Top Gear Vietnam Special – The Success of motoring program but failed of traveling

Top Gear Vietnam Special was broadcast on 28 December 2008. This BBC motoring program with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May traveled 1,000 miles (1,600 km) across Vietnam on motorbikes. The journey begins from Hồ Chí Minh City (Saigon), heading north and finishing at a floating bar within Ha  Long Bay. The challenge they had to complete within eight days.

top gear Vietnam special on BBC

Top Gear does what in Vietnam

  Although many Vietnamese travels throughout Vietnam by motorcycle. Back in  the 2008s, it was so rare to have motorcycle tour operators in Vietnam. But thanks to Top Gear, Who set the foundation for traveling motorcycle tourism. And Top Gear appeared to do their tour throughout Vietnam. Hence they became one of the first tourists on motorcycles to conquer this beautiful country.  They also touch on the culture of each famous town when they come, such as Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Hue ” Perfume River, Hanoi ” Hanoi train station, and  Halong ” a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those riders made these places closer to travelers.

Top Gear do what in VN

In the 2008s, Vespa  and  Honda Cub were good to ride within  the city. And Minsk was a muscle, a monster on every route that Richard Hammond did well. Besides, their bikes are not good because of the low budget. But anyway, they did the challenge perfectly and enjoyed almost all the must-visit cities in Vietnam.

Finally,  Top Gear  has become more famous worldwide and is also helpful for those who love riding abroad. The Top Gear broadcast on BBC also contributes to Vietnam’smotorcycle tourism opening and development.

But truthfully, your holiday can not run as a game in any way for sure. We know you have worked hard for months and expect much about your holiday from riding across Vietnam, and we  have to say that your holiday will fail if you follow their way. That game took too much risk and did not touch the authentic culture. As the  top 1 motorbike tour operator in Vietnam, we will give you some advice based on the Top Gear Vietnam Special with the gathering of experts in the traveling motorcycle field. Then you know how to travel to Vietnam. Even that can make your every single moment in Vietnam priceless.

top gear VN special

Vietnam Motorbiking

In Top Gear Vietnam Special,  they took Honda Cub, Minsk,  and Vespa for a long-distance ride of 1000 miles. That main reason explains why they got many problems on the trip. Nowadays, many motorcycle brands have brought their motorbikes to Vietnam. Choosing  the bike also depends on where you love traveling or what routes you will explore, such as enduro, off-road, or adventure.

·    XR 150, CRF 150, and  CRF 250 will be cool off-roading but only for one rider. Vietnam is a country with diverse terrains. And in general, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Indochina has become a cradle of off-road traveling, particularly in Vietnam. Riding off-road to satisfy your passion, even your holiday will be better than usual when you can touch hidden gems without crowded tourists.

Vietnam Motorbike with BM Travel

And as you know, KTM, Husqvarna, Yamaha or at least CRF 250 are kings of enduro. To do this kind of travel, you must book a tour to have full support from experts. Fortunately, BM Travel Motorbike Tour gathers all experts to run either harsh terrain in the South or mountainous areas in the North. We are sure you understand what the  enduro trip is. Almost  riding on crazy routes. Furthermore, the Vietnam Motorbike Tours Club  team remains the core value of travel.

What is an adventure bike  suitable for rider and pillion riders? The answer is Honda CB 500x, Himalayan Royal Enfield, Triumph Tiger 800, GS 1200, or CRF Rally. With the big tank, the wide saddle performs its capability on a long-distance ride without a problem. Coming to Vietnam with a group of friends, renting an adventure bike, or booking an Adventure tour will strengthen your all-friend relationship. Even from that  adventure trip,  you all will have the best memories together

·      If you cannot ride a manual bike, the semi-automatic or scooter is suitable  for beginners and only on the road. Nowadays, finding a bike rental shop in Vietnam is so easy. On two wheels, it takes you to the heart of nature, to breathtaking scenery that neither a traditional tour nor a solo traveler can match.  

