Motorbike Rental in Hue: Hoang’s Motorbike Shop

Vietnam still lacks efficient public-transport systems that benefit tourists looking for full access to the country. Walking can only provide you so much depth to a city. Large volumes of traffic and the humidity can make cycling exhausting. Hailing Taxis are a bingo of driver irresponsibility; Will they take you to the right place? Could they overcharge you? Will they drive safely? (NB: I’ve rarely experienced any problems with drivers but it’s not uncommon to hear tourists talking about taxi scams). Grab seems marginally better with it’s cheaper rates and destination input but none of these services give you full autonomy in Vietnam like a motorbike does.

Is Driving a Motorbike in Vietnam Legal?

The short answer is; if you don’t have a local driving license, you’re not driving legally. Information on tourists driving motorbikes appears conflicted and ever-changing. There are ways for foreign residents to obtain local driving licenses in Vietnam but none of the procedures are simple and will take up a sizable chunk of your holiday time. Furthermore, very few insurance companies will cover you driving in Vietnam without a license. It’s best to fully understand the implications if something does go wrong when deciding whether to rent a motorbike.

It’s also worth considering that accident rates in Vietnam are high. A horrifying statistic than I recently read was that there is one death per hour on roads in Vietnam on average. Motorbike rental is increasingly popular for people travelling Vietnam and those that have done it will mostly tell they wouldn’t have travelled any other way. Nevertheless, be warned that it does come with risk. Be sure to know your motorbike, drive slow, understand how roads work here and always drive with caution. And wear a helmet!

danang bike trip hue grit tour
Beach road that runs along north Danang

Why the Motorbike is Best in Hue

  • While Hue is really small, places of interest are spread throughout the city. If you’re planning on walking around Hue, you may find you’re limited to the tourist trail of the Citadel and the backpacker’s area.
  • Motorbikes and bicycles are the only forms of transport available for anyone with a thirst for autonomy. Once you’re riding around, the city is your…clam. Everywhere is accessible at a fraction of the cost of a taxi or private car hire.
  • Motorbikes have two seats! Share a bike with another traveller, take a partner or even pick up a hitchhiker. Freedom on where you travel. Freedom on who you’re with.
  • The roads in Hue are particularly poor compared to other cities throughout Vietnam. Firstly, the age of the city means that roads don’t cope well with heavy traffic. Secondly, a large amount of recent construction on the water infrastructure system means that a lot of roads have been dug up and have yet to be properly repaved. Cars drive slowly through these roads when they receive heavy traffic and it’s doubly daunting for cyclists.
  • The motorbike doesn’t incur the same sensual restrictions as a car. A full panoramic of your surroundings without the intrusion of a car roof. The wind in your face. The fragrances and miasmas up your nostrils. This is Vietnam.
Motorbike Hue Grit Tour
Get off the Beaten Track and Explore Vietnam

When Renting a Motorbike in Vietnam

Motorbikes are readily available in Hue for rental and purchase. Motorbike rental can be from 100,000VND upwards depending on the model of bike and how old it is. Different companies will also include various amenities such as helmets and rain jackets with the motorbike rental.  Most require some sort of identification submission to the rental company in case the bike is stolen or you run in to some trouble. Obviously, motorbikes are prone to breakdowns and owners are usually more than happy to assist you if you find yourself stuck without a mechanic nearby.

Motorbike Hue Grit Tour
Roads in Vietnam can appear chaotic to say the least! Photo by Mitch Hargreaves

When you’ve found a bike that suits you, it’s best to check a few things before you drive off on your adventure:

  • Can you drive a motorbike?
  • Understand how to start and stop the bike as well as the gear system (if there is one).
  • Make sure you can open the fuel tank and check how much fuel is already in the bike.
  • Where the nearest petrol station is from the rental company.
  • How to open the compartment under your seat (if there is one).
  • Are you comfortable with how your helmet fits?

