Have you ever wonder what it is like to go for a Vietnam motorbike tour? I went to Vietnam back in 2016 together with my family to explore the Northern and Central Vietnam. The scenery in Sapa, Halong Bay, Ninh Binh and Dalat are breath-taking. But Vietnam is so huge, just Hanoi and its surrounding alone can take you a whole month to explore. That’s why, I decided to head back there again with my husband this June and discover a different part of Hanoi that’s less travelled. To make our trip even more special, we did a Vietnam motorbike tour with a local guide from Flamingo Travel. Seriously, apart from having fun, I learnt so much about Vietnam in just 1 day!
Before Embarking Vietnam Motorbike Tour
Motorbike rental is fairly cheap. If you are renting those normal motorbike, you can get it under $10 USD for the whole day for normal bikes. Due to its cheap prices and flexibility, more and more tourists are opting for this option. However, if you go for long distance tour like ours (70km), I suggest you to pay a bit more to get better bikes with greater engine power and suspension. We got ourselves Honda XR 250cc and it’s about $40 USD per day.
Before you decide to rent a bike or follow a bike tour, make sure you know to ride one. Vietnam is famous for its hectic road condition, especially in the city. If you are not skillful enough, it could be dangerous. On top of that, the driving direction is opposite that of Singapore. The driver sits on the left of the car. So you may need some time to adapt to the change of direction.
Here’s my v-log about our motorbike trip!
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After reserving our bike online, we head to the Flamingo Travel office at Hanoi Old Quarter at 9am to pick up our bike. Our guide Victor is young, fit and handsome! After choosing our helmets (we opted for full face for better protection) and jackets, we were good to go!
Vietnam Motorbike Tour Route
Once you get out of the congested city, riding becomes a joy in Vietnam! The scenery is ever changing as you ride across the beautiful countryside. The river sparkles under the sun, the cows lazing around, farmers planting in pedi field… You’ve got to come here to experience the true taste of Vietnam.
After 1.5 hour of riding, you’ll enter a village famous for Bonsai tree. This village is famous for nurturing beautiful and expensive bonsai trees. Believe it or not, a 80 years old bonsai tree can cost $750,000. There’s no typo, it’s indeed $750,000.
You maybe wondering why a tree can cost that much of money? Well, it’s actually requires a lot of skills and time to nurture a bonsai tree. Most of them are more than decades old. Can you imagine spending decades nurturing a tree, the amount of effort needed to groom it into a beautiful shape? That’s why customers are willing to pay a lot of money because they are buying an art, not just a tree.
Next, we head to Bat Trang pottery village, the place where high-end pottery is produced for many millennia. Before that, we need to cross the river using our motorbikes! Well, not exactly riding across the river. You and your bike will hop onto the ferry, and you’ll get to admire the grand Red River view along the way.
Once you arrive at the Bat Trang pottery village, you can see a whole stretch of roads selling all kinds of pottery. The price there is cheaper than Hanoi, so if you like one, get yourself a souvenir! If you want to, you can also see and learn the ancient way of handmade ceramics first-hand!
Time for lunch! Guess what did we have for lunch? SNAKE!!! If you haven’t eaten anything strange before, this is going to be the strangest yet most delicious meal you’ve ever had! Eating snake is uncommon for Singaporeans and Westerners, but this dish is considered to be very high-end in Vietnam. Catching a snake is a dangerous task, that’s why it’s an expensive meal and people will only eat it for special occasions.
In restaurants around Le Mat Snake Village, chefs will slaughter the snakes alive to make sure the meat is fresh. It’s the first time for me seeing snake being slaughtered, so the whole process was really shocking for me. For people who are faint-hearted, you may want to skip the following pictures.
The chef first cut open the body of the snake to retrieve the heart. You can see that the heart is still pumping when it’s taken out. Then they cut the snake head before bringing it to the kitchen. For the first time in my life, I also ate a beating snake heart!
Luckily, the rest of the meal was surprisingly delicious. The meat was so tender and chewy at the same time!
But Thap Pagoda
After a good meal, your next destination will be visiting an ancient pagoda built in the 13th century – the But Thap pagoda. The pagoda is so peaceful and spacious. We were in fact the only tourists in the pagoda, so you have all the time to take beautiful pictures around it.
Strangely, I find the pagoda very different from the rest of temples and pagoda in Vietnam. It exudes this sense of ZEN that makes you feel like you have been transported to another country.
Do you know the difference between pagoda and temple? Pagoda is to worship Buddhism while temple is to worship gods. During the Tang dynasty, the influence of Buddhism was spread to Vietnam. The root of Buddhism has since gained a very strong foothold. Today, 70% of Vietnamese are Buddhist.
After a long day of riding and having fun, it’s time to head back. As you drive into the city, you’ll once again cross the grand Red River. Stop over to admire the view from the high bridge. The river is really big and the weather is so windy. If you see closely, you maybe able to find Vietnamese people swimming down there! They are so brave…
Why joining Vietnam motorbike tour?
Some of you maybe wondering, if you know how to ride a bike, why bother having a guide? If you are exploring the city itself, I think self-guided tour is sufficient. However, if you want to explore the outskirt of Hanoi, and really go to places that the locals go, a guide is a must. They know Vietnam inside out, and you’ll learn so much about Vietnam culture while having fun.
We went back to Flamingo Travel about 6pm in the evening. The whole adventure was about 70-80km for the whole day. So be prepared to go all out and have fun! If you are looking for a personalised motorbike tour to visit unexplored countryside near Hanoi, Flamingo Travel is a great place to go! The tour guide Victor is professional, friendly, informative and speaks good English. With his help, you’ll get to experience Vietnam like a local. 😊
Apart from short day tour, they also organise long distance tour (up to 30 days) to explore whole Vietnam. If you are a hard-core rider looking for guided adventure, drop Flamingo Travel an email and you’ll be good to go! Have fun traveling.
Total Duration 1 day
Tour Area Hanoi and the surrounding area
Type Of Tour Guided packaged tour
Total Tour kilometres 70 km
Road Conditions Good road with occasional dirt road
Skill Level Intermediate