Hao Tran is joining the Travel Codex crew today, writing from his new hometown, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, as a veteran points and miles traveler. He’ll be contributing articles about where to go in Asia, as well as tips on how to get there with your rewards points. You can reach him at @haontran or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
UberMOTO is a new offering only found in Southeast Asia.
There was a similar offering in Paris a few years ago, though that option has since been shut down. As you can guess by the name, you request a motorbike and ride the back seat to your destination. It’s about half-price of the UberX option and is typically a faster way to get around the city especially during rush hour.
Uber launched its motorbike offering in March in Bangalore and Bangkok, only to get shutdown a couple months later. But the service is thriving in Vietnam, where regulations allow Uber to permit without too much oversight.
And at a base fare of 10,000 VND (USD$0.45), the UberMOTO option is a fun and fast way to get around traffic-congested Ho Chi Minh City.
The UberMOTO Experience
You request the UberMOTO option like any other Uber ride.
The driver will show up a few minutes later. The drivers are on the younger side since car ownership for a younger person in Vietnam is rare, but almost everyone owns a motorbike. In Vietnam, the UberMOTO drivers are in my experience younger university students looking to earn an easy side income, so they typically speak great English.
Upon arrival, they’ll hand you a Uber-branded helmet and even a helmet hair cover for those that worry about hair sanitation.
Keep in mind, UberMOTOs are meant for only 1 passenger. If you are a party of two or more UberX is the better (but less fun) option.
All Uber motorbikes have a handrail on the back of the bike so that you can hang on to it during your ride. In Vietnam, locals call the motorbikes ‘Xe Om’ which means hugging bikes (as in you hug the driver while riding). No need to do that with your driver, thankfully.
You’ll zip through the city with UberMOTO and just like an UberX, the payment is cashless. You’ll have the option to pay with cash though, as you would with Uber in many cities throughout Southeast Asia.
- Park Hyatt Saigon to Jade Emperor Pagoda: 12,000 VND ($0.53)
- Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers to Cuc Gach Quan (my favorite restaurant in Saigon): 15,000 VND ($0.67)
- Le Meredien Saigon to the Independence Palace: 14,000 VND ($0.62)
Ultimately, it’s a great offering to have for a bit of a thrill and to get around the city faster, though it’s definitely not for everyone. UberX is still an affordable option throughout Southeast Asia and is typically 2/3 the cost of a traditional cab.