13 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorcycle Tour in Vietnam

  • Phu Yen - Mai Chau - Tan Ky - Phong Nha - Dong Hoi - Khe Sanh - Hue - Hoi An - Kon Tum - Buon Ma Thuot - Nha Trang

Overview

Motorcycle Tour Vietnam

This ride takes place in the former imperial capital of Hue, the ancient trading town of Hoi An, Khe Sanh Battlefield, A Shaw Valley, My Khe Beach, Vietnamese war museums, and the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. You will also stay in a traditional Thai hill tribe village and visit the Imperial Tombs of Hue. This is a moderate level trip for bikers or experienced riders. Take this chance to be among the first to traverse the Ho Chi Minh Trail, previously used during the American War!

Highlights

  • Fully guided motorbike tour
  • Motorbike rental for the entire tour
  • Visit ancient towns, battlefields, war museums, and more
  • Well-experienced guides and translators
  • Daily meals, tea, and rice wine
  • 12 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

  • Advanced

Group sizes

The maximum participants in the group is 10.

  • 11 riding days
  • English
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During this tour, you will stay at several hotels provided by Travelo Vietnam. There will be overnight stays in Phu Yen, Mai Chau, Tan Ky, Phong Nha, Dong Hoi, Khe Sanh, Hue, Hoi An, Kon Tum, Buon Ma Thuot, and Nha Trang.

Phu Yen is one of the less traveled places in Vietnam, so the accommodation conditions are basic. Mai Chau is the largest homestaying complex in Northern Vietnam. Here, you will stay in a stilt house, or pile dwelling, made of bamboo and timber. A house is normally elevated 10 to 12 feet off the ground in order to avoid water damage and provide shelter for animals.

Day 1 - Hanoi to Phu Yen (165 kilometers, 6 hours riding)

You will ride to Phu Yen on country road with a stop in Son Tay. On November 20 and 21, 1970, a joint force composed of USAF special operations and rescue personnel, U.S. Army Special Forces, and U.S. Navy Carrier Task Force 77, made a daring raid on the Son Tay prison camp located less than 50 miles from Hanoi. The objective was to rescue as many as 100 U.S. captives thought to be held there.

The assault troops flew 640 kilometers to Son Tay from bases in Thailand. U.S. Navy pilots made a diversionary raid while 116 USAF and Navy aircraft flew refuelling surface-to-air missile suppression, fighter cover, close air support, early warning, communications support, and reconnaissance missions. No prisoners were found in the camp.

After lunch, you will ride on the winding mountain road to Phu Yen to take in some of the best mountain views in Northwest Vietnam. Overnighting will be at a hotel. Lunch and dinner are included for today.

Day 2 - Phu Yen to Mai Chau (145 kilometers, 5 hours riding)

There are many small roads that lead into the mountains around Mai Chau, so you will take the chance to ride out to isolated H’mong, Dao, and Thai villages. You will take on the challenge of an old road built by the French army and spend the afternoon exploring nearby villages. Overnight will be in a Thai ethnicity stilt house in Mai Chau. There are three meals included today.

Day 3 - Mai Chau to Tan Ky (290 kilometers, 9 hours riding)

Ride on a small, spectacular, and paved trail along the Ma River until Cam Thuy Town, where you will stop for lunch. Hit the Ho Chi Minh Trail, now a newly built highway, all the way to Tan Ky town, where you will spend the night in a hotel. There are three meals included today.

Day 4 - Tan Ky to Phong Nha (280 kilometers, 8 hours riding)

Ride on Ho Chi Minh highway until Pho Chau, where you will stop to visit the Ho Chi Minh Trail victory monument, which is the real starting point of the Ho Chi Minh Trail ride. You will ride all the way to Phong Nha - Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina, which is now a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The karst formation of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic and is the oldest major karst area in Asia.

Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geographic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao, contains spectacular formations including 65 kilometers of caves and underground rivers. There are three meals included today.

Day 5 - Phong Nha to Dong Hoi (60 kilometers, 2 hours riding)

Today, you will boat and explore the World Heritage site of Phong Nha, where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during wartime. Then, you will drive down to the coastal town of Dong Hoi, which was heavily shelled by U.S. warships during the war. There will be time to sunbathe by the beach. Overnight will be in Dong Hoi. There are three meals included for today.

