In 8 days, 7 nights we will take you to far-away Northwest Vietnam by motorbike. This area is really beautiful but rough roads and landslides make it a very challenging ride.
Below is a video clip that has some portions of this Northwest Vietnam loop. In case you want to watch more videos of our Vietnam motorbike tours please check our YouTube channel.
NORTHWEST VIETNAM DETAILED ITINERARY
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~170 km, ~4-5 hrs.
Today is the first day of this 8 days Northwest ride. 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. Finally, we start around 9.30am after the rush hour.
Once out of Hanoi, ride on the beginning part of Ho Chi Minh Highway to get used to the bike. Then turn to a small, zigzag road round mountain feet. Pass through villages of Muong minority villages near Kim Boi Hot Spring for a drink or swimming before lunch in Muong Khen – a Muong village in Hoa Binh province.
In the afternoon, we climb up mountain passes with beautiful scenery of rice fields and valleys before descending into Mai Chau. This is a village of the White Thai minority. We can do short hiking around the village, rice-fields to discover local people’s lives.
Dine with a Thai family where we spend the night with. We later join the traditional dancing group of the village, hand-in-hand and drink ruou can.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Phu Yen. ~150 km, ~4 hrs.
A real challenging ride, after an hour on the new Highway no. 6 we make our own way on to the torturous and bumpy road to explore the H’mong hill tribe’s colourful customs and majestic mountainous scenery. Visit our H’mong friends’ families, walk in the village and then continue on the dirt road to Moc Chau.
These beautiful grasslands of Moc Chau have the best of both words and breath-taking scenery which is favoured by nature and covered with cloud all year round. It seems to offer an ideal climate condition in Northwest Vietnam. Moc Chau’s flora is diverse, ranging from forest and tea plantations to fruit hills.
Moreover, we can walk to the local dairy farms and try products from the local processing factories. Dairy produce is Moc Chau’s specialty being exported to many other countries.
We drop down to the Da River and take a boat to pass the river. Then we ride along the river to visit Phu Yen valley, one of the most prosperous and beautiful villages of Thai people in Northwest Vietnam.
Day 3: Phu Yen – Tuan Giao. ~210 km, ~6 hrs.
The journey North continues onto Son La, following 113 Highway. Along the way, there are super landscapes with green valley and terraced rice fields. Pass the Bac Yen mountain top, through Chen pass to the largest “maize” and “manioc” forest, we arrive at Son La plateau.
After lunch in Son La town, visit the former French Prison and provincial museum. It’s also time to refresh before climbing over a range of passes, including Son La, Chieng Pac, and Pha Din – known as the interference between Heaven and Earth. Pha Din forms a natural border between Son La and Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence in 1954. While passing these scenic sites, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape on your way from Son La to Tuan Giao town. Arrive in Tuan Giao at sunset.
Day 4: Tuan Giao – Sin Ho. ~150 km, ~5 hrs.
Continue venturing into northern Vietnam with the 98 km remainder of the historical Highway 6. The road is rough, but the scenery is unbelievably beautiful and magnificent with the 7 high passes cutting through steep mountains along the Da river – flowing around the foot of the passes, which can be found nowhere else in the Northwest route.
In addition, the pleasure of travelling by motorbike in this region is the joy of seeing the friendly smile and waving from the local people, which makes the hardship all worthwhile. Along the way, we stop to visit Black Thai, Kho Mu, Lu, Black H’mong, Green H’mong, and White H’mong, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled there and discover their simple lifestyles and colourful cultures.
– After lunch in Lai Chau, we could take a boat to travel along the Nam Na River. We pass the high and dangerous rocks, to the pretty villages on the two sides of the river and the hillside green rice fields. The boat is not a big one, but the coxswain is able to make your cruise safe and adventurous to the next destination. After that, we make our way to Sin Ho.
– If the water level is not deep enough we must take the other way around to go up to Sin Ho. However, this road is under construction.
