7 Days Stunning Motorbike Tour in North Vietnam

Breathtaking Vietnam Motorbike Tour

This North Vietnam motorbike tour from Hanoi to Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Mu Cang Chai, and Sapa is the ideal way to see the stunning landscape of Vietnam. You will also visit the ancient capital Hoa Lu. Boat trips to see Tam Coc and Thac Ba Lake are also the highlights you should experience. Mu Cang Chai is a district of Yen Bai province, about some 300 kilometers north of Hanoi, in the northeastern region of Vietnam. The place is home to the Hmong and Thai community.

Key information

  • Terrain: mixed of trail and off-road
  • Bike: rental bike
  • Mileage: 1,180 kilometers / 734 miles
  • Daily rides: 110 - 210 kilometers / 69 - 131 miles
  • Riding gear: included: helmets, elbow and knee pads, gloves, bungee cords and nylon plastic bag for luggage water/dust cover
  • Meals: 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Hanoi
  • Visit the ancient capital Hoa Lu
  • Have a great ride on forgotten French road
  • Ride on a beautiful winding road until Phu Yen
  • Take a ride on the side of the biggest man-made lake in Vietnam
  • A splendid climb up to the top of the highest Tram Ton Pass
  • Boat trips to see Tam Coc and Thac Ba Lake
  • 6 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 riding days in English
Spoken languages: English
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Accommodation

Your accommodation will be standard hotels and homestays in single, twin, double, or triple rooms. Your trip will stay in a range of hotels / guesthouses with standardized quality. Vietnam Motorbiketour endeavors to select a combination of good quality hotels that reflect the character of the local area as well as being as centrally located as possible, all the while striving to keep the cost affordable.

Please be aware that some hotel rooms, especially those in major urban centers or older cities, may be smaller than what you are used to in other parts of the world. Standards and ratings may also be different to your home country.

Rooms are en-suite and either twin or triple-share, depending on what you have booked. If you are a solo traveler, you will always be sharing a room with someone of the same sex otherwise you can pay a supplement to possess a single room.

If you are traveling as a couple and would prefer to have a double bed, please officially request a double room when you are booking this tour. Vietnam Motorbiketour never presumes that two people traveling together are a couple, even if you share the same surname unless informed otherwise.

Program

Day 1: Hanoi to Hoa Lu, Tam Coc (Ninh Binh), 150 kilometers / 94 miles

At 07:00, you'll start your motorbike tour by riding through the city following the Highway 1 via some suburb districts of Hanoi like Thuong Tin, Phu Xuyen, and Hanam province to get to Ninh Binh.

At around 10:30, you arrive at Hoa Lu ancient capital. In 968, Dinh Bo Linh declared himself as the king. Since then, Hoa Lu existed as the capital for the next 41 years (968-1009), of which 12 years was under the Dinh dynasty - King Dinh Tien Hoang, the country named Dai Co Viet, and 29 years later was under the Le dynasty - King Le Dai Hanh. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long, Hanoi on the present day. Hoa Lu became the old citadel.

In Hoa Lu, there are now 2 temples which have been built on the ground of the old royal palace, one is dedicated to King Dinh Tien Hoang and the other is to King Le Dai Hanh. The visit offers a chance to know more about part of feudal dynasties and historical periods in Vietnamese history.

At 11:30, you'll jump on your motorbikes to keep heading to Tam Coc at around 12:00. Right here, you'll have a lunch at a local restaurant being served with goat meat which is famous as the local specialty.

At 13:30, have a 5-minute walk to the boat station and start a 2-hour boat trip to visit Tam Coc. Known as "Halong Bay on land", Tam Coc are three limestone caves stretching along Ngo Dong river. The boat trip is a nice journey along the river with a peaceful scenery of limestone mountains, rice paddy, and the site of some temples along the way from Hang Ca (first cave) to Hang Hai (second cave) and Hang Ba (third cave).

The rest of time, you'll be free on your own to explore more local villages around Tam Coc.

  • Meals: Lunch and dinner

Day 2: Ninh Binh to Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa) via Cuc Phuong National Park, 170 kilometers / 106 miles

You ride your motorcycle to the southwest of an area of the beautiful landscape.

You'll be at leisure a bit to experience the fresh and quiet atmosphere and daily life of the locals here, then jump on the bikes to go straight to Pu Luong. En route, you'll have chances to stop by visiting a plenty of authentic villages of the hill tribes and viewing stunning natural landscapes of streams, forests, and mountains.

After lunch, you will have a great motorcycle tour on forgotten French road No. 6, passing extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads punctuated by limestone karst scenery. Here is known as Ha Long Bay on the mountain (home to the white Thai people who are living in houses on stilts).

Pu Luong Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in northern Vietnam. This nature reserve is situated in Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts of Thanh Hóa province, North Central Coast region of Vietnam. Pu Luong Nature Reserve is bordered by Mai Chau, Tan Lac, and Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh province.

The reserve is located along two parallel mountain ridges which run from northwest to southeast and are divided by a central valley, which contains several human settlements and a large agricultural land area, therefore, is not included within the nature reserve. Pù Luông is endowed with great biodiversity, its flora and fauna are closely associated with the Cuc Phuong National Park, 25 kilometers south-east.

