watching for Hazards
Watch for these common hazards:
- Excessively potholed or cracked pavement
- Slippery road markings when wet
- Gravel, sand, or debris around corners
- Animals grazing roadside
- Children playing near the street
Dealing With Weather
Vietnam’s seasonal rains or misty mountain conditions require extra care:
- Slow down and increase following distance in the wet
- Pull over completely if visibility is poor
- Watch for flooded road sections after heavy rain
- Use low beams at night to avoid overdriving your sight lines
Safe Parking and Security
Always park off the road on solid, level ground. Lock the front wheel and use a chain or cable lock when away from the bike. Keep valuables with you.
Finding secure hotel parking is preferable overnight versus risky street parking.
Staying alert helps avoid many dangers on Quang Binh’s roads. Now let’s explore top routes and can’t-miss attractions.
Top Attractions and Routes
With limitless possibilities, Quang Binh’s best sights by motorbike depend on your interests. Here are some favorite routes to inspire your journey.
Route 1: Dong Hoi to Phong Nha Caves
This 85 km ride along Highway 20 passes gorgeous scenery en route to Vietnam’s top caves. Must see spots include:
- Thanh Cong church – Striking pink church in Dong Hoi
- Phong Nha market – Bustling local market near the caves
- Phong Nha Ke Bang Park – Limestone peaks and jungle
- Paradise Cave – Stunning stalagmites and stalactites
- Dark Cave – Adventure inside with ziplining and kayaking
Route 2: Phong Nha to Vinh Moc Tunnels
After the caves, head south 50km to the historic Vinh Moc tunnels, part of the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail:
- Km 31 Marker – Starting point of the Ho Chi Minh Trail
- Vinh Moc Tunnels – Incredible tunnel network sheltering villagers during the American War
- Ben Dau Temple – Peaceful temple on the coast
Route 3: Eastern Beach Route
Ride 100km along less-travelled Highway 12A through idyllic fishing villages:
- Ky Co Beach – Pristine white sand beach with coral reef offshore
- Dao Ngu Temple – Ancient Cham minority group temple
- Dong Hoi Citadel – 19th century Nguyen Dynasty fortress
- Dong Hoi Fish Market – See fishermen hauling their catch
Venture down small rural backroads to interact with locals at:
- Remote farm communities cultivating peppers
- Minority villages practicing traditional lifestyles
- Roadside noodle shops far from tourist crowds
- Secluded temples and pagodas between towns
Mix up famous sites with lesser-known gems for the ultimate Quang Binh motorbike experience.
Where to Stay
Quang Binh offers accommodations from barebones to luxury along motorbiking routes.
In larger cities, hotels range from simple guesthouses to 5-star resorts. Amenities abound, but prices are higher. Good options include:
- Saigon Phong Nha Hotel – Upscale lodging in Son Trach town
- Sai Gon Dong Hoi Hotel – Beachfront resort with a pool in Dong Hoi
- Trung Nguyen Hotel – Clean, modern rooms in the center of Dong Hoi
For cultural immersion, stay at rural homestays through services like Vietnam Homestay Network. Enjoy local cuisine and village hospitality.
In national parks and beaches, camping allows waking to stunning nature. Consider packing a lightweight tent and sleeping pad if on a long trip.
Ask fellow riders or tourist offices to suggest good accommodation options ahead on your route. Advanced booking is wise during peak seasons.
Food and Drink
Sampling Vietnam’s scrumptious local cuisine is a highlight of any trip. Quang Binh offers tempting flavours.
Local Delicacies to Try
Look for these Quang Binh specialties:
- Nem chua – Fried fermented pork rolls
- Banh khoai – Sizzling shrimp pancakes with dipping sauce
- Banh loc – Steamed tapioca dumplings filled with shrimp and pork
- Mi Quang – Turmeric noodles with chicken or pork, peanuts, and herbs
- Banh beo – Tiny steamed rice cakes topped with dried shrimp and green onions
Markets and Grocery Stores
Local markets and grocery shops in every town offer fresh, cheap eats:
- Food stalls selling banh mi sandwiches, piping hot pho noodle soup, and Vietnamese iced coffee
- Fried snacks like bánh xèo crepes, spring rolls, and bánh rán fritters
- Grilled meats including pork, chicken, beef, and quail
- Fresh seafood like shrimp, squid, clams, crab, and fish to grill yourself
- Local bakeries with sweet and savory Vietnamese pastries and desserts
- Fruit shakes made from avocado, dragonfruit, mango, jackfruit, or durian
- Beer and soda – Essential for enjoying streetside dusk cocktails
- Packaged snacks like dried squid, roasted nuts, and Vietnamese “chips” made from rice or banana
Shopping at markets lets you sample authentic, affordable Vietnamese cuisine while interacting with friendly vendors.
