Best Far North Vietnam offroad motorcycle tour is designed for those riders who are interested in riding offroad dirt or road bike in Far Northmost Vietnam along Mai Chau, Lai Chau, Sapa, Bac Ha, Ha Giang, Meo Vac, Ba Be… As Vietnam fans out above Hanoi towards the Chinese and Laos borders, it attains its maximum width of 600km, the majority of it a mountainous buffer zone wrapped around the Red River Delta. Much of the region is wild and inaccessible, yet it contains some of Vietnam’s most awe-inspiring scenery, sparsely populated by a fascinating mosaic of ethnic minorities. Most popular for visitors is the northwest region where the country’s highest mountain range and its tallest peak, Fan Si Pan, rise abruptly from the Red River Valley. Within the shadow of Fan Si Pan lies Sa Pa, an easily accessible former French hill station, famous for its minority peoples and for its superb scenery with opportunities for trekking out to isolated hamlets. Bac Ha has one of the most colourful of all minority groups in the form of the Flower Hmong, whose markets are great fun. The attractions of these two towns and the historic battlefield of Dien Bien Phu, site of the Viet Minh’s decisive victory over French forces in 1954, draw most tourists. This is the chance to enjoy the scenic route passing through Son La, Moc Chau and Mai Chau especially the stunning scenery and mountain people in the border area of Ha Giang and Cao Bang provinces. The northeast region also features Ba Be National Park, where Vietnam’s largest natural lake hides among forested limestone crags and impenetrable jungle.
Heading out of the town, we beat the busy and noisy traffic and start our ride to Mai Chau, an idyllic valley populated by the many White Thai people. There are some opportunities en route to visit the Dao Son Dau and the Muong hill tribe groups. O/N in Mai Chau.
Day 2: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Mai Chau offroad motorcycle trip to Son La (B, L, D)
Upon leaving Mai Chau the roads begins to deteriorate; however many villages dot the hillsides and undulating terrain make for an interesting journey. Along the way we stop in Xa Linh for a two hour trek past many timeless hill villages which are home of the Hmong hill tribe people. Travelling across the Moc Chau Plateau we catch a glimpse of the many tea plantations and see the Black Thai hill tribe people. They belong to the same Thai ethnic group, but are different from the White Thai in Mai Chau by their tradition and habits. O/N in Son La.
Day 3: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Son La memorable ride to Dien Bien Phu via Pha Din Pass (B, L, D)
The provincial museum and the nearby old prison are some of this hill town’s major sights. We have a chance to visit these before we leave for our next destination. The winding roads cross over the Pha Din Pass before reaching Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence in 1954. After checking into our central located hotel we enjoy a walk around to see this fast growing town.
Our main stop is Dien Bien Phu’s Museum which details the event in place. We also pay a visit to the old battle field where the lush vegetation grows behind many war relics including old French tanks and artillery pieces. O/N in Dien Bien Phu .
Day 4: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Dien Bien Phu motorbike ride to Lai Chau (B, L, D).
The journey north continues on to Lai Chau Town, our base for exploring the surrounding areas These back roads are a great way to explore the real Vietnam. We see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. After checking into hotel, we embark on a boat for a two hour trip along the Da River, passing through the stunning mountain landscapes. The pace is very relaxed, a perfect way to observe the local lifestyle close up. O/N in Lai Chau. (B)
Day 5: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Lai Chau day motorcycle ride to Muong Te (B, L, D)
An early morning departure to Muong Te. This upstream area of the Da River is settled by many ethnic minority groups including the Thai, Ha Nhi, Cong , Si La and La Hu, just some of Vietnam’s most colourful ethnic groups. The roads conditions are very poor; however the verdant and rugged mountain scenery combined with the colorful local population makes the hardship all worthwhile. Along the way we stop at seldom visited villages, a great chance for photographers. O/N in Lai Chau.
Day 6: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Lai Chau motorbike tour to Tam Duong via Sin Ho (B, L, D)
Today we continue venturing into northern Vietnam with the next stop being Sin Ho which is home land of the Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang and Dao ethnic minorities. They are settled there longtime ago and still retain their traditional culture and habits. The trip to Sin Ho is occasionally suspended due to the restriction of the local authority. Departing Sin Ho we make our way past the hilly region to Tam Duong. This timeless town is surrounded by stunning mountain backdrops and lush tea plantations. O/N in Tam Duong.
