16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorbike with 15 nights accommodation.
Booking code of 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail: OV45
More Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbike Tour Itineraries
Itinerary At A Glance
1st day: Hanoi – Phu Yen.
2nd day: Phu Yen – Mai Chau.
3rd day: Mai Chau – Tan Ky.
4th day: Tan Ky – Phong Nha.
5th day: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi.
6th day: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh.
7th day: Khe Sanh – Hue.
8th day: Hue – Hoi An.
9th day: Hoi An.
10th day: Hoi An – Kon Tum.
11th day: Kon Tum – Buon Ma Thuot.
12th day: Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang.
13th day: Nha Trang – Da Lat.
14th day: Da Lat.
15th day: Da Lat – Cat Tien.
16th day: Cat Tien – Saigon.
By riding our 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail motorcycle voyage, you experience the best of Vietnam. In fact, you retrace some portions of BBC Top Gear: Vietnam Special routes. However, you will ride on more beautiful roads and more off the tourist trails than Top Gear presenters.
Day 1: Hanoi – Phu Yen (165 km, ~6 hours riding)
Today is the first day of this 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorbike. To get out of Hanoi safely, 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 Phu Yen on a country road with a stop in Son Tay. On November 20-21, 1970, a joint force composed of USAF Special Operations and rescue personnel and U.S. Army Special Forces, supported by U.S. Navy Carrier Task Force 77, made a daring raid on the Son Tay prison camp located less than 50 miles from Hanoi. The objective was to rescue as many as 100 U.S. captives thought to be held there. The assault troops, in six ARRS helicopters accompanied by two C-130 aircraft, flew 640km to Son Tay from bases in Thailand. U.S. Navy pilots made a diversionary raid while 116 USAF and Navy aircraft from seven air bases and three aircraft carriers flew refuelling, surface-to-air missile suppression, fighter cover, close air support, early warning, communications support and reconnaissance missions. However, there were no prisoners found in camp.
After lunch, ride on the winding mountain road to Phu Yen to take in some of the best mountain views in Northwest Vietnam. Overnighting in a hotel. (L, D)
Day 2: Phu Yen – Mai Chau (145 km, 5 hours riding)
There are many small roads that lead to the mountains around Mai Chau so we’ll take the chance to ride out to isolated H’mong, Dao and Thai villages. Then you take on the challenge of an old road built by the French army and spend the afternoon exploring nearby villages. Overnight in a Thai ethnicity stilt house in Mai Chau.
During this 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorbike, you don’t have many stunning mountain views like Northern Vietnam. In addition, the hill tribes are not as many or authentic like in the Northern part. Therefore, it’s always good to include this part into the ride even it has nothing to do with the Trail. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Mai Chau – Tan Ky (290 km, 9 hours riding)
Ride on a small, spectacular and paved trail along the Ma river until Cam Thuy town where we stop for lunch. Then hit the Ho Chi Minh trail (now a newly built highway) all the way to Tan Ky town where we spend the night in a hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Tan Ky – Phong Nha (280 km, 8 hours riding)
Ride on Ho Chi Minh Highway until Pho Chau where we stop to visit the HCM Trail victory monument. In fact, this is the real starting point of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Ride all the way to Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina. Currently, it’s a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geographic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi (60 km, 2 hours riding)
Boating and exploring World Heritage site of Phong Nha where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during wartime. Then we drive down to the coastal town of Dong Hoi, which was heavily shelled by US warships during the war. At a hotel over looking the beach, we can take in some sunbathing by the beach. Overnight in Dong Hoi. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh (200 km, 6 hours riding)
We strike south through foothills which were once sprayed heavily by Agent Orange towards the former DMZ. In fact, there is still much evidence of bombing on the mountain sides. From time to time we will see remnants of the original Trail. Then we take in the Vinh Moc tunnel, the famous Hien Luong Bridge (former demarcation line between North and South Vietnam, the Truong Son Cemetery and finally Khe Sanh (former US Marine base). Overnight in Khe Sanh. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Khe Sanh – Hue (180 km, 7 hours riding)
In the morning we head south over the Da Krong Bridge (built by the Cubans in 1973) into the infamous A Shau Valley, an area of intense wartime activity. Passing Hamburger Hill and mountains still barren due to the extended effects of Agent Orange, we arrive at A Luoi, where there are many Bru Van hill tribe people. Then cruise through green back country down the steep Me Oi Pass, we continue on to the beautiful city of Hue which lies along the banks of the Perfume River. Overnight in Hue. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Hue – Hoi An (145 km, 5 hours riding)
See the Forbidden Citadel in the morning. Then join the National Highway 1 and head up the Hai Van Pass (Cloudy Pass) before the World Heritage site of Hoi An, a major trading centre in SE Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. Overnight in Hoi An. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Hoi An. Sightseeing day.
