FULL VIETNAM BACKROAD MOTORBIKE TOUR FROM WEST TO EAST
updated: September 16, 2017
By Minh Hoang
This motorbike trip offers the best of Northern Vietnam scenery featuring notably Ha Giang (Meo Vac, Dong Van, Lung Cu), Cac Bang (Quang Uyen, Ban Gioc waterfall), Ba Be Lake (Bac Can), Sapa, Bac Ha (Lao Cai), Vu Linh, Thac Ba (Yen Bai), Mai Chau (Hoa Binh), Phu Yen, Son La…with stopover in Halong Bay and Hoa Lu and Tam Coc.
7:30am – Pick up from your hotel in Hanoi. Departure drive to Son La, stop in Mai Chau for a short walk and have lunch, after lunch, keep going to Son La. Overnight in Son La.
Day 2: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Son La motorbike trip to Dien Bien Phu (B, L, D)
Son La has an old French prison and museum, perfect for a small walk to visit in the morning before your departure to Dien Bien Phu . You’ll enjoy the picturesque scenery as you pass the villages of Black Thai, White Thai, Meo and Muong peoples. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 3: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Dien Bien Phu motorcycle tour to Lai Chau (B, L, D)
From Muong Lay, the drive is stunning with tiered tea plantations and verdant rice terraces carved into the landscape. Continue to Lai Chau (formerly Tam Duong) for the night. If you happen to be in Lai Chau on a Sunday morning, the town is bustling with activity as the local hill tribes gather for their weekly market day. Overnight in a hotel or guesthouse.
Day 4 : Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Lai Chau motorbike tour to Sa Pa (B, L, D)
From Lai Chau to Sa Pa you pass through Tam Duong (formerly Binh Lu), and over the 1900 meter Tram Ton pass, Viet Nam’s highest mountain pass and considered the most beautiful stretch of road in the country. Sa Pa is nestled at over 1600 meters in the breathtaking Hoang Lien Son Mountains. After lunch, take a short 3-hour trek down this stunning valley sculpted with steep rice terraces to Ta Van village for a home stay. Enjoy the savoury food and the hospitality of your Dzay hosts.
Day 5: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Sapa motorcycle trip to Hill Tribe Market and Bac Ha (B, L, D)
Today is dedicated to one of the 3 remarkable hill tribe markets of the region(Can Cau, Coc Ly, Bac Ha) where the Flower H’mong ethnic minority people is the major! The Flower H’mong girls dressing like colorful like butterflies filling up all the markets making a really really impressive scenery. Beside the Flower H’mong people, the markets are also attended by a dozen of other tribes namely Chinese, Nhang, Dzao, Nung, Phu La, Thai and King (or Viet).
The markets which take place once a week are really a cross culture communication of ethnic minority groups. They are really worth visiting. After lunch time at the markets, you can follow the hill tribes to their villages or take a drive to the further villages. Back to Bac Ha in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Bac Ha.
Day 6: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Bac Ha motorbike trip to Hoang Su Phi and Ha Giang (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 7: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Ha Giang motorbike trip to Sa Phin (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 8: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Dong Van motorbike tour to Meo Vac and back to Ha Giang (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 9: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East Ha Giang – Bac Me – Bao Lac – Nguyen Ninh motorbike tour to 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. Dinner with a family of Tay at homestay in Bac Ngoi village. O/N at homestay in Bac Ngoi village.
Day 10: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Ba Be Lake Motorcycle Tours (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. Dinner with a family of Tay at homestay in Bac Ngoi village.
O/N at homestay in Bac Ngoi village.
Day 11: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Ba Be lake motorbike trip 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 12: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Cao Bang – Pac Po cave motorcycle to 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 13: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Lang Son motorbike trip to Halong Bay (B, L, D)
The lively central market of Lang Son and depart for Halong bay, truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Upon arriving in Ha Long City, take all stuff we move to our junk, check in private cabin with A/C, following fresh seafood lunch while boat cruising through amazing landscape of cliff stone mountains emerge from green crystal water, spend the afternoon time for visiting biggest cave in Halong Bay, swimming, relaxing at the beach other enjoy kayaking to explore lagoon, dinner and overnight on boat.
Day 14: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Ha Long Bay boat cruise to Cat Ba Island (B, L, D)
After breakfast we check out our cabin move transit boat enjoy almost a full day on the calm waters of Ha Long Bay to explore Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay with thousands of lime-stone mountains. In the afternoon we arrive in Cat Ba Island. Our vehicle is waiting for us in the wharf; we transfer to the hotel and relax. Or we spend our time at the beautiful beach on the island.
Day 15: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Cat Ba Island – Hai Phong motorbike tour to Tam Coc (B, L, D)
After having breakfast we visit the Cat Ba National Park with the old Military Hospital cave that was used by the North Vietnamese Army during the American war. We will return to Cat Ba Township before boarding on speed boat for more than an hour riding to Vietnam’s largest sea port and third largest city, Hai Phong. Arriving in Hai Phong we transfer to Tam Coc in Ninh Binh province via Hai Phong city. Check in hotel upon arrival. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Tam Coc.
Day 16: Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour from West to East: Tam Coc – Hoa Lu motorbike tour back to Hanoi (B, L, D)
Breakfast at hotel. Have a boat trip to visit Tam Coc which is used to be called “a terrestrial Ha Long Bay” by locals. After finish the boat trip, take another trip by bicycle to expore Bich Dong. Lunch at local restaurant. Heading ho Hoa Lu to visit the first imperial capital in Vietnam with the two temples of king Dinh and Le remained intact over the years. Drive back to Hanoi. Dinner at local restaurant. Finish trip at you hotel in Hanoi.
FULL VIETNAM BACKROAD MOTORBIKE TOUR FROM WEST TO EAST Rating: 9.8 out of 10 based on 373 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.
Water during trek
Halong bay cruise
Private carbine in cruise
High speed boat ticket from Cat Ba island to Hai Phong
Tam coc boat trip
Entrance fees & and travel permits
Local speaking English tour guide/s (Other languages upon requests)