The province of Quang Tri in central Vietnam is an ideal destination for those looking to explore the countryside and coast by motorbike. With its scenic mountain roads, historic wartime sites, and breathtaking beaches, Quang Tri offers countless opportunities for adventure. Renting a motorbike gives you the freedom and flexibility to discover hidden gems at your own pace. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from choosing the right motorbike to riding safely along the area’s best routes. Follow these tips to make the most of your motorbiking experience in beautiful Quang Tri province.
Reasons to Rent a Motorbike in Quang Tri
Renting a motorbike opens up a whole new world of possibilities for exploring Quang Tri. Here are some of the top reasons to go by two wheels instead of four:
Experience Scenic Coastal Roads and Mountain Routes
- The landscape of Quang Tri is incredibly diverse, with a long coastline, rolling hills, and forested mountains all ideal for motorbiking. Riding along the seaside cliffs on Hai Van Pass or up switchbacks into the Annamite Range will let you take in spectacular panoramic views. Stop frequently for photo opportunities.
- Historic Highway 1 has very light traffic in parts, making it ideal to cruise along the scenic beaches of Cua Viet and Cua Tung without the crowds. The coastal salt fields shimmering in the sunlight are a stunning sight.
- Inland, you’ll traverse narrow passes through valleys and past towering limestone peaks. The vistas overlooking rivers and waterfalls as you gain elevation are simply breathtaking. Renting a motorbike allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty at your own relaxed pace.
Visit Historic Sites and Landmarks
- Quang Tri has many important vestiges of Vietnam’s history. The DMZ between North and South Vietnam passes right through Quang Tri, and landmarks like Vinh Moc tunnels and Khe Sanh combat base allow you to learn about the military conflict firsthand.
- Ancient ruins like the Thach Han river fortresses date back centuries. My Khe beach was the site of the very first US Marines amphibious landing. You can take in these historical sites more intimately via motorbike.
- War museums and cemeteries honoring the fallen are solemn yet meaningful places to visit. A DIY motorbike tour allows you time for quiet reflection at each memorial stop.
Flexibility and Freedom to Explore at Your Own Pace
- With your own set of wheels, you can venture off wherever your curiosity takes you instead of following a rigid group itinerary. Discover hidden backroads and make spontaneous stops that would be inconvenient for a bus tour.
- Go early in the morning to beat the crowds at popular spots. Or take a sunset ride along an empty beach. Wake up and decide where to go with complete flexibility when renting a motorbike.
- Trek to remote hill tribe villages to get a glimpse of traditional culture. Stop frequently for swimming breaks any time you pass a nice river or waterfall. A motorbike rental allows you to explore Quang Tri however you please.
Types of Motorbikes Available for Rent
The road conditions in Quang Tri range from smoothly paved highways to rugged dirt trails. The type of motorbike you choose to rent should depend on your riding experience and where you plan to travel. Here are some of the most common options:
These gear-shift vehicles are the most popular for motorbiking through Vietnam. Models include:
- Honda Wins and Waves – The venerable 100-150cc workhorses found everywhere around the country. Affordable, reliable, and able to handle most terrain. Great choice for novice riders.
- Yamaha Exciters – Slightly more powerful 150cc bikes with manual clutch. Perfect for two people touring longer distances. More stable at higher speeds.
- Suzuki Raider – Very capable 150cc motorbike suited for off-road adventures. Front shock absorbers provide a more comfortable ride. Rugged and durable.
For those who prefer an automatic transmission, scooters offer twist-and-go convenience:
- Honda Airblades – Sporty, lightweight 113cc scooters. Good value and performance for basic transportation around cities and towns.
- Yamaha NMAXs – More powerful 155cc engine makes these versatile scooters capable longer trips as well as urban commuting. Luxurious ride.
- SYM Vultures – Rugged 150cc scooters designed for the stress of heavy rental use. Can handle uneven terrain despite being an automatic.
For experienced riders wanting to go off-road, dirt bikes like these are available:
- Honda XRs and CRFs – The preferred brand for trail and enduro riding with plentiful spare parts. 125cc to 250cc engines.
- Kawasaki KLXs – Supremely capable 140cc to 300cc bikes ready for mud, hills, and jungle rides. Sturdy construction.
