Exploring Vietnam by motorbike is an incredible way to experience the beauty and culture of this amazing country. And one of the most scenic areas for a motorbike road trip is Ha Tinh province on Vietnam’s north central coast. With lush forests, jagged mountains, pristine beaches, and historic sites, Ha Tinh offers some of Vietnam’s most breathtaking landscapes and heartwarming hospitality.
Renting a motorbike gives you the freedom and flexibility to discover places most tourists never experience. Follow winding coastal roads, stop spontaneously at local eateries, and pull over anywhere to soak in the scenery. A motorbike rental opens up a more authentic Vietnam than a group tour bus ever could.
This insider guide covers everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable motorbike trip in Ha Tinh province. From choosing the right bike and gear to navigating the roads to top destinations and experiences, these tips will help you make the most of your Ha Tinh motorbike rental adventure.
Reasons to Rent a Motorbike for Exploring Ha Tinh
Renting a motorbike is hands down the best way to explore the rugged beauty of Ha Tinh province. Here are some of the top reasons to go by two wheels instead of four:
Freedom and Flexibility to Explore
Unlike a group tour bus, having your own set of wheels lets you travel at your own pace. Stop to hike to a waterfall, relax at a beach, or chat with vendors at a local market. With a motorbike rental, you have the freedom to change plans spontaneously and spend as much time as you want in any given place. No more rushed sightseeing on someone else’s schedule.
More Authentic Local Experience
Public transportation in rural Vietnam often means squeezing onto small minibuses with chickens and produce. But with a motorbike rental, you avoid the tourist cattle cars. Interact with residents in remote villages. Eat an out-of-the-way family restaurant. Pull over and make friends. A motorbike brings you closer to the real Vietnam.
See Sights Most Tourists Miss
Sticking to the standard tourist track means missing out on many of Ha Tinh’s hidden gems. Venture down backroads and forest trails inaccessible to big tour buses. Discover cascading waterfalls, abandoned temples, and pristine beaches you’ll have all to yourself. A motorbike rental lets you leave the crowds behind.
Choosing the Right Motorbike Rental Company
With Vietnam’s expanding tourism industry, motorbike rental shops are popping up everywhere. But not all provide the same quality and service. Here’s what to look for when choosing a motorbike rental company:
Reputable with Good Reviews
Spend some time researching companies and reading recent customer reviews. Look for rental shops with a solid reputation for well-maintained bikes and good customer service. Review sites like Google and TripAdvisor are a great resource.
Avoid renting from fly-by-night shops offering the cheapest deals. Inspect the bike thoroughly before renting. Make sure tires have good tread, lights and signals are working, etc. Paying a little more from an established rental means getting a bike that won’t break down mid-trip.
Motorbike rental rates vary widely across vendors. Compare prices, but don’t choose solely based on the cheapest option. Set a reasonable budget, expect to pay around $5-10 USD per day, and look for deals. Many rental shops offer weekly and monthly discounts.
Types of Motorbikes to Consider Renting
Vietnam’s roads range from new smooth highways to muddy jungle tracks. The type of motorbike you rent should fit not just your budget, but also your comfort level, travel companions, and riding experience. Here are some popular options:
Great for novice riders, scooters like Honda Airblades are easy to operate with automatic transmissions. Low seats allow you to put feet down at stops. But scooters lack power for long inclines and two passengers. Fine for shorter trips near towns.
Small Displacement Bikes
Models like Honda Win and Yamaha Exciter offer engines under 150cc – enough power for open roads but very fuel efficient. Low weight and seats make these ideal for new riders. However, struggles with steep mountain roads when carrying luggage or passengers.
Bigger Bikes for Long Distances
For experienced riders doing long-distance trips, consider larger motorbikes from 175-400cc. Suzuki Raider, Honda XR, and BMW models have power for mountain roads and stability at higher speeds. But heavy, tall, and expensive for rental.
Essential Motorbike Gear to Pack
Nothing can ruin a Vietnam motorbiking trip faster than an accident. Protect yourself by packing these essential safety items:
Never compromise on your helmet – it protects the most vital part of you. Bring your own from home or buy one in Vietnam meeting DOT or Snell standards. Proper fit and ventilation are key for comfort on long rides.
Not just for Covid, face masks block dust and bugs which blasting your face at 60mph. Look for masks with breathing valves and scarves work too. Staying comfortable prevents distractions while riding.
Gloves provide grip, protect hands in a crash, and keep them from getting fatigued on long rides. Bring full finger motorcycle gloves for the best protection. Well worth investing for safety and comfort.
Driving Safety Tips for Vietnam Motorbike Travel
Vietnam’s roads present very different hazards from driving at home. Here are some key tips to stay safe:
Obey Traffic Laws
Laws may not always be enforced, but following rules and speed limits keeps you and others safe. Drive defensively and avoid weaving hazardously through traffic. Don’t drink and drive.
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Keep alert scanning the road for potential hazards. Drive slowly near schools and markets where pedestrians may dart into the road. Cover brakes in case you need to stop suddenly. Allow plenty of following distance.
Allow Extra Stopping Distance
Vietnam’s roads are full of hazards – people, animals, potholes. Give yourself 3-4 times the normal stopping distance or more on slick roads. Slowing gradually is better than sudden braking which can cause skids.
Top Destinations for a Ha Tinh Motorbike Road Trip
With breathtaking landscapes from mountains to beaches, Ha Tinh offers endless possibilities for motorbike adventures. Here are some top destinations not to miss:
Vung Chua – Xuan Thuy National Park
This wildlife reserve spans beaches, tropical forests, and lagoons. Spot monkeys and birdlife while riding through jungles to the ocean. Hike to Thien Cam beach, one of Vietnam’s most beautiful.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
Explore Vietnam’s oldest karst mountains and the world’s biggest cave Son Doong on trails through this UNESCO World Heritage Site. See paradise cave, swim at turquoise waters of Nuoc Mooc springs.