Dinner and overnight at a homestay.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3: Pu Luong to Phu Yen via Mai Chau and Moc Chau, 160 kilometers / 100 miles

Today, you will have an easy and relaxing Vietnam motorbike tour in the northwest mountainous area. It offers many stopovers for pictures of amazing mountain view. You can start the day with an easy walk around the village or be lazy with a waking up café. After saying goodbye to the Thai people, you ride to the direction of Moc Chau. You ride around Mai Chau village and take a look around the amazing valley.

After lunch, turn to the less traveled Road 43 leading to the Da River. After crossing the reservoir of Da River at Van Yen ferry, you ride on a beautiful winding road until Phu Yen where you stay in a guest house.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Phu Yen to Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai), 210 kilometers / 131 miles

In the morning, you keep motorbiking across Lung Lo Pass before head up on Road 32.

During the First Indochina War, the 15-kilometer long Lung Lo Pass, used by the Vietnamese resistance force to transport weapons, goods, and food during the Dien Bien Phu campaign of 1954, was heavily bombed by the French in order to sever the front lines from the rear. Lung Lo Pass, situated in the northern province of Yen Bai, was also recognized as a national heritage by the ministry.

After lunch, you ride through the Mu Cang Chai massif, almost as high as the Fansipan. From the top, it offers one of the most beautiful views of North Vietnam. The ride is challenging but very rewarding. Mu Cang Chai is one of the most amazing landscapes of rice-terraced fields in Vietnam. Located about 1,000 meters above sea level, Mu Cang Chai has a special topography with steep hills and deep valleys where the local residences such as Hmong, Thai, and Dao have created the masterpiece, terraced fields.

They have cultivated about 500 hectares of rice terraces for centuries in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, and De Xu Phinh, Tu Le communes. In 2007, the fields were recognized as national heritage sites for its amazing landscape. The fields look stunning during the rice season.

The best times are the planting season (June) and the harvesting season (from the end of September to the beginning of October). During harvesting season, the ready crop is turning to yellow while the new crop is dotted with white of water and young green of seedling rice. The scenery is a big attraction to photographers and trekkers.

Overnight at a hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 5: Mu Cang Chai to Sa Pa (Lao Cai), 110 kilometers / 69 miles

You ride your motorbike straight toward the main Fansipan mountain range. There is also the option for a very challenging back route which takes you through several river crossings. The massive mountain range dominates the road until finally, you must make a splendid climb up from Binh Lu and up to the top of the highest road pass in Vietnam (Tram Ton Pass).

Crossing into Lao Cai province at over 2,000 meters, the views look out over the main range for miles and miles, before you descend to the mountainous Sa Pa valley. Sa Pa is located in Lao Cai province, northwest Vietnam, and 350 kilometers northwest of Hanoi, close to the border with China.

Sa Pa is famous both for its fine, rugged scenery, and its rich cultural diversity. French used to consider Sa Pa as Summer Capital of Northern Vietnam in the early decades of the 20th century. Its naturally gifted beauty keeps attracting more and more people to spend their vacation there since then. Particularly, the place is the foremost choice for honeymoon couples.

Overnight at a hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6: Sa Pa to Thac Ba Lake, Vu Linh (Yen Bai), 200 kilometers / 125 miles

Take your motorbikes down from Sa Pa to Lao Cai city and then have a coffee stop on the bank of Nam Tha River, which is Vietnam-China border. Enjoy your coffee while taking the view to China. Get on the road, take a ride to Vietnam Motorbiketour's Dao friends' village of Vu Linh, which by the side of Thac Ba Lake, the biggest man-made lake in Vietnam.

This artificial lake has an area of 23,400 hectares, 1,331 islands, and hills with diverse ecological environments. The water in the lake is blue, clear, and imprinted with the reflections of the surrounding ancient forest. The thousands of hills and islands feature caves such as the Hum, Cau Cuoi, and Bach Xa.

You take the boat ride, stop by an island for swimming, and discover the particularities of this area, the way villagers paddle their boats, the exotic and odd animals living around, the quiet and peaceful beauty of this huge lake, and the lifestyle of the Dao among the thousands of islets.

You will have an unforgettable dinner with the hosts, who are really big drinkers and party every day. The welcome is exceptional and Vietnam Motorbiketour hopes you will survive.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 7: Vu Linh village (Thac Ba Lake) to Hanoi, 180 kilometers / 112 miles

After breakfast, you ride southeast on Highway 2 and then branch off to the sleepy town of Phu Tho. You follow the edge of the Red River along the dike, almost to the point where it merges with the Black River after which they flow together to Hanoi.

By now, you are very much in the lowlands of the delta plains and the north's main agricultural areas. Harvest time here is a sea of activity. Crossing the Black River by the bridge, you pass Vu Linh to Hanoi through Son Tay and then return to Hanoi on the highway. You should be back to Hanoi before the rush hour (16:00) because the traffic's getting busier and busier.

