How to Send a Motorbike on the Train

First published July 2017 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

INTRODUCTION | GUIDE | MAP | MORE POSTS

One the most common questions readers write me to ask is: Can I put my motorbike on the train in Vietnam and send it from one destination to another? The simple answer is, ‘Yes, you can’. But it’s useful for travellers to know exactly how it works, because this will ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Happily, sending your bike on the train is now a relatively hassle-free, efficient, and reliable service. On this page, I’ve written and illustrated a step-by-step guide to putting your motorbike on the train in Vietnam.

How to send a motorbike on the train, VietnamSending your motorbike on the train in Vietnam is now pretty easy, efficient & reliable

[Back Top]


GUIDE: MOTORBIKE ON THE TRAIN


I’ve organized this guide into several sections, including my step-by-step guide. Click an item from the list below to read more about it:


MAP:

Main Train Stations to Send Motorbikes to/from in Vietnam

View in a LARGER MAP

[Back Top]


Advantages: 

Putting your motorbike on the train is very convenient for road-trippers in Vietnam. For example, you can use this service to help you get out of the big, busy cities, such as Saigon and Hanoi, and into the countryside (or at least to smaller cities). This way, you don’t have to negotiate the awful traffic and pollution of the industrial suburbs. Or you can use it to skip large sections of a route. For example, many people want to ride one of my Saigon to Hanoi routes but don’t have enough time to do it all: you can put your motorbike on the train to either join a route somewhere further up the coast or to finish a route early and send your motorbike the rest of the way. You can send your motorbike to all major coastal cities between, and including, Saigon and Hanoi (Phan Thiet [Muong Man/Binh Thuan station], Nha Trang, Quy Nhon [Dieu Tri station], Danang, Hue, Dong Hoi, Vinh and Haiphong, from south to north respectively) and one inland destination, Lao Cai (for Sapa; from Hanoi only). See my map of major train stations in Vietnam above. (Note: for more details about sending your motorbike on the Saigon-Phan Thiet train read this post, and for more about sending your motorbike on the Hanoi-Lao Cai train read this post).

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamSending your motorbike on the train allows you to start or end your road trip anywhere along the coast

[Back to Contents]


Drawbacks: 

There are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of, but these shouldn’t be a problem as long as you make allowances for them and organize your road trip accordingly:

  • 1: You won’t travel with your motorbike: it goes on a separate freight train. (Two notable exceptions to this are the Saigon-Phan Thiet Express Train and the Hanoi-Lao Cai Fanxipan Express [for Sapa])
  • 2: Your motorbike will take between 2-5 days to arrive at its destination, depending on how far you are sending it and whether it’s a busy time of year. 
  • 3: Although it has never happened to me personally, readers have occasionally written to say that they have been refused permission to put their motorbikes on the train because of overcrowding. This is usually at peak times of year, particularly in and around the Tet Lunar New Year (January/February) and the high-season summer months (June-August).

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamDrawbacks: your motorbike travels separately to you & will take 2-5 days to arrive

[Back to Contents]


STEPBYSTEP GUIDE:


Step 1: Ride your motorbike to the train station. Generally, opening hours for sending your motorbike (and picking it up at the other end) are between 7am and 5pm, although it’s quite likely (especially in smaller cities) that workers take a lunch break from 11.30am to 1.30pm. (Note: remember that you must send your motorbike on the train at least a couple of days before you want to pick it up again at its destination.)

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamWorkers at the Saigon train station freight department on their lunch break: 11.30am-1.30pm


Step 2: There are at least a handful of different companies handling freight (including motorbikes) on the main south-north line. However, by far the most reliable company I’ve used is Door to Door. At Saigon and Hanoi train stations find or ask for the Door to Door office (in Vietnamese: Công Ty Bao Bì Vận Chuyển). At Saigon train station their office is located to the left outside the main station entrance at 1 Nguyen Thong Street. At Hanoi train station the office is located in a little kiosk to the left of the main station entrance (120 Le Duan Street). At other stations between Saigon and Hanoi there may or may not be a dedicated Door to Door office (I’m told, for example, that there’s one in Danang, but I couldn’t find it). If there isn’t one, find or ask for the hành lý (freight) office. This is usually just to the side of the main ticket office at all the main stations marked on my map.

