Inside a Vietnamese Motorbike Repair Shop

Motorbikes are extremely popular when getting around Vietnam
Motorbikes are extremely popular when getting around Vietnam | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Photo of Matthew Pike
Writer19 March 2018
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Motorbikes are the lifeblood of Vietnam. They’re the pulsing, gasoline-fueled rhythm of this nation. No other machine means as much to Vietnam as the motorbike. To better understand this culture, here’s a look inside a famous repair shop in Hanoi.

Phung Motorbike

In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Mr. Cường welcomed us into Phung Motorbike. They’re a one-stop shop: rentals, repairs and sales. They serve a predominantly foreign crowd of expats and backpackers, with demands ranging from daily commuters to people looking to spend weeks, or even months, traveling the amazing roads that have made Vietnam one of the most sought after motorbike destinations in the world. If you’ve been thinking about a motorbike trip through this stunning country, Phung Motorbike is a good place to start.

Many bike repair outlets can be found across the country | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Phung Motorbike cater for many expats | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Motorbikes are the lifeblood of Vietnam | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Tools of the trade | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip

In the business of servicing your ride

Phung Motorbike has 10 mechanics working in two garages. Mr.Cường has been with the company for two years now, and he told us that he alone repairs many motorbikes in a single day. Some jobs – things like oil changes and flat tires – are quick and easy, while others take days. The shelves and walls are stacked high with spare parts for every make and model, from cheap knock-offs that sell for a couple hundred dollars to high-performance rides that cost thousands. In their business, they have to be ready to work on anything with two wheels and an engine.

Getting on with the job | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
A row of spray cans at Phung Motorbike | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Mechanics have to be ready to work on anything with two wheels and an engine | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Plenty of tyre options on show | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
While some jobs are straightforward, others can take days | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
A worker focuses on the job in hand | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Even the most remote villages have motorbike repair shops | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
For many expats, renting a bike is a better choice than buying | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip

Buying, selling and renting motorbikes in Vietnam

Many expats move to Vietnam for just a few months, and they’d rather not go through the effort and risk of buying a motorbike. For them, renting is a better choice. In general, the longer you rent, the better the price. Mr. Cường told us that the longest daily rental they’ve ever done was for 40 days. Any longer than that, and they’d advise changing to a monthly rental. For daily rentals, the prices range from $5–$26 USD. Semi-automatic motorbikes that are kept within the city are the cheapest, while long distance 150cc motorbikes meant for back roads are the priciest.

Buying a motorbike in Vietnam is actually a simple process. Many riders buy a motorbike and then resell it when they’re through with their trip, often ending in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. This is riskier, as all servicing and repairs are entirely on the owner, but parts and labor are cheap in Vietnam, and there are plenty of repair shops in even the tiniest, most remote villages. This country is made for motorbikes, so be sure to visit Phung Motorbike and see what they can do to help you start the journey of a lifetime.

The shop is stacked high with spare parts for every make and model | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Changing the oil | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Buying a motorbike in Vietnam is simple | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Captured up close on a repair | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Vietnam is a country made for motorbikes | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip
Motorbikes are a regular presence on the roads here | Vu Pham Van / © Culture Trip

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