Through NorthWest Motorbike Vietnam In 10 Days
Day 1: Hanoi Motorbike – Mai Chau. ~170 km, ~5 h.
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 in a Thai village.
Day 2: Mai Chau Motorbike – Son La. ~185 km, ~9 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 Motorbike – Lai Chau. ~200 km, ~8 h.
15 passes. Very nice road and stunning landscape. Probably the most beautiful journey of the whole trip even the road is in poor condition.
Day 4: Lai Chau Motorbike – Boating on the Black river. ~6 h.
After breakfast, we take the boat from Lai Chau to Nam Ma village (40 km from Lai Chau ~2h) with stopover at Pa Po waterfall (20 km from Lai Chau ~1h). Beautiful waterfall! Arrive in Nam Ma, walk to Hoi Ca village (White Thai people), and have lunch in our captain’s house. This region is totally ignored by mass tourism and the welcome is exceptional. After lunch, boating upstream back to Lai Chau in 3 hours.
Day 5: Lai Chau Motorbike – Tam Duong. ~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 at Phuong Thanh Hotel.
Day 6: Tam Duong Motorbike – 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 Hotel.
Day 7: Sapa Motorbike – 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 up to Bac Ha (70 km) with stunning landscape. We check in Dang Khoa 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 Motorbike – Coc Ly Motorbike – Bac Ha. ~80 km, ~2 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 villages: H’mong, Phu La, and Tay.
Day 9: Bac Ha Motorbike – Luc Yen Motorbike – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~6 h.
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 Motorbike – Hanoi. ~180 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.
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