11 days, 10 nights – Northwest & Halong Bay 11 days by bike.
Booking code of this tour: NWHL1101
The video below has some portions of this Northwest & Halong Bay 11 days by 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 11 days by 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: Muong Lay – Lai Chau. ~120 km, ~6 h.
In general, this is the most demanding and remote section of this Northwest & Halong Bay 11 days by 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 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.
Today is an easy day of this Northwest & Halong Bay 11 days by bike after a few hard riding days.
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 – Luc Yen – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~6 h.
We start from Ta Van village and take a motorcycle taxi ride to Sapa, then ride to Luc Yen. Later 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 8: 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 9: Hanoi – Hai Phong – Cat Ba. ~120 km, ~3 h.
6h: Go to Kim Ma bus station to take the bus to Hai Phong (duration: 2 hours 45 minutes). Then take a taxi from the train station in Hai Phong to Binh boat station for the ferry to Cat Ba at 9 am. Arrive in Cat Ba at 11.30 am. Lunch at the hotel. 14h: Walk around Cat Ba town along the coast, market and also the surrounding area or drive around. Finally, take a sampan to a floating restaurant in the little bay to enjoy seafood dinner. Sleep in the hotel.
Day 10: Cat Ba. Boating.
Cruise to Cat Ba. In reality, Cat Ba is the far end of Halong Bay. 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. Again, take a little boat (sampan) to the floating restaurant for dinner.
Day 11: Cat Ba – Hanoi. ~120 km, ~3 h.
Walk in Cat Ba Island or do a short trek in the National Park in the morning. Then take a ferry at 1.30 pm to Hai Phong. Go by taxi to Tam Bac bus station for the bus back to Hanoi in 2 hours.
We arrive in Hanoi between 3 and 4pm, before rush hours.
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