ROUTE MAP: Two Month Motorbike Road Trip

Introduction | Map | Related Content

First published June 2015 | Words and map by Vietnam Coracle

During the autumn of 2014, I spent two months riding through Vietnam on my motorbike, Stavros. I travelled over 9,000km: from Saigon and the southern beaches to Hanoi and the northern mountains and back again. This annotated map of my road trip is designed so that other riders may use it as a reference: Yellow Stars contain links to relevant Vietnam Coracle guides for specific regions; Red Pins show my overnight stops; Blue Lines mark my exact route. All markers are illustrated with photos. For more about my two month road trip see related content.

Map Key:

  • Yellow Stars: Links to relevant Vietnam Coracle guides
  • Red Pins: Overnight stops
  • Blue Lines: My route by motorbike

[Unfamiliar with Google Maps? Click the white square tab in the top left corner to display a full list of pins; click a pin to display the pin info, image, and links; zoom controls are in the bottom right corner; click here to view this map in a larger size]


View in a LARGER MAP

Read more about my Two Month Road Trip:

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

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23 Responses to ROUTE MAP: Two Month Motorbike Road Trip

  1. Pingback: My Motorbike, Stavros » Vietnam Coracle

  2. Kai says:

    Hi Tom

    Which would you recommend.
    Going from Kon Tum to Nha Trang via Buon Ma Thuot through the central highlands..
    Or going from Kon Tum to Nha Trang via Quy Nhon stopping via the sandbar and Vung Ro bay? Would this mean a lot of travelling on highway 1 though.. Bit worried about the highway 1 from what everyone says sounds pretty hazardous.

    Cheers, Kai

  3. ian blyde says:

    Hi Tom,
    great site. Question, what do you know about riding the Ho Chi Minh trail & why you did not ride it?
    Which mouth you think is best to ride, me thinking April [or Nov 2016] as getting a bike in Hanoi to ride down south [Ho Chi Minh city] & back poping into Cambodia/laos plus north Hanoi
    open to your suggestions
    thanks Ian
    NZ

    • Hi Ian,

      The Ho Chi Minh TRAIL is actually mostly in Laos. However, the Ho Chi Minh ROAD is in Vietnam and I have written a guide to the best section of it here.

      April is a pretty good month to do it, because the weather is pretty good across the country. November’s not bad either, as long as you start from the north, because by the end of November things start getting quite cold and grey in the north. Take a look at my weather guide here.

      Tom

  4. Terry says:

    My trip is only weeks away now! I’m wondering about a couple more things I hope you can help me with.
    -Did you carry tools to change a flat tire, and fix other problems? But even if I bought the tools, I don’t know how to use them, so I’m hoping to just push the bike to a mechanic if something goes wrong.
    -What about oiling the chain?
    -How often did you change the oil?
    -A place to buy waterproof bags for my packs?
    I think that’s about all I’m worried about. I can’t wait to hit the road!

    • Hi Terry,

      It’s not a bad idea to take a basic tool kit with you, but in reality you’re never far from a mechanic in Vietnam. If anything goes wrong just remember the word ‘sửa xe’ which means mechanic. Even if you break down in the middle of nowhere, just knock on the nearest house or hut and chances are somebody will be able to help you.

      The best thing to do is make sure your bike is in good condition when you get it (if you are renting then this shouldn’t be a problem; if you are buying then take it to a mechanic to check first).

      In general people tell me to change the oil every 1,500-2000km.

      Have a great trip,

      Tom

  5. Neil Youngman says:

    Hi Tom. I’m wondering if you can help me please. I’m in Ho Chi Minh City right now and just purchased a motorbike. I plan on travelling up to Hanoi. With a 3 month visa, I have no time scale so was wondering if you have a route that’ll take me from south to North, following the coast road, staying over night in nice places/towns and experiencing the great roads and views that Vietnam has to offer. I have looked at your detailed map that you’ve put up but seems like it leads away from the coast. Any advice, tips and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Neil

    • Hi Neil,

      With three months, a bike, and at this time of year, you should be able to have a great time driving along the coast south to north.