- Suzuki DRs – Reliable on- and off-road 125cc to 650cc dual sport motorbikes. Solid stability even at higher speeds.
These rugged dirt bikes allow you to tackle almost any terrain and venture down the most secluded trails in Quang Tri province.
Rental Companies and Locations in Quang Tri
You’ll find motorbike rental services available across Quang Tri, concentrated in the main tourist hubs. Here are some options to consider:
Major Companies in Dong Ha City
As the capital, Dong Ha City has several established rental outlets with sizable fleets, mechanics, and roadside assistance:
- Cuong Nguyen Motorbike – One of the most reputable rentals with excellent Honda and Yamaha models. English support. Also offer custom tours.
- Tam’s Cafe and Motorbike Rental – Cafe serving western food. Rent dirt bikes to explore DMZ battlefields. Very rider-friendly.
- Green Orange Motorbike – Rugged trail bikes at low rates. Flexible with drop-offs. Help plan your adventure trip.
Local Shops in Hue, Dong Ha, Quang Tri, etc.
Every town across Quang Tri also has smaller family-run rental businesses. Look for signs saying “Cho thue xe may” or ask your hotel for a recommendation. Benefits are lower prices and more personalized service. Vehicles range from vintage to pristine condition.
Rentals Near Popular Tourist Destinations
Handy rental shops catering to foreign travelers can be found near top attractions like:
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – Great HQ for cave exploring on dirt bikes.
- Lang Co Beach – Scooters for cruising this 10-mile stretch of palm-lined paradise.
- Vinh Moc Tunnels – Manual bikes ideal for seeing the DMZ’s historic sites.
- Bach Ma National Park – Enduro motorbikes ready for ascending into mountain jungles.
Required Documents and Process
To rent a motorbike in Vietnam, you’ll need to meet certain requirements and agree to standard terms:
Valid Driver’s License and ID
- An International Drivers Permit (IDP) paired with your home license is ideal but a license from any country will usually suffice.
- Also have your passport or photo ID handy to verify your identity.
- The rental shop will require a cash deposit, typically between $20-50 depending on the motorbike type. This covers any damage and is refunded when you return the bike.
- Carefully inspect the bike with staff to note any existing scratches or defects beforehand.
- Review the rental contract. Know your liability, who pays for repairs, fuel policies, etc. Ask questions if anything is unclear.
- There is often an option to purchase additional insurance for peace of mind.
Safety Gear and Equipment
Vietnam law mandates that all motorbike riders wear a helmet. Beyond that, packing the right gear will help keep you safe on the road:
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- Only use helmets that meet major certifications like DOT, ECE 22.05, or Snell. Avoid flimsy novelty helmets.
- Try on helmets before renting and choose one that fits snugly and securely. It should be tight enough that you can’t pull it off over your chin.
- Open-face is preferable for visibility and ventilation. Full-face provides more protection.
- Jackets and pants – Sturdy materials with armor pads protect from abrasion and impact injuries in a crash. Look for waterproofing.
- Gloves – Full fingered gloves improve your grip and prevent burns.
- Boots or shoes – Choose footwear that covers your ankles and has non-slip soles. No flip-flops.
- Rain gear – Bring along a rain jacket and pants during rainy season.
Accidents happen, so make sure you have insurance coverage:
Mandatory Third Party Liability
- This covers any damage or injuries you may cause to others and is required by law in Vietnam. It comes standard with most rentals or can be purchased separately for around $5 per week.
For complete peace of mind, pay extra for a comprehensive insurance policy through the rental company. This covers the full replacement cost of the motorbike if it is damaged or stolen regardless of fault. Expect rates around $10 per week.
Personal Travel Insurance
Take out a travel insurance policy in your home country that includes medical evacuation coverage. This will protect you in case of any injuries requiring hospitalization.
Costs of Renting
Renting a motorbike in Quang Tri is very affordable. Here’s a look at typical costs:
- Manual bike (Honda Win, Yamaha Exciter): $4-8 per day
- Automatic (Honda Airblade, Yamaha NMAX): $7-12 per day
- Dirt bike (Honda CRF, Suzuki DRZ): $12-$18 per day
- Weekly and monthly rates offer bigger discounts. Rates may be higher during peak periods like Tet holiday.