So, an itinerary will come next after you determine what kind of motorcycle trip you would like to do.

  • When is the best time to travel to Vietnam?
  • How about the paper to ride in Vietnam?
  • How many days will be good enough to explore Vietnam?


International driver license in Vietnam

International Driver License in Vietnam?

This point anyone does not ignore before riding across Vietnam. You must have these papers for foreigners to ride a motorbike in Vietnam.

  • IAA ( international automobile association) or IDP ( International driving permit). A foreigner who wants to explore Vietnam by motorbike must get one of the two driver’s licenses above. And BM Travel Motorbike can help you convert your license to IAA. Check Out:  Driving License Conversion in Vietnam – international driving permit Vietnam.
  • The Blue Card. That is to prove the bike you own after buying a motorbike from someone or renting from a Motorbike shop.
  • Personal Accident Insurance. Some companies started selling insurance for travelers who want to ride in Vietnam. But we recommend buying International Personal Accident Insurance from your country before your holiday.

Top Gear Vietnam Special rode in Vietnam in 2008, but until 20 August 2014, Viet Nam officially became a member of the Convention on Road Traffic.  On 20 August 2014, Vietnam started accepting IAA or IDP for foreign travelers who love riding. Let go for a legal ride!

Those papers are at least what you must have for riding in Vietnam. If you book a BM Travel Motorcycle Tours tour, you have nothing to worry about. Working hard and waiting for the trip that’s all you need to do.

Top Gear Vietnam Special missed what for their trip

Top Gear started from Saigon, so we will show you what they have missed based on their trip. Those places are worth a visit at least once. This short essay will show you the overall view and highlights of each region in the country before getting into the detailing.

Sai Gon - South Vietnam Motorbike tour

South Vietnam and Mekong Delta

With Saigon as its heart, Southern Vietnam covers the Mekong Delta, the southmost of the Mekong Delta, and  Ho Chi Minh City. Diversity of culture, agriculture, and lively colors are all available in South Vietnam and are worthy of your discovery. Below, I will show you where you should visit and how long it takes or is suitable for which trip.

Weather & Climate in Southern Vietnam:

  • The dry season lasts from mid-November to early May, with late February to May slightly hotter and more humid.
  • The wet season lasts from mid of May to early-November, with June, July, and August receiving the most rain.
  • Phu Quoc and Con Dao islands in the far South can be visited yearly, with a high likelihood of sunny days. However, you should monitor the weather forecast to avoid storms: year-round, average temperatures in the south range between 20  and 35°C.

Best for: On Road Trip, Adventure, Pillion Tour, Off-road (up North of Saigon) – Check Out Some Itineraries:

South Vietnam Travel:

  • Mekong Delta: 7 to 10 days
  • Phu Quoc Island: 3 days
  • Riding from South to Central: 5 to 7 days

South Vienam Travel

Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc Road Trip:

Heading to the South of Saigon, Mekong Delta, the flat region has 12 provinces and 1 Can Tho city. Each area is famous for a particular product, legend, story, histories. And the specialty is tropical fruits and religion. Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, and Sunni Islam are characteristics for learning more about spirituality.  Phu Quoc island is so majestic you cannot skip it. Beautiful and clean beaches are the best place for those looking for relaxation. Having sunbath and drinking beers on white sand that feeling you cannot find out anywhere else

Truthfully, the Mekong Delta is a paradise for a road trip or a bit of adventure. Explore Vietnam’s picturesque Mekong Delta is the best choice for a stunning maze of rivers, islets, small villages, and fruit plantations. Riding on straight roads in the middle of paddle fields and enjoying rice fields’ fresh smell will make your inner peace. And for those who love religion and spirituality. 

  • South Vietnam Motorcycle Tour from Saigon to Phu Quoc

Exploring north Sai Gon by Mootorbike

Exploring the North of Saigon

Be the lung of Saigon, riding through Ma Da forest, is excited that all off-road fans would like to conquer. Significantly, the wet season will bathe you in mud or even get stuck on a long deep mud road. Nam Cat Tien National Park is a vast lowland tropical forest and biosphere reserve in southern Vietnam.

