New rules re: Vietnam?

Dec 18, 2003
I've read online recently that as of Dec 16 authorities in Vietnam are supposed to be more rigidly enforcing laws requiring foreigners to obtain a Vietnamese drivers licence in order to rent motorbikes. I was planning to do some riding there in February, but now I'm starting to wonder if it's in the cards. Can anyone who's been there recently tell me if this is going to be a valid concern, or will it just be business as usual? Thanks in advance for any help.


Dec 23, 2004
They have been enforcing the rules ever since some pol in Ha Noi rambled on about road safety.

You can get insurance; and you can get a VN driving licence. Inquire at the nearest traffic police station for the correct office to get it from.

It is easier to get it in HCMC/Da Nang or Ha Noi as these larger cities are more sophisticated than small towns.
>> a copy of your overseas driving licence showing which types of vehicles you are permitted to drive
>> a translation of the above
>> a copy of the identifcation page of your passport, and translation.

Get the translation stamped at your consulate or embassy (good luck) and then you will get a licence that is good for the length of your visa. If you are thinking of getting visa extensions you should obviously do it before getting the licence.

I drive a SUV here and the routine is (if you have a crash) (1) The richest is guilty; (2) Notwithstanding [1] Foreigners are ALWAYS guilty; (3) Do the settlement BEFORE the police arrive as the settlement will be the same + bribe money for the attending cop.

You should always carry copies of your docs - give these to the cops unless they demand originals. Penalties are signified by holes punched in the VN licence.

Travelling overnight guarantees (1) You will be stopped; (2) You will be touched for bribe money - especially at the end of the month - when cop bills come in.

Vinh ALWAYS has a cop standing at the main intersection on Highway 1 - who demands USD$5 from buses, trucks and Foreigners (unless you use the side streets).

You will get stopped travelling at night ANYWHERE in the Central Highlands (Buon Me Thuot - Plei Ku - Kon Tum) as this is when the drug smugglers and the hardwood smugglers are doing their work. There is a lot of VN Army up here, too, so stick to the roads.

At night be very careful as the camber on the roads is often WRONG which can cause you to leave the road and VN truck/lorry drivers have a bad habit of following the white line - so that it goes under the drivers position.

It's OK - until the meet someone going the other way doing the same thing and where the two trucks crash it looks as if the cabs were made to be interlocking with only the drivers seat being squashed to the back of the cab.



Jan 3, 2004
inquiries to getting into vn recently and this was a recent scenario from a buddy of mine:
I have buddies that entered from highway 8 out of laos into vietnam. other xings turned them away. another buddy of mine just recently tried to get in via cambodia highway 2 south of pnh but once in and about a clik into vn, charlie told him he couldnt have his bike in the country and told him he would have to leave it. they wouldnt even take a bribe. so he came back and then got in near chau doc. take highway one from pnh to the neak luong ferry. dont cross the mekong but rather travel south along the mekong to the border. he got in a couple of days later. only had his bike registration from cambodia. hope it helps and good luck.