Hoi An Motorbike Tours
You will scarcely find a travellers ‘must-do’ list of Vietnam lacking motorbike tours in Hoi An. So, what’s the story?
Walk down virtually any street in any town or city in Vietnam and you hear predominantly one thing: motorbikes. From the roar of superbikes to the wheezing of decades-old scooters, it’s simply inescapable. Yet this was not always the case. Were you to visit Saigon a few decades ago, for example, you would have been faced with an entirely different picture. We’re talking about the motorbike’s little brother, the bicycle.
Though a lot quieter and perhaps more aesthetic, bicycle riding in Vietnam is diminishing. Motorbikes have well and truly dominated the market. With a whopping 45 million motorbikes registered in the country, there’s almost one motorbike for every two people.
But if this seems like bad news, it isn’t. A major causal factor is the growth of the national economy in recent years. Due to factors like increased tourism (go you!). In this article Hidden looks at why you should choose to do a guided motorbike tour. In addition with what’s on offer from some of the top companies in Hoi An.
- Why Choose a Guided Motorbike Tour?
- Hai Van Pass Motorbike Tours
- Motorbike Tours from Hoi An to Hue
- The Best Hoi An Motorbike Tour Operators
- Onyabike Adventures
- Vespa Adventures
- Hoi An Motorbike Adventures
- Easy Rider Tours
- Hidden’s Thoughts
Why Choose a Guided Motorbike Tour?
Motorbikes provide travellers with the perfect way of seeing Vietnam. Buses and cars simply don’t come close to giving you the same experience. Therefore enjoy snaking through breathtaking mountain ranges, cruising stunning coastal roads, and heading off the beaten track to visit places no car or bus could ever dream of. It’s a remarkable way of seeing an even more remarkable country.
Driving a motorbike is not for everyone, however. If you are inexperienced, travelling with children, or just want the easier option of not having to drive for days at a time, a guided motorbike tour is the perfect option.
It is worth noting that there are more pressing reasons for not riding motorbikes yourself in Vietnam. Firstly, it just isn’t legal for most people. To drive a motorbike over 50cc you are required to have a Vietnamese motorcycle licence or an equivalent license in your home country plus an International Drivers Permit (IDP). It gets more complicated as the IDP’s from some countries are not recognised in Vietnam. Read more in our article on Motorbike Rental in Vietnam.
It is also important to note that insurance providers will not pay out if you have an accident while driving a motorbike without a valid license.
Hoi An Motorbike Tours – Ride Pillion and Relax!
Riding pillion- as a passenger – there’s another huge benefit. You can relax! That’s no worrying about directions or driving. Experienced tour operators have forged the best paths so you don’t have to. Taking you to Hoi An’s hidden gems that are hard to find or tricky to access on your own, guides provide a great deal of knowledge about the local area.
A major appeal of a guided tour is the support you receive, and though it varies from tour to tour, it will always be better than none. Tour operators have the experience to keep you safe so you can focus on the important stuff.
We’ve put together a list of the best Hoi An motorbike tour providers and dug around for their very best tours. Oh, and we’ve included a bucket load of other useful information on the subject, too.
Hai Van Pass Motorbike Tours
The Hai Van Pass is by far the most popular motorbike tour destination from Hoi An. Just over an hour ride from Hoi An, riding the Hai Van Pass makes for an ideal day trip from this charming town.
You quickly run out of superlatives to describe the Hai Van Pass. The 21 kilometre stretch of road between Da Nang and Hue is one of the most famous mountain roads in the world. Running parallel to the glistening Lang Co Bay, the Pass snakes up the Truong Son mountain range, an area steeped in geopolitical history. Visit our comprehensive Guide to the Hai Van Pass for the full lowdown.
Thanks to a diversion tunnel built for heavy vehicles and most other traffic, the Hai Van Pass is no longer as dangerous as it used to be. Bar the odd fuel tanker and car, the Pass is mostly travelled by motorbikes. Having said that, it still isn’t the easiest ride. Inexperienced riders will find some of the inclines, hairpin bends and downhill sections daunting.
But fear not! All four of our guided motorbike tour operators listed below offer tours of the Hai Van Pass. Differing slightly in what they offer and cost, you will have an unforgettable experience on one of the world’s most beautiful roads, no matter the company you choose.
Riding the Hai Van Pass is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some, but unforgettable for all. Make sure to make the most of it by choosing the best-guided motorbike tour for you.
Motorbike Tours from Hoi An to Hue
If the Hai Van Pass leaves you wanting a little more, the extended journey to Hue may be what you’re looking for. This day-long excursion continues your journey down quiet coastal roads, past beautiful fishing villages, stunning temples, famous ancestral homes and tombs. Our article on travelling from Hue to Hoi An by motorbike provides a detailed riding guide for this tour.
