The Onyabike Adventures Difference
At Onyabike Adventures, it’s our mission to give you the best Vietnam motorbike tour we can. This requires being the best company we can—which, among many other things, means being completely legally licensed and compliant with Vietnamese law. We’ve put in a lot of legwork to do so. And, we can proudly say we are a 100% legal motorbike licensing adventure tour company in Vietnam.
You may ask yourself, ‘So what? What’s the big deal about Vietnamese legalese?”
Unregulated Vietnam, licenses and tour Operators
Step back for a moment and consider. Vietnam is rapidly developing. How fast, you ask? Crazy fast. Cities that were former backwaters are transforming virtually overnight. Many parts of the country are unrecognizable comparing to even fifteen years ago. Students are learning English throughout the country while millions of international visitors are arriving in Vietnam every year. The country is quickly urbanizing, growing wealthier, and gaining prestige on the international stage.
The legal system lags behind the rest of the country, but it’s catching up. What was once a famously loose legal system is becoming tighter and more enforced. In other words, it’s growing up as well. If trends continue, the rule of law will become more robust, smarter, and better enforced.
Will You Risk it?
Many companies feel it’s worth their time to take a risk and operate outside of the law. However, we believe it’s in our best interest, yours, and the country’s for us to operate inside the law.
Being legally compliant leads to far-reaching benefits to riders. Some of these benefits involve topics that may already be on your radar, while others may be unknown unknowns.
We’ll take a look below at some of the important effects legal compliance of a motorbike tour licensing in Vietnam can have. And, we’ll also explore the dark side of non-compliance.
Motorbike Travel Insurance
Certainly one of the most important reasons to travel with a fully licensed company is that your motorcycle travel insurance will work like it’s supposed to. By crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s, your insurance company will have no reason to reject a claim should you need to make one. Bear in mind every penny out hurts an insurer’s bottom line. So they’ll certainly look for reasons to avoid a payout.
Motorbike tour licensing businesses are recognized by both insurance companies and governments in Vietnam. So your paperwork and headaches stay to a minimum should something go wrong.
Fortunately, the vast majority of traffic accidents in Vietnam are minor due to the slow speed of traffic in most places. In most cases, riders can get up and drive away with minimal damage to themselves or their bike. However, just like everywhere else in the world, sometimes more serious accidents do happen. In the unlikely event they do, you’ll want to make sure you have coverage and don’t have to set up a GoFundMe page or call your family.
Imagine two scenarios. Bill is riding with a licensed and insured company. Mike, on the other hand, is riding with a company that does not have a license, and therefore not legally insured. Both riders get into a minor accident, leading to some injuries that require stitches. Bill’s insurance will pay out and cover the hospital costs, whereas Mike’s will not—he has to foot the bill himself.
Minor medical care in Vietnam isn’t expensive, so maybe Mike isn’t so concerned. But take that same logic and apply it to a more serious accident scenario. You see how much insurance coverage can matter. You probably don’t want to be begging for money because you want to save a few bucks in the short term.
Licensing and Police
Driving without a license is undeniably common in Vietnam. Statistics are hard to come by. However, one could reliably assert that a majority of travelers in Vietnam drive without a proper license—as do many Vietnamese.
If you travel with a full motorbike tour licensing company in Vietnam, you’ll need to be fully licensed yourself. If you have a license in your home country to ride a motorcycle, getting the proper license for Vietnam is very doable.
Those who choose to drive without a license expose themselves to numerous risks to themselves and their property. If they’re so inclined, police who stop unlicensed drivers can:
- Seize the driver’s motorbike either permanently or until a fine is paid
- Fine the driver for driving without a license
- Fine the driver for driving without insurance
- Fine the driver for soliciting business from an unlicensed company
- Detain the driver for an amount of time of their choosing and
- Demand that the tour company end the tour
While many police usually avoid extreme measures, zealous or grumpy police officers are quite capable of making your life miserable if they wish.
Bear in mind as well that if you rent a motorbike in Vietnam and it is seized by the police you will be responsible for the cost of the bike. A company that has no license has no obligation to give you a fair price. As they’ll be holding your passport you’ll be out of options.
