13 days, 12 nights – Northwest & Halong Bay 13 days on bike.
Booking code of this tour: NWHL1301
The video below has some portions of this Northwest & Halong Bay 13 days on bike. In case you want to watch more videos of our Vietnam motorbike tours please check our YouTube channel.
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~170 km, ~6 h.
Today is the first day of this Northwest & Halong Bay 13 days on bike. 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: Boating on the Black river. ~6 h boating.
In reality, Lai Chau is where the Da river and Nam Na river meet. There is an occasion to go downstream to meet local people. We propose a picnic to have one complete day of relaxation and to discover this wild area.
Day 5: Muong Lay – Lai Chau. ~120 km, ~6 h.
In general, this is the most demanding and remote section of this Northwest & Halong Bay 13 days on bike 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 drive 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 – Coc Ly – Bac Ha. ~80 km, ~3 h.
We could visit the village of Ban Pho to meet the association of the H’mong women who do some beautiful craft there.
Then we propose to go down from the plateau of Bac Ha to join a small road, which skirts the Chay river from where we go up towards China, to the village of Coc Ly. It is the occasion to meet the various ethnic groups such as H’mong, Phu La, and Tay.
Day 9: Bac Ha – Luc Yen – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~6 h.
We start from Bac Ha and ride down to Luc Yen. Then ride to Vu Linh in about 2 hours around the lake on a small road lined with palm trees and scenic mountain views. It will be dark already. However, 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. 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.
Day 11: Hanoi – Bai Chay – Halong Bay. ~170 km, ~4 h.
In fact, the road from Hanoi to Bai Chay (former name of the present Halong city) is easy and sealed all the way. Then, we promenade along the coast in Halong City. A junk is waiting for us to cruise in Halong Bay. Lunch with seafood on the boat. Boating to Thien Cung cave, fishing village and then through myriads of limestone to Ba Trai Dao (Three Peach Fruit Islet). Finally, swim and sleep here.
Day 12: Halong Bay – Cat Ba. Boating.
Cruise to Cat Ba. In reality, Cat Ba is the far end of Halong Bay. In general, Cat Ba still live from the resource that the sea offers. However, 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 in the sea.
We created this itinerary – the floating village Van Gia. They are our personal friends and the relationship with them is intimate, even knowing that some companies now also pass through there.
Last but not least, Monkey Island (Cat Dua Islet) was totally ignored by mass tourism when we propose to stop there. It has got nothing special besides the fact that there is nobody except monkeys and one family who takes care of their security.
Arrive in Cat Ba and check in Princes Hotel. Take a little boat (sampan) to the floating restaurant for dinner.
Day 13: Cat Ba – Hai Phong – Hanoi. ~120 km, ~3 h.
Promenade along the coast or take the bus to Cat Ba national park. Then take the ferry at 1.30 pm to Hai Phong. Arrive at Bind station at 4 pm. The bus is waiting to take us back to Hanoi on Highway 5. We estimate that you arrive in Hanoi at 6 pm.
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