Sending your motorbike on the train, VietnamAt the station, find the Door to Door office or the hành lý (freight) department


Step 3: If possible, try to find a woman behind a desk, next to a computer. (In general, it is the women who deal with the transaction and the blue-overalled men who deal with the practical side of things: packing and wrapping the motorbikes. In my experience, the women are much easier to deal with than the men, and much more likely to do it all by the book, rather than trying to squeeze some ‘extra charges’ out of you.) If you don’t speak any Vietnamese the process should still be straightforward, and some staff know enough English to be able to communicate. Point to your bike and say the destination you want it to be sent to. The staff will show you a laminated list of stations, motorbike types, and prices. It’s very clear and the prices are fixed. (Note: a standard 50,000vnd [$2] handling fee is paid separately to staff when you collect your motorbike at its destination station.) Once you’ve established where you want the motorbike sent to and how much it will cost, it’s best to get an idea of how long it will take for the motorbike to arrive at its destination. Again, if you don’t speak Vietnamese, this should still be easily done by pointing to today’s date on a calendar and then pointing to a date a couple days in the future and saying ‘Yes?’. (Note: although some major destinations, such as Quy Nhon (Dieu Tri) and Dong Hoi, are not listed, it is possible to send your motorbike to them, so persist, or just use one of the other freight companies instead.)

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamPrice list: motorbike types along the top; destination stations down the side (xe số=manual; xe ga=automatic)


Step 4: Apart from your motorbike and some cash, you will need to have three things with you to successfully send your motorbike on the train: your passport, motorbike blue/green card (the ownership card with your/previous owner’s name and address on it), and a phone number. In some cases, you may also need to give an address in Vietnam: you can put anything for this, like your hotel address, for example. Once the staff have taken note of all your paperwork, you pay the amount in full (except the 50,000vnd handling fee). You will receive a receipt with your name, phone number, motorbike model, and destination on it. Do not lose this receipt. If you do, you may find it very difficult to claim your motorbike back again at the destination station. Also, remember to take your blue/green ownership card with you (don’t leave it in the motorbike trunk, for example).

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamThis is your receipt: don’t lose it! You’ll need it when you collect your motorbike


Step 5: While you are completing the transaction, your motorbike will most likely be undergoing some changes needed for travelling as freight. The wing mirrors are unscrewed and stored in the trunk under your seat; all the gas is siphoned from your tank (make sure you don’t fill-up just before going to the station); and the motorbike is checked for any markings, flaws, or breakages so that the freight company is not held responsible for any of these on the other end. (Note: do not leave anything valuable in your motorbike trunk, and remember the take your keys with you – don’t accidentally leave them in the ignition.) Then your motorbike goes through the process of ‘mummification’. Vietnam’s railroads are surprisingly bumpy so, to reduce the chances of damages occurring during the journey, your motorbike is covered in protective layers: cloth, blankets, bubble wrap, plastic bags, padding, foam, cardboard and, lastly, an exoskeleton made of wooden planks. Safe and secure, your motorbike disappears behind the scenes with all the other freight, awaiting the locomotive that will transport it up or down the country to its destination.

How to send your motorbike on the train, Vietnam‘Mummification’: your motorbike is covered in protective padding for the journey


Step 6: Now your motorbike is on its way, and it should have been a pretty painless process. (The only issue I’ve ever had is with some of the grumpy male handlers who wrap the motorbike. I’m sure it’s a thankless and lowly paid job, and the men in these positions have little to be happy about, but they can be quite gruff, rude and unhelpful at times, although this is certainly not always the case: the men in the pictures on this page, for example, were very friendly.) Now, all you have to do is get to your destination to pick up your motorbike. If you’re travelling by train, the Door to Door office at Saigon station (and Hanoi too, I think) also sells passenger train tickets. This is really convenient as it means you don’t have to queue up in the main station hall to buy your ticket. For example, last time I sent my motorbike on the train I simply went to the Door to Door office at Saigon train station, bought my motorbike ticket to Nha Trang from one desk, and then bought my own train ticket to Nha Trang from another: simply, easy, no queuing, and no hassle.

