Northwest Vietnam used to be a far and difficult part of Vietnam. It’s more famous with the war against the French Army in Dien Bien Phu. It now turns into a major tourist attraction that grabs attention from old to young people.
Some travel there to see the former battlefield of Dien Bien Phu while more people choose to ride on a motorcycle tour to take in the breathtaking views and conquer the high mountain passes. More roads are being built, but there are still many areas that can only be accessible by motorbikes.
You start from Hanoi, head up the mountains on the historical Highway 6 and snake up and down the zig zag mountain roads, meet colorful hill tribe groups and visit their week-end markets. Places you see include Mai Chau, Phu Yen, Moc Chau, Son La, Tuan Giao, Muong Lay, Sin Ho, Dien Bien Phu, Sapa, Bac Ha, Luc Yen and Vu Linh. There are home stays in Mai Chau, Sapa, Bac Ha, Luc Yen and Vu Linh. In other places we use hotels that offers better facilities.
A mix of home stays and hotel is great and you will have many good things to tell your friend after this ride. Allow at least 7 days to have a good loop, and if time allows a full 10-day trip is best. When you don’t have many days, even a 4-day ride that ends by train back to Hanoi is also not a bad idea