North West Vietnam motorbiking 10 days / 9 nights.
Booking code of this tour: NW1003
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Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~160 km, ~6 h.
Today is the first day of this North West Vietnam motorbiking 10 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.
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 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 – Xa Linh – Hang Kia. ~60 km, ~3 h.
We head up the main range and then follow the road to Xa Linh. In fact, Hang Kia is 5 km from Xa Linh, home of Flower H’mong people. There are 2 possibilities for accommodation: stay near Hang Kia People’s Committee or ride 14 km up on the track that leads to Thung Man. Thung Man is a H’mong village up high in the mountains.
Day 3: 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 4: 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 5: Muong Lay – Lai Chau. ~150 km, ~7 h.
The most demanding and remote section of the drive 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 karst. 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 O/N in a hotel.
Day 6: Tam Duong – 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. ~10 am: beautiful ride at slow pace on bumpy road to Sapa. We will have a big breakfast because there is nothing to eat on the way, just us with the wildness. We stay O/N in Cat Cat View 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 and have lunch. In the afternoon, we trek to Lung Phinh village of Flower H’mong people. Stay overnight in Bac Ha.
Day 8: Bac Ha – Can Cau – Bac Ha. ~50 km, ~2 h.
In fact, Can Cau is the most beautiful and colourful weekend market in Bac Ha. The road is rough and pitiless; without a 4WD or strong two-wheeled transport such as Minsk, do not even think of it.
Day 9: Bac Ha – Luc Yen – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~6 h.
Bac Ha market in the morning. Then we start from Bac Ha and ride down to Luc Yen. Ride to Vu Linh in about 2 hours around the lake on small road lined by palm trees and scenic mountain views. It will be dark already. The welcome is exceptional and we hope you will not be too much tired.
Day 10: Vu Linh – Hanoi. ~200 km, ~7 h.
Dao market in the morning. Pass through the lake with motorbike by boat. Come back to Hanoi by Song Thao. In general, you ride on 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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