Day 6 - Dong Hoi to Khe Sanh (200 kilometers, 6 hours riding)

You will strike south through foothills which were once sprayed heavily by Agent Orange towards the former Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. There is still much evidence of bombing on the mountain sides and from time to time, you will see remnants of the original trail. You will take in the Vinh Moc Tunnel, the famous Hien Luong Bridge, the Truong Son Cemetery, and Khe Sanh. Overnight will be in Khe Sanh. There are three meals included for today.

Day 7 - Khe Sanh to Hue (180 kilometers, 7 hours riding)

In the morning, you will head south over the Da Krong Bridge, built by the Cubans in 1973, into the infamous A Shau Valley, an area of intense wartime activity. Passing Hamburger Hill and mountains still barren due to the extended effects of Agent Orange, you will arrive at A Luoi, where there are many Bru Van hill tribe people.

Then, cruising through green back country down the steep Me Oi Pass, you will continue on to the beautiful city of Hue, which lies along the banks of the Perfume River. Overnight will be in Hue. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included for today.

Day 8 - Hue to Hoi An (145 kilometers, 5 hours riding)

Today, you will see the Forbidden Citadel in the morning. You will also join the National Highway 1 and head up the Hai Van Pass, known as Cloudy Pass, before the World Heritage site of Hoi An, a major trading center in Southeast Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. Overnight will be in Hoi An. There are three meals included for today.

Day 9 - Hoi An and sightseeing day

Those who wish can ride up to My Khe Beach, where U.S. marines first landed. Otherwise, you can enjoy a free day to explore Hoi An by foot or by motorbike taxi. With fine wining and dining, including a range of Hoi An specialties, impressive architecture, fantastic tailoring, endless shopping, and a glorious beach, there is no shortage of activities to indulge in. Three meals are included for today.

Day 10 - Hoi An to Kon Tum (290 kilometers, 9 hours riding)

You will strike back up to the mountains, rejoining the trail at Phuoc Son, also known as Kham Duc. From there, you will head up the towering Lo So Pass, passing through remote areas thinly populated by people of the Ba Na ethnicity. Edging close to the border with Laos, where a number of trail arteries crossed over in Laos, you will continue on to Kon Tum. Overnight will be in Kon Tum.

Day 11 - Kon Tum to Buon Ma Thuot (240 kilometers, 8 hours riding)

In the morning, you will head south through the Central Highlands, passing Pleiku and the Ia Drang Valley Battlefield before continuing onto Buon Ma Thuot. The city is also known as Buon Me Thuot, where northern forces launched their final assault on the city formerly known as Saigon. Buon Ma Thuot produces most and best coffee products in Vietnam. Overnight will be in Buon Ma Thuot.

Day 12 - Buon Ma Thuot to Nha Trang (190 kilometers, 7 hours riding)

You will take an easy drive back down off the Tay Son Highlands towards the coast, arriving at Highway 1 some 30 kilometers north of Nha Trang. Taking in this scenic coastal stretch past turquoise waters and scarlet fishing boats, you will arrive in the bright lights of Nha Trang and its relaxing holiday options. Overnight will be in Nha Trang.

Day 13 - Nha Trang and relax day

Today, you can enjoy a free day by the beach before gathering for a seafood feast to recount adventures and toast the Ho Chi Minh Trail. You can either return to Hanoi by train or by air or go down south on your own.

  • Boat and explore the World Heritage site of Phong Nha
  • Stop by the Phong Nha - Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina
  • Visit the Ho Chi Minh Trail victory monument

In this motorbike tour, you will ride the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was the supply line used by North Vietnam to link the north and south regions of the country during the American War. Soldiers, ammunition, weapons, and supplies were carried by hand, on bicycles, and by truck for hundreds of kilometers through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that covered Vietnam’s mountainous border with Laos.

Buon Ma Thuot

Also written as Ban Me Thuot, it is the capital city of Dak Lak Province, Southern Vietnam. In reality, the city is the largest in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region and is famous as the regional capital of coffee, home to many Vietnamese famous coffee brands.

Dong Hoi

The capital city of Quang Binh Province in Central Vietnam. The city is on the old National Highway 1A, about 500 kilometers south of Hanoi. Dong Hoi has a 12-kilometer coastline with white sand beaches, such as Nhat Le, Da Nhay, and Ly Ho. During the Vietnam and American War, this was one of the most fierce battlefields.

