The mountainous area of Northern Vietnam has long been famous for its beautiful scenery and great diversity of ethnic minorities. With our adventure motorcycling trip you will make a big loop to experience all the bests that area can offer. Starting in Hanoi you will explore Northwest before jumping into Northeast, back to Hanoi after a day relaxing in Ba Be Lake. 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, beautiful Ban Gioc Waterfall and many different colorful minority groups.
Destinations: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Son La – Dien Bien Phu – Sapa – Hagiang – Bao Loc – Cao Bang – Ban Gioc – Ba Be – Lang Son – Hanoi
Day 1: Hanoi arrival (Dinner, Guide pick up)
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.
With food stalls on every corner Hanoi is famous for its street food cuisine and Bia Hoi, a draft beer that is brewed daily and sold on street corners. Start your evening at ‘Bia Hoi corner’ and pull up a stool to taste the local brew and do a spot of people watching. Then walk through the bustling streets of the Old Quarter as your guide introduces you to the various foods on offer. You will stop at one of the many pop up restaurants and try a Vietnamese barbeque of flame grilled meats, tofu and vegetables on skewers just like the locals. End the evening with a walk along Hoan Kiem Lake for dessert at Hanoi’s most famous ice-cream street. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, ranks amongst the world's most attractive and interesting cities. It was first the capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010, and though the nation's capital moved to Hue under the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the city continued to flourish after the French took control in 1888. In 1954, after the French departed, Hanoi was declared Vietnam's capital once again. The remnants of over 1,000 years of history are still visible here, with that of the past few hundred years wonderfully preserved.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and historical presidential relics and then the Temple of Literature nearby. Afterwards you will head to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. The Ngoc Son temple is set on a tiny island on the Hoan Kiem Lake and dates back to the 13th century. The lake itself is a picturesque focal point of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. In the afternoon, you will visit Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country which houses a display dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority peoples. You will then enjoy a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter also known as the ‘Hanoi’s 36 streets’. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you. After that, you will 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. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is closed every Monday and Friday (outside grounds and garden area will be open on these days) and normally closed from September 4 through November 5 for preservation and maintenance of the building.
On Mondays, the Museum of Ethnology is closed. If our tour of Hanoi is on a Monday, our visit to the Museum of Ethnology will be replaced by a visit to Hanoi's History Museum or Fine Arts Museum.
Alternative for Day 2: Hanoi street food tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will depart for an insider’s tour of the capital.
Take a walking/street food tour of Hanoi’s best culinary spots with a food blogger. A local hospitality industry insider, with an enormous passion for his country's cuisine, created a blog that gained a large following both in Vietnam and internationally. Here he created awareness of locally know street food dishes combined with cultural adventures, entertaining his readers since 2005. Quirky observations also found their way into both local and international media and his experience managing some of Hanoi 's finest dining establishments along with his special interest in street-food (he's shared many hours trawling the street stalls and markets) make him the genuine, local authority on Hanoi 's food scene.
Your specialist street food guide and your private vehicle and driver will meet at the hotel then take you to the centre of Hanoi. Once in the centre of town the tour will be mostly conducted on foot so be sure that you are wearing comfortable walking shoes
Your guide will take you to stroll through Old Quarter then past the old east gate to Thanh Ha market. Along the way delicacies, strange food items and an explanation of Vietnamese food practices will be given. This busy, eclectic market is alive with the sights and sounds of Hanoi and is the essence of Vietnamese culture.
You will then continue through the streets of the Old Quarter to Dong Xuan market to sample some local treats such as Pho Tiu and Bun Dau. Your guide will explain the routine of Vietnam meal times and indigenous/unusual ingredients eaten. Stroll up ‘food alley’ to see other dishes on offer.
From here, you will visit the food sections of Hanoi’s main market, Dong Xuan then see dried goods and aromatics, the essentials of Vietnamese cuisine.
After that, you will walk down to Hang Than Street to view ceremonial cake stalls and taste a special French influenced dessert. An explanation on traditions and food gifts for celebrations will be given. You will then continue back into the Old Quarter via Hang Cot Street – check specially treated fruit which are dependable on the seasons and a common snack in Vietnam. After that, you will walk along Phung Hung Street through temporary market stalls where you can see the changing market scene in Hanoi and how modernization is shaping tradition. At the end of the tour stop at one of the Old Quarter busiest (yet smallest) coffee shops for a well-earned sit down and coffee before transferring back to your hotel.
In the afternoon, your guide will take you to West Lake and one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Hanoi, Tran Quoc, and the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh which dates from the Ly Dynasty before coming back to your hotel to stay overnight.
Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up 150km
You will leave Hanoi around 8.30am then ride your motorcycles west to Mai Chau, an area of beautiful landscape and home to the Thai ethnic minority. You will ride on road No6 passing expansive rice paddies and scenic villages. You will have a stop for refreshment before tackling 70km of undulating road with great view of mountains and valley. You will have lunch on the way. After that, you will continue riding to Mai Chau. You will ride straight to Pom Coong, a peaceful village of White Thai ethnic minority where you will have dinner and spend our night in a traditional stilt-house of a Thai family.