This tour is the next most popular motorbike excursion from Hoi An and is offered by every tour company! Hoi An Motorbike Adventures offer this tour by motorbike or in a jeep, another popular way of completing the trip. Easyrider trips are available from King Nguyen Travel and companies such as Style and Motorvina provide self-drive options. For more information on these self-drive options visit our article on getting from Hoi An to Hue and vice versa.
The Best Hoi An Motorbike Tour Operators
With so many tour operators to choose from and with so many promises made, making a choice on the best Hoi An motorbike tour is no easy task. With such an amazing experience at your fingertips, it would be a shame to go with the wrong company and not have the best possible time.
Relax! We’ve got you covered. Hidden’s done the research for you and found the four best Hoi An motorbike tour operators in town. We’ve even featured a recommended tour for each which we think satisfies a lot of people’s needs. Having said that, be sure to visit their websites as well to get a full picture of all they have on offer.
Established by a group of motorbike and travel experts, Onyabike Adventures’ team are extremely knowledgeable, professional, and personable. Most of all, however, they just want to provide you with the best possible tour they can, something they deliver on a regular basis. What really stands out about Onyabike Adventures is their attention to detail and emphasis on safety and accountability.
24/7 Support, Qualified Mechanics, Medical Staff and Support Van
Providing 24/7 support to its customers and staff, Onyabike Adventure’s team includes fully-qualified mechanics and medical staff. There is also a support van available which joins your tour if the group is larger than eight. Additionally, the van can be hired out at an additional cost. All their tour guides boast mechanical training and even carry spare parts for a quick turnaround should the bike falter. This is unlikely, though, with all bikes being under two years old.
All of this surmounts to peace of mind allowing you to completely relax and enjoy your trip to the fullest, knowing you are in safe hands. In addition to peace of mind, touring with a fully-licensed tour operator has some very concrete benefits. Some insurance providers, for instance, may not pay out in the instance of an accident if you’re riding with an unlicensed tour operator. Definitely, something to keep in mind.
At the end of it all, Onyabike Adventures provides a guided motorbike tour like no other. With tours ranging from one to fourteen days, there’s something for everyone. We think we’ve found one of the best, however, so have a read of our recommended tour below.
Hidden’s Recommended Guided Motorbike Tour with Onyabike: Pillion Tour: Da Nang/Hoi An One Day Loop
Price: 3,565,000 VND per person (155 USD) – Duration: Daily tours, running from 8:00 am to 5:00pm
This one day tour – leaves from Da Nang or Hoi An. It is undoubtedly on the pricier side, but expect to get what you pay for – which amounts to a lot! The tour is all-inclusive, meaning you have nothing to worry about apart from wearing appropriate clothing. Waterproof clothing and helmets are included. However, you can rent light motorbike jackets and gloves for an additional cost for some extra protection.
All entry fees, tolls and other ‘on the road’ costs are included, as is lunch, soft drinks and snacks, and pick up and drop off from/to your hotel. Oh, and don’t worry about fuel or oil costs. There are no hidden costs here.
This low difficulty tour starts at 8 a.m. with a pick up from your accommodation and the 200km trip concludes at around 5 p.m. by dropping you back off at your hotel.
Onyabike Adventures Guided Motorbike Tour Itinerary
Packed full of adventure, this day involves seeing Da Nang’s two most famous mountains, beginning with following the Cam Le River out of the city into the tranquillity of the countryside. Take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Take in the vibrant colours of the passing cemeteries and temples as you head out to Hill 55 Sniper Training School, a historical relic from the war.
Next, prepare yourself for riding on one of the world’s most beautiful roads: the Hai Van Pass. You head back over the Pass after cruising around the shimmering Lang Co Lagoon. After that, a much-needed lunch break in Da Nang to catch your breath before making the 700-metre climb to Monkey Mountain.
Yet more incredible roads await you here (they never get boring!) while the chance to see the rarer breed of Langur Monkeys is pretty solid! That’s the lot, so head on back to base to put your feet up and polish off a few beers. You’ve certainly earned them.
Vespa Adventures provide the original Vespa tour in South East Asia, with daily tours introducing customers to friendly local people and delicious Vietnamese food alike. Offering varying levels of adventure, their day tours escape the busy streets of Hoi An’s Old Town and take you down roads less travelled. Their evening food tour explores the town’s ‘foodie heaven’, whizzing through the evening traffic on the popular and stylish Vespa scooter.