Hoi An

Also known as Faifo, it is a city on the coast of central Vietnam, in Quang Nam Province, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. The city served as the largest harbor in Southeast Asia in the first century. In fact, it was still an important port until the 17th century.

The Pagoda Bridge is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side. All new hotels are moved to Cua Dai, not far away from the Old City, where you will stay near the beach.

Hue

Between 1802 and 1945, it was the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. During the Vietnam and American War, Hue became central position between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. In the Tet Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Hue, the city suffered considerable damage. After the war, many of the historic features of Hue were neglected. Over the past 20 years, many historical areas of the city have been being restored.

Khe Sanh

District capital of Huong Hoa District in Quang Tri Province. Khe Sanh Combat Base is a war site, it was a United States Marine Corps outpost in South Vietnam. The airstrip was built in September 1962 and later, the Vietnamese Army rebuilt the old airstrip at Khe Sanh for courier flights into the south.

As of 2009, Khe Sanh Combat Base is a museum where relics of the war are exhibited. Most of the former base is now overgrown by wilderness or coffee and banana plants and there is little trace of the war.

Kon Tum

The capital town of Kon Tum Province in Central Highlands, near the borders with Laos and Cambodia, mostly famous for its coffee products. Kon Tum has several vestiges of the French colonial period, as well as several tribal villages directly in the suburbs of the Vietnamese-reconstructed town.

Among the town’s landmarks, there is a Roman Catholic wooden church on discrete stilts and a large French-built seminary, which hosts a small museum on local hill tribes. French missionary presence in Kon Tum traces back to 1851. This town is in a politically sensitive area and some permits are required to visit remote villages.

Mai Chau

A Thai village in Mai Chau District of Hoa Binh province, Mai Chau is about 160 kilometers from Phu Yen. In the early 1990s, Lac village was the first to open a homestay overnighting business. It became so popular that all surrounding villages stepped into this business.

Nha Trang

A coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa Province, in the Southern Vietnam, Nha Trang is well known for its beaches and scuba diving and has developed into a popular destination for domestic and international tourists, attracting large numbers of visitors on the Southeast Asia circuit. In reality, Nha Trang Bay is considered as among the world’s most beautiful bays.

The city is home to the famous Po Nagar Tower built by the Champa. Being a coastal city, Nha Trang is a center for marine science based at the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute. The Hon Mun marine protected area is one of four first marine protected areas in the world admitted by the IUCN.

Phong Nha

Phong Nha - Ke Bang is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bo Trach and Minh Hoa districts, Quang Binh Province. This location is in central Vietnam, about 500 kilometers south of Hanoi. The park was created to protect one of the world’s two largest karst regions with 300 caves and grottoes. In addition, it also protects the ecosystem of limestone forest in the north central coast of Vietnam.

Phong Nha holds several world cave records. It has the longest underground river, as well as the largest caverns and passageways. Son Doong is a relatively recently discovered cave in the national park. In reality, it is the largest cave in the world. A boat ride on the Son River is a good way to relax and take in the beautiful view of this park. However, a tour to discover this cave is very expensive and must be booked very long in advance.

Phu Yen

A small town about 170 kilometers northwest of Hanoi. Phu Yen is in the heart of the third largest rice field in Northern Vietnam. In fact, the road from Hanoi to Son Tay is crowded, skirting along the Red River. On the other hand, the road from Son Tay to Phu Yen is quite scenic and quiet. It is one of the less traveled places in Northern Vietnam.

Quy Nhon

Also written as Qui Nhon, it is a coastal capital city in Binh Dinh Province of Central Vietnam. In the past, the city focused on agriculture and fishing. However, there has been a significant shift towards service industries and tourism recently. Things need time to get better but it is a good stop on the trip from north to south, at least not touristy.

Tan Ky

A town in the west part of Nghe An province about 400 kilometers south of Hanoi. It is a stop on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In fact, kilometer 0 is in this district, where the original Ho Chi Minh Trail starts. This is home to Kinh, Thai, and Tho people.

You will be provided with a welcome dinner upon your arrival. Travelo Vietnam will provide you with daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole tour. All Vietnamese food is included; Western food costs extra.

