Hitchhiking Vietnam is quite easy. Just follow my hitchhike tips and I am sure you’ll have a good time. Also check my Vietnam hitchhike experiences.
My Hitchhike tips for Vietnam
Are you planning to go hitchhiking in Vietnam? Good choice! You’ll have a good time. It’s one of the best ways to get in touch with the local people.
I hitchhiked from the North of Vietnam all the way to the South. Basically I went from China, through Vietnam to Cambodia. In my opinion hitchhiking Vietnam is quite easy. But it’s slow.
How to hitchhike in Vietnam?
The best hitchhiking top for Vietnam is; use a sign. The sign should say: Xin đi nhờ. This means: please give me a ride.
In Vietnam the concept of hitchhiking is not so well known. People don’t understand what you are doing. That’s why the hitchhiking sign helps a lot. It directly explains what you want.
Ask if it’s for free
Other hitchhikers told me you have to ask if it’s for free as well. In my opinion this is not needed if you use the sign. Maybe I’ve been lucky but they didn’t ask me for money at all. In fact they gave me money.
To be sure, you can ask if it is for free: miễn phí? Which means: for free? This way you’ll avoid awkward situations when you want to get out off the car.
Motor helmet for hitchhiking in Vietnam
During my first days in Vietnam I bought a helmet. I saw this as a hitchhike investment. They sell them almost everywhere, and the cheap one I bought was only $4. It might be better to spend a bit more for safety reasons tho. My helmet was shit.
But the helmet helped a lot. Vietnam is full of motorbikes. Most Vietnamese are happy to take you on your motorbike. Yes, with backpack. Even sometimes with three or four persons. The best local experience.
Backpack on the motorbike
Isn’t is uncomfortable with a backpack on the motorbike? Well, it’s surprisingly easy. Almost all motorbike seats are slightly going up to the end. So you can easily rest the bottom of your backpack on the seat (while you wear it). If the backpack doesn’t rest on the seat, than you should loosen your straps so it can rest on the seat.
Hitchhiking motorcycles is easy. But I wouldn’t recommend it for the longer distance. I many cases I kindly refused their offer, as I just wanted to go long distances. Motorcycles are perfect for short distance rides inside or outside the city.
Two kilometer sign for motorcycles
To get a ride on the motorcycles it can be good to have a ‘2KM’ sign. I attached this to my bigger Vietnamese sign. I used tape so I could fold it backwards, behind the other sign. Than nobody could see it. Once I needed a shorter right I would fold it out and motorcycles could see I only want to go 2 kilometer.
Believe me, the 2 kilometer sign helps a lot to get in and out of cities. In Vietnam you can hitch motorcycles everywhere. Even inside the cities.
Good infrastructure for hitchhiking
Vietnam is a longstretched country. From North to South there is one big main road. It’s called a highway, but different than highways in Europe or America. The top speed on the highway is often around 60 km/h. Moreover there are a lot of traffic lights.
Anyways, the highway from North to South is easy to hitch. There are many trucks which are willing to take you. I often ended up in a truck for the whole day. A lot of trucks drive from Hanoi in the North, to Ho Chi Minh in the South.
In rural areas the traffic can be less. That’s why waiting times will be longer. But I never waited longer than 25 minutes. There was always a truck.
On the other side of the story; the traffic is very slow. Hitchhiking more than 300 kilometer in the daylight isn’t easy.
Apart from all above mentioned hitchhike tips. I always recommend to read my general hitchhike tips. For example it’s advised to use an off line map like MAPS.ME. You can find my general hitchhiking tips here.
My hitchhike experiences in Vietnam
So how was my time in Vietnam? How did I like the hitchhiking in Vietnam? Well, my experience with hitchhiking in Vietnam is great.
The people are very friendly. They are always willing to help. Waiting times were super short, often just 5 minutes. And the infrastructure is easy.
Hospitality in Vietnam
The Vietnamese are in general very kind (outside of the touristy areas). In my opinion hitchhiking is a great way to get in touch with the local people.
I was invited for lunch with driver very often. Almost every day, sometimes several times a day. In my opinion it’s polite to offer to pay for the dinner. Most of my driver refused that offer, only once I paid.
Apart from lunch or dinner, they often gave me coffee. The coffee culture in Vietnam is nice. They love coffee. Almost everyday they gave me an ice coffee. Good times. Also for coffee I would say it’s nice if you offer to pay.
Holding a chicken on the motorcycle
One day a guy took me to the Vietnamese highlands. In the Vietnamese highlands still live tribes with their own languages and clothing.
First he took me to the coffee plantations of his parents. After that we went to his family house.
One particular part of the day I’ll never forget:
“Can you pick a chicken for dinner?” is what the son of the family asked me. After a bit of hesitating I picked one.
A few minutes later I sat on the motorbike with that particular chicken in my hand. It was still alive. Poor chicken. The son brought me back to the house of his family.
Half an hour later I saw how the chicken was killed by the father of the family. Two hours later I ate it with this Vietnamese family.
My plan was to hitchhike to another town today, but when the son proposed to show his hometown in the Highlands of Vietnam, I decided to change my plans. I sat 7 hours on the back of his motorbike, but it was worth it! Thanks Tung!
Are you curious which part in Vietnam I’ve hitchhiked. In general it’s from North to South in one month. But for a detailed map, with all my stops you can check this page. Make sure to zoom in on Vietnam.
How to find cheap accomodation in Vietnam
When hitchhiking you would probably like to find cheap accomodation for the night. So how to find cheap accomodation in Vietnam. Well that’s easy.
The hostels in Vietnam are generally very cheap. A lot of them offer a basic breakfast included in the price.
I just use booking.com to find the cheap hostels. Search for the place you want to stay, sort on price. And pick a hostel with a rating above 8.5.