      Look closely at the map – you can open it in a separate window here. Zoom in on the coast and you’ll see that one of my routes runs along the coast from Saigon all the way up to Ha Tinh in north-central Vietnam.

      Follow my coastal route and you will have a blast! The vast majority of these roads are quiet, rural, coastal back-roads. Sure, you might have trouble finding some of them – but zoom in close, keep your Google Maps app open, ask locals, and trust me it’s worth staying on these roads rather than Highway 1.

      In particular, click on the yellow stars on the coast on this map: they are links to detailed guides to coastal routes that I have written. Don’t miss the Mui Dinh Promontory Coast Road, Nui Chua Coast Road and Vung Ro Bay in particular. You should find all the info you need to made the road trip you’re suggesting.

      After Hue, it’s much better to go inland and follow the Western Ho Chi Minh Road through some unbelievable scenery and then up to Hanoi. Otherwise, if you stay on the coast, you will find yourself increasingly on Highway 1, as it gets busier and more polluted the closer you get to the capital.

      I hope this helps you plan your trip,

      Tom

  6. Oh, something I wrestling with is weather to get a tent or not. For a trip like this into remote places, is a tent needed, or can guesthouses always be found? Thanks again for all the info!

    • Hi Terry,
      A tent is not necessary, but it’s fun :-) Even in the remotest parts of the country you can find local guesthouses. If you haven’t already, then take a look at my post of guesthouses here. One area that’s may be an exception to this rule is the Western Ho Chi Minh Road between Khe Sanh and Phong Nha – read more about that in Day 4 of this guide.
      Have a great trip.
      Tom

  7. Thank, this is great! I hope to do something similar.

  8. Ed Cobb says:

    Awesome post Tom! You’re good man for sharing the info you do. I did a guided 9 day motorbike tour up north with a mate last April. I’m now psyched up to have a crack at a bigger trip on my own. This info will come in very handy. Thanks, Ed.

  9. Gene says:

    thats a badass little route.
    i recently returned from a mere 1,700km, 10-day trip in the north

    • Thanks, Gene.
      Well, I did have two months so there was plenty of time to cover the distance :-)
      Tom

    • Lindsey Easterling says:

      What route did you take Gene? My husband and I leave in 20 days and we are going from Saigon to Hanoi. We are not sure if we want to take the “Ocean Road” or the Mountains to Da Lat our first couple of days. Any tips!?

      Lindsey

      • Hi Lindsey,

        I don’t know what route Gene took, but I would definitely recommend taking the Ocean Road to Phan Thiet/Mui Ne and then taking the much quieter mountain roads from either Phan Thiet or Mui Ne up to Dalat. If you go straight to Dalat from Saigon then you will go on Highway 20 which is OK but not as nice as what I’ve just suggested. The route I’m talking about is on the Southeast Loop – for my map and guide see this.

        Tom

  10. Jim Ellis says:

    I enjoy reading these. Months ago I asked if you had been through Vung Ro Bay where my unit, IUWG 1 unit 5 was at. We lost good friends there and set up a marble memorial. You mentioned if you got by there you would try and locate it. We heard different stories that it was destroyed. I see this route took you through there. Any luck. It was locate above a point we called charlie beach. There is a village along the shoreline there now. The south end of the village starts at Charlie beach. The memorial would have been between the village and the pipeline upon the finger point pointing east.

    Thanks.
    Jim Ellis

    • Hi Jim,

      Yes, I did keep a look out, but didn’t see anything, except a recently erected memorial by the Vietnamese government.

      But I didn’t have the details you mention above. Are you Google Maps literate?? Zoom in on Vung Ro Bay in the satellite map mode. I think I can see the point you’re talking about. See if you can find the approximate spot on the map, then next time I go there I can have a better look.

      Tom

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