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Motorcycle Tour in Vietnam

Have you always wanted to see beautiful North Vietnam by motorcycle but never have the time to be away for three weeks? This is your chance then. A trip by motorcycle through this still unknown region allows one to experience the unprecedented and unsullied beauty of North Vietnam. In addition to the enthusiastic population and unspoiled nature, this motorcycle trip is a unique experience and without doubt an adventurous challenge.

Key information

  • Terrain: mix of asphalt and off-road
  • Bike: rental bike (Kawasaki KLX 150cc or Honda XR 250cc)
  • Mileage: 1,375 kilometers / 854 miles
  • Daily rides: 165 - 235 kilometers / 103 - 146 miles
  • Riding gear: not included: helmet, motorcycle jacket with protection, gloves, a good hard wearing pair of (motorcycle) trousers with protection, and solid high (mountain) boots
  • Meals: some breakfasts

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Hanoi
  • Encounter Dao, H'mong, and Nung people
  • Ride through a spectacular region studded with jagged rocks
  • Take your bike to one of the most beautiful rice terrace regions of Vietnam
  • Enjoy the views en route to the famous Sa Pa
  • 8 nights' accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 riding days
Group size: 2-12 participants
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Accommodation

You will spend one night at a homestay with the local and the rest of the night at several accommodations chosen by Motor Trails.

Program

Pre-arrival: Departure

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

One arrives at Hanoi airport either in the morning or the afternoon, depending on the airline. It is a half hour drive to the hotel in the center of the old town.

Day 2: Hanoi - Nghĩa Lộ, 200 kilometers / 124 miles

You ride out of the bustling capital to the north. The first part is still busy with traffic, mostly trucks. Once on the narrow roads along the Red River, however, it is quiet and there is much to see. Nghĩa Lộ is a nice little town where you will encounter Dao and H'mong people. You will spend the night here. In addition to the charming restaurant at the hotel, there are also many other small restaurants and snack bars in the center where you can eat.

Day 3: Nghĩa Lộ - Sa Pa, 235 kilometers / 146 miles

You ride further north. The landscape is very beautiful here. On both sides of the roads, there are green rice terraces built against the mountainsides. You ride through the mountains here, crossing over a few high passes. There are more Dao people in this area. You stop for lunch in the town of Than Uyên, after which, it is another 60 kilometers ride to Sa Pa. This is the highest pass of this trip.

The views en route to the famous Sa Pa pass are fantastic, even the road has been improved recently. Sa Pa is the most touristy place you will visit on this trip. As you do not come here at the weekend for the market, you do not see so many other tourists. Sa Pa is situated at an altitude of 1,500 meters. During the French colonization, it developed as a summer retreat to escape the oppressive heat in the lower parts of the country.

Day 4: Sa Pa - Bắc Hà, 165 kilometers / 103 miles

You ride the first 110 kilometers of the day on a fully surfaced road. Along the way, you stop in Lao Cai to take a look at the Chinese border. The Red River separates the two countries here and a railway bridge connects them again. Across the river, one can see the tall buildings of the relatively-speaking much richer China. Bắc Hà is a typical northern Vietnamese village with vibrant peoples, located in a valley. If you have time, you could take the beautiful inland route via Cốc Ly.

Day 5: Bắc Hà - Ha Giang, 195 kilometers / 121 miles

You walk around Bắc Hà in the morning. You will visit some H'mong villages in this area. Alternately, you can also explore the villages by motorcycle. At the end of the morning, you will leave for Xín Mần. Just north of Bắc Hà, you turn right onto a dirt road. Tourists never use this route nor is the road suitable for big traffic. The rocky highland between the two places gives rise to a very special landscape.

You will ride through a spectacular region studded with jagged rocks. The small H'mong villages along the way do not see many passersby. After a beautiful descent, you arrive in Xín Mần. You stop here for lunch. Just outside of Xín Mần, you cross the bridge and turn right. You follow the river to the village of Hoàng Su Phì. There are many people of the Nung here. Furthermore, there are many Nung villages en route.

After a coffee break, follows one of the most beautiful rice terrace regions of Vietnam. With each bend, there is yet another view of the beautiful green terraces. For the last section today, you follow the highway to the provincial capital of Ha Giang. One needs to watch out a bit in the busy traffic. You stay the night here in a resort on the river, just outside the center.