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamConvenient: the Door to Door office in Saigon also sells train tickets for passengers


Step 7: When your motorbike arrives at its destination you should receive a call or text from the station. (If you don’t hear from them after a few days, assume they’ve forgotten and head down to the station anyway, because in some cases you will have to pay 10,000vnd for each day that your motorbike is waiting to be picked up at its destination station.) At the station, find or ask for the hành lý (freight) department and show the staff your receipt. They will check your information with their books, find your motorbike, unwrap it, put the mirrors back on and hand it over to you. Pay the 50,000vnd handling fee, give your motorbike a good check-over – brakes, tyres, frame, trunk, mirrors – and you’re good to go. Except you’re not, because you won’t have any gas in your tank. Ask the staff for the nearest gas station (trạm xăng). You may have to walk your bike there, although some bikes, such as my own, seem to somehow be able to run on fumes for the minute it takes to get as far as the gas pumps. Now you have your motorbike, a full tank of gas, and a great Vietnam road trip ahead of you. (Note: if for any reason there’s a problem identifying or authenticating your motorbike, show your blue/green ownership card to the staff, so that there’s no disputing it’s your motorbike.)

How to send your motorbike on the train, VietnamAt the destination station the motorbike is unpacked & then you’re ready to hit the road


RELATED POSTS:

[Back Top]


Selected Resources for Travellers & Expats:  What's this?

This entry was posted in ALL, MOTORBIKE GUIDES, Resources, South to North and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to How to Send a Motorbike on the Train

  1. Ana says:

    Hi, Tom!
    We travel on motorcycles. We want to take part of the road by train. Is it possible to travel from Ninl Binh to Dong Hoi by train with our motorbikes? Thank you for the answer.

  2. Michael Loithaler says:

    Your can also send your bike to Nihn Bihn 🙂 just for information

  3. Margaret says:

    Hello, we are thinking about visiting Vietnam for 5-6 months, do you also accept questions about renting a place, not necessary huge villas, but not budget either, overall cost of living, yoga/fitness studios, golf, renting vs buying a bike, we would like to move with the weather to avoid rain as much as possible. Thank you

    • Hi Margaret,

      For bike rental/buying take a look at this. And for weather see this.

      Renting a place short term depends where you are. In Saigon and Hanoi the rent is high compared to the rest of Vietnam. But, for example, in either of those cities, $500-$750 a month would get you a decent two-bedroom unit in a good serviced apartment.

      There’s quite a lot of golf throughout Vietnam these days. You should be able to find details, such as prices, locations etc, by googling ‘golf courses in Vietnam’. The same goes for yoga – it’s extremely popular all over Vietnam, and prices vary a lot depending on the kind of course – small groups with lots of individual instruction (especially places catering to foreigners) will cost a lot more than local places with large groups.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  4. Rubi says:

    Hi Tom,
    I was wondering how it works with a rented bike if you don’t have an ownership slip?

    Thanks

    • Hi Rubi,

      People have written me to say that it’s been OK with rented bikes without the ownership papers, but you should check with the bike rental place first – they should know. Or perhaps if there’s any problem at the station, you can give them a call.

      Tom

  5. SG.KIM says:

    Hey Tom

    good to know very usefull information posted it here

    Are they Also accept big bike as over 700cc ? wait for your kind reply for this.

    thanks
    SG.

  6. Ross says:

    Is there a specific train station in Hanoi you would recommend? I want to to transport my bike to Vinh.

    Thank you

    Ross

  7. Kimbo says:

    Hi Tom,

    Is it possible to ship motorbike on buses? I saw some videos of people doing it and I’m wondering if it’s posdible because I wanna save some time and take overnight bus from Sapa to Halong

    • Hi Kimbo,

      On some buslines on some routes it is possible, but again, your bike doesn’t necessarily travel on the same bus as you do. You’ll need to check with the bus companies to find out more information. There are lots of bus lines serving Sapa so you should be able to go to their offices and ask.