HIdden Hint: Vespa Adventure prides themselves on offering an authentic and local experience on their vintage Vespas, all of which hail from the late 1960s to early 1970s ‘Golden Era’ of production.
History of Vespas in Vietnam
The Vespa scooter holds a fascinating place in Vietnamese history, first arriving with the French. However once the French were expelled in 1954, their Vespas remained behind, quickly becoming a quintessential part of Vietnamese culture.
At the end of the war, the Vietnamese government isolated its economy and banned foreign imports. Thus causing the Vespa to become a status symbol for those who could afford and maintain them. When Vietnam re-opened its doors to outside influence in 1990, locals opted to ditch their vintage scooters in favour of newer Vespa models or cheap Chinese motorbikes.
However, the rest of the world was just discovering the classic style of Italian scooters and enthusiasts keenly salvaged and restored the abandoned vintage Vespas. These iconic Italian scooters are undoubtedly the most unique part of this tour, you are riding on a piece of history, a bike that has been loved in Vietnam for over forty years!
Hidden’s Recommended Tour with Vespa Adventures: Countryside and Islands Explorer
Price: 2,047,000 VND per person (89 USD) – Duration: From 8:00 a.m., lasting 5 hours
Vespa Adventures Guided Motorbike Tour Itinerary
This half-day morning tour is the most extensive out of Vespa Adventures day tours. Diving into Hoi An’s rural countryside you get to see more of Hoi An than just its famous lanterns. Relax and feel the cool morning breeze as you are driven through breathtaking rice paddies and farm lands while stopping to see families and their crafts. Become experts at mat weaving, farming and making and eating rice crackers. Enjoy local drip-coffee and learn another new skill – the art of coffee roasting! Take in the panoramic views of Hoi An while feasting on a delicious local lunch before concluding the tour with a free drop off at your hotel.
The price of the tour includes lunch, plenty of drinks, petrol, helmets, raincoats, a tour guide, an experienced driver and insurance. They also offer free pick up and drop off for all those staying within Hoi An and are happy to help arrange private or public transport for those staying in Da Nang.
Hoi An Motorbike Adventures
Hoi An Motorbike Adventures are highly rated and offer a huge variety of motorbike and jeep tours. These tours range from a half-day to a full week, and their motorbike tours can be customised to suit whichever route you wish to take. Whether that be the Ha Giang Loop, visiting some of Phong Nha’s caves or even a remote hill tribe village. Their diverse range of routes allows travellers to explore remote and rarely explored regions of Vietnam in a safe and enjoyable way.
One of the coolest things about Hoi An Motorbike Adventures is their retro soviet-style sidecars. They have been in use since the 1970s and easily have over a million miles on them! Soviet War planners modelled these sidecars after an R71 BMW bike, which Nazi Germany gave to the Soviet Union after the signing of a non-aggression pact in 1939. 9,000 units were produced for the Russian Army during the war, with a further three million produced in the 50 years after that. The sidecars were gifted to Vietnam in the mid-1970s from the Soviet Union as terrain vehicles for the army. Over time they fell out of use and have since been picked up enthusiasts such as Hoi An Motorbike Adventures, allowing thousands of tourists to ride in them every year.
Hoi An Motorbike Adventures’ sidecar tours range from one hour sessions (ideal for those with limited time) to half-day morning and afternoon excursions. They are perfect for families travelling with young children, as children under six can sit alongside one adult in the sidecar. Couples may also love this quirky adaptation on traditional motorbike tours as one passenger can sit in the sidecar, while the other sits behind the driver. The sidecars also provide fantastic photo opportunities. Sidecar tours can be booked through the dedicated Hoi An Sidecar Tours website.
Hidden’s Recommended Tour with Hoi An Motorbike Adventures: Wheels and Waterways (in a sidecar!)
Price: 1,400,000 VND per person (61 USD) – Duration: Daily tours, from 8:30: a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Hoi An Motorbike Adventures Guided Tour Itinerary
Begin your morning tour by winding through the water coconut palm forest, stopping on the Cua Dai Bridge to observe the picturesque views of the Thu Bon River. Get a glimpse of the daily morning rituals of the fishermen, as you watch them repair their boats and trade their first catch of the day. Past the fishing village, savour the quaint villages and vegetable farms, making a stop for some local Vietnamese coffee. Continue to Trung Giang Bridge for a photo opportunity before trying your hand at mat weaving with a nearby family. Ancient art completed, visit a countryside pagoda to learn about the deep-rooted spiritual traditions of the Vietnamese. Conclude the tour with a delicious local meal at a riverside restaurant.
The tour price covers all food, drink, hotel drop-off and pick up, helmet, local guide, sidecar with driver and Vietnamese tourism insurance.