If you have any specific food requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, or food allergies, please inform Travelo Vietnam in advance so that they can provide notice to the restaurant, tour guide, and partners. If you are a food lover, Travelo Vietnam can also be your culinary guide and provide you an opportunity to savor tempting local food and world-famous dishes.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirements are served and/or catered for:

  • Other dietary requirements on request
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
(If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation)
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 9 dinners
  • 9 lunches
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • All entrance fees, permits, tickets, boat trips, ferries, bamboo rafts, etc.
  • All Vietnamese food
  • Indochina Explore Tours Vietnam support
  • Motorcycle and all fuel
  • Sleeping bags, mosquito nets, and pillows for homestays
  • Third party motorbike insurance if you have a Vietnamese driving license
  • Tour guide, translator, leader, and handy mechanic
  • Vietnamese green tea and rice wine
  • Accommodation and food in Hanoi
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Bike shipping and tour guide’s travel back to Hanoi
  • Breakfast on the departure day and dinner on the return day
  • Drinks other than tea and local rice wine
  • Protective pants, jacket, gloves, helmet, rain gear, and other safety equipment
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal medical insurance
  • Single room supplement
  • Tips
  • Train tickets

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Noi Bai International Airport (HAN).

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by Wim

    "Hi, thank you for your mail. I was happy with the trip we made, and we were guided very well. I have some few remarks I would like to state. – As I was going back from LuangPrabang to Saigon, I ran into visum problems. Apparently I had only 1 entrance possibility. It costed me about 105 USdollars to get it back arranged in the airport of Cambodja. – Our guide in Vietnam was very friendly, although we could have received a bit more explanation during the trip in the day. Our guide in Laos had done it more. – A few hotels were overrated. Especially the last one in Laos (which was a different one then mentioned on the paper) and the last 2 in Vietnam. On the other hand, I also have some extraordinary points. – The 2 guides in Laos treated us very well and friendly. – The food was really good on the whole trip (all local food). – We were in contact with local people many times, which was very special. – your personnal contact was also appreciated Anyway, I am now in Hanoi until Sunday. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to contact me."

    "br, Wim"

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by Michele from New South Wales, Australia

    "Hello Mr. Dung, We arrived home yesterday afternoon and everyone is very tired. Thank you for your help with the organisation of our tour through Vietnam. We enjoyed seeing Hue for the first time. Feedback for the trip: Hotels The hotel in Gia Bao Hotel in Hanoi was nice but too small for our group. The restaurant faculties were not adequate. The Green Hotel in Hue was OK but the rooms were a little musty and the hotel restaurant was very expensive. The Glory Hotel in Hoi An was wonderful. We would like to stay here again in future. Junk boats on Halong Bay were good (although one was very old). Less problems than last year with the boat captains and staff. Too much food and too early for lunch (10.30am). There was an incident with some male boat staff looking into our girls’ windows. This is not acceptable. Transport (Bus) Drivers were excellent. Much safer driving than last year. The attendants helping the drivers were courteous and helpful. Guide Huy was helpful and enthusiastic. It was good to have the same guide as last year. his service was excellent. We will be planning our next trip in the next few months. I will contact you via email to ask for a quote as soon as I have planned the itinerary ."

    "Thank you once again."

    "Kind regards,"

    "Michele Michele Hockey Teacher, Senior School"

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by John and Pat

    "Hello mr Dung"

    "Thanks once again for another successful CTC tour to Vietnam. Everyone enjoyed the experience of travelling in the northern provinces despite the rain, cold and fog. Please convey our special thanks to Mr Tuyen and Mr Thanh. We would find it difficult to run the tour without their invaluable help. Also thanks to Mr Tung and Mr Tinh for their enthusiastic support. Thank you also on behalf of our group for the lovely scarves and the superb farewell evening. A very memorable occasion. We are looking forward to a new adventure with Travelocity Indochina in March and would be very pleased if Mr Tuyen and Mr Thanh will join us again Thank you once again for a great tour With very best wishes"

    "John and Pat CTC Cycling Holidays"

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by Jane

    "Hello Ms Ha,"

    "Yes, everything is fine. My friends head is all healed nicely, and I will let her know that you asked about her. We had a most enjoyable trip and Mr Pye was a very good guide. We enjoyed his company and we learned many things about Myanmar. We do hope that we will be able to travel with you again some day. your company has always treated us very well. Thank you from all of us"

    "Very best regards, Jane"

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by Darek Dabrowski

    "Dear Ms Nguyen Ha."

