Renting a motorbike in Asia

Renting a moto is, in many places, the bets way to see a lot of South East Asia, and is a cheap and easy option in most towns. The majority of hotels/guest houses can arrange a rental for you. It should cost between $5-8usd for the day.

If you aren’t confident riding yourself, consider an Easy Rider tour in Vietnam with a local guide – one of the best ways to see the country.

Pre rental checks

  1. Check the brakes work properly. You should be able to feel resistance in the brake and not be able to pull it fully into the handle bars.
  2. Ensure that tyres have sufficient tread. If the grooves are worn don’t rent it – ask for another.
  3. Check all lights – headlights, brake lights and indicators. One of these not working is a great excuse for a policeman to make up a fine! Also, you’re safer if they all work.
  4. Check to see if the speedo and fuel gauge work. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t but makes your life easier.
  5. Make a note, or steer, take a picture, of dents, scratches and damage to the bike. If you can, date stamp the image.

If you have never ridden before, you are best starting off in a small quiet town with not much traffic. Whoever you rent it from should be happy to show you how to use it if in doubt.

When riding

  1. Stay calm – everyone else is expecting motorbikes, and are better at riding than you. It seems daunting hitting the road in Asia, but take it as it comes and it’s fine.
  2. Know the local laws and obey them (see below)
  3. Fuel is easy to get – most roadside shops sell it in old Fanta bottles. Petrol stations are still more reliable – fill the whole tank up, it’s bloody cheap and you don’t want to run out down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

Laws to watch for


Cambodian police seem to make most of their income from tourists, whether it’s via a border scam or a trumped up traffic offence fines. Make sure you always indicate, stay in the correct side of the road etc to ensure they can’t try it on. A common one is stopping you for riding with headlights on in the day (not illegal). ‘Fines’ are often negotiable.


First off, it is illegal to ride a motorbike without a Vietnamese license and you could face a fine of up to $100usd. That said, we have ridden past plenty of uncaring police officers. It seems an unwritten rule that  they let it slide because it boosts tourism (unless you have an accident, when they’ll throw the rule book at you). What they will fine you for is riding without a helmet, riding without wing mirrors, speeding, or riding with more than two people aboard.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s