  • Bao Loc Adventure Journey

Bao Loc is well-known for its tea and coffee farms. You’ll see endless rows of tea and coffee farms as you drive through the area. And here is the mountains area. The beaten track will be fun enough to challenge all riders. Besides that, many fantastic waterfalls are there as presents from Mother Nature to deserve to explore

  • Vung Tau Adventure Trip

Be one of the beautiful beaches in Southern Vietnam, and the adventure trip escape from bustling Saigon to Vung Tau is the best choice. The beaten routes to the beach are not too tricky, and sure you enjoy it. Getting on the ferry as riding through rice fields or having coffee at the local coffee shop. Then you have great beers in a club on the beach all night long. What a ride!

  • Vietnam War

Also, there are many relics sites for veterans who want to back up historical memories. Off-roading to Cu Chi Tunnels combines learning about the War between Vietnam and the US that you should not ignore. Or the adventure trip to Vung Tau, Long Tan Cross is on the way for Aussie to respect Aussie veterans who had war in Vietnam.  And in Mekong Delta, Dong Thap Province, you come and visit the house of the father of President Ho Chi Minh. That place was recognized as a national relic site in 1992.

**Generally, Southern Vietnam has  all kinds of terrain for anyone who loves traveling by motorbike. Not only that but also the fresh smell from rice fields in Mekong Delta is unforgettable. The climate is also too tough to ride. Funny offroad and adventure with pillion riders in each city are highly recommended. To fully explore the South will take at least two weeks.

Central Highland Vietnam

Central Vietnam

In Central Highland Vietnam, this region is mountainous, surrounded by high mountain ranges and massifs, especially the southern part of Truong Son Mountain RangeCentral Vietnam is famous either for beaches, modern cities, or diverse cultures and cuisine. Although it is a rugged land, it suffers yearly from heavy floods and storms. And that has created hardworking, strong people who are always up to the challenge. However, it still has countless unique tourist spots. Let’s roll down to know more about it.

Weather & Climate in Central Vietnam:

  • The dry season lasts from mid-November to mid-April, with late March to April slightly hotter and drier. Sometimes the temperature is over 40 degrees Celcius.
  • The wet season lasts from mid-May to late October, with many storms and heavy floods.
  • The Central Highlands has an average temperature of around 20°C, influenced by the tropical environment, with a pleasant climate. The weather in the Central Highlands has two distinct seasons: dry and rainy seasons. As a result, this region offers better weather than the rest of Vietnam.

Central Vietnam Travel:

  • From Da Nang City:
    • Central Highlands loop:  10 ” 12 days
    • Riding up North: 2 ” 4 days  
  • From Binh Thuan province to Nghe An province:
    • Coastline ride: 10 ” 12 days
    • Mountain ride: 11 ” 13  

Central Vietnam Motorbike tours

Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorcycle Tours:

The most special is the Ho Chi Minh trail, which every rider would like to conquer once in a lifetime. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was a complicated network of mountains and woodland paths that connected North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the Vietnam War. Furthermore, the Ho Chi Minh Trail is a living monument of Vietnam. Anyone interested in military history may wish to visit a network of muddy trails and gravel roads along the Lao-Vietnamese border.

East Coast Road Trip:

Especially, The East Coast Trip from Phan Thiet to Ha Long Bay cannot be described in words. The Vietnamese Coastline will not disappoint you, with over 3000 kilometers along diverse ethnic cultures changing from South to North. The beaches are clean and fresh, and many unique islands to explore. Besides, the Vietnamese desert in Phan Thiet is worth it for all riders. It’s not different from the Dakar Rally game. Even riding through the dragon fruit farms and enjoying the fresh ones here. And some Khmer Towers here will tell you how the strong Khmer Kingdom was

Ho Chi Minh trail & Adventure Mountain:

The adventure trip exploring the mountainous area in Central will bring you to the distinctive color. Not be like the Coastline Road Trip, in the Central Highland journey, you can enjoy the off-road to touch the hidden gem, villages. The ethnic culture and ethnic cuisine are more diverse. The Long House, Stilt House, or matriarchal system is so special to learn more about. If you are a coffeeholic, I have to say Central Highlands is heaven for you. We are proud to say Vietnam is the second biggest coffee exporter in the world. From the local coffee to the specialty coffee will blow your mind with only one sip.