      Good luck,

      Tom

    • Ross says:

      Hey

      I have just put my bike on four buses in the last 11 days. Most buses accommodate bikes but the cost of transferring the bike is 300-500k (plus then you need to buy your own ticket).

  8. Josephine says:

    Hi Tom, I know it is going to look like a silly question as you provide the station you can send your motorbike from but I was wondering if there was a way to send it from Dong Ha?!
    Cheers!

    • Hi Josephine,

      Yes, you should be able to send a bike from Dong Ha station. The stations listed in this guide are just the ones that the Door to Door company send bikes to – but the regular train freight companies should be able to send bikes to all, if not most, stations on the mainline.

      I hope it works out for you,

      Tom

  9. Leon says:

    Hi,

    You say they charge 10k for everyday you’ll pick up your bike later. Is it possible to do that on purpose and just pick it up 2 days later? Happily pay 20k for that.

    Cheers,

    Leon

  10. Sienna says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for this information! I am in the midst of planning a trip from May20-June18 going from HCMC to Hanoi. I’m wondering how this process works when you’re renting a motorbike vs having bought one. When you rent do they give you the blue card as well? If so, I’m sure it’s the same process you described above. However, if you don’t receive a blue card for your bike is it possible to send your bike on one of the freight trains with some type of identification? I saw a conversation before about the difficulty without a blue card so I’m wondering how it may be different if we choose to do one-way rentals from one of the companies you’ve suggested. I’m thinking if you can’t do it with rentals because of the blue card if it’s more incentive to buy and sell a bike. We were going to go with rental because of the 24/7 support that they offer when you rent vs. buy. We figured it’s better to be safe than sorry as it’s our first time in Vietnam. What are you thoughts?

    Thank you in advance!!

    • Sienna says:

      Also- I’m curious what your thoughts are on one other thing (and all other’s who have done this trip, I’d love to hear your thoughts too)….. If there’s any section you’d skip over what would it be? We are primarily sticking to the classic route and the easy rider.
      We are definitely going to send our bikes with us from HCMC— Phan Thiet to avoid the craziness of leaving the city (thank you for your articles! bummed to miss out on Binh chau spa) and because of time.
      The other section I’m considering skipping (if need be for time’s sake) and using the train is either Dong Hoi–Hanoi or Vinh—Hanoi. I know we’d have to go a off to the planned route in order to get to the coast for the trains. I saw some people said it might not be worth the hassle of sending a bike when the ride isn’t too long, so I figured sending it from Dong Hoi might be a more efficient option but don’t want to miss out on anything particularly stunning that’s en route I haven’t heard about. It seems that this specific northern area is the least documented on your site, so I’m not quite sure what the ride is like. We’re thinking it’d be better to ride up and spend some days cruising in Sapa. I just know some of the coastal stuff down south seems absolutely beautiful and that we can’t miss out on the western part of the HCMR. Love to hear what you think! THANK YOU

      • Hi Sienna,

        Yes, you could send your bike from Dong Hoi to Hanoi. Although that section of the ride takes 2-3 days usually, and your bike would take about 1-3 days to arrive in Hanoi if you send it by train from Dong Hoi anyway, so there’s a chance you wouldn’t save much time in the end.

        You can send your bike on the train from Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai) easily, because the bike travels on the same train as you do. However, the northern part of Vietnam is best explored on a separate trip because there’s a lot to see and the terrain is so mountainous that it can take a long time to travel around.

        I hope this helps,

        Tom

    • Hi Sienna,

      The process for sending your bike on the train works the same for rental bikes – you will be provided with the blue/green card for the bike from the rental company, so there shouldn’t be any problem with it.

      Another option that some rental companies offer is to send your bike for you to pick up somewhere (you’d have to pay extra for this, of course), which would mean, for example, that you can pick your bike up in Phan Thiet.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  11. Mathew says:

    Hey Tom! Back with another question for you. I’m trying to gauge the timeline of how long it would take to ship a motorcycle from Hanoi to Dong Hoi. Generally it seems that Hanoi to HCMC takes 4/5 days. Would it be safe to bet on a shorter timeline of a day or two?
    As always, thanks for all of the information!

