NORTHWEST VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOUR FROM HANOI TO MAI CHAU AND SAPA-6 DAYS
By Minh Hoang
This Northwest Vietnam motorbike from Hanoi via Mai Chau, Phu Yen, Than Uyen, Sapa, and Thac Ba lake is rather short but sweet. There is like no other as you will find everything will be rewarding with the beautiful scenery, friendly people, delicious food, unique colourful culture, serene boat trips, beautiful countryside, amazing valleys, peaceful villages and exceptional welcome. Come and join it
This short Vietnam motorbike tour to northwest starts with a beautiful ride to Mai Chau from outskirts of Hanoi at around 8 AM, we will ride away from the busy traffic by taking some narrow and small country roads. After lunch, we will have enjoyable motorcycle ride on forgotten French road No 6. That’s a small and winding road long the Black River. It offers the view like Ha long bay. After Northwest Vietnam Motorbike Tour – 4 Days crossing Thung Khe pass – one of the most beautiful mountain passes in North Vietnam we will hit the road down to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau. ( Home to the white Thai people who live in houses on stilts).
Diner and overnight in Mai Chau
Day 2: Mai Chau motorcycle tours to Phu Yen – 160 km
The motorcycle ride to Phu Yen is quite easy, It offers a lot of stops for pictures of amazing mountain view. We can start the day with a easy walk around the village or be lazy with a waking up café . After saying goodbye to the Thai people we ride up to the direction of Moc Chau. Lunch is after the beautiful Hua Tat pass and then after lunch, turn to the less travelled Road 43 that leads to the Da River . After crossing the reservoir of Da river at Van Yen ferry, we ride on a beautiful winding road until Phu Yen where we stay overnight.
Dinner and stay in Phu Yen
Distance: 160 km
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3: PHU YEN MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO THAN UYEN (LAI CHAU)
In the morning, we keep motorbiking across Lung Lo pass before head up on Road 32 .
During the First Indochina War, the 15km-long Lung Lo Pass, used by the Vietnamese resistance force to transport weapons, goods and food during the Dien Bien Phu campaign of 1954, was heavily bombed by the French in order to sever the front lines from the rear. Lung Lo Pass, situated in the northern province of Yen Bai, was also recognised as a national heritage by the ministry.
After lunch, we ride through the Mu Cang Chai massif, almost as high as the Fansipan. From the top, it offers one of the most beautiful views of North Vietnam. The ride is challenging but very rewarding.
Overnight in a hotel.
Distance: 210 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: HotelSapa Motorbike tours
DAY 4: THAN UYEN MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO SAPA (LAO CAI)
We motorbike straight toward the main Fansipan Mountain range. There is also the option for a very challenging back route which takes us through several river crossings. The massive mountain range dominates the road until finally we must make a splendid climb up from Binh Lu and up to the top of the highest road pass in Vietnam (Tram Ton Pass).
Crossing into Lao Cai Province at over 2,000m the views looks out over the main range for miles and miles, before we descend to the mountainous Sa Pa valley. Sa Pa is located in Lao Cai Province, north-west Vietnam, and 350 km north-west of Hanoi, close to the border with China. Sapa is famous both for its fine, rugged scenery and for its rich cultural diversity. French used to consider Sapa as Summer Capital of Northern Vietnam in the early decades of the 20th century. Its naturally gifted beauty keeps attracting more and more people to spend their vacation there since then. Particularly, the place is the foremost choice for honeymoon couples!
Overnight in Hotel.
Distance: 110 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5: SAPA MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO VU LINH VILLAGE (THAC BA LAKE, YEN BAI)
Get on the road, take a half-day ride to our Dao friends’ village of Vu Linh, which by the side of Thac Ba lake, the biggest man-made lake in Vietnam. This artificial lake has an area of 23,400 ha and 1,331 islands and hills with diverse ecological environments. The water in the lake is blue and clear, and imprinted with the reflections of the surrounding ancient forest. The thousands of hills and islands feature caves such as the Hum, Cau Cuoi and Bach Xa.
After lunch, we take the boat ride, stop by an island for swimming and discover the particularities of this area: the way villagers paddle their boats, the exotic and odd animals living around, the quiet and peaceful beauty of this huge lake, the lifestyle of the Dao among the thousands of islets.
We will have an unforgettable dinner with the hosts, whose are really big drinkers and they party every day. The welcome is exceptional and we hope you will survive.
Distance: 210 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 6: VU LINH VILLAGE (THAC BA LAKE) MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO HANOI:
After breakfast we ride southeast on Highway 2 and then branch off to the sleepy town of Phu Tho. We follow the edge of the Red River along the dyke, almost to the point where it merges with the Black River after which they flow together to Hanoi.