Offroad & Enduro:

Highlands in Central Vietnam also challenge all if the North has Northwest or Northeast as a cradle of enduro Tours. Many forests, and mountains with the heel crazy steep, are waiting for any riders to come and hit it. Ta Nang Phan Dung, a legend trekking trails, and Nam Nung Forest are typical for enduro. Believe me, that trip will bring you back to life, and you will love your life  more than ever!

Exploring the Vietnam War with Bm Travel

Vietnam War

As everyone already knew, Vietnam had been through many wars. The nearest was the war with the US. And in Khe Sanh was the DMZ between Communism in the North and Republic in the South. Not only veterans, but we are sure that the next generation like us would like to get here to know how Viet Cong won the most extensive US military at that time. The way leading to this is so fun for all motorcycle lovers too. Besides that, Vinh Moc Tunnels, the largest firebase of the US Marines Camp Carroll, Hien Luong Bridge crossing Ben Hai River as the border of North and South… many historic spots in Central Vietnam associated with heroic history.

** From Top Gear Vietnam Special, we can see that they missed all the Central Highlands. There gather almost things such as ethnic cultures, diverse cuisine, waterfalls… It’s sad to say that they rode almost on the highway. Even Vietnamese travelers would like to avoid those cause those routes are not for travel. Nothing is on there!!

North Vietnam

The hilly region of North Vietnam has given rise to a plethora of enthralling mountain passes. The four Greatest Passes  are Ma Pi Leng, O Quy Ho, Pha Din, Khau Pha, and  Tram Ton Pass. While riding on the twisting roads, you can take in the magnificent view of nature. The mix of mountains and sky will bring you indescribably unforgettable emotions. The panoramic view of the tranquillity of Mu Cang Chai or the Tu Le terrace valley pulls you back to pure happiness. Bac Ha market ” a long-standing famous highland market ” is a must-see if you want to learn more about the traditional beauty of local people in the North. After spending days riding off-road, you should relax and enjoy a luxury cruise in Halong Bay, one of the world’s seven natural marvels.

North vietnam motorbike tours

Weather & Climate in North Vietnam

  • Northwest: The rainy season is summer, and snow rarely happens in Sapa. But the temperature in winter sometimes gets under 0-degree Celcius.
  • Northeast: The rainy season usually lasts from May”September. The coldest in December to early February is around 0-degree Celsius.
  • Red River: Mean annual temperatures in Red Delta are around 23 °C (73 °F). Winter in this region lasts from October to April and is also the dry season. Rainy seasons focus on summer.

North Vietnam Travel:

  • Northwest: 6 ” 10 days
  • Northeast: 6 ” 10 days
  • Red River Delta: 1 ” 2 days
  • Ha Long Bay: 2 ” 3 days

Northern Loops Motorcycle Tours

In mountainous areas in Northern Vietnam  it’s the  absolute heaven for all riders. Every year, many riders go back to explore and learn more about it. But the more you are back, the more you love it. The majestic natural beauty that Mother Natura favors and the cultures, cuisine, and passes  have made the North perfect. Ha Giang, Sa Pa, and  Cao Bang are typical cities.  As you see, It takes at least two weeks to touch all things in North Vietnam by motorbike. Now let’s roll down to why you should spend two weeks on it.