Fuel is quite reasonable in Vietnam, roughly:
- $2.50 USD per gallon of petrol
- $3 per gallon of high-octane fuel
Most bikes get 40-60 mpg. Refuel often since stations can be sparse in rural areas.
Factor in costs for:
- Rental deposit
- Second helmet – Around $1-2 per day
- Insurance fees
- Maintenance supplies like oil changes
Best Routes for Motorbiking in Quang Tri
Quang Tri’s geography makes for phenomenal motorbike journeys along twisting mountain roads, scenic coastal routes, and historic battlefield trails. Must-ride itineraries include:
Hai Van Pass and Coastal Roads
This renowned ride offers 180-degree views of mountains dropping into the sea:
- Begin in Da Nang and head south to Lang Co Beach’s crystal waters.
- Ride Hai Van Pass, stopping at hilltop lookouts like Ba Na Hill Station.
- Pass by centuries-old Hindu temples built into rocky outcrops above the ocean.
- Continue south to visit Cua Viet, Cua Tung, Vinh Hung, and other idyllic fishing villages.
Ho Chi Minh Trail Through Valleys
Follow a section of the famous supply route used during the war:
- Ride west from Khe Sanh on the old mission road, today a country lane through farming villages.
- Pass rivers and waterfalls as you enter the foothills, with possible detours for hiking and swimming.
- Tour sections of the trail itself, like the hidden Mu Gia Pass or Hill 1444 base.
- Visit war museums and relics off the beaten path like abandoned tanks and downed planes.
Motorbiking allows you to easily connect Quang Tri’s past:
- Start at My Khe Beach where US troops first landed, then head north to Dong Ha.
- Cut west towards the Vinh Moc tunnels, a well-preserved underground wartime community.
- Continue north to Con Thien firebase, then loop east to visit the Rockpile marine base.
- Ride through A Sau valley featuring trenches and bunkers still visible from intense combat.
Tips for Riding Safely
While Vietnam’s roads present unique challenges, staying safe requires following common sense riding practices:
- Constantly scan the road ahead and sides for potential hazards. Avoid fixating on any one threat.
- Give other vehicles plenty of space. Don’t linger in blind spots.
- Signal turns well in advance so others can anticipate your next move.
- Drive slower at night. Carry spare bulbs and tools in case of breakdowns.
Traffic and Road Conditions
- Get accustomed to the flow of traffic before attempting high speed roads. Practice in low risk areas first.
- Be very wary of potholes, debris, wet surfaces, loose gravel, animals, and other obstacles.
- Don’t assume other vehicles will stop at signs or lights. Avoid intersections where sight lines are blocked.
- When parking on inclines, turn your front wheel to the curb to prevent rolling.
- Stay hydrated and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue. Caffeine and energy drinks can dehydrate you faster.
- Don’t ride impaired under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other intoxicants which slow reaction time.
- Apply sunscreen and reapply frequently if riding midday. Wear sunglasses to reduce glare.
Though Quang Tri province is fairly straightforward to navigate, a few resources can help you find hidden gems along the way:
Download Offline Maps on Google Maps
- Download offline regions on Google Maps ahead of time so you can navigate without cell service. Works on iOS and Android.
- Make pins for places you’d like to visit or routes to take. Directions and GPS work offline.
Ride-Sharing and Navigation Apps
- Apps like Be, Grab and MoMo are popular in Vietnam for ordering taxis or food delivery. Their navigation and maps can assist finding addresses.
- Live traffic data helps you avoid jams. Pay with cash or virtual wallets.
GPS Devices and Satellite Navigation Rentals
- Rent a car GPS device with Vietnam maps preloaded to have turn-by-turn voice guidance and real-time traffic updates.
- Use a dedicated GPS motorcycle mount. Entry-level Garmin Zumo models start under $200.
Where to Stay Along the Way
One of the joys of motorbiking is the freedom to leisurely explore backroads and stop wherever you please. Quang Tri has accommodation options ranging from value hotels to remote homestays where you can interact with welcoming local families.
Hotels, Guesthouses, and Homestays
In cities and towns, you’ll find:
- Budget hotels – cheap, basic lodging to rest up between days of riding.
- Mid-range mini-hotels with a/c, hot water showers, and breakfast.
- Homestays – rooms in family homes. A chance to experience real Vietnamese life.