Day 6: Ha Giang - Mèo Vạc, 165 kilometers / 103 miles

After breakfast in the big city, you ride into an exceptionally beautiful mountain region. This is known locally as 'Đồng Văn - Mèo Vạc', after the two largest villages. Immediately after Ha Giang, the road narrows and you climb over a beautiful ridge. The small town of Yên Minh lies in the valley behind this ridge. In the Đồng Văn region, you become the show attraction for the local inhabitants. Foreigners are rare visitors for the tribes in this area.

There are still real communist strongholds to be found in the remote areas of the province. Mèo Vạc is such a stronghold. All the stone buildings in the city are government buildings decorated with red banners. In order to reach Mèo Vạc, you first need to cross a few high passes. This is one of the most beautiful tours of the trip! Again, here, you are not far off from the Chinese border. You stay overnight in a reasonably basic hotel.

Day 7: Mèo Vạc - Ba Bể, 195 kilometers / 121 miles

You rise early today in preparation for a long adventurous day. In the morning, you ride from Mèo Vạc to Bảo Lạc. This is a wonderful and peaceful route through a rolling landscape covered with rice terraces. After lunch, you ride along narrow inland roads to the Ba Bể Lake which is to be found in the eponymous national park. The lakes are surrounded by unusual jagged karst rocks. You sleep here in a small village in a local people's house. The conditions are very simple, you sleep with several people on the ground in a large room.

Day 8: Ba Bể - Hanoi, 220 kilometers / 137 miles

This is a long day’s ride back to the capital. In the morning, the roads are quiet but after Than Nguyen, it gets busier. It is the last stage of the trip but perhaps the most special one. For many participants, riding into the city in the massive traffic is a fantastic end to the trip.

Day 9: Hanoi - Departure

If you have not booked the extension for Ha Long Bay, then you will leave early in the morning to go to Hanoi airport for the flight back home. Depending on the airline, you will arrive home either on the same day or the next morning.

Physical challenges

During this trip through North Vietnam, you ride neither at a high altitude nor through extremely desolate regions. You ride on light motorcycles which make the trip suitable also for those riders who have never undertaken an adventurous motorcycle trip before. The daily distances are not long, giving rise to frequent opportunities for stopping along the way to take photographs or to visit villages.

What might well prove difficult, however, is dealing with the extremely busy traffic in and around Hanoi. One must also take into account that the main roads, which Motor Trails does their best to avoid as much as possible, can be busy with trucks which do not comply with traffic regulations.

Off-road

Only a small section of the trip goes over dirt roads and paths, amounting to a total of two to three days in the current schedule. These trails are not very difficult and are more than practicable without any off-road experience or off-road training beforehand. When the weather is worse than expected, however, it can be these off-road days in particular which prove to be problematic.

Location

The mountains of Northern Vietnam are inhabited by numerous ethnic groups. Each group has its own traditions, language, and dress. You will encounter different people and visit colorful markets via stunning mountain roads.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 7-day guided tour
  • Bike rental (Kawasaki KLX 150cc or Honda XR 250cc)
  • Support vehicle with a local driver starting from 4 participants
  • 2 or 3 participants with a local guide/mechanic English speaking on a motorbike
  • starting at 4 participants or more English/Dutch speaking tour guide on a motorbike, support car with a local mechanic
  • Letter of invitation for Vietnam visa
  • Comprehensive handbook
  • Airport transfers
  • 8 nights' accommodation
  • Some breakfasts

What's not included

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Any other meals and drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Visa expenses (on arrival at the airport)
  • Halong Bay program available at 298 USD

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 12.1% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
Rated: 5/10 1 review

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9 days / 8 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

Availability

Start: Saturday December 4, 2021
End: Sunday December 12, 2021

Booking policy

In the event that the participant cancels the trip, the participant is liable for cancellation costs. These cancellation costs cover reimbursement of any costs incurred by Motor Trails on behalf of the participant, up to the moment of cancellation, for which Motor Trails does not receive a refund.

All cancellation costs are supplemented, as applicable, by the cancellation costs of any issued tickets. Cancellation of the travel agreement by the participant must always be made in writing (by letter or email). You are strongly advised to take out a good travel cancellation insurance. This insurance will compensate for the cancellation costs provided that the cause of the cancellation is covered by the policy.

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