9 days, 8 nights. North-west 9 days motorbiking of Vietnam.
Booking code of this tour: NW901
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Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~170 km, ~6 h.
Today is the first day of this North-west 9 days motorbiking of Vietnam. 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.
Day 2: Mai Chau – 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 reality, you ride on a very nice road 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 – Lai Chau. ~120 km, ~6 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 5: 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 drive at a low 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 6: Sapa – Trekking.
In fact, Sapa and Bac Ha are now quite touristy. However, we can trek to Ta Van village where is dominated by Giay people. We pass Lao Chai village on the way and lunch could be in Lao Chai, Ta Van, or wherever we want. The children will go together with you along the way. We stay O/N in a stilt house of Giay.
Day 7: Sapa – Bac Ha. ~100 km, ~3 h.
The drive from Sapa to Bac Ha takes ~3 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 and have lunch. In the afternoon, we trek to Lung Phinh village. Stay overnight in Bac Ha.
Day 8: Bac Ha – Luc Yen – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~6 h.
From Bac Ha to Luc Yen, the road is easy and also sealed all the way. Then, a secondary road along the Thac Ba lake, Dzao and Tay territory until the traditional village of Vu Linh where we stay with our friends. Honestly, the welcome is exceptional.
Day 9: Vu Linh – Hanoi. ~200 km, ~7 h.
Come back to Hanoi by Song Thao. In general, it’s a very nice road.
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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