Riding a motorbike in Vietnam is considered one of the most exhilarating experiences for first-time motorcyclists!
Are you wondering why so many travelers have given up enjoying the comfort of their cars to take up the challenge of driving a bike? What makes these motorbikes a No.1 vehicle for exploring this gorgeous S-shaped land full of exciting surprises?
Motorbikes, without a doubt, are the best “companion” ever on the journey of conquering the most scary-looking mountainous roads with sudden curves and high cliffs of Ha Giang, hunting clouds on the top of Mount Ta Chi Nhu – ranked 6th in the top 10 highest mountain in Vietnam, or admiring the mind-blowing beauty of stunning golden rice terraces by taking a Sapa motorbike tour.
And many more fantastic places that only motorbikes can reach are waiting to be discovered! So, are you serious about driving a giant car into those narrow dirt roads and expecting a spacious parking lot? I totally advise against that!
Before starting your once-of-a-lifetime motorbike trip, you MUST learn how to control and drive the vehicle properly. A teetering and amateur handle of the motorbike only gets you into trouble with others as well as threatens your own safety. You don’t want to end up moaning pathetically in a hospital’s ward with a broken arm or leg, do you?
Let’s start right away with our step-by-step driving lessons below!
Before We Start
Make sure you are comfortable with any two-wheel vehicles like bikes or scooters because it’ll make the whole learning process much easier.
If you aren’t familiar with any of these, resist the urge of riding a motorbike in Vietnam right away and take it easy first with a bicycle to see how you feel and manage it.
Let’s Learn The Basics
Riding a motorbike in Vietnam is neither difficult nor easy!
First and foremost, cover yourself from top to toe with all the necessary safety gear (I’ll mention them in detail later). Your safety should be prioritized under any circumstances.
Next, look for a spacious space like public parks or deserted areas that aren’t crowded with people. More people hanging around means more risks of hurting them and yourself. Besides, you can even avoid hearing some swear words from an alien language! A win-win situation for everyone!
Start by familiarizing yourself with your motorbike. Remember where all the buttons and controls are placed and try to use them without looking at them. It’s pretty difficult not to cause a scene, or even worse, an accident when your eyes are glued on the control board, isn’t it?
Afterward, this is the moment we’re all looking for – get on the bike and go for a ride.
But there are still some lessons to learn before you can start your racing career! (Again, it’s a pure joke! DON’T try any racings unless you’re a professional. Safety comes first!)
Lesson 1: Feeling The Clutch
- Practice shifting gears for a while
- Pull the clutch and put the bike into first or second gear to feel the power changing
- Gradually let go of the clutch until the bike starts rolling forward
- Pull the clutch back when your feet are set evenly on the ground
- Roll back on your heels and repeat the actions until you’re familiar with the clutch
The main aim of this lesson is to keep the bike upright and continue riding forward even with your feet off the ground.
Lesson 2: Riding
This time we’ll try riding the bike and following a straight line.
- Loosen the clutch a little and hold the throttle tighter to increase the speed
- Put your feet on its holder and direct the bike to follow a straight line
- For stopping, make use of both front and behind brakes but with enough pressure and change into first gear
Lesson 3: Turning Left And Right
Remember the order of these 4 actions to ensure your safety
- SLOW down at the turn and control the speed by pressing or releasing the throttle
- TAKE A LOOK at the turn to watch out for any oncoming vehicles
- SIGNAL the directions – left/right you want to take
- STEER the wheel into that direction. Take your left foot off its holder to act as a kickstand in case you lose your balance.
And that’s all about our driving lessons today! Of course, you’ll need more practice to get the hang of it. But if you can come back in one piece after these lessons, it’s a huge achievement already! Remember our main goal is to stay alive through the traffic madness of Vietnam!
One more thing, you can consider driving an electric scooter or a semi-automatic bike as they are easy to control and require no gear shifting. After learning all the tricks, if you and the bike are still no match made in heaven, consider registering for a Vietnam motorbike tour to get the problem solved with a professional!
So we’re done with the lesson! Let’s dive deeper into the riding gear world that I’ve mentioned earlier.
Safety Motorbike Gears Keep You Safe On The Roads
Lots of people take these things for granted due to their bulky and unfashionable design. But the so-called stylish appearance isn’t going to save you from an accident!
Thus, you’d better cover every major part of your body with safety riding gears if you still value your life over fashion. Moreover, select the right size as you don’t want your helmet hanging on your neck instead of your head!
Since your brain and skull are the two most important and vulnerable parts of your body in case of an accident occurring, a high-quality helmet can save you a long way from a “death sentence”. Besides, wearing a helmet is mandatory while riding a motorbike in Vietnam so “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.
Gloves, elbow and knee guards
It’s a kind of natural reaction to have your hands, elbows, and knees rubbed hard against the surface when an accident happens. Therefore, better equip yourself with these gears to protect those parts from impact.
Eye protection/ Helmet with clear visors
Imagine how frustrating and annoying it is to have dust or small bugs find their ways into your eyes! Eye protection, in that case, is a real “lifesaver”!
Lessons Are Learned So Let’s Get Rolling!
I hope with these simple tips and tricks, you’ll find riding a motorbike in Vietnam is as easy as a piece of cake!
Suit up and experience the most unforgettable riding experience of your life!