Northwest Vietnam Motorbike tours

Northwest Motorbike Trip

North West Vietnam is an excellent destination for road trips. There are many passes that all riders would always like to conquer, such as O Quy Ho Pass leading to Sapa. Besides that,  it’s the perfect combination of beautiful mountains, verdant valleys, and peaceful ethnic minority settlements.

Mai Chau ” Moc Chau Road Trip

The White Thai ethnic minority lives in stilt homes in the picturesque Mai Chau valley. If you are fortunate enough to go at the proper time of year, you will be able to appreciate the stunning landscape and the enticing scent of the ripe golden rice fields that blanket the whole valley.

Mu Cang Chai Motorcycle Tour

This journey is one of the most beautiful motorcycling roads in northwest Vietnam. You should visit Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai, two remote locations in Yen Bai province where ethnic minorities cultivate lovely terraced farms in the highlands. You should ride far into the La Pan Tan region for the best experience. A small trail runs down the valley; follow it to Mam Xoi Hill, which is noted for the distinctive shape of its rice terraces.

Sapa Motorbike Tour

It looks out over a deep valley, with mountains on all sides. The views are sometimes obscured by heavy mist moving across the summits, yet the local hill-tribe people color the town even when it’s cloudy. This romantic city is the best for couples or groups of friends. A city tour of food tour to explore the city is the main thing you should do to touch the heart of Sapa.

Top Gear does not have enough time to explore Northwest Vietnam. While there are many things and places, no one who travels to Vietnam misses them. Above, we show you some cities on the must-visit list. Let’s spend some minutes reading it in the next blog, where we detail all things about the Northwest.

Northeast vietnam Mootorbike tours

Northeast incredible journey on two wheels

You will get unforgettable experiences when crossing the Ma Pi Leng Pass, one of Vietnam’s four giant passes. This route, regarded as one of the best motorcycle routes in Vietnam, allows you to admire the breathtaking views of majestic limestone mountains while learning about ethnic minorities’ unique customs and practices. Vietnam’s Some stops along the way will enable you to take a break and admire the romantic Nho Que river from a distance while also sampling the local cuisine.

Ha Giang Motorcycle Trip

Ha  Giang is the best destination in the Northeast. Mother Nature favors here many. Quan Ba Heaven Gate and Co Tien twin mountains with fascinating legends, beautiful pine forests in Yen Minh, and terraced farms in Lim Mong are some of the most notable features. The scenery is breathtaking, and the routes are thrilling, so if you’re looking for something adventurous. It would be best to visit Vuong Palace, which has an excellent design, the Lung Cu flag pole, and, of course, the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, a UNESCO-recognized global geopark.

Cao Bang Road Trip

Cao Bang province is a fantastic destination that no adventurers should miss. Especially Me Pia Pass is a stunning place that trekkers should not miss on their way from Ha Giang. The terrifying slope and twisty road with 14 continuous sharp curves. The Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang Province is the fourth largest waterfall on the China-Vietnam border. This enormous waterfall is 30 meters tall and 300 meters long with many terraces. The area is dotted with karst hills and green valleys, making Ban Gioc Waterfall the ideal picturesque scene.

Vietnam Motorcycle tours to Ban Gioc Waterfall

So we have to say that Top Gear makes big mistakes when skipping Northeast.  Missing almost wonders, cultures are not a perfect journey. BM Travel Motorbike Tours will show you all the details of the Northeast trip from the link below. From that, you can plan your trip and make it perfect.

Gulf of Tonkin

Gulf Of Tonkin is famous for combats against the US, which occurred in heroic battles with historical value. The past rain of bombs and bullets could not stop Ha Long Bay from becoming an attractive tourist spot. The Gulf of Tonkin has become one of the world’s Wonders.

