12 days / 11 nights – Grand North Loop 12 days motorbike tour.
Booking code of this tour: BN1201
The video below has some portions of this Grand North Loop 12 days motorbike tour. In case you want to watch more videos of our Vietnam motorbike tours please check our YouTube channel.
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~150 km, ~5 h.
Today is the first day of this Grand North Loop 12 days motorbike tour. 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 hours.
We leave Hanoi around 9am following the Red river road to Son Tay and then another Black river road to Hoa Binh. This is longer than taking the Highway 6 but saves you hours in crowded traffic.
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 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 during trekking, boating or while driving.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Yen Binh. ~200 km, ~8 h.
A long but beautiful drive from Mai Chau to Yen Binh. We will go up, north direction along the Da (Black) river until Yen Binh where we spend the night. In fact, Yen Binh is just a small town quite near Thac Ba lake.
Day 3: Yen Binh – Vu Linh. ~1.5 h boat.
Day 4: Vu Linh – Ba Be. ~250 km, ~9 h.
In fact, today’s ride is a quite a long ride but easy (so early departure is better) from Vu Linh to Ba Be (~250 km). Ba Be is a nice stop and it is good to arrive the first day to have a full day (of the second) day there.
Day 5: Ba Be. Boating.
In general, today is an easy boating on the lake and river. Go to market (if it is the day you arrive). Then stop at waterfall, beautiful swim etc. Ong pirate, the chief of Dau Dang waterfall where we enjoy dinner. Down the waterfall, we could visit the village and a small school (only few pupils during the summer). Finally, we propose to stay in the stilt house of forest guards.
Day 6: Ba Be – Quang Hoa. ~170 km, ~8 h.
Cross Ba Be lake to come back to our captain’s house. Then a beautiful ride up to Cao Bang province. There are 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. All together, 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 in our friend’s house.
Day 7: Quang Hoa – Na Tau – Quang Hoa. ~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. On the return, we invite you for the aperitif at the village of Phuc Sen, artisan village Nung An, the owner is the brother of our host.
Day 8: Quang Hoa – Ban Gioc – Quang Hoa. ~100 km, ~2 h.
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 9: Quang Hoa – Mau Son. ~180 km, ~7 h.
Honestly, today is the best riding day of this Grand North Loop 12 days motorbike tour.
We slowly leave the region of the karsts to find the forest. Then descending by famous colonial road N. 4 until the frontier city of Lang Son. We then climb Mau Son mount (1.541 m) to spend the night at its top from where we dominate all the area to which China is near.
Stay in a hotel in a former French atmosphere, which is recently restored.
Recently, we received some complaints about room service and prostitution in Mau Son. In case you want better hotel rooms, we could stop in Lang Son city.
Day 10: Mau Son – Bai Chay. ~180 km, ~7 h.
We have a long ride mainly on secondary road, passing many coal mines along the road. The road goes down towards the plains. In fact, some sections are in bad conditions.
Arrive in Bai Chay. Check in.
Day 11: Bai Chay – Halong – Cat Ba. Boating.
Cat Ba is in fact the far end of Halong Bay. In general, Cat Ba still live from the resource that the sea offers. In addition, the 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 on the sea.
We created this itinerary – the floating village Van Gia. It is our personal friends and the relation with them is intimate, even knowing that some companies now also pass through there.
Finally yet importantly, Monkey Island (Cat Dua Islet) was totally ignored by mass tourism when we propose to stop there. It has nothing special beside the fact that there is nobody except monkeys and one family who takes care of their security.
We propose to sleep on the boat near Cat Dua Islet.
Day 12: Cat Ba – Bai Chay – Hanoi. ~170 km, ~4 h.
After breakfast, we take another 4-hour boat cruise to see the East part of Halong Bay (Bai Tu Long) which was beautifully framed in the French film Indochina starred by Catherine Deneuve.
Lunch at Hai Ninh restaurant before driving back 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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