Due to the environment and a height of 1,700m, getting there is a very hard journey. Thus the people living here mostly live to their very long-lasting lifestyle. The unchanged way of life from ancient days is hard to be found anywhere. However, it should be mentioned that there is no way for urbanization to occur in these areas.
The reason Sin Ho is regarded as the richest mountain market in the Northwest province is that anybody who is courageous enough to visit the area is rewarded with the fortune of visiting. This does nothing to limit the motley colours of traditional clothes of various ethics such as Green H’mong, Black H’mong, White H’mong, Dao Dau Bang, Dao Khau, Giay, Thai, Cong, Mang, and Lu, etc.
Day 5: Sin Ho – Tam Duong – Sapa. ~170 km, ~4 hrs.
Spend most of our time in the morning to explore Sin Ho Market – if we arrive on the market day and then downhill for lunch in Tam Duong town.
In the afternoon, ride on a dirt road, through villages of Lu, Giay, and H’mong people. Then cross the Muong Kim river to Lao Cai province. Climb Tram Ton pass, the most beautiful one in Sapa from where we have a stunning mountain view at sunset.
Ride down to Sapa before dark. Sapa was founded in the early years of the last century as a hill resort for the French administration in Indochina at the time. It soon became famous for its ideal climate. Nowadays, Sapa’s breathtaking scenery is one of the best in South East Asia.
Day 6: Sapa – Bac Ha – Xin Man. ~150 km, ~4 hrs.
In the morning, ride down to Lao Cai town to visit Lao Cai border gate with China. Then rolling along route 70 to Bac Ngam for the breathtaking scenery of mountain and river view before heading up the mountain pass to Bac Ha for our lunch and short hiking to some H’mong villages.
In the afternoon, we continue the small trail to Xin Man in the wild rocky road. Hope it doesn’t rain, otherwise, we have to ride in the mud as a water-buffalo. The scenery on the way to Xin Man is amazing.
Day 7: Xin Man – Thac Ba. ~170 / ~120 km, ~6/ ~4 hrs.
Option 1: Xin Man – Vu Linh.
One special day begins by heading south on the bumpy, dirty, and muddy road. Luckily, we climb up a hill on a good road and enjoy riding down with beautiful scenery of rice paddies on the mountainsides. It is impossible in the rain. We will stop in many villages for chatting and talking with local people to discover about their cultures.
After about 3 hours of riding, we meet a good road, but still small and wild. That would be great for rolling a bike through rice fields, limestone mountain karsts of Luc Yen.
After lunch, keep riding for another 60 km to a beautiful village of Dao Quan Trang people on the lakeside. Leave our bikes there with the cows and buffaloes, jump on a small boat sailing away and enjoy swimming.
Option 2: (Market in Xin Man), Xin Man – Luc Yen.
Sin Ho is the most beautiful market of the Northwest and Xin Man is the next one you would find in the Far North Centre of Vietnam. They are both far from town, and difficult to reach which is not famous for mass tourism.
Early lunch in a local restaurant near the market and then head south on the bumpy, dirty, and muddy road. Luckily, we climb up a hill on a good road and enjoy riding down with beautiful scenery of rice paddies on the mountainsides. It is impossible in the rain.
Arrive in Luc Yen where we will spend the night with the local Red Dao family on top of the hill. Alternatively, we can stay with a family of Tay people just at the foot of this hill.
Day 8: Thac Ba – Hanoi. ~160/ ~210 km, ~4/ ~6hrs. End of Northwest.
Easy cruise along the Chay river on a small dirt river bank through villages of Kinh people and beautiful maize and rice-fields. The guide will organize to ride back to Hanoi before rush hour. End our adventure.
More Vietnam Guided Motorbike Routes
– Ha Giang & Northeast Vietnam
– Private One Day Tour Of Hanoi
– Mai Chau Area
– Middle Northern Vietnam
– North-East Vietnam
– Ho Chi Minh Trail/Road
– Big Loop Of Northern Vietnam
– Customize Your Vietnam Guided Motorbike Tours?