I’ve never had to deal with a bad rental company. Most services are friendly and experienced in renting to travellers on all levels of driving experience. Nevertheless, there’s one family-owned business in Hue who we think can’t be beaten.

Hoang’s Motorbike Rental Service in Hue

Hoang and his family have been operating their rental service for more than 10 years. Based just 2 kilometres from Hue City centre, their motorbike rental company boasts a large variety of bikes for riders of all levels of experience. While we haven’t done enough research to support their claim they are the cheapest in Hue, motorbike prices range from 80,000VND per day upwards.

motorbike Hue Grit Tour
Co-owner of Dong Xanh Motorbike shop: Hoang.

What we do know is that Hoang’s business is the friendliest in town. He is always prepared to go the extra mile for his customers and provide any assistance for customers interested in motorbike rental. If something goes wrong during your rental, Hoang is always at hand to be of assistance. Hoang has a reputation among foreigners in Hue, not necessarily because he’s the cheapest or has the highest quality bikes but because he is honest and sincere. In a country where tourists often feel they overpay for services, Hoang is trustworthy and fairly-priced.

motorbike hue grit tour
a small selection of the automatic and semi-automatic bikes available.

As well as short-term motorbike rental, Hoang also buys and sells motorbikes to both the local population and travellers passing through. If you’re looking for a motorbike to take you through the rest of your trip in Vietnam, Hoang can find you a bike that will suit all your needs. As of recently, Hoang can also organise car rentals although drivers must have an international license. All information is available on Hoang’s website.

motorbike hue grit tour
pups of Vietnam

Dong Xanh Motorbike
201 Tran Phu, Hue
Facebook Page
+84787528677 (whatsapp)

How is the best way to travel in Vietnam? Are there any other modes of transport which you prefer? What are some of the best drives in Vietnam? Feel free to comment below!

Photos by Ana Fortuna except where credited

Hue Grit Tour

Why wait? Book now!
Want to know more? Check out the itinerary.
Looking for some gritty tips? head over to the blog.
Have some questions to ask? Contact us.

Best Homestays in Hue Vietnam-Live Like a Local

Homestay has been something of a buzzword in the South-East Asian tourist industry the past few years. For travellers looking for new ways to engage with local culture, a homestay can provide so much more to their guests than hostels or hotels. Here are some reasons why to choose a homestay. If you’re sold on a homestay and just looking for the best homestays in Hue, skip further down the article.

Why choose a Homestay When Travelling?

Engage with Local People

Homestays are run by people that aren’t necessarily affiliated or professionally trained in hospitality.  Hosts often work in other industries and have specific interests outside of travelling. You could be staying with artists, government officials or business men. Their recommendations and view on their city will differ from the tourist narrative and you’ll have a unique insight into where you’re staying.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Lagom Homestay

A Different Perspective on Vietnamese Life

It’s hard to get a real insight for life at home in the country you’re travelling if you’re staying in hotels. Homestays are often made up of different varieties of family units or even friends! This leads to candid moments that will be  interesting to the anthropological traveller. You’ll see how people eat together, how rooms are used and feel the atmosphere of household life.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Trang at Bamboo Homestay

A location Away from the Tourist Area

For the most part, homestays are modifications of buildings that function as homes for a family. They’re generally located outside of tourist spots and in residential areas. While your homestay might not be conveniently placed among all the tourist attractions or places to interest, you’re going to be in a real Vietnamese neighbourhood where the tourist industry hasn’t dictated the growth of the local community. With Vietnamese streets being so lively, you’re certain to find some local eateries and shops near to where you will be staying.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Hallway bookcases at Lagom Homestay

Eat with the Family

As mentioned before in the Cafe Nha article, it’s hard to get homemade food in restaurants. If your homestay proes food for guests, then you’ll have the rare opportunity for a home-cooked meal! Eating with your hosts will be an opportunity to learn local table etiquette and dining habits.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Fresh snacks made at the homestay

What is a homestay?