Ben En National Park
Waterfalls, lakes, and Nui Ruc mountains make this inland forest park perfect for motorbiking. Hike to Tuong Vi spring passing fields of corn and sugar cane. Visit ethnic Muong hill tribe villages.
Scenic Coastal Motorbike Routes in Ha Tinh
With a beautiful coastline stretching over 80 miles, Ha Tinh offers breathtaking motorbike rides along seaside roads. Some top coastal routes include:
- National highway 1A from Dong Hoi down through southern Ha Tinh – beautiful beaches and lagoons with light traffic
- Ky Anh coastal road heading north from Dong Hoi – mix of beaches, rural villages, bridges over ocean inlets
- Road along Son Tra peninsula – winds through forested hills with gorgeous sea views
- Quang Phia coastal road south of Ha Tinh City – quieter alternative to 1A with amazing ocean vistas
While giving you freedom, Ha Tinh’s roads can also present challenges for motorbikers. Here are some tips on navigating:
- Avoid Highway 1 as much as possible – heavy truck and bus traffic make this dangerous for bikes
- Carefully research route and directions – sparse phone signal makes getting lost a risk in remote areas
- Offline maps apps like Maps.me are invaluable – download area maps in advance via wifi
- Bring a GPS device as backup – helps pinpoint location if disoriented
- Know phrases for asking directions – have them written in Vietnamese to show locals
- Carry a powerbank and mobile charger – critical for keeping navigation apps running
Where to Refuel During Your Motorbike Trip
With long distances between towns, judicious refueling is key for a smooth Ha Tinh motorbike journey. Options include:
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Petrol Stations in Towns
Fill up tank completely whenever you pass through towns like Dong Hoi, Hong Linh, Ha Tinh City to avoid running out of fuel later. Petrol stations accept cash payment.
In rural areas, look for small fuel vendors selling from bottles along the road. Quality may be dubious, so bring fuel treatment additives just in case. Have small bills for payment.
Stop at motorbike repair shops spotted in small towns and villages to top up fuel. They typically sell liters from spare gas cans set aside for customers.
Food Stops to Try During Your Motorbike Trip
One of the joys of motorbiking in Vietnam is sampling delicious local cuisine. Be sure to try:
For authentic food at low prices, pull over anywhere you see locals eating. Try dishes like Bun Cha Ca La Vong (grilled fish with noodles), Banh Loc (spiced shrimp cakes), Mi Quang (turmeric noodles).
Street Food Vendors
Roadside carts sell tasty snacks like Banh Mi (sandwiches), Pho Cuon (fresh rolls), and Sinh To (smoothies). An easy and safe option for road trips.
Cafes with Views
Stop at open-air cafes set along the coast or lakes for refreshing beverages, tropical fruits, and Instagram-worthy vistas. Grab a coconut to beat the heat.
Best Places to Take a Break During Your Motorbike Trip
Don’t forget to schedule some stops for resting and enjoying the scenery:
Lounge under swaying palms with a picnic lunch or cool coconut drink. Long sandy beaches like Thien Cam or Quang Phia are ideal for swimming and unwinding.
Parks and Nature Reserves
Shaded jungle trails at Vung Chua Nature Reserve or mountain hikes at Phong Nha offer the perfect place to stretch legs and get close to nature.
Lakes and Waterfalls
Peaceful lakes like Rao Thuong have picnic tables and cottages. Find secluded cascades and pools perfect for a refreshing dip like Am Tiem waterfall.
Lodging Options for Overnights During Your Trip
A multi-day Ha Tinh motorbike adventure means finding good places to spend the night along your route. Options run from basic to luxurious:
- Budget guesthouses – no frills but inexpensive, around $10-15/night
- Homestays – stay with a local family in a village, experience authentic culture
- Mid-range mini-hotels – modern amenities like AC, pools, breakfast – $25-50/night
- Eco resorts – ultimate in lodging luxury, close to nature – $100+/night
Look for places with secure motorbike parking. Book at least first night in advance to ease arrival after a long day riding.
Staying Safe on the Road During Your Motorbike Trip
While exciting, riding long distances in Vietnam poses safety challenges. Follow these tips to minimize risks:
Protective Riding Gear
ALWAYS wear a quality helmet, face mask, gloves, closed toe shoes, long pants and shirts. Bring raingear for downpours and sun protection. Dress for safety, not fashion.
Assume other drivers don’t see you. Ride cautiously, avoid passing on blind corners, cover brakes in hazardous areas. Never ride impaired.
Check Weather Reports
Check forecasts and avoid riding in severe weather which can be deadly on motorbikes. Pull over if conditions turn bad rather than risking riding through storms.
Making the Most of Your Motorbike Rental Experience
Follow this advice to ensure your Ha Tinh motorbiking adventure checks all the boxes:
- Give yourself enough time – don’t try to cram too many miles each day
- Build in flexibility – adjust schedule to spend more time in places you enjoy
- Book accommodations early – popular lodgings fill up fast
- Pack light – carry only essentials to keep load light for bike handling
- Bring spare petrol – refuel often even if tank not empty
- Travel with a companion – makes the experience more fun and safer
- Obey all traffic laws – safety first
- Stop often for photos ! – capture amazing memories of your epic Vietnam motorbiking journey
With its gorgeous scenery, winding coastal roads, and cultural discoveries, Ha Tinh is a perfect destination for a motorbike trip. Following these insider tips will help you plan an incredible adventure exploring this beautiful region of Vietnam on two wheels. The freedom of the open road paired with stunning landscapes and welcoming locals will give you memories to last a lifetime.