Even though cars are getting more popular, Vietnam still remains the country of scooters and motorcycles. Whilst traffic can be rough in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, driving in smaller towns or small roads can be pleasant.
Keep in mind two things:
1. traffic rules apply.
2. Not everyone follows the rules.
Traffic in Vietnam might be very different to what you are used to in your home country. But remember, this is not your home country.
Do not get aggressive when people hoot the horn, overtake aggressively or simply get into your way without indication.
Try to be better than others. Do not hoot the horn for fun, use the indicator, wear a helmet for your own safety.
The speed limit for motorcycles is 40 km per hour within the city and 60 km/h outside the cities. Speed checks do not happen often, but when you are stopped, you better do not dispute as you may be asked for your driving license, documentation, passport and more. Not producing these documents empowers the police to confiscate your bike until documentation is provided.
As in every country, you are obliged to have a valid driving license. We have gathered all information about this here.
We strongly recommend not to drive under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs. From time to time, road blocks are set up by the police for drug tests. The alcohol limit is 0.25mg/l of air. Penalties can be severe.
Yes. A helmet is required. Not wearing a helmet is fined $9 currently. But keep in mind, that if police stops you for not wearing a helmet, they will also want to see your driving license and other documents. Besides, it is not safe to drive without a helmet.
Driving at night is usually safe in the cities where streets are illuminated. We would recommend not to drive outside the cities during night as many cars and motorcycles are driving without working lights and indicators.
Understand that Vietnam has laws as you have at home. Co-operating with the police is strongly advised. Do never try to teach a police officer a lesson or argue with him.
People might just drive into your way (road) from any side without watching. Stay on alert for this,
Cars and motorcycles – as buses and trucks – may turn from the very left lane suddenly to the right in order to turn in a street. There is no common understanding to move slowly from the left lane to the right lane, using mirrors and indicatros.
Hotels, Restaurants and other spots offer generally free guarded parking. At tourist attractions, shopping malls or the beach parking is offered for a small fee (usually 3.000-5.000 VND). The fee is a one-time fee (not per hour).
In tourist hotspots, Hoi An city for example, fees can be 10.000 VND.
Always use guarded parking. Do never leave your bike unguarded.