NORTHEAST VIETNAM BACK-ROAD MOTORBIKE TOUR TO YEN BAI, HA GIANG, CAO BANG
updated: September 26, 2017
Take this special dirt bike tour to discover Thac Ba Lake in Yen Bai, Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark in Ha Giang Province with many gigantic beautiful sceneries, special beautiful sites, diverse and endemic geological system, various groups of valuable and rare animals and vegetables, geological heritages at regional and international levels. This is really an attractive destination of scientists and tourists. Also, you can ride and sightsee lots of Cao Bang from Tinh Tuc, Nguyen Binh, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Quang Uyen, Bao Lac and return to Hanoi via Lang Son
Day 1 : Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Hanoi Motorcycle Tours to Vu Linh village (Thac Ba lake, Yen Bai)
We start our Motorbike tour by riding on to dyke roads following Red river to Thac Ba lake.
See beautiful countryside, rice and green tea fields. Then we turn to the little road to Vu Linh village, where populated by Dzao ethnic minority by the side of Thac Ba lake, very friendly people and the welcome is exceptional. The Thác Bà Lake (Hồ Thác Bà) is a manmade lake in Vietnam created by construction of the Thác Bà hydroelectric plant in the 1960s. Thác Bà is the name of the Bà Falls which pre-existed the dam Home-stay in Vu Linh.
Summary: Distance: 180 km Meals: Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Home-stay
Day 2 : Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Thac Ba Offroad Motorcycle Tours to Ha Giang City
After breakfast, we motorcycle along the Thac Ba lake on a small road lined by palm trees and scenic mountain views to join the main Road 2, heading up to Ha Giang where we stop for the night and apply for a permit. Hà Giang is bounded by Cao Bang, Tuyen Quang, Lao Cai, and Yen Bai provinces and has common international border with China in the north. Ha Giang has many high rocky mountains, limestone formations and springs; the important mountains are the Cam and Mo Neo.
The topography of the province of Ha Giang is fairly complex with “temperate, but highly localized montane weather patterns create variable conditions among different regions”. It has impressive limestone and granite peaks and outcrops. It has three regions. Climatically, it has two seasons, dry and monsoon, dependent on the altitude of the region. The two northern Indochinese climatic zones on the border influence the climate in that part of the province.
The lower areas in the province comprise low hills, the Lo River Valley and the town of Ha Giang. The major rivers of the region are the Lo River (Ha Giang town is located on its left bank) and Mien River. Hà Giang has many mountains, including the two highest peaks, namely, the Tay Con Linh (2419 m) and the Kieu Lieu Ti (2,402 metres (7,881 ft)) and forests that provide lumber. It has about 1000 species of herbal plants. Fauna include tigers, peafowl, pheasants, and pangolin.
Summary: Distance: 180 km Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Hotel
Day 3 : Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Ha Giang Offroad Motorcycle Tours to Dong Van (Ha Giang)
After getting the permit to ride in border areas at Ha Giang’s Immigration Police, we motorbike on small challenging mountain roads (but incredibly beautiful) on the land of colorful mountain hill-tribes.Head up the Ma Pi Leng Pass. Here is yet another amazing place, with cloudy mountain ranges and the poetic Nho Que river winding off in the distance. It is really difficult to find the exact words to describe Ma Pi Leng Pass, located between Dong Van and Meo Vac, near the northernmost tip of Vietnam, as a painting of astonishing beauty and magnificence that captures the eyes of all viewers and nature lovers.
Ride on a zig-zag track until reaching Vuong Family’s Residence, 14 kms before Dong Van. Vuong Family was considered the King of the Hmong People in Dong Van, Ha Giang. Their residence was built in the scenic valley of Sa Phin with Chinese architecture. The whole house was built out of wood and rock only. The rocks for the buildings were imported from China. Vuong Family Residence is a masterpiece of man work in the valley of heavenly beauty of Sa Phin.
This is a remote area and we can meet the hard-working local people here. It is inspiring to see how they survive as they manage live in the rocks. When we reach Dong Van Town we will have some extra time to wonder the ancient streets lined with H’mong homes of clay bricks and tiles roofs built centuries ago.
Dong Van is a market town 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Sa Phin and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Chinese border is inhabited by the Tay and H’Mong people. It is an altitude of 1,025 kilometres (637 mi) and experiences freezing temperature of 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and 24 °C (75 °F) in summer months. The highland region is famous for fruits such as Hau plums, peaches and persimmons without seeds. It has such medicinal plants as ginseng, cinnamon and anise.
Summary: Distance: 160 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Hotel
Day 4: Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Dong Van Offroad Motorcycle Tours to Bao Lac (Cao Bang) via Meo Vac
The road is still under construction and tracks what make the ride relatively long in spite of few kilometres. The landscape is among the most beautiful of Vietnam, and the slow tempo is only more appreciable.