With the rise in popularity of homestays in South-East Asia, it’s worth noting that there isn’t any standardization of the word. A lot of small guesthouses and hostels use the term ‘homestay’ even though their accommodation doesn’t provide the experiences you expect them to. It’s best to read reviews and be frank when contacting the homestay about what you’re looking for. Similarly, couchsurfing is a database of people offering free accommodation and similar experiences to a homestay.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Art by the local artist/host

Best Homestays in Hue, Vietnam

We’ve found some fantastic homestays during our time living in Hue. We encourage you to look through this list and see what fits your needs.

Lagom Home: Artistic Community Homestay
riverside, clean, great hosts

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Beautifully decorated kitchen at Lagom Homestay

Sitting on the Huong River’s edge is the elegant Lagom home. This spacious homestay is run by friends Tram and Beo who have a keen interest in local arts and sustainable living. Lagom home is on the peaceful Trinh Cong Son street opposite the northern-side of the Huong river. Plenty of restaurants nearby but the bigger attractions such as the citadel are a walk away.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Crafts workshop at Lagom

The building is new and beautifully decorated. It’s best to book in advance  as rooms here are limited (one private room and a small dormitory). Not a place to meet travellers but as Lagom homestay doubles up as a cafe, it’s a great chance to meet local people.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Lagom Entrance

Bikes and motorbikes can be arranged for rent. For an additional fee, The hosts are happy to show you how to cook or cook Vietnamese meals. Breakfast is free every morning. The hosts frequently hold a community crafts session which guests are welcome to participate in for a small fee.

Lagom Homestay
196 Trịnh Công Sơn, Phú Cát. Huế
Facebook Page
Booking Page

Le Robinet Homestay: Great Location
Close to Citadel, helpful staff, good value

Le Robinet is a recently new homestay that opened in early 2018. It is run by Linh who has taken over her family-in-laws house and turned it into a hip place for independent travellers to stay. Being a fellow non-native Hue enthusiast, Linh is admirable in her determination to find the city’s best spots for food and entertainment.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Le Robinet decor transcends the decades of the 20th century

Le Robinet Homestay is situated down a small road within a stone’s throw of Hue’s Purple Forbidden City. This is one of Hue’s better locations as you really get a feel here for old Hue. While the citadel is flocked by tourists during the daytime, the citadel’s serenity is more distinct after dark.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Le Robinet kitchen view

The homestay composes of three buildings. Despite guestrooms being in the newest part, The oldest building, which dates back to the 1940s, is still accessible to look around. The spacious patio out-front has tables and chairs scattered around for a few evening beverages. The family room on the top floor is accompanied by a pleasant balcony with furniture.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
One of three buildings in the Le Robinet vicinity

Le Robinet has 5 rooms at very affordable prices ranging from dormitories, a family room, double bed and twin bed rooms. There is also self-serving kitchen for travellers who want to cook at home. Bike rental and motorbikes available.

Le Robinet Homestay
47B Trần Nguyên Hãn, Phường Thuận Hòa
Facebook Page
Booking Page

Bamboo Homestay Hue
Friendly owners, Off the Beaten Track

Bamboo homestay is run by jolly newly-weds Trang and Hung. They recently took over the premises and after a refurbishment of all the rooms, are open for business. Thuy is exceptionally welcoming and more than happy to help visitors on their trip to Hue.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Bamboo Homestay family room

Although simplistic in decoration and minimal in design, Bamboo Homestay has a range of room options for all types of travellers. The bamboo furniture in the homestay was inspired by Japanese furnishings but all was made locally by nearby manufacturers. The concept of Bamboo homestay is to reinvent the purpose of a local cornerstone raw material into a contemporary, yet sustainable use. A large proportion of the furniture is made from bamboo!

homestay hue grit tour
Bamboo Homestay’s furniture is simple yet elegant

Although it’s not popular location for tourists, Bamboo Homestay is within reach of some Hue’s lesser-travelled places of interest such as; the Nam Giao Esplanade, the Phan Boi Chau memorial house and Tu Dam Pagoda. The nearby streets Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Dinh Phung run adjacently along the An Cuu river and make for a nice evening stroll. Le Loi street also includes a variety of museums and art galleries as well as riverside park. While I was initially put-off by Bamboo Homestay’s location, it makes for a good place for people who want to avoid the tourists crowds and want a real experience of urban Hue

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Our photographer loves taking pictures of tea sets.

