Ride a bike in Cat Ba experience
Once you have experienced some of the key highlights on Cat Ba Island ,you may want to explore the island on your own. The best way to do this is to hire a motorbike from one of the many small businesses scattered around the streets.
Driving a motor bike on Cat Ba can seem daunting at first, especially if you are not used to the traffic, and it’s important to feel completely comfortable before setting out on your adventure to avoid any mishaps. Having a comprehensive list of the things you need to consider before setting out is necessary. Here are some helpful tips for you
How to get a rental bike in Cat Ba?
The first thing you need to know is that not all motorbike rental places are equal. The best way to find a good one is to ask at your hotel for advice. Staff will be able to advise you about which places are trustworthy and provide good quality bikes and many may offer a rental service themselves.
If you book your bike from your accommodation, you won’t have to give a deposit or give your passport. If not, usually, many rental places require you to hand over your passport as a deposit in case the bike gets damaged. Make sure they keep your passport in a safe place and choose a place that has a written agreement about what to do in the case of an accident or a break down. Ensure you have their number in case you get stuck and need a pickup and a Vietnamese SIM card with sufficient credit for a local call. If you don’t have Vietnamese Sim Card, you should ask the hotel’s manager his/her What’sapp number in order to support you when you have a trouble.
How to ensure that your bike is safe? How much is rental rates?
Check the bike for damage before you accept it and ensure that any damage has been recorded in writing. You should check bike lights, bike components and ask for how much petrol in your bike left. Some places have been known to charge people for pre-existing damage if they notice you didn’t check the bike before you leave. In this case it is your word against theirs and this kind of confrontation is sure to leave you with a sour taste.
Most rental bikes are automatic which is ideal especially if you are not an experienced driver on Southeast Asian roads. If you prefer a manual it is possible to find them but they are not as common. Consider first where you plan to go and the weight you will be carrying. If you want to take two people on the bike choose one that fits you both comfortably and has a powerful engine.
The standard price for a rental bike at the time of writing is around 80.000 – 100.000 VND/ 24 hours. Some bikes with a bigger engine are 120.000 VND and prices can be negotiated. Make sure you know where a petrol station is before you set out to avoid the tough situation of running out of fuel on the side of the road.
Where to fill up petrol in Cat Ba
There are 3 official petrol stations in Cat Ba. The first one is located in Cat Ba town, passing the bridge, 2 the others located on the way from Cat Ba town to Cat Ba national park. The first petrol station rate is more expensive than 2 the others one but in emergency, you should go there in order to avoid of running out of petrol situation.
Each litter of petrol costs 19.260VND ( the rate is updated on 16th/Oct/2017). The rate is shown right at the petrol station, you won’t have any difficulty to see it.
If you intend to travel around Cat Ba for couple hours, you should fill up 50.000 – 60.000 VND. It should be enough for your trip.
Places you can visit with your bike?
In Cat Ba, there are a lot of places where you will be able to visit with your bike such as: Cat Ba national park, Hospital cave, Galaxy cave, Trung Trang cave. Besides, the advantage of riding a bike is that you will be completely free and able to stop anywhere you want. What is more beautiful than seeing sunset at the highest point on the way to Gia Luan Harbour or feeling the fresh air, sight-seeing the greenery of nature.
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.
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Good luck with your amazing journey in Viet Nam!
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