Vietnam Road Trip

Vietnam Road Trip

The scenic country of Vietnam is very enticing for any road trip. There are mountains, rich deltas, vibrant cities and amazing World Heritages to uncover. 
This article guides you further about Vietnam Road Trip planning and some of the best routes you should take

vietnam driving
Photographer: Rod Waddington

Driving in Vietnam

Vietnam is more and more open for foreigners to enjoy road tripping including motorbikes and cars. Before you go, you should notice the following guidance:

Can I use my driving license in Vietnam?

Yes, you can. Basically, you may not be able to use your original driving license which is recognized as an International Driving License. What you need to do is to convert your license to the Vietnamese version. It is not difficult. 
All you need is to have the help of a Vietnam tour operator to send your license to the authority then they will translate it into Vietnamese for a permanent license which is valuable for your trip only. 

How easy to navigate?

Most Vietnamese roads have clear Signals. Additionally, the internet is available mostly everywhere now in Vietnam so using GPS is easy to navigate too. 
If you expect 4x4 off-road driving, it is advisable to contact a travel agency or take part in a private Vietnam Tour

Best time to go

For a trip that hits the main roads only, you can do it year-round. However, to enjoy the best of Vietnam, we recommend you start your trip from October through May.
Exception: if you fancy the ultimate landscapes of north Vietnam, summer is the best time. It is the period to behold the rice terraces, waterfalls, and green plantations. 

Can I bring my own Vehicle?

Yes. A caravan tour is accepted in Vietnam. The documents involving your driving and your vehicle will be pretty much more complicated. In case you want to drive through Vietnam, passing Laos, or Cambodia then the best option is to contact a travel agency. 

Top 5 Vietnam Road Trips According to Local Experts

These trips depict the essence of each Vietnam region, while other showcases the diversity of the country and even combine the neighboring countries into an itinerary: 

ha giang view
Photo: Bruno

Striking North Vietnam 

Duration: 6 days
Route: Hanoi - Ba Be Lake - Cao Bang - Ha Giang

A feast of eyes kicks off here. The adventure encompasses the picturesque sites in the less-visited areas of north Vietnam including cascading Ban Gioc Waterfall, the largest inland lake of Babe, and the national pride highland of Ha Giang. This rural paradise also offers chances to encounter the friendly hill tribes, and exploring their unique markets. 


The Northwest Wilderness

Duration: 8 days
Route: Hanoi - Mai Chau - Dien Bien - Sapa 

Treat yourself to a very different Vietnam experience by spending this 8-day traversing the untouched North West. From photogenic Mai Chau valley to the unparalleled road along the Black River, from the rice plantation of Sapa to its highest peak of Indochina, there is so much fun on every road you`ll pass. 

seaside road
Photo: KrisztianTabori

Road of " Easy Riders"

Duration: 8 days
Route: Hoi An - Kon Tum - Dalat - Mui Ne - Ho Chi Minh city

This trip is perfect for those who want to do a road trip slowly but very enjoyable. After escaping from the busy city, you`ll head to the serene mountain of the legendary Ho Chi Minh road, passing the many sleepy towns and then seeing various hill tribe villages. A guided tour on this route will help you understand more about coffee, and pepper plantations than making you stop by the elephant land of Lac Lake. From here, you`ll hit the road to the romantic hill station of Dalat then descend to Mui Ne for a taste of the Sea. 

phong nha road

Ho Chi Minh Trail Road Trip

Duration: 12 days
Route: Hanoi - Hoa Binh - Quang Binh - Hue - Da Nang - Pleiku - Gia Lai - Da Lat - Ho Chi Minh

When it comes to the idea of the ultimate Vietnam road experience, many people will think about the Ho Chi Minh trail. It is not only because it is the most captivating road but it has a very wealthy history relating to the Vietnam - American war. Nowadays, the Ho Chi Minh trail welcomes visitors with numerous cultural sites as well as stunning national parks. 
On the way, there comes Phong Nha park with the world`s largest cave - the Son Doong, the Vietnamese paradise beach in Da Nang, tempting mountains of Dalat which shows many French architectural heritages. 

cambodia temple
Photo: Oz Goren

South Vietnam and Cambodia Encounter

Duration: 9 days
Route: Ho Chi Minh - Can Tho - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

Listed in our best Asia Road Trips, this tour invites you to see the contrast between Vietnam and Cambodia in style. From the very first touch, Ho Chi Minh city impresses you with a dedicated sense of Asia through its busy streets, full of motorbikes. You will then unearth the treasure of the Mekong Delta where the floating market and vast fruit plantation coexist. The journey continues with a new atmosphere in Phnom Penh. 
The last stop of the trip - Siem Reap is a fairy tale land that allows you to travel back to the past. The visit to the majestic Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom will stick in your memory. 


Vietnam Road Trip Frequently asked questions 

These are the questions we often receive when people planning their road trip to Vietnam

Can I drive in Vietnam using my international driving license?

To drive in Vietnam, you need to convert your international driving license to a Vietnamese one. This converted license does not last for a life time, only a certain time registered. For example, if you plan to drive a car for 15 days in June, it is valid for only 15 days and you must join an organized caravan tour. 

What is the most popular vehicle for a road trip in Vietnam ? 

In general, motorbikes are probably the most popular way to explore Vietnam`roads. It is easy to snake through busy cities as well as sinuous mountain roads. 
You can drive cars too. It is more complicated and basically, it is better to arrange a caravan tour with a local tour operator in this case. 

Is it safe to drive in Vietnam ?

It takes a little time, in the beginning, to adapt to the traffic in Vietnam. Many people said Vietnam has chaotic traffic conditions but if you learn how to drive the local way, it could work. 

How much does it cost for a road trip in Vietnam?

Vietnam is fast developing in terms of tourism and travel service. You`ll find all ranges of travel costs for a road trip from $5 per day for a motorbike rental to $200/per day for a luxury car with a driver. 
It depends on your adventure type and budget, you`ll surely find something for you here. 

What should I prepare for a road trip to Vietnam?

First of all, you should bring your passport, visa and driving license. Make sure all these documents have good validity at least more than the time you take the trip. 
For the Vietnam caravan tour, prepare all the contracts which indicate your travel roads, duration, and even accommodation arrangement. 

Can I rent a car to drive in Vietnam?

In general, the answer is no but you`ll find many car rental service with a driver. 

Need more inspiration about road-tripping in Asia, see also our article for Myanmar Road Trip which provides useful information!


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