Bikes are a great way to get around Vietnam, particularly when you get off the main highways. In the countryside, Westerners on bicycles are often greeted enthusiastically by locals who don’t see many foreigners pedalling around.
Long-distance cycling is popular in Vietnam. Much of the country is flat or only moderately hilly, and the major roads are in good shape. Safety, however, is a considerable concern. Bicycles can be transported around the country on the top of buses (usually US$1 to US$2 for a short trip) or even in train baggage compartments if you run out of puff.
Decent bikes can be bought at a few speciality shops in Hanoi and HCMC, but it’s better to bring your own if you plan to cycle long distances. Basic cycling safety equipment and authentic spare parts are also in short supply. A bell or horn is mandatory – the louder the better.
Hotels and some travel agencies rent bicycles for US$1 to US$3 per day, better-quality models cost from US$6. Cycling is the perfect way to explore smaller cities such as Hoi An, Hue or Nha Trang (unless it’s the rainy season!). There are innumerable bicycle repair stands along the side of the road to get punctures and the like fixed.