This 5-day North-West Vietnam Motorbike tour will be started from Hanoi then
keep riding on off-beaten tracks over Mai Chau, Phu Yen, Son La, Muong Lay, Lai
Chau, Lao Cai, where are known as the most typical exciting places for adventure
motorbiking trips. You'll be enchanted with a plenty of unique traditions
habits, cultures of hilltribes ...by the end of the trip, instead of riding back
to Hanoi by motorbikes, we will take a night train from Lao Cai to save the time
as well as your energy from a long-hard journey.
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau (L,D)
In the morning we start our motorbike tour by leaving Hanoi on dyke roads to Mai Chau valley to avoid the heavy traffic around 9 am , we
ride our motorcycles west to Mai Chau, an area of beautiful landscape and home
to the Thai ethnic minority. We will ride on Highway 6 passing extensive farming
lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads punctuated by
limestone karst scenery.
After a light lunch in Hoa Binh Province, we cross Thung Khe, one of the most
beautiful mountain passes in North Vietnam then descent to the mountain valley
settlement of Mai Chau. After dinner we join performance, where you can dance
and share a range of special liquors (rice wine) with the locals. Overnight in a
house-on-stilts of the Thai people.
Day 2: Mai Chau - Phu Yen (B,L,D)
Mai Chau is one of the closest places to Hanoi where you can experience Vietnam
Motorbike Tour to Mai Chau valley a 'real' Montagnard village. In the morning we
take a short walk around village to discover local life. Life in the countryside
starts early so by sunrise there is a wealth of activity. The Thai women are
masterful weavers who ensure that there is plenty of traditional-style clothing
to buy in the village centre. You will see women weaving on looms under or
inside their houses in the village We can buy some handmade traditional-style
clothing, knife or cross-bow.
After breakfast in home-stay, we say goodbye to villagers and leave Mai Chau
around 10 am. We ride from Mai Chau to the direction of Moc Chau, where we have
lunch. This highland town produces some of Vietnam's best tea and is a good
place to stock up. The surrounding area is also home to several ethnic
minorities, including Green H'mong, Dzao, Thai and Muong. Moc Chau boasts a
pioneering dairy industry that started in the late 1970s with Australian (and,
later, UN) assistance. The dairy provides Hanoi with such delectable iuxur us as
fresh milk, sweetened condensed milk and little tooth-rotting bars called “Banh
After lunch, we turn to the less travelled Road 43 leading to the Da River,
crossing the reservoir of Da river at Van Yen ferry, then ride on a beautiful
winding secondary road until Phu Yen mountain town (a district of Son La
Province in the Northwestern region of Vietnam), where we stay in a basic
Day 3: Phu Yen - Son La (B,L,D)
Continuing our motorbike tour on the almost empty Road 37 we enter mountains heavily populated with Black Thai
people, who work on large terraced rice fields. The winding road passes through
many Thai villages and fields and provides a great opportunity to watch country
life passing by. We continue through rolling hills before rising up to the sugar
cane growing areas on the cooler Son La plateau.
Late lunch in Son La City, the capital of Son La Province, before we visit The
Old French Prison & Museum. It was once the site of a French penal colony where
anticolonial revolutionaries were incarcerated. It was destroyed by the infamous
“off-loading” of unused ammunition by US warplanes that were returning to their
bases after bombing raids, but it has been partially restored. Rebuilt turrets
and watch towers stand guard over the remains of cells, inner walls and a famous
lone surviving peach tree. The tree, which blooms with traditional “Tet
flowers”, was planted in the compound by To Hieu, a former inmate from the
1940s. To Hieu has subsequently been immortalised. with various landmarks now
named after him.
Overnight in Son La City.
Day 4: Son La - Muong Lay (B,L,D)
Heading out northwest from Son La, the road crosses a series of mountain Vietnam
Motorbike Tour to Sapa from Hanoipasses and areas of busy Black Thai activity.
Children walk to school, kids tend buffaloes, women plant rice seedlings and men
pull the buffalo. Then we come to the beginning of the very long and steep Pha
Din pass where at the top we have vast views of the surrounding mountains, then
down the other side on very steep sealed road. Lunch in Tuan Giao.
Heading out northwest from Tuan Giao the road passes isolated communities of
Hmong and Thai people, whose small villages settle on the banks of dark green
rivers and on the steep slopes of the mountains. Afterwards, by a forest stream
the road begins to climb up the high Xa Tong pass. At the top for sunset before
dropping sharply into the deep Lai Chau valley. Muong Lay old town was sunk in
early 2010 and our new place for overnighting is new town, which is located on
Day 5: Muong Lay – Lao Cai – Hanoi (B,L,D)
The most demanding and remote section of the drive takes us upstream along the
left side of a Black River tributary through forest on a bumpy dirt road past
isolated pockets of Tay, Thai, H’mong and Man peoples before breaching a pass to
enter the Tam Duong plain, which is covered in shark’s teeth like limestone
karst. We would visit a Mang village near Sin Ho, the guide will buy some food
to give to the head of the village, and he later distributes our donations to
the villagers. We continue our beautiful drive at slow pace on bumpy road to Lao
Cai. We will have a big breakfast because there is nothing to eat on the way,
just us with the wildness.
The guide and driver will ride down to Lao Cai for the train to Hanoi at 8 pm.