Dien Bien Phu street receives a large amount of traffic but the windows and doors are double-glazed so noise pollution in the rooms is limited.  There is a kitchen where guests can cook themselves or the hosts will cook for an additional fee. Breakfast is free and vegan options available. Bamboo Homestay offer motorbike and bicycle rental as well as a bus-ticket booking service.

homestay hue grit tour

Bamboo Homestay
56B Điện Biên Phủ, phường Phường Đúc
Facebook Page

Khanh’s Home: Homestay and Art Gallery
Artistic, new rooms, out of the city

Khanh’s Homestay was initially an art gallery where Khanh and his father would display their work. Due to it’s out of town location, Khanh’s family decided to extend their family compound for tourists wanting to get out of the city and head somewhere more relaxed.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Aerial shot of Khanh’s Homestay

The homestay is made of two recently furbished en-suite bedrooms. Breakfast is optional and guests are free to browse the gallery through the day. the trees between the houses bear an assortment of tropical fruits and flowers. This isn’t a boutique hotel but it’s worth remembering that Khanh’s Home primarily functions as residence to Khanh’s family.

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Ground floor entrance to one room in Khanh’s Homestay

Khanh’s Home is on Minh Mang street. It’s a short driving distance from a number of tombs as well as graffiti wall and the abandoned waterpark. Probably more suited to the intrepid traveller and people willing to travel by motorbike or bicycle on the city outskirts.

hue grit tour homestay
Mr Hoang Dang Khanh

Khanh’s Home
89 Minh Mang, Hue.
Facebook page
Booking page

Other Homestays of Interest

Homestays come and homestays go. I imagine this list will have to be repeatedly updated. Here’s a few more to check out if you don’t strike luck with any of the above.

Quynh Hostel-Beautiful house down an alleyway in the heart of Hue tourist area. The building itself is still being decorated at the time of writing but host Hoan is incredibly entertaining and loves to hang out with his guests. Once the homestay is complete, Hoan will have his work on show at the homestay. Only dormitories here but prices that can’t be beaten.

31 Kiệt 56 Nguyễn Công Trứ tổ 15
Facebook page

Citadel Homestay-Exactly what is says on the tin. Based on the north-east side of the Imperial City, Citadel Homestay is new and refurbished. Nice balcony, cool living room and a kitchen for guests to cook in. Owner Anh Tuyet doesn’t speak much English but can speak French. Mrs Tuyet can cook up a storm in the kitchen on demand. Breakfast is free too!

86 Tran Quoc Toan
Facebook page

Homestay Hue Grit Tour
Le Robinet’s residential woofer Pepsi

What do you prefer? Hotels or homestays? Have you stayed in any great homestays in Hue? Have you stayed in any of the homestays listed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section at the bottom of the page!

All photos in this article by Ana Fortuna

Hue Grit Tour

Why wait? Book now!
Want to know more? Check out the itinerary.
Looking for some gritty tips? head over to the blog.
Have some questions to ask? Contact us.

Cafe Gac Trinh: the Trinh Cong Son House in Hue

Ask anyone from Vietnam who Trinh Cong Son is and they’ll either recite you some of his lyrics or tell you about the significance of his music. Son’s compositions of around 600 songs span over 30 years of Vietnamese history. International press dubbed Trinh Cong Son the Bob Dylan of Vietnam. His blend of folk music, mostly referred to as ‘yellow music’, dealt with themes surrounding the human condition; love, loss of love, existentialism, the human race and the unknown fate of the Vietnamese people. Read more “Cafe Gac Trinh: the Trinh Cong Son House in Hue”