By now we are very much in the lowlands of the delta plains and the north’s main agricultural areas. Harvest time here is a sea of activity. Crossing the Black River by bridge, we pass Vu Linh Motorbike tours to hanoithrough Son Tay and then return to Hanoi on the highway. We should be back to Hanoi before rush-hour (4 pm) because traffic’s getting busier and busier.
Distance: 180 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
End of services
NORTHWEST VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOUR FROM HANOI TO MAI CHAU AND SAPA-6 DAYS Rating: 9.8 out of 10 based on 368 reviews.
* ACCOMMODATION: – We endeavour to select a combination of good quality hotels that reflect the character of the local area as well as being as centrally located as possible, all the while striving to keep the cost affordable.
– Your trip will stay in a range of hotels / guesthouses with standardized quality.
– Please be aware that some hotel rooms, especially those in major urban centres or older cities, may be smaller than what you are used to in other parts of the world. Standards and ratings may also be different to your home country.
– Rooms are en-suite and either twin- or triple-share, depending on what you have booked. If you are a solo traveller, you will always be sharing a room with someone of the same sex otherwise you can pay a supplement to possess a single room
– If you are traveling as a couple and would prefer to have a double bed, please officially request a double room with us. We never presume that two people traveling together are a couple, even if you share the same surname, unless informed otherwise.
* MEALS: – Your included meals are detailed in the ‘More Inclusions’ section of this document.
– Breakfasts are included every day in the hotel (except on the first morning). They are usually ‘continental breakfasts’, which are typical in most countries. A typical breakfast may consist of cereals with milk or yoghurt, bread, croissants, cold meats, cheese and a range of spreads, with fruit juice, tea or coffee to drink. It is rare to get a hot breakfast in Asia, though on some occasions there may be some hot food available as well. Included evening meals are in local restaurants or accommodation places, and are either two or three courses. In most cases table water is provided with the meals, and if you wish to purchase additional drinks you can do so at your own expense.
– If you have any dietary requirements we will make every effort to cater to your specific needs as long as you advise your travel agent when you book, or make note by email before you set out. But please be aware that although we will do everything in our power to arrange it, we cannot guarantee that every restaurant we use will be able to cater to all dietary needs, particularly in Asia. We also cannot cater for tastes or dislikes, as most of our included evening meals feature a set menu.
* Ten Tips to Survive Vietnam’s Traffic: + DON’T spend hours waiting to cross the street on foot: that constant tide of traffic won’t stop until late at night, so
+ DO as the Vietnamese do: take the plunge and inch slowly across. Observe the Miracle of the Red Sea, as the traffic parts like magic, flowing smoothly in front of you or behind, meeting up again on the other side.
+ DON’T make any sudden or unpredictable movements: freeze if you have to, but never lunge forward or backward towards the safety of the sidewalk. In fact, you can do just about anything, but do it with conviction!
+ DON’T forget, if you’re riding or driving, to look where you’re going – all the time: if you hit anything in front of you, then it’s your fault.
+ DO give way to any vehicle bigger and noisier than yours. Trucks and buses are particularly dangerous: often old, sometimes unsafe and usually all over the road.
+ DO watch out for unfamiliar obstacles: water buffaloes, rocks of various sizes, broken-down trucks…, people sitting in the road, missing bridges, girls in ao dai cycling five abreast, slow-moving mountains of farm produce, dog fights, impromptu football matches, piles of building materials – and almost no light on anything at night..
+ DON’T hesitate to take evasive action – even if this sometimes means leaving the tarmac or coming to a dead stop.
+ DO try to avoid getting involved in one of the all-too-frequent minor accidents that plague Vietnam’s roads (and the major ones as well, of course), but if you are unlucky,
+ DON’T lose your cool, in spite of the interference of the large and vocal crowd that may gather: try to settle things amicably and swiftly. Sometimes, paying a reasonable amount of money will save you a lot of hassle.
+ DO remember that the only rule is: you’re not allowed to bump into anybody… irrespective of what they did or should have done, or of what the road signs or traffic lights were telling them to do. Some people still seem to think that anything red means forward, comrade
* Tipping for guides & mechanic: Our crews never expect tips themselves and will not ask for any; that’s not what friends do! However, so if you are really satisfied with all of what they did for you, please don’t mind tipping them a bit with a normal norm of US$ 7 – US$ 10/person for a guide per day and US$ 3 – US$ 5/person for a mechanic per day. (just don’t forget Mum’s souvenir).
Motorbike(s) (Honda or Yamaha)
Gasoline on tour
English or French speaking guide
Mechanic (only for group from 6 passengers)
Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary (based on twin or/and triple shared)