Challenging Full North loop in 15 days / 14 nights.
Booking code of this tour: BN1501
The video below has some portions of this challenging Full North loop in 15 days. In case you want to watch more videos of our Vietnam motorbike tours please check our YouTube channel.
Day 1: Hanoi – Hang Kia. ~200 km, ~7 h.
Today is the first day of this challenging Full North loop in 15 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 hours.
Ride to the direction of the West. We pass through Hoa Binh town, then along the Laotian border on our left and Da (Black) river on our right. We leave the river in the mountainous cirque of Mai Chau to go up until the plateau of Mai Chau.
Multiple horizons in a range of green and grey. Before the plateau, we turn right toward the border until the H’mong village of Hang Kia, which accommodates us for the night.
Day 2: Hang Kia – Son La. ~200 km, ~8 h.
On good road looking high over distant mountains, we head up into a forested region populated by H’mong people before descending into a mountainous tea-growing region. Soon after we follow a long valley floor covered in a sea of rice surrounded by Black Thai villages all the way to Son La with its bargain-filled market. Sleep in a hotel.
Day 3: Son La – Muong Lay. ~200 km, ~8 h.
There are 15 passes in total. In general, you ride on very nice roads with stunning landscape. Probably the most beautiful journey of the whole trip even the road is in poor condition. Sleep in a hotel.
Day 4: Muong Lay (Boating).
After breakfast, we take the boat from Muong Lay to Nam Ma village (40 km from Lai Chau ~2h) with a stopover at Pa Po waterfall (20 km from Muong Lay ~1h). Such a beautiful waterfall! Arrive in Nam Ma, walk to Hoi Ca village (White Thai people), and then have lunch in our captain’s house. In reality, this region is totally ignored by mass tourism and the welcome is exceptional. After lunch, boating upstream back to Muong Lay in 3 hours.
Day 5: Muong Lay – Lai Chau. ~150 km, ~7 h.
In general, this is the most demanding and remote section of the drive which 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 karts.
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 stay in a hotel.
Day 6: Lai Chau – Sapa. ~100 km, ~5 h.
Tam Duong market in the morning. There are colourful Montagnard groups living in Tam Duong: Black H’mong and Dzao. ~10am: beautiful ride at a slow pace on bumpy road to Sapa. We will have a big breakfast because there is nothing to eat on the way, just ourselves with the wildness. We stay O/N in Cat Cat Hotel.
Day 7: Sapa – Bac Ha. ~120 km, ~4 h.
The ride from Sapa to Bac Ha takes ~4 hours, down from Sapa to Lao Cai (34 km) and then up to Bac Ha (70 km) with stunning landscape. We check in a hotel before having lunch. In the afternoon, we trek to Lung Phinh village of Flower H’mong people. Stay overnight in Bac Ha.
Day 8: Bac Ha – Xin Man. ~50 km, ~3 h.
Minor roads and tracks lost in the mountain. Flower H’mong savagely imposes their bright colours in these wild vastness. This road allows us to have time to stop and admire the footpaths going through wild bushes. We can visit Can Cau market, located at the heart of a mountainous circus and very close to the Chinese border. In particular, this is the place the ethnic groups on each side of the border meet every Saturday morning.
Day 9: Xin Man – Bac Me. ~180 km, ~6 h.
In fact, this is a long ride. However, it’s easy road from Xin Man to Bao Lac.
Day 10: Bac Me – Ba Be. ~120 km, ~8 h.
Honestly, this is one of the most demanding days of this Challenging Full North Loop in 15 days.
In general, it is a minor road, bumpy and wild that will take us through the jungle. However, the last 50 km, you follow the river and end by a waterfall, which means that the road suddenly goes up as high as the waterfall. Then you find yourself in Mr. Pirate’s house at the top of Dau Dang waterfall. It is adventurous but very tough. Finally, we spend the night in the Forestry Guest-house.
A boat is waiting to takes us and our bikes across Ba Be lake in 3 hours.
In general, it is a beautiful ride up to Cao Bang province. There are few passes from where you can dominate the area. The road is easy, however, there are many sharp turns. While riding, we can stop a lot. Altogether, with stops for drinks and food, it should be an 8-hour journey. We stay in Cao Bang town.
Day 12: Cao Bang – Quang Hoa. ~40 km, ~1 h 30 min.
Ride in 1 hour and a half to reach the beautiful village of Quang Hoa, in the middle of a mountain cirque. This is the territory of Nung An people.
In addition to the ride, Na Tau is a completely unknown area that we propose to discover it by boat and motorbike. Rivers and waterfalls everywhere are extremely beautiful and wild. It is only 15 km from Quang Hoa.
Spend the night at our friend’s house.
Day 13: Quang Hoa – Ban Gioc – Quang Hoa. ~100 km, ~3 h.
After obtaining 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 50m high falls hit the river.
Day 14: Quang Hoa – Mau Son. ~180 km, ~6 h.
Ride from Quang Hoa to Lang Son. Then continue driving toward the border from Lang Son to Mau Son. Mau Son is 30 km away from Lang Son, 1.541m above sea level. Quite cool in the evening! Night in the guesthouse of Mau Son Resort.
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 15: Mau Son – Hanoi. ~180 km, ~5 h.
We arrive in Hanoi between 3 and 4pm, before rush hours.
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