Cafes and Restaurants
For sit-down meals, cafes and restaurants specializing in local fare are found across the province.
Renting a motorbike provides an affordable way to explore Vietnam. Here are average costs to help plan your budget.
Average Rental Costs
- Small bike rental: $5-7 USD per day
- Large bike rental: $9-13 per day
- Deposit: $200-300, often refundable
- Helmet rental: $1-2 per day
- Insurance: $10-20 per week, optional
With fuel efficiency around 50 km/l, plan on:
- 20,000 VND ($1 USD) per 100 km for smaller bikes
- 30,000 VND ($1.50 USD) per 100 km for larger bikes
Fill the tank regularly and carry extra fuel if trekking remote mountain roads.
Food and Accommodation Costs
- Budget hotel rooms: 100,000-250,000 VND ($5-12 USD) per night
- Mid-range hotels: 500,000-1,000,000 VND ($22-45 USD) per night
- Camping: 50,000+ VND ($2+ USD) per night
- Street food and markets: $1-3 USD per meal
- Local restaurants: $5-10 USD per meal
- Tolls and parking: $1-2 USD per day
- Attraction entry fees: $5-15 USD per site
- Incidentals (water, etc): $5 USD per day
Track expenses to keep within your daily motorbiking budget in Quang Binh.
When to Go
Quang Binh’s climate determines optimal times for a motorbike trip.
Dry vs. Rainy Season
The region has a distinct wet and dry season:
- Dry season (January-August) has sunny, temperate weather perfect for riding.
- Rainy season (September-December) brings heavy downpours, especially October-November. Roads flood and some attractions close.
Peak domestic tourism hits between June-August, raising prices. For fewer crowds:
- Visit in late April-May or September-December
- Avoid Vietnamese holidays like Tet (New Year festival in January/February)
Holidays and Festivals
Time your trip around these lively festivals:
- Lim Festival (February) – Boat races, processions, and folk games
- Ba Den Mountain Festival (March) – Worship ceremonies with martial arts displays
- Le Khao Le The Linh Hoang (June) – Honors gods of the sea
- Nuoc Ngot Festival (June) – Celebrates the sweet water of the Gianh River
Motorbike Maintenance Tips
Handle basic maintenance for trouble-free days on the road:
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Checking Fluid Levels
- Engine oil – Top up if low. Change every 3000 km.
- Brake fluid – Ensure levels are within safe zones.
- Coolant – Fill if below minimum indicator. Use proper coolant, not just water.
Cleaning the Chain
- Lube the chain every 300-500 km with chain spray or wet lube.
- Degrease fully every 1000-1500 km using kerosene or citrus degreasers.
Changing Flat Tires
- Know how to remove and patch punctured inner tubes.
- Carry a spare inner tube, tire levers, and bike pump.
- Realign wheel properly after changing.
Finding a Mechanic
Ask locally for a reputable repair shop if bigger issues arise. Or call your rental company for assistance.
Handle maintenance diligently to avoid breakdowns in remote areas. Now let’s look at alternative transport if motorbiking isn’t for you.
Alternative Transportation Options
While motorbiking is ideal for flexibility, other travelers may prefer guided tours or self-driving.
Group bus tours visit top attractions with full-day guides and fixed schedules. Easy for those wanting transport arranged.
Private Cars and Drivers
Hire a car and driver to create a custom itinerary. More expensive but allows door-to-door service.
Pedal power lets you self-guide along rural backroads. Provided by many hotels and homestays.
Choose the transport mode best suiting your travel style and budget.
Motorbiking through majestic Quang Binh province is a thrilling way to experience Vietnam’s natural beauty, history, cuisine, and culture. With sandy beaches, striking mountains, elaborate cave systems, and friendly villages, adventure awaits those who rent a bike and hit the open road.
By selecting the ideal motorbike rental, planning a smart route, packing properly, and following safety tips, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable motorbiking journey through this spectacular region. Use this guide to plan your own epic Quang Binh exploration on two wheels. The winding coastal roads and jungle trails of central Vietnam await!