Discover Vietnam’s rugged and scenic northwest and its people first hand. By taking to the roads and riding from the capital Hanoi to the remote area of the northwest we can see life as it truly is for the Vietnamese. The perfect itinerary and the support crew ensure you get the most out of the trip in terms of comfort, enjoyment and adventure. Along the way we encounter dramatic landscapes and sweeping panoramas as the rural population goes about its business. Highlights include the terraced valleys of Sapa, challenging roads, stunning scenery and many different colorful minority groups.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pickup)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. In the afternoon, you’ll ride a cyclo to visit the bustling Old Quarter, a magnet for visitors – it’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction. The Old Quarter is a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture - traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices.
After that, you will have a chance to enjoy a water puppet show, an art form in which puppets are suspended over water, directed by puppet masters who must sit semi-submerged for hours at a time. The tradition of water puppetry is at least 1,000 years old, originating with peasants in the Red River Delta of the north. The puppets, which the French used to call “the souls of the Vietnamese rice fields,” are made of the water-resistant wood of the fig tree and depict villagers, farm animals, dragons, and more.
In the evening, you’ll have a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in a restored French colonial building. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour by motorbike and street food (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city on the back of a motorbike. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked and the museum dedicated to his memory. After that, you’ll visit the bustling Old Quarter with its eclectic mix of architectural styles - traditional ‘tube’ houses, religious buildings, colonial houses, vernacular dwellings and modern concrete edifices.
The day also includes a ‘Street Life’ experience, also on the back of a motorbike. You’ll spend a couple of hours wandering around the back streets in and nearby the Old Quarter. A street food brunch is included – take your pick from traditional Hanoi Pho (beef noodle soup), Nom (green papaya salad with seasoned beef), Banh Goi (pillow-shaped rice pastry with minced pork and mushroom), Banh Cuon (hot rice paper with pork and fried onion) or Bun Cha (fresh noodle with grilled pork). If you’re hungry, try two or three varieties – they’re snacks rather than a meal. After that, you will come back to your hotel to relax for the next real adventure from tomorrow. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Riding distance: 70km
After breakfast, you will depart from Hanoi to Mai Chau, you will ride on your motorcycles out of the busy city and head for Mai Chau valley, an area of beautiful landscape and home to the white Thai ethnic minority. You will get off the main road No6 at Luong Son to Bai Chao where you can enjoy the better scenery with some limestone mountains and less traffic. You will pass expansive rice paddies and scenic villages. After that, you will have a stop for refreshment before tackling 70km of undulating road with great view of mountains and valley. You lunch is on the way. Then you will continue to Mai Chau. You ride straight to Ban Lac village, a peaceful area of White Thai ethnic people. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight in a traditional stilt-house of a Thai family.
Day 4: Mai Chau - Son La (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Riding distance 187km
After breakfast at the home-stay, you will embark on a beautiful ride up north to Son La. The road is in good condition and the scenery is stunning. You may take frequent stops to visit minority villages of Green H’mong, Black Thai people… or to take photos. Lunch will be in local restaurant en route. The highlight of our ride today could be the tea plantations and plum gardens in Moc Chau Plateau, where you find the best green tea in Vietnam. You will reach Son La in the afternoon. You will have dinner and stay overnight in a hotel in Son La.
Day 5: Son La - Dien Bien Phu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Riding distance 170km
It is true to say “the further you go up north the faster you heart rate”. Today the ride is greater with more winding road, longer passes, more colorful minority groups and more stunning scenery. Like yesterday, you may have interesting stops to visit villages and take photos. Lunch en route in local restaurant. The highlight of today ride could be the impressive pass of Pha Din. Pha Pin means Heaven-Earth, and according to local legend, it was the frontier between Heaven and Earth. Pha Din is some 1,000m above sea-level. Climbing and descending the slopes with their many bends and deep gorges is a really an unforgettable experience. You will reach Dien Bien Phu late in the afternoon. If time permits, upon arrival you could ride around to explore the town. You will have dinner and stay overnight in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 6: Dien Bien Phu - Sin Ho – Lai Chau (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Riding distance 225km
Today your ride is 225 km long stunning gorges and Nam Na River. On the way, you will have interesting stops to visit Red H’mong and Dzao villages. Enjoy your lunch in Chan Nua. After that, you will ride up the mountain with breath-taking scenery to Sin Ho. You will then have a visit to Sin Ho market before keep riding to Lai Chau. Your dinner and stay overnight in hotel in Lai Chau.
Day 7: Lai Chau – Sapa (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide) – Riding distance 180km
The ride today is the highlight of the whole trip. You will climb the highest pass in Vietnam, the Tram Ton Pass. You will have lunch in local restaurant en-route. You will reach Sapa in the noon time. Sapa is the former hill station for the French colonists hundred years ago. Today Sapa is the paradise for trekking lovers thank to its beautiful trekking routes, stunning terraces, colorful minority groups and the highest mountain in Indochina, the Mt. Fansipang. You will have dinner and stay overnight in Sapa.
Note: The weekend market (Sunday market) in Tam Duong is very interesting with lots of colorful ethnic minorities. If this day is Sunday the market will be included in the program.
Day 8: Sapa trek – Night train to Hanoi – Trekking time 4 hours
After breakfast, you will take a car ride downhill to Muong Hoa valley. Today, you will enjoy the most beautiful trek route in Vietnam. You will trek on dirt path through pine forest, terraces and H’mong villages. En-route you will stop to visit minority villages, schools and have picnic lunch by river. In the afternoon you walk to the pick-up point to transfer back to Sapa to refresh before being transferred to Lao Cai for the night train back to Hanoi. You will spend the night on the train.
Day 9: Hanoi departure (Breakfast)
Arrival in the early morning, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel for breakfast and refreshment. The rest of the time will be free until the driver arrives to take you back to the airport for the departure flight.
- Vietnam Visa invitation letter.
- Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- Support vehicle travels along with you for emergency and for your safe riding
- Honda (or Yamaha) 125CC (semi-automatic gear)
- Gasoline on tour
- Mechanic (only for group from 6 passengers)
- Water & Snacks
- First-aid kit
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Train tickets: Lao Cai - Hanoi (air-conditioned soft four-berth cabin, good local standard in Fanxipan Train carriage or similar)
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants
- All sightseeing tickets.
- VAT and other taxes
- 24/7 hotline support guaranteed
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Travel insurance
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Vietnam visa stamp fee
- Other services not mentioned above.