For beach camping or deep in nature:
- Self-guided camping is permitted on many beaches. Lang Co and Cua Viet are popular spots.
- Bach Ma National Park has developed campgrounds in the mountain forests. Get permits at the visitor center.
- Consider packing a lightweight tent, sleeping bag and mat. Or rent camping gear from outfitters.
Multi-Day Trip Planning
- Plot out your route to cover 80-100 miles per day max. Allow time to see the sights.
- Book lodging 1-2 nights ahead when possible. Confirm bookings each morning.
- Balance longer rides with easier days to avoid burnout. Schedule rest days to recharge.
Packing List Essentials
Travel light on a motorbike, but make sure to cover all your bases:
Safety and Repair Gear
Bring or rent good quality:
- Helmets – pack a spare if you have pillion riders
- Rain gear – ponchos and dry bags
- First aid kit – disinfectants, bandages, meds
- Tire repair kit – plugs, patches, CO2 inflator, pressure gauge
- Multi-tool and duct tape
Clothing and Essentials
- Breathable jacket for riding comfort
- Pants – durable denim or motorcycle pants with armor
- Eye protection – sunglasses and clear glasses
- Face masks – for dust and droplet protection
- Sunscreen, hat, and bug spray
- Lightweight rain jacket layer
- Comfortable footwear – boots or tennis shoes
- Vietnam visa
- International driving permit and home license
- Printed maps, hotel reservations
- Physical and digital copies of important documents
- Mobile phone, charger and portable power bank
- Vietnam SIM card if your phone is unlocked
- GPS device or app on your phone
- Camera and extra batteries or charging pack
Destinations to Explore in Quang Tri
With so many exciting possibilities, it helps to have some top destinations in mind. Here are just a few of the must-visit places for your motorbiking itinerary:
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Top War History Sites
- The DMZ – Former border region with Khe Sanh base, McNamara line, and Doc Mieu firebase. Stunning peaceful scenery today.
- Vinh Moc Tunnels – Immense tunnel network that an entire village lived in to avoid US bombing. Feels frozen in time.
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site with astonishing caves like Paradise Cave and Son Doong Cave. Endless limestone peaks beg to be explored on dirt bikes.
- Bach Ma National Park – Lush mountain rainforest perfect for trekking to waterfalls and ridge summit viewpoints. Lots of nature to take in.
- Cua Tung Beach – Pristine 9km beach with towering cliffs bookending both sides. Bright turquoise waters.
- Truong Son Mountains – Ride incredible switchbacks like the famous “dancing road” through these jungle-covered ranges. Stop at minority villages along the way.
- Less-Visited Gems
- The Rockpile – Hiking trails wind through this former US Marine artillery base. Breathtaking coastal views atop jagged cliffs.
- Ta Con Airfield – Abandoned Vietnam War-era airport ruined among rice paddies. Off-the-beaten-path treat for aviation buffs.
- Vinh Son Pagoda – Beautiful seven-story octagonal brick tower built in 1843. Intricate wood carvings and decor inside.
- Thanh Tan Hot Springs – Relax weary muscles after long days riding in these therapeutic mineral waters surrounded by lush jungle.
- Riverside fishing villages – See the timeless way of life along the Dakrong River’s banks. Buy the catch of the day right off fishermen’s boats.
- Highland markets – Minority tribes like the Van Kieu gather for trading at weekly markets. Marvel at the colorful traditional costumes.
- Street food tours – Sample local delicacies like com hen (baby clam rice), banh beo chen (steamed rice cake), and delectable fruits.
- Village homestays – Sit cross-legged on mats eating dinner with newfound local friends. Gain insight into Vietnamese family life.
Renting a motorbike opens up limitless possibilities for adventure in Quang Tri province. Follow this guide to choose the ideal bike, equip yourself properly, ride key routes safely, and experience highlights most visitors miss confined to tour buses. The freedom of discovering Vietnam’s landscapes, cultures, and history at your own pace on two wheels is an experience you’ll never forget. With so many stunning coastal roads, scenic mountain passes, poignant war memorials, adventure activities, and welcoming local people, Quang Tri is a motorbiker’s paradise waiting to be explored. Just be sure to respect the rules of the road and always wear a helmet. The rewards of wind-in-your-hair motorbiking through this beautiful region will create memories to last a lifetime.