Northwest & Northeast Vietnam motorbiking in 11 days / 10 nights.
Booking code of Northwest & Northeast Vietnam Motorbiking: BN1101
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Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~170 km, ~6 h.
Today is the first day of this Northwest & Northeast Vietnam motorbiking in 11 days. Before starting to ride, we will have a short briefing to let you know about the rules. In addition, the guide will show you how to understand him by his body language. We start around 9.30am after the rush hour.
Once out of the Red River Delta, which brims with traditional farming activity, we pass through limestone monoliths and into foothills populated by Muong people. We head straight at the main range before breaching a high and beautiful forested pass, which descends into the hidden valley of Mai Chau where we spend the night with friends in a traditional Thai stilt house.
The valley of Mai Chau lies between two rivers: the Da River and the Ma River. Therefore, Mai Chau is very fertile and rich in varied landscapes, medium mountains, forest, lake, rivers, and infinitude of small footpaths and offer many possibilities of a trek. In the valley of Mai Chau and its surroundings are Muong, White Thai, H’mong (in the height), and the Dao who we meet at the markets or in their villages.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Song Thao. ~180 km, ~8 h.
In general, you take in the beautiful landscape. Valley of wax-tree, the native land of lacquer makers in Vietnam.
In fact, Song Thao is a very small village lost in the hills on the west bank of Black River. In particular, this is the place where we grow lacquer trees to collect the precious substance called lacquer.
We are welcome in the house of our friends. You meet Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese). We propose to stay in the house of the two “uncles”, the direct descendant of the ancestor who discovered the property of this tree and the way to use it, about four hundred years ago (quite recently compared to China who knew about lacquer few thousands years ago).
Day 3: Song Thao – Yen Binh – Vu Linh. ~100 km, ~3 h.
Ride from Song Thao to Vu Linh on asphalted road and dirt roads, then reach Thac Ba lake where a boat will be waiting for us. Then we will cruise on the lake from west to east, until the Dao village of Vu Linh. Honestly, the welcome is exceptional.
Day 4: Vu Linh – Na Khan. ~250 km, ~9 h.
You ride from Vu Linh to Na Khan through Thai Nguyen (over 200 km). In general, the road is sealed all the way until Bac Kan. However, the last part from Bac Kan to Na Khan is wild and a little bumpy. Na Khan is a Tay village, lost in the middle of the primitive forest. Mr. Lo, chief of the village will welcome us to his house.
Day 5: Na Khan – Ba Be. ~50 km, ~2 h.
In fact, you only have a short ride from Na Khan to Ba Be on a bumpy road. We leave our bikes at our host’s house. Then easy boating on the lake and river until the house of Mr. Pirate where we have lunch. Afternoon, we can go to the market (if it is the day you arrive), stop at a waterfall, have a swim, etc. Down the waterfall, we could visit the village and a small school.
We can stay in the stilt house of forest guards (next to Pirate’s house) or come back to the village and spend overnight with Mr. Dang and his family.
Day 6: Ba Be – Quang Hoa. ~170 km, ~7 h.
In fact, it’s a beautiful ride up to Cao Bang province. Probably, it is the best riding day on this Northwest & Northeast Vietnam motorbiking in 11 days. There are a few passes from where you can dominate the area. The road is easy but there are many curves. While riding we can stop a lot. Altogether, with stops for drinks and food, it should be an 8-hour journey. Then ride 1 more hour to reach the beautiful village of Quang Hoa, in the middle of a mountain cirque. This is the territory of Nung An people. Spend the night at our friend’s house.
Day 7: Quang Hoa. ~100 km, ~2 h (or ~30 km, ~1 h).
In fact, Na Tau is a completely unknown area that we propose to discover it by raft and motorbike. Rivers and waterfalls everywhere are extremely beautiful and wild. It is only 15 km from Quang Hoa.
Having obtained permission from the border police, we make our way through spectacular scenery to Vietnam’s most impressive waterfalls. Weather permitting we can swim right up to where the 50 m high falls hit the river.
Day 8: Quang Hoa – An Chau. ~210 km, ~7 h.
Ride from Quang Hoa to An Chau, an ecologic zone, 80 km from Lang Son, the road from the turning to An Chau is quite bumpy. We propose to stay overnight in a guesthouse in town.
Day 9: An Chau – Bai Chay – Halong. ~80 km, ~3 h.
Ride to Bai Chay in 3 hours on the mountain road, passing many coal mines along the road. We hope you are not covered in coal dust when we arrive in Halong City.
Promenade along the coast in Halong City. A boat is waiting to take us and our bikes to cruise in Halong Bay. Enjoy lunch with seafood on the boat. Boating to Thien Cung cave, fishing village, and then through myriads of limestone to Ba Trai Dao (Three Peach Fruit Islet). Swimming and sleep here.
Day 10: Halong – Cat Ba. Boating.
Cruise to Cat Ba. In reality, Cat Ba is the far end of Halong Bay. Cat Ba still live from the resource that the sea offers. However, tourism is developed and of high quality. The Cat Ba Bay is a condensed of Halong Bay, its labyrinth of limestone so dense that it is difficult to imagine we are in the sea.
We created this itinerary – the floating village Van Gia. They are our personal friends and the relationship with them is intimate, even knowing that some companies now also pass through there.
Last but not least, Monkey Island (Cat Dua Islet) was totally ignored by mass tourism when we propose to stop there. It has got nothing special besides the fact that there is nobody except monkeys and one family who takes care of their security.
Arrive in Cat Ba and check-in Princes Hotel. Again, take a little boat (sampan) to the floating restaurant for dinner.
Day 11: Cat Ba – Hai Phong – Hanoi. ~120 km, ~3 h + 2½ h ferry. End of Northwest & Northeast Vietnam Motorbiking.
Promenade in Cat Ba and ride to Cat Ba National park (18 km from town). Then take the ferry from Cat Ba to Hai Phong at 13.30 and takes 2 and a half hours. Finally, ride on the nice asphalted road on Highway 5 to Hanoi.
We try to arrive in Hanoi before 5pm to avoid rush hours. Otherwise, you should be good with city traffic from the experience you got over the last days.
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