Day 7: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Tam Duong offroad motorbike tour to Sapa via Binh Lu (B, L, D)
The scenery of the north is unequalled although the conditions are very simple.
After breakfast we drive following the main artery of trade in northwestern region. This bumpy road links to many hill towns and villages. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, Sapa was founded in the early years of the last century as a hill resort for French administrators when the heat on the plain became unbearable. After checking into hotel we can soak up the fresh climate as much as we want by spending our time wandering around this charming town and some legacies of the French period. O/N in Sa Pa.
Day 8: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Sapa Motorbike Tours (B, L, D)
The huge range of Fansipan boasts Vietnam’s highest mountain and lends an alpine feel to the area surrounding this hill station. Today we have enough time to visit the bustling Sa Pa Market where the Red Dao, Black Hmong, Tay and Xa Pho ethnic minorities converge from the nearby mountainsides and valleys to trade their goods and buy provisions. We get well off the beaten track as we embark on a walk to discover this beautiful mountain region. Along the way we traverse several rustic villages and see many mountaineers doing their daily works such as logging, herding buffalo and tilling the field. O/N in Sa Pa.
Day 9: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Sapa motorbike tour to Bat Xat and Lao Cai (B, L, D)
Heading out of town, we make our way through the breathtaking mountain landscape to Bat Xat. The weather in this region is cool due to the high altitude. On arrival, we embark on a short walk, passing through several villages which is populated by the Phu La, Dao and Giay ethnic minorities. They are very poor, but have an interesting local culture and a colorful history. A part of the pleasure of travelling in this region is the simple joy of seeing hill tribe people. We continue our trip to Lao Cai border town, our final destination. O/N in Lao Cai.
Day 10: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Lao Cai offroad motorbike trip to Muong Khuong and Bac Ha ( Sunday) (B, L, D)
The weekend market of Muong Khuong also attracts a wide variety of ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao, Thu Lao, Pa Di, Tu Di and Phu La. After breakfast, we embark on a two hour drive delivering to Muong Khuong Town. There is a wonderful experience to wander around this colorful congregation. In the early afternoon, we travel by roads to Bac Ha. This is basically an overnight stop to break our long journey. After checking into hotel we can enjoy walk to visit the Hmong King’s former residence and Ban Pho where villagers make the potent local maize alcohol. O/N in Bac Ha.
Day 11: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Bac Ha road bike tour to Ha Giang via Hoang Su Phi and Sin Man (B, L, D)
Upon leaving Bac Ha we set off on a full day journey through Sin Man and Hoang Su Phi to Ha Giang Town. The rough but scenic route traverse a dense jungle before crossing over a pass and dropping down to Sin Man. This day is a real challenge for our driver as we travel by winding roads with many uphill and down hill drives. Along the way we may encounter the Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled there. O/N in Ha Giang.
Day 12: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Ha Giang dirt bike tour to Sa Phin and Dong Van (B, L, D)
The remote region of Dong Van and Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill villages which are unchanged for centuries. Today we head north west out of Ha Giang Town towards this northernmost tip of Vietnam. The former H’mong royal house at Sa Phin is a primary attraction of the region but the blend of hill tribe people’s colorful costumes and the majestic mountainous scenery make this long and bumpy trip an unforgettable experience. O/N in Dong Van.
Day 13: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Dong Van motorbike tour to Meo Vac (B, L, D)
The ethnic minority people are frequently seen in this hill town and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicraft. We have time to visit Dong Van Town before continuing to Meo Vac which is conquered by the Lo Lo and Pu Peo ethnic minority people. They still retain their age old cultural traditions and are recognisably distinct from each other by their dress. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of local people are a highlight of Meo Vac although conditions are very basic. We return to Ha Giang via Yen Minh, using a shortcut way. O/N in Ha Giang.
Day 14: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Ha Giang motorbike tour to Bac Me – Bao Lac – Nguyen Binh – Ba Be Lake (B, L, D)
An early morning start to drive through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. The roads are very bumpy and zigzagging however we will have a chance to meet the Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities who make for the main population of this region. We are sure to attract their attention as this part of the country receive very few visitors. Depending on road and traffic conditions we arrive in Ba Be by late afternoon or early evening, but it is till an interesting day. O/N in Cho Ra.
