9 days / 8 nights – Big North Vietnam In 9 Days Motorbiking.
Booking code of this tour: BN903
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Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~150 km, ~5 h.
Today is the first day of this Big North Vietnam in 9 days motorbiking. 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.
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 during trekking, boating or while driving.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Song Thao. ~180 km, ~8 h.
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 local people 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 – Luc Yen – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~6 h.
Ride from Song Thao on the secondary road then Highway 2 until Khanh Hoa. Then turn right into the bumpy road that leads to Luc Yen. Lunch in Luc Yen. Finally, ride to Vu Linh in about 2 hours around the lake on a small road lined with palm trees and scenic mountain views. Vu Linh is a Dzao village and 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 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 in his house.
Day 5: Na Khan – Ba Be. 50 km, ~2 h + Boating.
Today is a short ride from Na Khan to Ba Be on a bumpy road. Then have lunch at our captain’s house (Mr. Dang, we call him Zi Dang). Easy boating on the lake and river. Go to market (if it is the day you arrive). Stop at a 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 a few pupils during the summer). 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. 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 – Ban Gioc – Quang Hoa. ~100 km, ~3 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.
Ride from Quang Hoa to Lang Son on the scenic Highway 4. Then continue riding toward the border from Lang Son to Mau Son (35 km). Mau Son is 30 km away from Lang Son, 1.541m above sea level. Quite cool in the evening! Night in the guesthouse in Mau Son Hill Station.
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 9: Mau Son – Hanoi. ~180 km, ~5 h.
We arrive in Hanoi between 3 and 4pm, before rush hours.
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