Easy Rider Tours
Easy Riders are unofficial and unlicensed tour guides, found across Vietnam. It’s very much the older and more established way of operating guided motorbike tours, though that is changing now. In other words, to be an Easy Rider, you just need a motorbike. Thus the quality of tours can vary drastically from rider to rider.
If, however, there is an incident on the trip, you are not provided with the same care or service you would be should you choose one of our other featured guided motorbike tour operators. Whether it be a mechanical problem or worse, you aren’t guaranteed anything. Having said that, thousands of people each year have wonderful experiences using Easy Riders. It’s something to consider. Make an informed decision based on what you’re comfortable with. Disclaimer over!
King Nguyen Travel
King Nguyen Travel is one such company operating using Easy Riders. Operating for fifteen years, King Nguyen Travel offers several guided motorbike tours. They all vary in length, cost, and what you’ll get up to. However with such extensive experience, you can expect the team at King Nguyen to have planned the very best routes and refined them over the years.
Most Easy Riders speak good English, though King Nguyen says all of his riders speak great English, which is really quite important. They will all have some basic mechanical skills, should there be a fault with the bike. However, with King Nguyen’s bikes being well maintained and checked on a daily basis, it’s unlikely.
Tours can be as short in length as just a morning – as with the My Son Sunrise Tour – or up to five nights and six days, and there’s everything in between. Generally staying around Central Vietnam, some tours crossover with one another with what they offer. So have a look on their website below to see which suits you best. Alternatively, we’ve dug around and found what we think is their best tour, so you don’t have to.
Hidden’s Recommended Tour with Easy Rider: Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hue Adventures
Price: 3,910,000 VND per person (170 USD), Duration: Two days, one night
You have no doubt heard of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which played a very important role in the war while being littered with fascinating points-of-interest, tranquil rice paddies and sleepy villages.
Built-in the late 1950s, the trail served as a key logistical route for the movement of soldiers and supplies from north to south. Therefore aiding the war effort of the People’s Army of Vietnam in liberating the south. While most of the trail ran through neighbouring Laos and Cambodia, you visit the sections which ran through Vietnam. The chance to explore stunning landscapes, all the while soaking up some essential history of the country is unmissable.
This tour includes an English or French-speaking guide, a personal and locally licensed driver (that’s a motorbike license), a hotel for the night, fuel, meals, entry fees, soft drinks, and a helmet!
Easy Rider Guided Motorbike Tour Itinerary
The two-day tour kicks off by leaving Hoi An on a 160-kilometre ride to Prao. Negotiating the 320 metres floating Bamboo Bridge, you stop off at the eleventh-century Cham Tower before visiting some sites from the war.
As the day progresses you escape further into the countryside. You’ll watch farmers go about their daily toil in peace before heading up into the mountains. A very welcome opportunity to cool off and escape the heat awaits you at your next stop. Because there’s time to take a break and swim and relax around a waterfall. After that, you continue through the hills and tea plantations, ending up at the villages of the Co Tu ethnic minority. Here you have the chance to chat with locals and learn about their ways of life.
Day two involves a 190-kilometre ride from Prao to Hue. Continuing along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, more ethnic minority villages await you, before you hug the border with Laos and immerse yourself in lush jungle. Awe-inspiring mountain passes take you to another waterfall. After having lunch in Aluoi you ride up to Ma Oi Pass. Here you visit a newly planted jungle, replacing what was destroyed in the war.
Next stop, Hue. You’ve reached your destination! Rest up and look back on what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of your time in Vietnam. This tour is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture and history and see how life goes outside of the city. It’s also great for those who want more than a day tour, but don’t want to be on the back of a bike for too long.
Vietnam is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth, there’s no disputing it. It seems like it’s got everything from tropical islands, hidden beaches, vibrant cities, quaint towns, stunning national parks, untouched jungles and soaring mountains. And all this, seen from the back of a motorbike, makes a guided motorbike tour an essential addition to any trip.
Vespa Adventures is the obvious choice for vintage motorbike fanatics or history buffs. While Hoi An Motorbike Adventures’ sidecar tour is a fantastic option for young families seeking a thrill. Their 30% discount for children aged 12 and under certainly makes it one of the most family-friendly tours available.
The unofficial and unlicensed nature of Easy Rider tours means they are definitely an appealing option for those on a tight budget. Their prices are much lower than other tour operators. Last but not least, Onyabike’s premium all-inclusive offering gives you a taste of luxury while embarking on a new adventure – with all the appropriate support.
Whichever company you choose, whatever tour you take, a guided motorbike tour in and around Hoi An is both a memorable and worthwhile experience.