Those who wish can ride up to My Khe beach, where US marines first landed. Otherwise, enjoy a free day to explore Hoi An by foot or by motorbike taxi. With fine wining and dining (including a range of Hoi An specialties), impressive architecture, fantastic tailoring, endless shopping, and a glorious beach, there is no shortage of activities to indulge in. This is the most relaxing days of this 13 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorbike. (B, L, D)
Day 10: Hoi An – Kon Tum (~290 km, ~9 h)
This is another long day on motorbike of this 15 days Ho Chi Minh Trail tour. First, we strike back up to the mountains, then rejoin the Trail at Phuoc Son (also known as Kham Duc). From there we head up the towering Lo So Pass. Then pass through remote areas thinly populated by peoples of the Ba Na ethnicity. Then edging close to the border with Laos, where a number of Trail arteries crossed over in Laos, we continue on to Kon Tum.
Overnight in Kon Tum. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Kon Tum – Buon Ma Thuot (~240 km, ~8 h)
In the morning we head south through the Central Highlands, passing Pleiku and the Ia Drang Valley battlefield, before continuing onto Buon Ma Thuot (also known as Buon Me Thuot), the city where northern forces launched their final assault on the then Saigon. Buon Ma Thuot produces most and best coffee products in Vietnam.
Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot. (B, L, D)
Day 12: Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang (~190 km, ~7 h)
We take an easy drive back down off the Tay Son highlands towards the coast, then arriving at Highway 1 some 30 km north of Nha Trang. Taking in this scenic coastal stretch past turquoise waters and scarlet fishing boats, we arrive in the bright lights of Nha Trang and its relaxing holiday options.
Overnight in Nha Trang. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Nha Trang – Da Lat (~180 km, ~5 hours)
This 150km ride shows you some footage of the famous 2008 BBC’s Top Gear: Vietnam Special show. Mountainous ride on the Central Highlands. In reality, it reminds you much of the Northern mountains during the first two days of this 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail tour. (B, L, D)
Day 14: Da Lat Touring (~50 km, ~2 hours)
Da Lat is known as “The City of Love” and is a favourite holiday resort for Vietnamese as well as the French. With evergreen forests, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, the country’s best flower gardens, and delicious fresh produce, Da Lat has always provided a welcome respite from the heat of the lowlands. We can spend the day visiting the highlights of Da Lat – its gardens, cathedral, waterfalls, market, Valley of Love, convent, university, train station and key pagodas. Overnight in Da Lat for the second night. (B, L, D)
Day 15: Da Lat – Cat Tien National Park (~240 km, ~7 hours)
Down on road 20, we ride to Cat Tien National Park. In fact, this forest area used to be the head quarter of Vietnamese army during the war. The park suffered historically during the Vietnam War when it was extensively sprayed with herbicides like the defoliant Agent Orange. To this day these areas have extensive bamboo and grassland cover and trees have not yet grown back. (B, L, D)
Day 16: Cat Tien – Saigon (~160 km, ~4 hours)
This is not so long but is a big day as traffic is very crazy when we enter Saigon (HCM City). We ride straight to the train station. If you need information about places to stay and/or to eat our guide will be able to recommend some.
16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail motorcycle voyage ends at Saigon train station. (B, L, D)
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DETAILS OF DESTINATIONS
A small town, ~170km Northwest of Hanoi. It’s in the heart of the third largest rice field in Northern Vietnam. In fact, the road from Hanoi to Son Tay is crowded, skirting along the Red river. On the other hand, the road from Son Tay to Phu Yen is quite scenic and quiet. It is one of the less travelled places in Northern Vietnam. As a result, the accommodation condition in Phu Yen is basic.
This is our first stop on this 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorbike.
A Thai village in Mai Chau district of Hoa Binh province. It’s about 160km from Phu Yen. In early 1990’s Lac village is the first to open the homestay overnighting business. It became so popular that all surrounding villages stepped into this business. Therefore, Mai Chau becomes the largest home staying complex in Northern Vietnam. Luckily, friendly people and great food make the night here very entertaining and enjoyable. You will stay in a stilt house, or pile dwelling which is made of bamboo and timber. A house is normally elevated 10-12 feet off the ground in order to avoid water damage and provide shelter for animals.
This place offers the only homestay experience on the 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail motorbike tour.
A town in the west part of Nghe An province, ~400km South of Hanoi. It is a stop on the Ho Chi Minh Trail/Road. In fact, Km 0 is in this district where original Ho Chi Minh trail starts. This is home to Kinh, Thai and Tho people.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bo Trach and Minh Hoa districts, Quang Binh province. This location is in central Vietnam, ~500 km south of Hanoi. The park was created to protect one of the world’s two largest karst regions with 300 caves and grottoes. In addition, it also protects the ecosystem of limestone forest in the north central coast of Vietnam.