While police can be a problem, there’s another thing to look out for. You have no legal recourse if an unlicensed company decides you’re no longer worth their time. If they decide to end the trip early, leave you stranded, abandon you after an accident, or anything else, there’s nothing you can do to stop them. Any contract signed with them is null and void from the first moment since their company isn’t legal anyway.
These scenarios can cost you a fortune in time, money, and headaches. There’s zero reasons to get lawyers involved—nothing can be done.
The exact opposite is true with Onyabike Adventures. Our contracts are legally valid and we are responsible for you from the moment you start the trip with us. It’s not just our legal duty to look after you, but it’s also our moral duty as well.
Fun You Can Have—Or Miss Out On
Plenty of tour companies and throughout the country operate without a license. Some may not even be aware they need one. But in order to provide a top-tier tour, they do, for several reasons.
Motorbike tour licensing and compliant tour companies in Vietnam have access to national parks, monuments, and temples. So you get to see all the best parts of the country. Licensed companies will also usually have established relationships with destinations along the way.
Quality hotels, restaurants, and knowledgable locals can make your tour smooth and enjoyable—especially if they’re tight with the tour company. Similarly, it’s easy for a licensed company like ourselves to get in contact with officials at national parks to ensure you get the most out of your visit.
Unlicensed tour companies, on the other hand, do not have full access to national parks and monuments. Their access may be limited or they may be rejected entirely from the park. This restricted access can lead to second rate or, at worst, truly disappointing tours. The national parks in Vietnam boast some spectacular sites. You’d be kicking dirt and yourself for missing them while in a spot relegated to second best.
Not only national parks but also top-tier destinations like resorts and restaurants may reject business from unlicensed tour companies. This can lead to embarrassment and disappointment.
The Importance of a Licensed Vietnamese Tour Guide
All legal tour companies must have a licensed Vietnamese tour guide with them. Motorbike tour licensing guides in Vietnam are quite knowledgeable about the places they go—it’s their job, after all. In addition to having a local liaison for translation and tips on things like local food, you’ll also get the benefit of their expert knowledge in the history, sights, and best roads in the country.
Guides without a license have undergone no training and education in tours. This means they may not know what they’re talking about. Imagine you have a question about an interesting place you visit. Instead of giving you detailed, factual information, you may get hearsay, bunkum, or simply “I don’t know.”
What They Don’t Have Access to
As stated above, unlicensed tour companies don’t have full access to national parks and monuments. But there’s more! Entering government property without a licensed guide may lead you to break the law, putting you in hot water. If you don’t speak the local language, you may not even know when you’re entering government property. Needless to say, this is something you want to avoid.
There’s another problem with unlicensed guides: there are no legal ramifications for them ripping you off. Unprofessional guides often have a buddy system with local businesses, including restaurants, hotels, and souvenir shops. They’ll get a commission for whatever you buy, and a big chunk of their income comes from these kickbacks.
Unfortunately, this practice can lead to some uncomfortable situations. Unsuspecting tourists are often dragged to a place not of their choosing to face high-pressure sales tactics. This commonly results in the purchase of unwanted or sub-par goods. It’s a no-win scenario for the tourist: if you do buy it, you don’t need it or it’s low quality. If you don’t buy it, your guide will be angry with you.
Licensed guides are professionals whose job is looking after you and your tour. They are there to make sure you have the best tour possible. You’re treated as valuable and respected, rather than a walking ATM.
Now That You Know
The whole point of going on a motorcycle adventure trip is to enjoy the trip. Sure, many people who enjoy a ride don’t mind taking a risk or seeking a bit of thrill. But taking a risk with the law, insurance, or police is a particularly un-fun kind of risk that has few rewards.
If you’re riding with us, you’ll enjoy peace of mind that you’re 100% legal and accounted for in Vietnam. That’ll free your thinking to focus on the important things. Like nailing that hairpin turn, or gaping at the next towering mountain, or digging into a delicious meal with locals.
Getting your license valid for Vietnam is something we can help you with. If you’re licensed to ride a motorcycle in your home country, contact us and we’ll get you through the process.