Motorbike tours in Hoi An - review by Rusty Compass
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Motorbike tours in Hoi An

| 18 Oct 2017
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Motorbike tours in Hoi An
Our rating
18 Oct 2017

Travellers to Hoi An who want to get out into the countryside on a motorbike can take a tour, jump on an Easy Rider motorcycle taxi, or, if you can stomach the risk, rent a bike and ride yourself. This is our little guide to motorcycle touring in and around the historic World Heritage town.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Motorbike tours in Hoi An

Xe om drivers and Easy Rider tours

As you wander the streets of Hoi An, you’ll likely be approached by local xe om (motorcycle taxi) drivers selling tours of the surrounding countryside.

Some of these guys are very good. Some less so. If you find someone you think you like, maybe take him (they're all men as far as we can see) on a short excursion for an hour or two before doing any grand expeditions to My Son or the mountains.

You want to get the right guy - in terms of safety and character. You’ll probably spend a lot of time with him.

 

Easy Rider motorcycle touring - Hoi An
Photo: Mark Bowyer Easy Rider motorcycle touring - Hoi An
 
 
Easy Rider motorcycle touring - Hoi An
Photo: Mark Bowyer Easy Rider motorcycle touring - Hoi An



If you get a good one, you’ll have a great experience.

Local motorcycle taxis often use the “Easy Riders” brand. It doesn’t really mean anything. There is no “Easy Riders” company - or one we’ve heard of. It’s a loose category of xe om drivers who take tourists on motorbike journeys ranging from a half day, to longer expeditions through the country.

They usually ride bigger bikes with an elevated passenger seat with back support. The visibility is good and they’re quite comfortable for a few hours riding at least - check first.

Helmets are invariably dodgy. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time with “Easy Riders”, buy a decent helmet - Saigon or Hanoi are best. Standard xe om helmets will likely do more damage in an accident than no helmet at all.

I’ve also found that these guys often don’t have a good understanding of what you might be looking for when travelling. Don’t hesitate to tell them to stop because you want to walk in a rice field or a village that to them holds little interest.

Some travellers do very extensive journeys with these guys. I’ve heard of trips as long as 2 weeks. I’ve spent plenty of full days with them and have mostly been very happy.

 

Vespa Adventures - Hoi An

The people behind successful Vespa adventures in Saigon, Hanoi, Hue and Cambodia also offer tours in Hoi An. We took a half-day countryside tour. It was well done.

We covered more territory than you could expect to as a casual cyclist. The guide was excellent and the stops were interesting. And of course you’re travelling on a real Vespa.

Most of the riders were just that - riders. They didn't speak English. You’ll get good commentary from your guide though.

My only disappointment with this tour was the timing. It operates in the heat of the morning in the harshest light (8AM - 1PM). Those times tend to suit tourist schedules but they’re not great in terms of light or for local activity.

 

Motorbike tours, Hoi An - Vespa Adventures
Photo: Mark Bowyer Motorbike tours, Hoi An - Vespa Adventures
 
 
Motorbike tours, Hoi An - Vespa Adventures
Photo: Mark Bowyer Motorbike tours, Hoi An - Vespa Adventures



Vespa Adventures offer customised tours as well. We reckon you’re better off either starting very early - around 6AM, or in the afternoon around 1PM. You’ll need to pay more - but a customised tour will also give you more flexibility. And everything looks and feels better in the morning and afternoon - especially in summer.

You can check out Vespa Adventures tours on their website here.

If you’re feeling energetic, you might want to consider cycling as well. You can check our cycling recommendations here.


Hoi An Motorbike Adventures

These guys may be the original Hoi An motorbike tour company and they sell themselves as more edgy and adventurous. They offer dirt bikes, old Minks or scooters depending on the tour and skill of the rider.

In addition to local tours around Hoi An, they offer some long tours that travel north as far as the DMZ and Phong Nha Caves.

They also offer self-riding for licensed motorcyclists.

As per our Vespa tour advice above, we reckon you’re always better off out and about in the early morning or late afternoon. This may require that you customise a tour at additional cost.

You can checkout Hoi An Motorbike Adventures website here.

 

Should you ride a motorbike in Hoi An?

We’ve heard so many disastrous stories of motorcycle death and injury over the years, all across Vietnam, that we reckon unless you’re experienced on a motorbike, don’t ride. Vietnam isn’t a good place to learn.

There’s also the issue of insurance. Unless you have a motorbike license at home, chances are your insurance won’t cover you if you’re riding a motorbike in Vietnam.

In addition to tales of injury and death, we’ve also heard too many appalling stories of families hit with horrendous medical and evacuation expenses because of a voided insurance policy and a victim unable or physically incapable of paying their medical expenses.

It’s all stuff worth keeping in mind.



Disclosure
Rusty Compass recommendations are always independent. We list the things we think you should know about. That’s it. We have travelled with lots of xe om and Easy Riders and always paid our way. We paid half price for our Vespa Adventures tour. We’ve not travelled with Hoi An Motorbike Adventures.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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