Phong Nha holds several world cave records. It has the longest underground river, as well as the largest caverns and passageways. Son Doong is a relatively recently discovered cave in the national park. Found by a local man and explored and publicly announced by the British cave scientists of the British Cave Research Association. In reality, it is the largest cave in the world. A boat ride on the Son river is a good way to relax and take in the beautiful view of this park. However, a tour to discover this cave is very expensive. In addition, you must book very long in advance.
The capital city of Quang Binh province in central Vietnam. The city is on the old National Highway 1A. ~500km south of Hanoi. Dong Hoi has a 12km coastline with white sandy beaches such as Nhat Le, Da Nhay and Ly Ho. During the Vietnam/American War, this was one of the most fierce battlefields.
District capital of Huong Hoa district in Quang Tri province. Khe Sanh Combat Base is a war site, it was a United States Marine Corps outpost in South Vietnam. The airstrip was built in September 1962 and later Vietnamese Army rebuilt the old airstrip at Khe Sanh for courier flights into the south. As of 2009, Khe Sanh Combat Base is a museum where relics of the war are exhibited. Most of the former base is now overgrown by wilderness or coffee and banana plants and there is little trace of the war.
Between 1802 and 1945, it was the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. During the Vietnam/American War, Hue became central position between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. In the Tet Offensive of 1968, possibly the hardest fight, during the Battle of Hue the city suffered considerable damage. After the war, many of the historic features of Hue were neglected. Over the past 20 years, many historical areas of the city have been being restored. In fact, many people found Hue a bit boring but it is still a good stop.
Our ride ends at the train station after we load the bikes on the train in Danang. Thus from Danang to Hoi An, you take a taxi or minibus.
Also known as Faifo, a city on the coast of central Vietnam, in Quang Nam province. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. The city served as the largest harbour in South-east Asia in the 1st century. In fact, it was still an important port until the 17th century. The Pagoda Bridge is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side.
All new hotels are moved to Cua Dai, not far away from the old city where you stay near the beach. In fact, Hoi An is an ideal place for a retreat on this 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail motorbike voyage due to its central location.
The capital town of Kon Tum province in Central Highlands, near the borders with Laos and Cambodia, mostly famous for coffee products. Kon Tum has several vestiges of the French colonial period, as well as several tribal villages directly in the suburbs of the Vietnamese-reconstructed town. Among the town’s landmarks, there is a Roman Catholic wooden church on discrete stilts and a large French-built seminary which hosts a small museum on local hill tribes. In fact, French missionary presence in Kon Tum traces back to 1851. This town is in a politically sensitive area and some permits are required to visit remote villages.
Buon Ma Thuot
Also written as Ban Me Thuot, the capital city of Dak Lak province, Southern Vietnam. In reality, the city is the largest in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region and is famous as the regional “capital of coffee”, home to many Vietnamese famous coffee brands.
A coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, in the Southern Vietnam. Nha Trang is well known for its beaches and scuba diving and has developed into a popular destination for domestic and international tourists, attracting large numbers of visitors on the Southeast Asia circuit. In reality, Nha Trang Bay is considered as among the world’s most beautiful bays. The city is home to the famous Po Nagar Tower built by the Champa. Being a coastal city, Nha Trang is a centre for marine science based at the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute. The Hon Mun marine protected area is one of four first marine protected areas in the world admitted by the IUCN.
The capital of Lam Dong province in South Vietnam. The city is located 1,500m above sea level (same elevation like Sapa and Mau Son in North Vietnam), on the Langbiang Plateau. In Vietnam, Da Lat is a more popular tourist destination for domestic tourists than international tourists. Its specific sights are pine wood with twisting roads and tree marigold blossom in the winter. In general, the temperate weather is like spring all the year round and more like in Europe. It is also known as an area for scientific research in the fields of biotechnology and nuclear physics. Vietnamese people like agriculture products from Dalat, like cabbage and cauliflower. Its flower industry produces two typical flowers: hydrangea and golden everlasting.
An important national park located in South Vietnam, ~150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. In reality, it covers an area of about 720 km² and protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests left in Vietnam. Initially, the park was founded in 1978. This park suffered historically during the Vietnam/American War when it was extensively sprayed with herbicides like the defoliant Agent Orange. We stay in a guest-house inside the park and this is the best way to get close to nature. However, tonight is one of the most basic accommodations of the 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail tour.
Ho Chi Minh City
Also known by former name, Saigon. The most populous city in Vietnam with the real population of over ten million people. After 1975, Saigon had a new name as Ho Chi Minh City. However, the old Saigon name is still popular among both Vietnamese and foreigners, especially when referring to the most central part of the city to which most tourists flock. In fact, you need at least a few days to tour the city.
Our 16 Days Ho Chi Minh Trail By Motorbike ride ends at the train station after we load the bikes on the train.