We motorcycle across the wild regions of the mythical province of Ha Giang, Meo Vac is included. Mèo Vạc is a mountain pass at about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) elevation which forms the basin boundary of the Nho Que River on the border with China is restricted zone. The market held at Khâu Vai which is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Mèo Vạc, is where once a year on the 27th day of the third month of the Lunar calendar is known famously as the Khâu Vai “Love Market“.
The ethnic clans of White H’Mông, Tày, and Lô Lô congregate here, particularly the young people assemble here in search of life partners or to exchange partners. The Lô Lô people who dominate the local village by the same name in particular come here in their colourful regale. It shares the border with Dong Van District of Ha Giang Province and Bao Lam District of Cao Bang Province. Meo Vac has most of the terrain in the Rock Plateau of Dong Van and above 1000m above sea level.
Meo Vac has a harsh climate in the winter which is from November to April with dry and freezing cold weather. It is inhabited by different ethnic minorities including the H’mong, the King, Tay, Dzao…Most ethnic groups have maintained their culture untouched from the outside world.
In the afternoon, we stop for the night at Bao Lac, the ethnic crossroad of Northeast Vietnam. Many other ethnic groups on the two sides of the border meet at the market every Sunday.
Summary: Distance: 80 km Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Hotel
Day 5 : Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Bao Lac Offroad Motorcycle Tours to Cao Bang City
Beautiful motor ride down to Cao Bang province. Few passes from where you can dominate the area.
The road is easy but there are many blind curves. We can stop very often for photos in Nguyen Binh and Tinh Tuc.
Cao Bang has several points of historical interest as well as many natural features such as the Pac Bo (at the mouth of the confluence of two rivers, the Bang Giang and Hien rivers) where Ho Chi Minh in January 1941 established a revolutionary force at Coc Bo cave, the Mac King’s Temple, the Ky Sam Temple, Coi Bin Church, the Ban Gioc waterfall area at the international border between Vietnam and China, and the Thang Hen Mountain Lake.
Good hotel in Cao Bang Town, where we can relax to be ready for next imaging day.
Summary: Distance: 130 km Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Hotel
Day 6: Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Cao Bang Offroad Motorcycle Tours to Ban Gioc waterfall and Homestay Tours in Quang Uyen
Get out of town, we ride up to Ma Phuc Pass of Cao Bang Province. It is on the way between Cao Bang Town and the Ban Gioc Waterfall. The pass is not famous with the elevation or the danger like some others in Vietnam, but with the natural beauty that one could capture from the top of the pass.
Keep riding to Ban Gioc waterfall, one of Vietnam’s best-known waterfalls. It’s a very scenic spot, marking the border with China, but sees very few visitors. The name Ban Gioc is derived from the Montagnard languages spoken in the area, and is sometimes spelt Ban Doc. The waterfall is the largest, although not the highest, in the country. The vertical drop is 53m, but it has an impressive 300m span; one end of the falls is in China, the other is in Vietnam. The falls have three levels, creating a sort of giant staircase, and there’s enough water any time, most years, to make the trip worthwhile.
Lunch in local restaurant before we get an other way back to Quang Uyen. This is the territory of Nung An people. Home stay in a host family and the hostess is a great cook. This could be the best ride ever. Overnight in Quang Uyen.
Summary: Distance: 140 km Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Home-stay
Day 7 : Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Quang Uyen Offroad Motorcycle Tours to Lang Son City
Ride from Quang Uyen to Lang Son on the famous historical Highway 4. Passing Dong Khe town,
Battle of Route Coloniale 4. The Battle of Dong Khe was a major battle of the First Indochina War. The fight began on 15 September 1950 and ended on 18 September with a French defeat. It took place in Dong Khe, in the Province of Tonkin, Vietnam, from September 15 to September 18, 1950, ending with a Viet Minh victory. Arriving Lang Son at noon. We have a late lunch before time to discover this city which has become a big trading post between China and Vietnam. You can shop for cheap Chinese products at the nearby Dong Kinh market. Overnight in hotel.
Summary: Distance: 140 km Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Hotel
Day 8 : Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai: Lang Son Motorcycle Tours back to Hanoi
Easy day back to Hanoi on the new Highway 1B. You can wake up late or do some more shopping in Dong Kinh market in the morning as we guess you can be tired after long riding days. Arrival at Hanoi before rush hour, around 3pmSummary: Distance: 160 km Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
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NORTHEAST VIETNAM BACK-ROAD MOTORBIKE TOUR TO YEN BAI, HA GIANG, CAO BANG Rating: 9.8 out of 10 based on 370 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).
+ Motorbike(s) (Honda or Yamaha)
+ Driving gears
+ Gasoline on tour
+ English or French speaking guide
+ Mechanic (only for group from 6 passengers)
+ Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary (based on twin or/and triple shared)