    • Hi Mathew,

      Yes, probably a couple of day from Hanoi to Dong Hoi, but it depends on the time of year too – for example, during the Tet Lunar New Year period (or any other national holiday) a lot more people are using the shipping service so it will take a lot longer. Severe weather can also make journey time a lot longer.

      Tom

  12. Adam says:

    I want to buy and then transport my friend’s bike from Hanoi to Saigon (where I’m staying). How could this be done considering he would have the blue card? I suppose he could post it to me.

  13. Jérôme - Endless Travel says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for this useful article ! It was very handy when my wife and I decided to put our bicycles in the train for 300km, in order to escape the rain in Central Vietnam at the end of December.

    From Quang Ngai to Gia by SE21, our tickets for two cost VND 189 000. The bicycles transportation fee for the same distance was about VND 120 000, while packing them was more expensive : VND 150 000.

    The process was not exactly straightforward : the three freight employees at the station spent a lot of time quarreling about whether it was possible or not to transport the bicycles in the same train. After they finally agreed, we thought it was okay, but as we came back early the following day, another employee announced us that it was not possible to disembark the bicycles at Gia. More discussions lead him to finally accept the bicycles; I must point out that he was actually a pleasant and competent-looking person, unlike the 3 employees from the day before.

    The bicycles got partially wrapped in cardboard; we also saw employees nailing wooden protections for motorbikes.

    We removed all bicycles bags and took them with us on the train. There were large overhead racks where everything fitted nicely. Overall I was surprised by the level of comfort in the train, much higher than I expected ! However the overall noise level was hard to bear, as often in Vietnam; between the loud phone calls, the TV broadcasting American Ninja Warrior New Jersey (I kid you not) and the YouTube videos on mobile phones, it was a painful time for our ears, as often in Vietnam.

    Getting our bicycles back at Gia was quick and easy. I’ll add some comment on your post about this place as some changes seem to have taken place since your last visit !

    • Hi Jérôme,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, I would imagine it would be difficult to negotiate taking your bicycles on the same train, as this is not possible with motorbikes on the vast majority of rail routes. The staff would not be used to dealing with such a request so I’m sure they were a bit confused. Unfortunately, rail staff in Vietnam can sometimes be a bit gruff, but I’m glad to hear that you got it all sorted out in the end.

      Tom

  14. Jerry says:

    Dear Tom,

    I just sent my bike from Da Nang to Saigon and Meansville I fly to Bangkok to do a visa run and holiday. Do you know in how many days I have to pick up the bike from the train station?

    Or is it a better idea to send my blue card and pick up voucher to a friend in Saigon in case I won’t make it in time back to Saigon?

    Thanks in advance!

    Sincerely,
    Jerry

    • Hi Jerry,

      It usually takes between 2-5 days to arrive at the destination station.

      Sometimes, if you are late to collect the bike, they will charge you 10,000vnd per day for each day that they keep it in storage. So if you are only going to be a couple of days late then I don’t think it’s worth sending the blue card and receipt to your friend.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  15. Hai says:

    Hi Tom
    Have you ever sent your Givi box along with the bike?
    And would the Door to Door accept the box attached along with the bike?
    Thanks.

    • Hi Hai,

      Yes, I’ve sent my GIVI boxes before. Door to Door or any of the other companies can do it, but you need to take the boxes off the bike and send them in a separate bag. If you insist then they will probably let you send them attached to the bike (you still pay extra of course).

      Tom

      • kiki says:

        I shipped my winner several times on the HCM – Nha Trang train, it’s equipped with three givi boxes. They loaded the winner with the two side cases. I had removed the top case to travel with it. I also saw people loading a bile with a surf side carrier, so accessories on the side doesn’t seem to be an issue as long as they are not too bulky.

  16. Carlo Alberto Cavallo says:

    Just sent my motorbike from Hanoi to Saigon. 4 days, 650.000 dong. SuperEasy.

  17. Mark Gichrist says:

    Great website! I shipped a rented motorbike across northern India and had to pay for the bike and my passage, and also buy a ticket for the owner, who wasn’t traveling! It went on the same train as me, which was nice. Had to push it to a gas station in Calcutta because they completely drained the tank.

