You might be slightly overwhelmed when you arrive in Vietnam by the amount of motorbikes on the road, it’s truly astonishing but it also means there’s plenty of choice around to pick up a good bike.
Firstly decide on what bike you want, this mostly depends on your experience with motorbikes. The options are manual, semi automatic and automatic. Automatic is easy just pull the throttle back and go, semi automatic is pretty easy as well it just takes some practice around some quiet roads! I would leave manual motorbikes to the professionals.
The most popular bikes are the Honda Wave and Honda Win! The Wave is more reliable and normally less break downs, I had one and travelled over 1200km and had no issues. The Honda Win is the cooler bigger brother it looks the part, and will make those Instagram pictures stand out but normally they have a lot more issues than the wave.
Where to buy?
There are constantly motorbikes posted every day by backpackers on Facebook groups looking to either buy or sell motorbikes. The best groups I used;
Make sure to keep checking throughout the day for new bikes, as they can go pretty quick so go and have a look you don’t have to buy it! Most backpackers are in the same area in the main cities, so you normally won’t have to walk too far. I bought my Honda Wave off a backpacker in Ho Chi Minh City for $180 and ended up selling it in Hanoi for $200!
My top tips
* If you haven’t arrived in Vietnam yet try and start the journey in Hanoi, there are more bikes for sale than in Ho Chi Minh City! The logic is most backpackers start in HCM and finish in Hanoi, if you do it the other way round you’ll have far more choice.
* You will be constantly asked by locals about buying a motorbike from them, I was told to afford these proposals as they normally want to rip you off and may say you a motorbike which is not fully functional.
* Stay away from any motorbike without a blue card. The blue card proves ownership of the bike, without it the motorbike is worthless if you are stopped by the Police they will assume its stolen.
* If you are staying in a hostel/hotel ask around there might be other travellers trying to sell their motorbikes, if they are leaving really soon you might be able to get an absolute bargain!
* I found at the end of my trip the motorbike I bought was not an actual Honda Wave it was a Chinese knockoff, it even said Honda on the engine! It didn’t matter as the bike was perfect!