Driving a motorcycle in Vietnam
Road types in Vietnam
In Vietnam, some of the roads are well maintained and busy, while others are small, single-lane roads. Here are some types of roads that connect cities.
A1 National Road (Quoc Lo A1 - QLA1): This is the main highway connecting the southern, central and northern regions. In general, this route should be avoided for traveling. However, to save time entering and leaving cities, the national road can be useful and is the fastest way to get from A to B.
National Road (Quoc lo - QL): The national roads are generally in good condition and always paved.
Highway (Cao toc - CT): Motorcycles are prohibited. The exception to the rule is the CT08 in Hanoi, where they allow motorcycles.
Country Road (Duong tinh - DT): These are usually in reasonable condition. However, some DT roads are very difficult.
Very small road (Tinh lo - TL): Normally, these roads that connect the villages are single track.
Some notes for motorcycle traffic in Vietnam
Expect to drive occasionally on medium to poor roads, as well as heavy traffic. Vietnamese drivers are a bit calmer than other Southeast Asian countries. Most trucks honk then pay attention to other bikers. If you are not sure they can see you, warn them using your horn. This applies particularly to winding mountain roads, as there are several blind corners. Make sure that the traffic in the opposite direction can hear you!
Driving in Saigon and Hanoi can seem intimidating, but the speed of traffic is low and security is generally assured. If you need to cross the traffic in the opposite direction, do it slowly and resolutely.
Be aware of the weather. In a torrential rain, a good road can quickly become slippery and dangerous. So please consider this when you decide to travel in bad weather.
Some common signs
Prohibition sign: Circle, red border
101 - Forbidden Highway
102 - Forbidden to drive in the opposite direction
104 - Motorcycles prohibited
123 - Forbidden to turn left
124a - Forbidden to turn
130 - Forbidden to stop and park
131a - Forbidden to park
Signs of danger: yellow triangle, red border
201a - Dangerous turning point
203b - Narrow road on the left
219 - Dangerous slope
221 - Bumpy road
222 - Smooth route
242 - Road where accidents often occur
Control Panel: Blue Circle
301a - Go straight
301d - Vehicles can only turn right
306 - Minimum speed
309 - Honk
Indicator: Blue rectangle
407b - One way street
405b - Impasse on the left
408 - Parking place
427 - Repair Station
433 - Tourist place
436 - Traffic police station
437 - Highway
438 - End of the highway