  18. Alysia says:

    Any advice on how difficult they might be if you don’t have a blue card? Never received one with my bike!

    • Hi Alysia,

      Probably pretty difficult – perhaps impossible. But it can’t hurt to just go down to the station and give it a try – maybe there’s some ‘extra payment’ to send the bike without the green card 🙂

      Tom

    • Ida says:

      Hey Alysia!
      In any case you read this, did you made it without the bluecard? Because I have the same problem. I will send the bike from Sa Pa to Hcmc, back to the vietnamese owner. Hope I can do that somehow.

      And Tom, thanks for this great page.

      • Hi Ida,

        You will probably need to send the bike from Sapa to Hanoi first and then again from Hanoi to HCMC.

        I think you should be able to send the bike on the first train without the blue card because the bike travels on the same train as you do, but the second train from Hanoi to HCMC might be difficult without the blue card.

        Good luck,

        Tom

        • Ida says:

          Hey Tom.
          Thanks for the answer. The Vietnamese owner will call the company, explain them the situation and we will see.
          Is it also “door to door” who is sending the bike from Sa Pa to Hanoi or can I do that direct on the train station with my normal ticket?
          Best.
          Ida

          • Hi Ida,

            No, it’s not Door to Door for the Sapa-Hanoi section. When you buy your train ticket at the Lao Cai (Sapa) station you can ask them where you put your bike on the train – it’s just next to the main ticket offices. But make sure you get there at least a few hours before your departure, or more if you’re travelling on a weekend or public holiday.

            Tom

  19. Tom says:

    Hey,
    Do you know if it’s possible to put a bike on the train from Lang Son to Hanoi? I know you can do it from Dong Dang but I’d prefer to finish up a journey in Lang Son than the border town Dong Dang. On that route there are only certain stops that they allow freight to come and on and off.
    Cheers,

    • Hi Tom,

      I’m not sure, but I would imagine it’s possible because those two stations are so close to each other. But even if it’s not, it’s only a short ride from Lang Son to Dong Dang anyway.

      I hope it works out,

      Tom

  20. Diana says:

    Hey,

    I’ve put my scooter on the train many times, but this last time there seems to be a new procedure in place (at least it was implemented in Dong Hoi where I sent the motorbike). The train now requires two copies of your passport and two copies of the front/back of the blue card. Just an FYI.

    Love your site!

    Cheers,
    Diana

    • Hi Diana,

      Thanks. Yes, that’s right, whenever I’ve sent my bike by train they’ve always required my passport and green/blue card to make copies of it. Perhaps some stations have been lax about it in the past 🙂

      Tom

  21. Al says:

    Another great write-up. I used your site extensively for my month long trip from South to North. At one point it rained and flooded quite a lot so I put the bike on a train from Hue to Dong Hoi. It was just as you wrote, as if I took the pictures myself lol. In the end though, it would have been much easier to just ride this short distance (9 hours) as the train prep and train ride and bike collection etc took much longer than simply riding not to mention the price was high.

    After the train there was a lady with large glass bottles, maybe 1.5 liters, selling fuel at the train station. Unfortunately the price for the 1.5 liters was as much as a full tank would be so I took a chance rode to a station from google maps, they didn’t get all the fuel 🙂

    I am glad I did it though, the whole experience was memorable and the train ride was … interesting 🙂

  22. Jan caruel says:

    I plan a trip in the north and would love to put my 750 Honda shadow in the train, do you have any infos about big bikes in the train?

  23. Daniel says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the tips. Your website is very helpfull. Maybe a silly quistion, but do you know anything about putting a motorbike on a sleeperbus? I’ve heard that happens some times. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Daniel,

      Yes, it is possible on some bus lines and on some routes, but I don’t have information about which ones, I’m afraid. Also, as with the trains, your motorbike may not go on the same bus as you do.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      • Daniel says:

        Thanks a lot Tom! Guess we’ll just have to wait and see, haha. Driving down south now, but we might want to skip some parts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *