The first thing you need to get when moving to Vietnam is transport. If you think you can live without it then imagine life without a phone.
Vietnam is a country of two-wheeled transport and it feels like bikes took for 90% of everything that moves on the roads. They are inexpensive, easy to operate and very mobile in cities overloaded with transport.
Bike is the generalized name for all types of two-wheeled vehicles in Asia and in Vietnam in particular.
Types of bikes
As elsewhere, motorbikes are divided by engine size and gearbox type. The most popular among locals are semi-automatic, apparently because one hand not involved in driving and allows to smoke or chat on the phone. Foreigners mostly prefer automatic scooters or motorcycles.
The cost of bikes starts at $ 100. For the money you can buy a rather ancient trough but it will ride. Something more or less sane, but still trough, will costs at $ 200-300. A good used bike 5-7 years old will be from $ 500, a modern one – from $ 1,000. New – from $ 800 the easiest option and up to $ 5000-7000 for a fancy super-scooter with vertical take-off and a turbojet engine as much as 150 cm3.
How to buy a motorbike right and wrong?
Answer is as elsewhere, just buy and register it. Registration is an official change of ownership in documents. But here a surprises: you can’t do it if you don’t have a resident card!
Blue card. Each transport has a document that everyone calls simply a blue card. It contains the VIN of the engine and frame, number and the current owner to whom the bike is registered.
How it happens in reality: you give money to seller and get a blue card and use as if you took it from the owner for a ride. Nothing more needs to be done. Next in the same way you sell it further.
The disadvantages of an unofficial purchase are that if you suddenly lose your blue card, you won’t be able to restore it. Fortunately, in Vietnam you can always order a duplicate on the black market.
After purchasing a bike do not forget to buy insurance although police usually do not ask it.
Driver’s license of category A is required If the engine capacity is more than 50 cm3. Often they ask for international but national drive license also enoght. The main thing is that the right category is there.
If you do not have category A then you can do it in Vietnam. Just go to a driving school and pass examines. But you can obtain drive license only for the duration of your visa or resident card.
Most foreigners drive without a license and this is of course a violation.
Rules and the police
The rules of driving in Vietnam are the same as in the whole world. If you suddenly stopped by police then here are the 3 most popular violations of foreigners:
- Drive license missing – a fine is $ 40-50 (unofficially $ 10) and the right to confiscate a bike to a parking lot
- Driving without a helmet – a fine is about 10-15 $
- High speed. Penalty amount depends on how much you have exceeded. From 5 to 10 km / h – $ 10, from 10 to 20 km / h – $ 30, more than 20 km / h – $ 180-250. If you can’t pay on place, your bike can be taken to the parking lot.
And another new rule effective from 1.01.2020 is concerned for drunk driving and now strictly punished. The allowable dose is a little more than 0.5 ppm. All that is higher is a fine from $ 100 – $ 350 with deprivation of driving from 1 to 2 years.
Up to 70% of accidents in Vietnam were caused by alcohol and among foreigners this figure is 90%.
In general, Vietnamese drive very carefully, rarely exceed the speed, they drive drunk only on holidays. Of course they have own driving characteristics but if you get used to them then everything will be fine. The main thing is to follow the basic rules described above.