    "Regarding to your email from 02 DEC, I have spoken with our tour leader Mr. Przemyslaw Kunysz who was in Vietnam with our last group. In general – we are very satisfied with cooperation with you. This itinerary is good and standard of accommodation and transportation was satisfied. We like also a service of your professional birding guide who took care about our group. As our cooperation looks good, we plan to organise the same tour by the same itinerary next year. it will start at the end of October and finish in the first half of November 2014. Could you, please, send me a new quotation for this tour for Oct / Nov next year. And than I will send you the exact dates of this tour. I am looking forward to get a reply from you. With kind regards from Poland."

    "Darek Dabrowski — Klub Podróży HORYZONTY ul."

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by Geraldine

    "Hi Ms Ha,"

    "Just want to thank you for organizing the trip to Ha Giang. I enjoyed the trip and Mr Tien and Mr Bao were very professional and had plenty of local knowledge. I look forward to more trips with Travelocity Indochina. Thanks! Cheers, Geraldine "

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by John and Ai

    "Chao anh Dung,"

    "Thank you very much for allowing our trip to the North after your illness. We appreciate your efforts with em Ha to make sure we have our holiday, Cam on nhieu. We had a good time up there and anh Kien and anh Duc were very capable guides and drivers. The hotels and food were all very good , especially in Sin Ho and Muong Te where we expected not so good accomodation. We had a lot of laughs with Kien and Duc and we saw many interesting ethnic people. Now I am settling in to the house in Hue but I must buy a computer screen to start looking at my photos. I am only using a TV screen at present. We thank you again for the trip and look forward to travelling again with you in the future. Hope you are well soon, and thanks again for making sure we had our trip under your difficult circumstances."

    "Very kind regards my friend, John and Ai… "

    Travelo Vietnam website, edited

  • Review by Johannes from London, UK

    "This is about enjoying long hard climbs, spectacular mountain vistas, and hours in the saddle. We were very happy and satisfied with our bike tour of northern Vietnam. The tour was a great way to enjoy the beautiful nature, and to experience the rich ethnic culture. Really enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend. next year we will come back vietnam and book other trip with you."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Kiet N.

    "Dear Dzung, How are you? tomorrow morning we will flight to Home, we wanted to write just to thank you for our trip and for finding the time to meet us. It was very nice!. It is sure that you are a high skill tour operator, and the guides you hired were really nice and professional. You have been so nice with us, and your guides were very nice too, the places they show us were wonderful and the food!. The mark we give to the whole trip is 10! Thank you very much for everything and for planning such a memmorable honeymoon in Vietnam"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Nelson, New Zealand

    "We purchased a two-week package from Travelo Vietnam, including travel from Hanoi to Sapa, trekking from Sapa into the mountains, and transport back to Hanoi. "

    ""

    "We worked with Mr Dung to arrange everything and he was super-reliable, knowledgeable and helpful both before our tour when we were writing to him with questions, and during the tour. Nothing was too much trouble and he always responded quickly. "

    ""

    "The hotels he recommended and booked for us were really nice and better than we could have selected on our own. The trek was just as we had asked for, and when unfortunately the weather got bad and also I got sick he was really, really helpful and very quick in offering us other choices and arranging these for us. He got us back to Hanoi and arranged a cruise for us while I recovered and I always felt like we were looked after and cared for, and that the money we had paid was used to give us the best possible experience in Vietnam. "

    ""

    "I would recommend working with Travelo Vietnam and in particular Mr Dung to any traveller no matter what your needs as he really listens and makes sure that your trip is tailored to meet your requirements. He can offer a lot more options than are shown on the website so I would recommend sending an email to him and I'm sure that - like us - you'll have a great experience. "

    ""

    "Highly recommended and if we have the opportunity to return to Vietnam we will definitely use this company again."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

Hanoi, Vietnam

Travelo Vietnam offers vacation packages, multi-country tours, family travel, and small group tours in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

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13 days / 12 nights

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