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Vietnam Motorbike Holidays & travel insurance

Exploring Vietnam's breathtaking scenery by road will not disappoint. Whether you're riding along the magnificent mountain passes or sticking to the outstanding coastline, there's no denying that your trip will be full of fantastic adventures and unforgettable experiences. However, it should be noted that riding in Vietnam is not for the fainthearted, and it certainly comes with its fair share of thrills and spills...

Did you know that riding a bike over 50cc is illegal for foreigners in Vietnam? Vietnamese licences are mandatory for all drivers of motor vehicles as well as riders of motorcycles with a capacity of over 50cc. 

Unlike driving or riding in other parts of the world, an international driving permit (IDP) isn’t necessarily valid in Vietnam. If you don’t have a IDP signed under the 1968 convention like Australia, then you will be riding illegally. So, before you buckle up, have a read of our Vietnamese driving guide to get you geared up and ready to go!

 

How to convert your AUSSIE motorbike licence to a Vietnamese motorbike licence 


If you have already have an Aussie or international motorbike licence you'll need to convert it to a Vietnamese one. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can do from Australia before you depart and it takes about a week to process once.

In order to convert your licence you have to be at least 18 years of age, have a Vietnamese visa that is valid for 3 months or more, and your licence in Australia (or your IDP) must match the same class of bike you’ll be riding in Vietnam.

Once you've ticked all those boxes then you'll need to...

•    Take four passport photos of yourself that will be used on your Vietnamese licence application form
•    Get a translation of your licence into Vietnamese. The translation must be an exact copy of all information in the order it appears on your license. 
You can do this at 47 Le Duan Street, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
•    Get photocopies of your original passport in English that are certified by the government office (you can do photocopying at the address above)
•    Once you’ve got all your required docs get your Vietnamese licence application form from Ho Chi Minh Office of Traffic and Public Works: 252 Ly Chinh Thang Street, Ward 9, District 3 or Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre: 16 Cao Ba Quat Street, Ba Dinh
•   You will be given a receipt and your licence will be ready for collection in approximately 7 days.

 

If you don't have a motorbike licence you need to sit the Vietnamese driving test


​•    First of all, make sure you know what class of bike you are allowed to drive in Australia.  The A1 licence is from 50-175cc and A2 for unlimited cc 
​•    Get 12 passport photos of yourself for the application form (3 x 4)
​•    Go to a hospital to get a health check​ to prove you are fit to be behind the wheel
•    Obtain a written letter of introduction (in Vietnamese) from your employer to explain who you are, where you are from and you wish to obtain a Vietnamese motorbike licence
​•    It takes 15 days to get your licence so make sure you leave enough time before your road trip to get it organised

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, companies like this one can help to arrange this for you.

Will My Travel Insurance Cover Me While Riding A Motorbike in vietnam?

Remember your travel insurance policy will only cover you riding overseas when you have a licence that is valid in the country you are riding in. So without a Vietnamese licence you could be driving on the roads unprotected. Not a scenario you want to find yourself in!

Plus, it's likely that your insurer will have engine size limits they allow you to ride up until, irrespective of your licence class.

You can compare the various motorbike engine limits here. Click on the plus icon for more information. 


General Advice Warning: The contents of this article were accurate at the time of writing. Insurers change their policies from time to time, so some information may have changed. You should always read the Product Disclosure Statement of your chosen insurer to understand what is covered and what isn't. The information provided is of a general nature only and does not take into account any personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your personal circumstances.

What's Not Covered?

Even with cover offered, exclusions still apply. You are not covered:

  • If you are racing and intentionally putting yourself at risk
    Any time you intentionally put yourself in danger such as using your bike for jumps, stunts and tricks and injure yourself (especially if you are not wearing a helmet at the time) you are unlikely to be covered.
     
  • For motorbike theft or damage
    Whether owned, borrowed or rented, most insurers do not cover the bike.  If it's your own bike, it should be covered under your own motorcycle insurance.  If it's a hire bike, the rental company is likely to have insurance built in to your daily hire cost or charge you an additional premium to cover it. 
     
  • For competitive or professional riding
    Competitive riding of any sorts is generally not a covered event under standard travel insurance policies.
     
  • For bike hire excess cover
    Although travel insurance often covers rental vehicle excess, this generally does not extend to two wheeled modes of transport. If you hire an expensive bike and it gets damaged, unfortunately your travel insurance will not cover the excess.
     
  • If you do not follow the rules of road
    Always follow road signs including traffic lights, stop signs and give ways.
     
  • If you are under the influence
    You would not be covered if you were drink driving and had an accident while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
     
  • If you do not wear a helmet
    Cut and bruises are not ideal travelling companions, make sure you wear a helmet at all times when riding overseas. No travel insurance company is obliged to cover you if you incurred injuries when you were not wearing one.

ride safe in vietnam


As we said earlier, riding in Vietnam is risky, so make sure you’re clued up before you hit the road. Here’s a few tips to keep you safe with seeing the sites:

Be alert: Everything you know about road rules goes out the window in Vietnam.  There is no giving way, traffic lights are ignored, people drive on the wrong side of the road. You get the picture! Keep your wits about you.

Get a good helmet: The one supplied by your rental bike company may not be up to the same standards as you’d expect from home. So it’s wise to get a good-un to protect your noggin.

Don’t drink and drive: You wouldn’t do it in Australia, so don’t do it in Vietnam! Apart from being extremely dangerous, you’d also void your insurance should you have an accident or cause harm to others whist riding intoxicated.

Don’t speed: You never know if you’re about to encounter a huge truck around a bend or a precarious pot hole, so it's wise to take your time when riding in strange surroundings and take in the fab view.

Pililon Passengers: Just because the Vietnamese have 5 passengers and a refrigerator strapped to the side of their bike, doesn’t mean you should copy the locals in this case. Only ride with the recommended number of passengers, and once again, if you’re breaking the rules this would more than likely void your travel insurance policy.  


What's Next?

Finally, contact your travel insurance provider before you purchase travel insurance for your Vietnam motorbike holiday to double check the policy details. It often pays to make to take a few minutes to make that short phone call to clarify. When riding motorbikes or scooters overseas you are taking risks with both your health and your money. So do your research and compare travel insurance quotes and cover levels. Don't just settle for first or the cheapest policy you find.

 

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