Day 4: Ride up to Son La (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up 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 H’mong, Black Thai,… or to take photos. Your lunch will be in local restaurant en route. The highlight of your ride today could be the tea plantations in Moc Chau Plateau, where you find the best green tea in Vietnam grown along the roads on hillsides. You will reach Son La in the afternoon where you will have dinner and stay overnight in Son La.
Day 5: Descend valley of Dien Bien Phu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride Up to 170km
It is true to say “the further you go up north the faster your heart rates”. 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 really an unforgettable experience. You will reach Dien Bien Phu in the afternoon. You will spend the night in Dien Bien Phu
Day 6: Riding along Nam Na River to Tam Duong (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 225km
After breakfast, you will start your 225 km ride along stunning gorges and Nam Na River. On the way you will have interesting stops to visit H’mong and Dzao villages. Your lunch will be in Lai Chau. You would reach Tam Duong around 4.30 pm. Dinner and overnight in hotel in Tam Duong Town.
Day 7: Ascend Sapa (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide) – Ride up to 60km
The ride today is the highlight of the whole trip. You will climb the highest pass in Vietnam, the Tram Ton Pass. Your lunch will be 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 spend the night 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 and we would reach Sapa around 3pm.
Day 8: Ride northeastward to Ha Giang (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 200km
After breakfast in the hotel, you will head to Ha Giang 200km northeast of Sapa. Firstly, you will descend Lao Cai through a beautiful area of rice terraces on hill slopes. In Lao Cai, you will have a short ride along the border with China. The road is quite smooth and the traffic is not very busy. You will have lunch in small town of Yen Binh. You would reach Ha Giang around 5.30pm. Tonight, you will stay overnight in a house of a Tay family.
Day 9: Riding to Bao Lac (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 109km
After breakfast at the homestay, you will continue riding east to Bao Lac Town. Today the ride is shorter and easier thus you may have sometime to wander around the village before leaving for Bao Lac. The lunch stop is in Bac Me, a quiet town on the bank of Gam River. After lunch, you will continue to Bao Lac. The ride in the afternoon is very nice since you ride along the Gam River. Arrive in Bao Lac around 5pm. You will spend the night in a mini hotel.
Day 10: Riding to Cao Bang (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 135km
In the morning, you will head to Nguyen Binh through mining town of Tinh Tuc. The ride is quite peaceful with easy traffic and good road. Your lunch will stop in Nguyen Binh. In the afternoon, you will ride to Cao Bang with a stop to visit Pac Po cave, the hideout used by Ho Chi Minh when he came back to Vietnam after 30 years of self imposed exile. It was here that he organized his resistance army against the French. After here, you will continue to Cao Bang. You will spend the night in Cao Bang.
Day 11: Riding to Ban Gioc (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 180km
After breakfast, you will ride to the beautiful waterfall of Ban Gioc. You will have an exploration of Nguom Ngao Cave before reaching Ban Gioc. You will have lunch in Ban Gioc and spend the afternoon to take photo and relax in the scenic nature setting of Ban Gioc Waterfall. You will ride back to Cao Bang on another road until you reach Quang Yen. Return to Cao Bang around 5pm to have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 12: Riding to Ba Be Lake (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 129km
Today, you will ride to the most beautiful lake in northern Vietnam, which is named “another Halong Bay”. The lunch stop is in Cho Ra. After lunch, you will have a short ride to Pac Ngoi, a village of Tay ethnic minority on the bank of Ba Be Lake. Upon arrival in Pac Ngoi you will have a cruise on the lake. You can relax in the clean emeraude color water of the lake if weather permits. Tonight you will have dinner and overnight with a Tay family.
Day 13: Riding to Lang Son (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 109km
After breakfast at the home stay, you will head to Lang Son. Today, you will ride on quiet roads through an unpopulated area. The roads were built and used mainly during the border dispute with China in 1979. You will have lunch in Nari, a small town on the bank of Bac Giang River. You will continue riding toward the border gate of Friendship Pass in Dong Dang and to Lang Son where you will stop for stay overnight.
Day 14: Riding back to Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide) – Ride up to 160km
After breakfast, you will visit Tam Thanh Cave before heading on A1 National road. You will have a stop for lunch in Kep. You will reach Hanoi at 4.30pm where you will spend the night.
Day 15: Departure (Breakfast, Driver Pickup)
After breakfast, you will be free at leisure until the driver arrives to take you to the airport to take your flight onward. End of service
Note on client safety
We reserve the right to deviate from this itinerary for any reasons, including road and weather conditions or for any other factor which may influence client safety.
- Free Vietnam Visa Invitation letter
- Support vehicle (supplement luggage van to carry your motorbike and baggage).
- Honda (or Yamaha) 125CC (semi-automatic gear)
- Gasoline for the ride
- Mechanic (for group from 6 passengers)
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above. For description, see below
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners, as specified, in the best local restaurants, picnics where suitable restaurants are not available.
- Good quality motorbikes for all days in the programme
- Drinking water and local fruit for all motorcycling days in the programme
- Simple first aid kit.
- VAT and other taxes.
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Surcharges for peak season (if any)
- Compulsory meals (if any)
- Alternative in blue