In recent years, Vietnam has been slowly gaining popularity as an attractive tourist destination. The unique culture, quaint customs and traditions, interesting people, and of course the delicious food all make Vietnam a must see destination in South East Asia.
What’s more, it is also comparatively cheaper to travel in than other countries in the region, making it particularly suitable for budget travellers who are keen on backpacking Vietnam. If you really want to explore Vietnam and get an authentic taste of life in Vietnam, then a road trip is the ideal way to see the country.
Things to keep in mind before your road trip
If you have experience riding motorcycles then you can hire a motorcycle and set off on your adventure across Vietnam. In case you do not know much about riding motorcycles but still yearn to discover Vietnam on a road trip, you could also avail the services of motorcycle tour guides who will take you along on their motorcycles around Vietnam. Motorcycles are a common way to get around Vietnam and you will come across several others on motorcycles sharing the road with you.
Traffic is a nightmare in Vietnam so road tripping in a car might not be a wise idea. Plus do be aware that people in Vietnam don’t really follow all the rules and regulations when driving on the busy city roads. Hence it is important that you follow safety practices such as wearing helmets and also try to avoid driving at night.
Talk to fellow travellers and read up reviews and recommendations before choosing a motorcycle rental agency in order to be sure that you can trust their services. Reliable and reputed agencies will never cheat you with bad motorcycles and they will always be ready to help you out in case of any emergencies.
Most backpackers in Vietnam prefer to either stay in lodges, hostels or even in camping grounds in order to save money on accommodation.
Where to start?
Most travel enthusiasts recommend that you start your road trip in the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi. It is densely populated, bustling and throbbing with life. Head over to the Old quarter and be transported back in time to an almost forgotten era.
For some time away from the chaos of city life, check out the many pagodas such as the Perfume Pagoda or the famous One Pillar Pagoda. For a rendezvous with nature you could spend some time at the West Lake.
Once you leave Hanoi behind, you will get to drive through long winding roads that encompass lush green paddy fields — a soothing sight indeed for sore eyes.
Relish the wide open spaces of countryside Vietnam
From Hanoi, your next stop could be at Mai Chau. Relax and soak up the rural atmosphere for a day or two. From Mai Chau you could choose to ride over to Son La, a picturesque and scenic destination that will simply take your breath away.
If you are a history buff, then you could ride to Dien Bien Phu, where lies an impressive war cemetery which stands as a reminder to the nation’s turbulent past.
Winding up your road trip
Next, you can head to Sapa. Sapa is a beautiful hill station so expect to enjoy cooler weather over here. If you could afford to indulge in a few luxuries on your road trip then you should definitely try to stay in one of the many lovely homestays or boutique hotels in and around Sapa.
The journey from Sapa back to Hanoi tends to take around 24 hours. You could break up your journey by exploring the Ba Be National Park, an impressive park which is off the beaten track.