  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Skill level

Intermediate

  • can ride for three to four hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Advanced

  • can ride for five to six hours
  • extensive riding experience
  • assistance on demand (if required)
  • experienced with riding a variety of motorcycles
  • comfortable with any terrain and weather conditions

Ten tips to survive Vietnam's traffic

  • Don't spend hours waiting to cross the street on foot: that constant tide of traffic won't stop until late at night.
  • Do as the Vietnamese do: take the plunge and inch slowly across. Observe the miracle of the Red Sea, as the traffic parts like magic, flowing smoothly in front of you or behind, meeting up again on the other side.
  • Don't make any sudden or unpredictable movements: freeze if you have to, but never lunge forward or backward towards the safety of the sidewalk. In fact, you can do just about anything, but do it with conviction.
  • Don't forget, if you're riding or driving, to look where you're going all the time: if you hit anything in front of you, then it's your fault.
  • Do give way to any vehicle bigger and noisier than yours. Trucks and buses are particularly dangerous: often old, sometimes unsafe, and usually all over the road.
  • Do watch out for unfamiliar obstacles: water buffaloes, rocks of various sizes, broken-down trucks, people sitting in the road, missing bridges, girls in ao dai cycling five abreast, slow-moving mountains of farm produce, dog fights, impromptu football matches, piles of building materials, and almost no light on anything at night.
  • Don't hesitate to take evasive action even if this sometimes means leaving the tarmac or coming to a dead stop.
  • Do try to avoid getting involved in one of the all-too-frequent minor accidents that plague Vietnam's roads (and the major ones as well, of course), but if you are unlucky.
  • Don't lose your cool, in spite of the interference of the large and vocal crowd that may gather: try to settle things amicably and swiftly. Sometimes, paying a reasonable amount of money will save you a lot of hassle.
  • Do remember that the only rule is: you're not allowed to bump into anybody, irrespective of what they did or should have done, or of what the road signs or traffic lights were telling them to do. Some people still seem to think that anything red means forward, comrade.

Included excursions

  • Visit the ancient capital Hoa Lu
  • Have a boat trip to visit Tam Coc
  • Pay a visit to a plenty of authentic villages of the hill tribes

Location

This tour will take place in North Vietnam, from Hanoi to Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh, Pu Luong, Phu Yen, Mu Cang Chai, Sa Pa, Thac Ba Lake, and back to Hanoi.

Mu Cang Chai, for the place is about 1,000 meters above sea level, the steep hills make it almost impossible to grow rice fields like those in the delta. Thus local residences grow their own rice on the terraced fields, for the purpose of preventing water from flowing downhill. These terraced fields lying among rugged green mountain valleys, under the clear blue sky or a mysterious and crips fog, bring to eyes an imposing scenery.

During harvesting season, the ready crops transitioned to yellow, while the new crops still remain in their green color. The scenery is a big attraction to photographer and trekkers. Located in the two districts of Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc in Thanh Hoa province, Pu Luong Natural Reserve has preserved a primitive landscape and plentiful and diversified flora and fauna. With the above natural values, it has now become a fascinating destination for those who love to discover the beauty of nature.

Food

Breakfasts are included every day in the hotel (except on the first morning). They are usually 'continental breakfasts', which is typical in most countries. A typical breakfast may consist of cereals with milk or yogurt, bread, croissants, cold meats, cheese and a range of spreads, with fruit juice, tea, or coffee to drink. It is rare to get a hot breakfast in Asia, though on some occasions there may be some hot food available as well.

Included evening meals are in local restaurants or accommodation places and are either two or three courses. In most cases, table water is provided with the meals and if you wish to purchase additional drinks, you can do so at your own expense.

If you have any dietary requirements, Vietnam Motorbiketour will make every effort to cater to your specific needs as long as you advise your travel agent when you book or make a note by email before you set out. Please be aware that although Vietnam Motorbiketour will do everything in Vietnam Motorbiketour's power to arrange it, Vietnam Motorbiketour cannot guarantee that every restaurant you use will be able to cater to all dietary needs, particularly in Asia. Vietnam Motorbiketour also cannot cater for tastes or dislikes, as most of the included evening meals feature a set menu.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

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

Things to do (optional)

  • Discovering the particularities of Thac Ba Lake area
  • Swimming

What's included

  • 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners
  • 6 nights' accommodation
  • Driving gears
  • English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees and sightseeing fees
  • Gasoline on tour
  • Helmet(s)
  • Homestay permission
  • Motorbike(s) rental

What's not included

  • Support truck if required (120 USD per day)
  • Air ticket
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Pricing information

There will be a surcharge for Lunar New Year period from 4 to 9 February 2019 when the services might be limited. Vietnam Motorbiketour does not recommend riding on this period.

  • Surcharge for riding manual Honda / Yamaha / Suzuki 150cc will be 20 USD per day per bike
  • Surcharge for riding manual Honda / Yamaha / Suzuki 250cc will be 30 USD per day per bike
  • Optional single room supplement, if required, for groups of 3 or 5, will be 150 USD

 

Tour information

Please note that this tour is offered on a private basis. It caters to a single rider or to a private group, providing a personal tour guide in either case.

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