As part of John’s of Romford’s guest blog series we spoke to one of our customers Dave Pinto. He is a regular Moto Gymkhana rider and travels the globe taking parts in competitions all over the World. He was recently crazy enough to ride a Honda in Vietnam. Here’s what he had to say.
I’ve been to Vietnam twice now and I’m going to get straight to the point. When riding in Asia know where your horn is! Seriously, this one piece of advice will be the best advice I can give you!!
I picked up my Honda Wave 125 from a reputable hire company called Flamingo Travel down in the tourist town. You can leave a cash deposit or your passport – don’t worry it’s a very secure business and nowhere near as shady as other bits of Vietnam.
Basically, this is the place to go to really soak up the true ‘Top Gear’ experience (or should that be Grand Tour now?). I thought all the training with my Moto Gymkhana friends would be invaluable and I’d be able to throw my bike about like I usually do. Sadly this wasn’t true. My true best friend was my left thumb and more importantly my horn! It means a lot in Asia. You use it to tell people you are there, where you’re going and where you are going to be – all at speeds of roughly 10 mph.
The city streets are so full of other moped riders that are trying to steal your little bit of road space that you must tell them where you are going with a little ‘beep beep’. I found the best way to learn my way around Saigon was at night when the roads are at their quietest, which is at night or Midday. Any other time from 6am and the streets are so jam packed it’s impossible to learn anything and you’ll end up just getting lost as you go with the flow and not where you want to go.
One thing that might entice you to try it though is that petrol is so ridiculously cheap. You’ll be paying 40,000VND to fill your tank on a Wave which is about $2USD or about £1.60 which is unbelievably cheap. From what I could see there were no such things as MOTs or maintenance laws out there so visually check anything you rent.
It’s actually nice after a while and you get used to travelling about by moped quite quickly. They even have things called Moped Grab Taxis to take you anywhere in the city for about 40,000VND. Rental costs are just as insanely cheap – I rented my scooter for about 180,520VND (£6.50 or $8USD) for the whole week.
Generally, there are some nice Police about, but at certain times of the day they pull people over for roadside checks and usually keeping 200,000VND in your pocket strangely means you have no further problems… if you catch my drift.
Still not convinced? Don’t worry, you can be a total novice or a really experienced rider and be perfectly fine out there – once you workout where the horn is, aren’t afraid of the
swarms of mopeds and love bikes then it is a great place to visit. If not for the experience alone!