Exploring Vietnam on motorbike offers an unparalleled sense of unrestrained freedom and adventure. In fact, motorbikes remain the most popular mode of transport in the country and are used daily by 79% of the population, VNExpress reports. When motorbiking, safety should always be a priority, but, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see inexperienced riders whizzing around in shorts, flip flops, and without helmets. Protective body gear and clothing is an important aspect of motorbike safety and shouldn’t be missed. It’s the only layer of protection between you and the road in an accident, after all.

Motorbikes remain the most popular mode of transport in Vietnam

Protect your head

In Vietnam, wearing a helmet is required by law when motorbiking. Essential for protecting your head on the road, a helmet is a must-have piece of equipment. Get an official snell or DOT helmet as they’re durable and safety-tested. Additionally, goggles or visors protect your eyes from bugs, stones, and debris. If your helmet has a visor, you may not need eye protection, but many riders prefer to double up. Don’t forget ear plugs: they’ll protect your hears from extreme noise of Vietnamese traffic which can be damaging upon repeated exposure.

Wearing a helmet is required by law when motorbiking in Vietnam

Body gear

Protective gloves are vital. If you’re in an accident, you automatically put your hands out to break the fall — and they’ll get the brunt of the impact. Gloves also protect from extreme temperatures, as well as the constant vibration of the bike (you’ll experience your fair share of rough, bumpy roads here). Opt for sturdy, padded gloves; gauntlet-style ones that go past your wrists are even better. Additionally, elbow and knee guards provide protection for these commonly injured body parts.

Protective gloves are vital

Cool clothing

As for clothing, long sleeves and durable trousers resist abrasions and protect against sunburn and hypothermia. Reflective clothing at night will ensure you remain visible on the road. Sturdy boots protect your feet and ankles and provide good grip on the pedals. You’ll also be thankful for packing rain gear, especially in the heavy Vietnamese downpours. A simple poncho is a popular choice, but a rain suit offers maximum protection; you can find one easily in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

Finally, pack a good first-aid kit. It should include disinfectant, plasters, bandages, gauze pads, a wire splint, and antibiotic ointment at the minimum. Always have your cell phone to hand in case the situation requires outside medical help. Follow these essential safety tips, and you’re bound to have a great time out on the road.

By Jane French