Day 15: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Ba Be Lake (B, L, D)
The legendary lake of Ba Be is just one continuous water body although the name means” three lakes”. Today we embark on a boat cruising down the Nang River which is the main water source of the lake. This exciting river trip will give us a taste of the tranquil countryside and an enjoyable exploration of the Ba Be National Park. We traverse en route the Poong Grotto before stopping at some nearby hill tribe villages and getting off the beaten track to the scenic Dau Dang Waterfalls. O/N in Cha Ra.
Day 16 : Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Ba Be Lake motorbike ride to Cao Bang (B, L, D)
The following destination of our trip is Cao Bang Town. After breakfast we set off on our half day journey past the spectacular mountainous landscapes, with a mixture of steep terraced rice field and hill villages. Along the way, we can made stops at our pleasure, to stretch our legs and shoot some wonderful photographs. The remainder of the day will be free to explore the town or simply to relax. O/N in Cao Bang.
Day 17: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Cao Bang motorcycle ride to Pac Po Caves – Lang Son (B, L, D)
Heading out of town , we make our way north to the historical cave of Pac Po where Ho Chi Minh set up the headquarter for the August Vietnamese Revolution in 1945. After seeing this vestige site we continue our journey past the many hill villages and the tranquil town of Dong Khe and That Khe. The drive will deliver us into Lang Son by late afternoon. This border town had been all destroyed during the recent Sino – Vietnamese war, but was rebuilt to become an important trade center in north eastern region. O/N in Lang Son.
Day 18: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Sapa, Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Ha Long: Lang Son motorcycle tour to Halong (B, L, D)
The lively central market of Lang Son and the legendary Tam Thanh Cave are visited this morning before we depart for Halong, truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. The drive is difficult at times as we travel through many mountain areas. Their breathtaking scenery is some of the best in Asia. We have some opportunities en route to visit the Tay, Nung and San Diu hill tribe people. On arrival in Halong we spend the remainder of the day for a well- earned rest on a Beach. O/N in Ha Long. (B)
Day 19: Northern Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tour to Ha Long : Halong motorbike tour back to Hanoi (B, L)
Today we embark on a sailing boat for an exploration of Halong Bay. This exciting five hour cruise provides a fantastic view of the bay which is dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board we return to Hanoi .
BEST FAR-NORTH VIETNAM OFFROAD MOTORBIKE TOUR Rating: 9.8 out of 10 based on 369 reviews.
* ACCOMMODATION: – We endeavour 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.
– Your trip will stay in a range of hotels / guesthouses with standardized quality.
– Please be aware that some hotel rooms, especially those in major urban centres 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 traveller, 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 with us. We never presume that two people traveling together are a couple, even if you share the same surname, unless informed otherwise.
* MEALS: – Your included meals are detailed in the ‘More Inclusions’ section of this document.
– Breakfasts are included every day in the hotel (except on the first morning). They are usually ‘continental breakfasts’, which are typical in most countries. A typical breakfast may consist of cereals with milk or yoghurt, 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 we will make every effort to cater to your specific needs as long as you advise your travel agent when you book, or make note by email before you set out. But please be aware that although we will do everything in our power to arrange it, we cannot guarantee that every restaurant we use will be able to cater to all dietary needs, particularly in Asia. We also cannot cater for tastes or dislikes, as most of our included evening meals feature a set menu.
* 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, so
+ 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
* Tipping for guides & mechanic: Our crews never expect tips themselves and will not ask for any; that’s not what friends do! However, so if you are really satisfied with all of what they did for you, please don’t mind tipping them a bit with a normal norm of US$ 7 – US$ 10/person for a guide per day and US$ 3 – US$ 5/person for a mechanic per day. (just don’t forget Mum’s souvenir).
All meals indicated in the itinerary (L= lunch, D= Dinner, B = Breakfast)
A/C private transfers.
Halong bay cruise
Private carbine in cruise
High speed boat ticket from Cat Ba island to Hai Phong
All other boat trips
Entrance fees & and travel permits
Local speaking English tour guide/s (Other languages upon requests)