How to ride a bike safely in Cat Ba?
Always, always, wear a helmet and check the ones you are given are safe and the clips work. Vietnamese people tend to be very relaxed when it comes to wearing helmets, however accidents do happen, and it’s not worth the risk or the fine if you get caught by a traffic policeman.
The roads are probably your biggest enemy here. The island is quite hilly and in some places there are un-sealed roads with giant pot-holes. These can pop up quite unexpectedly and can be deadly so always watch where you are going, wear a helmet and go slowly. In Vietnam you must cycle and ride on the right-hand side. When riding in traffic it is customary to give a friendly honk of your horn or ring of your bell when approaching traffic or pedestrians from behind. This lets other drivers know where you are and is an essential part of traffic culture in Vietnam.
There are also a lot of unexpected obstacles which could include anything from small children, to dogs, to giant potholes, farm animals and other, often very overloaded, motorbikes. The advice is that you should drive carefully, use your indicators even if it seems like no one else is and, and remember, the faster you go the bigger the mess!
Of course the most important piece of advice is to have fun! The scenery in Cat Ba will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The awe-inspiring mountains and infinite shades of green will take your breath away and the feeling of freedom and independence you get from having your own motorbike is simply priceless.