This is a short guide on how to go about renting a motorbike in Da Nang. Keep in mind that things change with time, places or prices listed here were true at the time of writing.
Should you rent a motorbike in Da Nang
Don’t take this question too lightly. If you are not an experienced rider and want to ride around just for fun then be very careful. Exhaust pipe burns, scraped skin and hospital visits are not fun.
Yes, the traffic in Da Nang is not as busy as in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi but riding here is still a challenge. It is even more challenging when it is wet, windy or when the roads are extra busy during national holidays.
The cost of motorbike taxis or even regular taxis are quite cheap so maybe you are better off letting someone else do the driving.
In the event of an accident your insurance may not cover you unless you are licensed to ride in Vietnam, some insurance companies consider motorbike riding an adventure sport and don’t cover it.
How to rent a motorbike in Da Nang
When you rent a bike in Da Nang you will need to provide your passport or for longer term rentals a copy of your passport. Most rental places will accept payment when you return the bike after your ride.
In most cases the rental place will not provide you with any paperwork, no contract / agreement and no registration for the bike. This could be a problem if you are stopped by the police which is very unlikely unless you have an accident.
Also note that most places will not ask for a driving licence, most foreigners in Vietnam are unlicensed but this is changing as getting a license is getting easier. If you plan to be here for more than a few months, get a licence.
Where to rent a motorbike from in Da Nang
Most people don’t want to commit to buying a motorbike for a short visit, so renting is a great option. Most hotels and guesthouses provide motorbike rental services to their guests or anyone who walks in the door. Be aware that the majority of rental bikes available are not well looked after. Besides, you can also book online on Tripadvisor.com, both very nice and clear websites which allow you to use all the main global credit cards.
You should test riding your bike before agreeing to rent it. Pay close attention to the brakes and the tyres as the are the two things that you need the most when trying to avoid an accident.
How to ride a motorbike in Da Nang
Carefully! Regardless of how experienced you are, riding in Vietnam takes a bit of getting used to. Use some common sense and learn how the locals use the road.
There are SO many motorbikes zipping around that you have to walk slowly but surely, allowing the motorbikers to (hopefully) dodge around you. If you stand around waiting for them to stop for pedestrians to cross, you’ll be waiting a long time.
The Vietnamese will carry an entire house (plus their three children and dog) on the back of their bikes if they can. You will amaze at how they don’t tip over.
Traffic law is practically non-existent. It’s not that scary once you get the hang of it, but you might want to get a feel for how it works before setting off on your own.
Rules of the Road
#1. There are no rules. Everything you know about official road rules is out the window, none of them seem to be practiced here. It’s not uncommon so see someone flying down a one-way street going the wrong way.
#2. Helmets. Okay, there is one rule – helmets are actually mandatory, although the only real reason you will get stopped for not having one is so that traffic enforcement can get a pay-day.
Most of the helmets for rent are made out of very cheap plastic with a thin layer of foam on the inside. Try to get your hands on an actual motorcycle helmet if you plan on doing much driving. You’re more likely to end up with a piece of plastic lodged in your skull than any sort of ‘protection’ from these helmets.
You’ll also notice many locals not buckling their chin straps. What is the point of that? For your own sake people, do up your helmets!
#3. Traffic lights. Although they do have traffic lights in Vietnam, they tend to be more precautionary than mandatory. If you stop, someone might ram you from behind. If you go, someone might ram you from the side. Generally you need to slow down, look both ways, and proceed with caution – no matter the colour of the light. The key here is to go with the flow.
#4. Giving way. If you need to turn or change ‘lanes’ (there really are no lanes), don’t expect someone to kindly slow down and give you way. It may happen that you have five other motorbikes on your right-hand side and you need to turn right, so what do you do? Your timing skills will be put to the test, but you basically need to just look over your shoulder and go for it – timing it just right to avoid t-boning them, slipping in front or behind in one swift motion.
#5. Intoxication. You can get on your bike while blackout drunk in Vietnam and realistically nobody is going to do anything about it, especially in more rural areas. Should you? Never. Don’t do something you wouldn’t do in your own country, you know better. On that note, the drinking and driving rate in Vietnam is very high so be aware that other drivers are a threat and keep your eyes peeled.
#6. Speeding. The average speed limit is around 25-60km/h, try to stay within it. There will often be pot holes, animals to avoid, oil spills from trucks, dirt roads and debris on the road, so you need to be in control at all times. Use your common sense, know your limits, and don’t end up another statistic for the sake of an adrenaline rush.
Where to ride a motorbike in Da Nang
Da Nang is a great place to ride around, the city streets are not too busy and it is easy to get out of the city for some nice scenic day trips.
- Marble Mountain and Hoi An: Marble Mountain is just 10 kilometres south of Da Nang and then Hoi An is a further 20 kms. There are 2 roads to Hoi An so you can do a loop and avoid riding the same route twice.
- Son Tra Peninsula and Linh Ung Pagoda: Simply go north along the beach road and follow it as far as you can, this is a very scenic route. Stop off at the pagoda for some photos and then find a seafood place on the water for lunch.
- Hai Van Pass and Lang Co: This is a spectacular ride that has been made safer now that trucks and busses take the tunnel. Have a coffee at the top of the pass and then enjoy very good seafood at the lagoon in Lang Co. (Read more: Breakfast at the peak of Hai Van Pass)
- Bana Hills: Head west out of Da Nang and follow the clearly marked signs for Ba Na. Ride along country roads or take the cable car to the top of the mountain.
If you’re wary of navigating the streets alone, but want to get out of the city, you can do an off-road motorcycle tour with beautiful riders.
If you’re eager to explore the city motorbike, go for it! Just don’t ignore your common sense because the road rules are more lenient – safety should always be a top priority. You don’t want to cut your trip short because you need to fly home for proper medical care.