Three wheelers in Vietnam?


Sep 4, 2006
Hey guys, I'm a weenie. [:I] I've never driven a motorbike and I'm skeered of them. I've only been a passenger on one a few times and didn't like it.

But I'm living in Vietnam now and need a way to get around. I was thinking about a trike or a motorbike with sidecar. I would drive a motorbike if I felt secure on it, and a third wheel would make me feel more secure that I wouldn't fall over. I realize it would still be easy to die, but I'm very careful and think I could drive it safely. (although I would think twice before driving ANYTHING in those mad HCMC streets)

The thing that worries me about motorbikes is the inevitability that you will fall off. They say it happens to everyone, and I don't want it to happen to me, partly because I don't want to wear a helmet and I can't wear protective clothes in Vietnam without sweating my ass off. I wear shorts all the time in SEA.

I've read about the shortcomings of all three wheel vehicles. I realize you have to learn to drive them, that it's very different than a bike. I'm willing to learn. And I intend to drive slowly at all times.

Now, the only trikes I've seen in Sai Gon are basic Honda Dreams with two wheels, rather narrowly set, in the back. These are easy and cheap to get someone to make, I think. Oh, and I also saw a red Honda Gyro X scooter trike parked in the street once. But they stopped making those over 20 years ago. I think you cannot buy a trike here, you have to have one converted. And forget about importing anything, with the stratospheric import taxes here.

I was thinking I'd rather make a trike out of a scooter, because it might have a lower center of gravity due to its lower wheels, which might help stability, and also the smaller wheels would make it less noticeable to people that I'm driving a trike. I realize driving a trike in Vietnam, that everyone will think I'm either a cripple, or a total weenie.

A scooter, if I'm not mistaken, also doesn't require shifting, is more like an automatic transmission, and I'd prefer that, as I've never driven anything but auto transmission cars.

I think i would actually prefer a sidecar if they're not too expensive. I read on the net that Mr. Cuong, the Minsk expert in Hanoi, sells Urals with sidecars, for $5000. Heck, even with the very high import duties in Vietnam, you can buy a used car for that price. Is anyone aware of someplace in Vietnam where I can get a bike with sidecar that's less expensive, but high quality and well engineered (I realize that's critical)?

Thanks for your thoughts. [:)]


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Sounds to me as if you are extremely intimated by the whole traffic scene, but can't afford a car.
Best bet might be a 3-wheeled Honda Dream modified for a "handicapped" rider, if they have them in Vietnam.
Otherwise give up dreaming / worrying about it & have a go on a two-wheeled Honda Dream in a quiet car park somewhere. Then make a decision to do something - yes or no.

Keep The Power On
Mar 15, 2003

Hey guys, I'm a weenie.

The understatement of the year........

If you are serious (and I doubt it), maybe we can send you Julian's email address and he can sell you his trike....Looks formidable enough for Vietnam traffic and you won't fall off.


Dave Early

Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?


Sep 4, 2006
I am serious about this. I've seen the Honda Dreams modified for handicapped. They look like this:

The wheels are probably too narrow to provide a lot of stability, I guess that's a compromise to make them more compact and easy to park.

And they look too conspicuous. I mean, you know immediately that it's a trike. I think if you use a scooter with small wheels, maybe it's not so obvious to casual onlookers.

And what if you modified a Vespa to have three wheels? With that wide Vespa rear end, people might not even notice that it's a trike.

I was also thinking about doing a scooter with two front wheels instead of rear. Some say that's more stable on turns.

I could afford a car, but don't want to buy one in Vietnam, where cars cost 2 to 3 times the price they do in the US or Japan. Also, owning a car opens up a lot of other complications with liability, cops thinking you're an easy mark, and other issues.

Also, I'd rather get better gas mileage than a car can give. I'm one of those people who think it's nuts that people have to carry a ton of steel around with them just to go someplace. I'd ride a bicycle if it were possible to carry a chick on it, but of course you can't do that comfortably.

The good thing about sidecars is, as someone on some forum said, people (and chicks) dig them, whereas people don't dig trikes, they think they're for cripples, not realizing that they are also for people who don't want to BECOME cripples.

But I heard sidecars require a lot more effort to steer.

When I lived in Thailand it was easier to get around, because there were cheap options like songtaews. In Vietnam the public transport is pretty inadequate. I mean, the buses in Saigon don't even run at night, which is outrageous, and forces people to have their own transportation.


Sep 4, 2006
Okay, I tried to attach a picture I took of a Saigon Honda Dream trike conversion, but it didn't work. This forum software only lets you post pictures that are on the web?