Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

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Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

You can do a lot with 120ccs. That’s the engine size of the motorcycles we rode one rainy day in Vietnam. It was a fun motorcycle trip to Hoi An from Hue with Kids. These are small vehicles, to be sure, but you might be surprised at just how much these clunky contraptions can carry. On this particular day, their cargo was one overly enthusiastic couple in Vietnam with kids, four backpacks, and a handful of cameras and laptops.

Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

Years ago, Keiko and I had our own motorcycles when we lived in Taiwan, but since then we’ve taken public transportation or ridden nothing but sputtering scooters and the occasional car in the countries we visit. We both missed riding something a bit more substantial, and wanted the freedom to travel further from the city limits. Scooters are for around town — motorcycles are for mountain roads and unknown destinations.

Hue Adventures

Keiko and I saw an opportunity to relive a modicum of this experience in Hue Adventures Company. Since we needed to get from Hue to Hoi An in central Vietnam anyway, we went for it. It’s not that far, to be honest, and we could have taken (another) bumpy bus ride, or hired a taxi driver for a 3.5-hour ride. Instead, we hopped on the back of four motorcycles for a day trip, covering the same ground, but stopping here and there to eat, drink, swim and snap a few pictures.

Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

Safe motorcycle trip

Naturally, the kids were a bit nervous at first. They’ve ridden with us all over on mopeds, but never on big bikes on big roads. Motorcycle trip in Vietnam, mind you — is something else entirely, not to mention that we would all be passengers seated behind strangers. Oh, and it happened to be raining when we embarked, which always makes for a more precarious ride. Our drivers and guides, however, were great. Like, really great. Personable and professional, they drove (relatively) sanely and made us all feel very comfortable quite quickly.

Rest stop for coffee and soda

We made several stops along the way, the first of which was a roadside stand for a drink. Keiko and I had coffee (oh, Vietnamese coffee, will you marry me?). Our girl (8 y/o) was allowed to drink Coca Cola, which is an extremely rare occurrence. It was, in fact, the first for her to finish an entire can in our presence. She once downed two cans when flying alone… Fortunately, the boy hates most sodas.

She had become so comfortable with the riding situation that we were worried she might relax to the point of falling asleep. We surmised that a caffeine boost might be better than her tumbling off a motorcycle into traffic. After our drink and a lounge in a hammock, it was back on the road. Within another hour, we reached Elephant Springs, where we stopped for a dip.
Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

Local delight for lunch

Once we got back on the bikes, it was another 45 minutes before we reached our lunch spot. It was a very local restaurant on stilts teetering above a lagoon. They brought us here because we said that we ate everything and loved Vietnamese food. According to a guide, they had other spots for those with different tastes/diets. The food was quite good: deep-fried pork, eggs with scallions, several stir-fried vegetables and a hearty fish soup. My favorite, however, were the mussels covered in green onion, peanuts and some spices.
Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

Special Nuoc Mam

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the “special” sauce available here. You’ve heard of nuoc mam? The fish sauce that forms the basis of most Vietnamese food? Well, at this place, they had their own version — one that was aged years and years longer. Where the usual nuoc mam is as clear as soup broth, this was thick and pasty. They asked me if I wanted to try it, and of course I did (my stomach was once lined with titanium).

Special effect?

The sauce was amazing: fishy, of course, but also sweet and fragrant — almost floral. It also may have been the cause of some digestive problems a few hours later. None was affected, but me. The sauce was the only thing I ate that no one else tried. Can’t blame the guides, though – they had warned me that it was “special.”
They were so nice to us throughout the entire trip that I couldn’t get mad at them if I tried. All the guide helped to fix our plates before their own and refused to eat until we had heartily dug in. They grabbed our helmets each time we dismounted from their bikes and wiped the visor clear if it needed it. All of them cracked jokes and made us really feel like they were showing their cousin’s friends around instead of serving customers.
Motorcycle Trip to Hoi An from Hue: Vietnam with Kids

Riding as a passenger

We had considered riding this road on our own, and we could have, but I’m so glad we rode with them instead. It’s rare that I get to ride as a passenger, and as such it allowed me the opportunity to really take in the view. This also left my hands free to safely photograph (and film) the scenery as much as I cared to.

The landscape around the mountainous Dalat region was especially stunning. It was nice to just ride along, drink it all in and make funny faces at my kids on the other bikes when we passed each other. If we had ridden this stretch of road ourselves, there would have been constant stops to check maps and ask directions. Also, most of the stops we made — the drink stand and the restaurant, for example — were locals-only places that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own. It was nice to have someone show us the way. If you’re in Vietnam with kids and considering this kind of travel, we can’t recommend it highly enough.


  1. Thank you for sharing. This post do I think about local life of Vietnam. 🙂 about Nuoc Mam to ride a motorbike, I love it. Thanks