Ever since the French influence in what was then known as Indochine (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam), Vespa scooters have been the popular and stylish transportation of choice throughout the region. Even after the independence of the former Indochine countries, the tradition has persisted to this day and local seniors and youngsters alike all know what a Vespa is and that Vespas are cool!
The French were the ones who introduced Vespas to Vietnam, bringing over their stylish scooters to help navigate the streets of their adopted homeland. When the French were expelled in the early 1950’s, their Vespas remained behind and quickly became a quintessential part of Vietnamese culture. But their popularity was short-lived. At the end of the American War in 1975, the Vietnamese government isolated its economy from outside influences, thus causing the Vespas to become status symbols for those who could afford them. With no new replacements available, locals had to maintain these machines as best they could, and they became experts at understanding the secret workings of the fickle Italian two-strokes. When Vietnam opened its doors once again to foreigners in 1990, locals discovered a whole world of shiny new – and cheap – Japanese and Chinese models. The hand-me-down Vespas were discarded and left to rust, forgotten, salvaged for scrap metal and spare parts. All of the citizens were lining up to sell what they thought were old, useless motorbikes. Beyond Vietnam, however, the rest of the world was rediscovering the classic style of the Italian scooters. Especially popular were those from the so-called Golden Era of production, the late 1960s and early ’70s. Enthusiasts and riders everywhere were once again crazy for the distinctive wasp-like body design (“vespa” is Italian for “wasp”) and the early model’s unique two-stroke sound.
We are deeply passionate about these iconic scooters and love their style, comfort, the buzz of their engines and the deep connection they have to the local culture. Through using Vespas on our tours, our guests have a once in a lifetime experience and feel what it was like to zoom around the streets of Asia on a Vespa. Simply put, we think Vespas are the best!
We have a fleet of 400+ Vespas spread across our six destinations. Each bike is meticulously maintained and features a wide padded seat, footrests and a backrest to ensure a comfortable ride. In Vietnam, all of our scooters are vintage Vespas. As you ride one of our bikes, you are riding on a bike that has been in the country for more than 40 years! In Cambodia and Thailand, we use modern Vespas that still have the instantly recognizable classic silhouette but with modern engines. As with the classic bikes, the Vespas in Cambodia and Thailand have wide rear tires and direct traction that combine to ensure a safe and surprisingly stable ride even over the challenging countryside roads where our tours venture.
The Vespa Adventures team takes your safety- and your enjoyment- seriously. We take every precaution possible to ensure each tour goes off without a hitch. Our drivers are all local residents with deep familiarity with the roads and road rules. On top of that, we provide extensive training, covering everything from defensive driving to helping guests get comfortable on the bikes. Our Vespa Adventures guides are first-aid certified and carry a medical kit on all tours. But despite all of the safety measures we implement, being on the back of a scooter still has an inherent risk. Therefore we do have an insurance policy that covers all of our guests should an accident occur.