Ha Long Bay Unforgettable Trip

We already knew that Top Get visited Ha Long Bay. But someplace is so more fantastic than the floating bar where they came. Halong Bay is a spectacular geological structure in northern Vietnam. The most significant way to enjoy this area, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, is by boat. After exploring Vietnam, Ha Long Bay cruises are ideal for relaxing. And spending a night on a cruise with the best cuisine is the best experience you’ll ever have

Cat Ba Island ” Lan Ha Bay Adventure

From the second you step onto  Cat Ba Island, you will be taken away by the vast blue sky, the flickering glimpse of mountains, and the fresh salty air from the sea. This natural massage is likely to alleviate all of the tiredness of your long journey. This is the best highlight, the best place before saying goodbye to Vietnam.

Vietnam travel to Ha Long Bay

Red River Delta

A memorable and unique way for you to touch the Hanoi culture deeply to visit local people, the countryside rural village, floating houses, and the green farms in contrast to the bustling city, even the historic Long Bien bridge. Hanoi has become the mystery city to all tourists who wonder how it can now be the capital of Vietnam, towering over the ups and downs of thousands of years of history.

Offroad & Enduro

Conquering dangerous  enduro routes  is undoubtedly a pleasure for many daring travelers. Vietnam, a gorgeous Southeast Asian country with several rugged roads, is a dare that every advanced motorcyclist would love to attempt. Exploring the country’s Northeast and Northwest, or following the renowned  Ho Chi Minh Trail, is undoubtedly challenging but exhilarating. And everywhere in  Northern Vietnam  exists the  offroad routes  to challenge all riders. But remember that you should ride with a professional guide not to get lost !!

Viet Nam War

Dien Bien province  has much tourism potential, notably in culture and history. The most notable is the historic  Dien Bien Phu triumph  system, including the  Dien Bien Phu  ”  Muong Phang  campaign headquarters; Him Lam, Ban Kao, Independent; the hills of A1, C1, D1, E1, and the heart of the French conglomerate (Dezac Tunnel). This complex is a tremendously rich resource for tourism growth in Dien Bien province and the  North West. If you love history and want to know how  Viet Cong  broke the strongest base built by the  French  and The  USDien Bien Phu  is there to answer all your questions.

Top Gear Vietnam

Hence you can easy to plan your holiday. After looking at Vietnam tourism overall, I think you can know where it fits your travel goal. But we can not make this blog too long to show you everything. So Experts from  BM Travel Motorbike Tours  will detail anything based on  Top Gear Vietnam Special.

What to know more for planning the trip

As mentioned above, it takes at least 14 days to explore the whole South, Central, or North or cross Saigon to Hanoi. Besides the bikes and international driver’s licenses, it needs more skill to ride a motorbike on your own.

  • Riding skill is essential to you choose what routes will be best for you
  • How to read GG maps, navigate directions correctly  when you are in a place during riding offroad
  • Some mechanical skills
  • Protection gears and Helmets
  • Traffic laws: In Vietnam, we ride on the right side, under 50 km/h within urban and 60 km/h when riding somewhere else

Explore Vietnam with Bm Travel Adventure

Top Gear Vietnam Special & Vietnam Motorbike Tours Club

  • Top Gear Vietnam Special is so successful in the motoring program on BBC. They also touched the culture sometimes. But generally, that was a game, a challenge for Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. And many problems happened on their trip. We don’t know how those guys can solve it if the team doesn’t cooperate with them.
  • It’s too much information for you to make your holiday perfect in Vietnam. If you have time, you should read blogs from us, BM Travel Vietnam Motorbike Tours. Those tips help you a lot in making a plan.
  • Otherwise, We are here. BM Travel Motorbike Tours is the top 1 Motorbike Tours Operator in Indochina. All you have to do is focus on your job and work hard. The rest of BM will arrange perfectly from taking your first step to Vietnam until the last seconds before leaving.
  • BM Travel Motorbike Tours gathers all experts in motorbike travel tourism. We are proud to say that you can rest assured your coming Vietnam Trip will be better than ever.


*By  Binh Phi from BM Travel Expert Team. It’s my pleasure to share with you my country, especially The South and Mekong Delta. I hope this information is helpful for your trip.  ​Please contact us

Contact us for more interesting information​

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