STUNNING NORTH VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOUR TO PU LUONG, MU CANG CHAI AND SAPA- 7 DAYS
By Minh Hoang
7-day North Vietnam motorbike tour from Hanoi to Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Mu Cang Chai and Sapa is the ideal way to see the stunning landscape of Vietnam. You will also visit the ancient capital Hoa Lu. Boat trips to see Tam Coc and Thac Ba lake are also the highlight you should experience. Mu Cang Chai is a district of Yen Bai province, about some 300 km north of Ha Noi, in the northeastern region of Vietnam. The place is home to the H’Mong and Thai community. For the place being about 1000 meters above sea level, the steep hills make it almost impossible to grow rice fields like those in the delta. Thus local residences grow their own rice on the terraced fields, for the purpose of preventing water from flowing downhill. These terraced fields lying among rugged green mountain valleys, under clear blue sky or a mysterious and crips fog, bring to eyes an imposing scenery. During harvesting season, ready crops transitioned to yellow, while new crops still remain in their green color. The scenery is a big attraction to photographer and trekkers.Located in the two districts of Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc in Thanh Hoa Province, Pu Luong Natural Reserve has preserved a primitive landscape and plentiful and diversified flora and fauna. With the above natural values, it has now become a fascinating destination for those who love to discover the beauty of nature.
North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa – Brief Itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi motorbike tours to Hoa Lu, Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Day 2: Ninh Binh motorbike tours to Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa) via Cuc Phuong National Park
DAY 3: PU LUONG MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO PHU YEN VAI MAI CHAU & MOC CHAU
DAY 4: PHU YEN MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO MU CANG CHAI (YEN BAI)
DAY 5: MU CANG CHAI MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO SAPA (LAO CAI)
DAY 6: SAPA MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO THAC BA LAKE, VU LINH (YEN BAI)
DAY 7: VU LINH VILLAGE (THAC BA LAKE) MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO HANOI
Day 1: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa : Hanoi motorbike tours to Hoa Lu, Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
07:00am, we’ll start our motorbike tour by riding through the city then following the High Way No 1 via some suburb districts of Hanoi like Thuong Tin, Phu Xuyen and Hanam province to get to Ninh Binh
At around 10:30am, we arrive at Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. In 968,
Dinh Bo Linh declared himself as the King. Since then Hoa Lu existed as the capital for the next 41 years (968 – 1009), of which 12 years was under the Dinh dynasty – King Dinh Tien Hoang, the country named Dai Co Viet, and 29 years later was under the Le dynasty – King Le Dai Hanh. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long – present day Hanoi. Hoa Lu became the old citadel.
In Hoa Lu there are now 2 temples have been built on the ground of the old royal palace, one is dedicated to King Dinh Tien Hoang, the other is to King Le Dai Hanh. The visit offers a chance to know more about part of feudal dynasties and historical periods in Vietnamese history.
11:30am, we’ll jump on our motorbikes to keep heading to Tam Coc at around 12:00pm. Right here, we’ll have a lunch at a local restaurant being served with goat meat which is famous as the local specialty.
1:30pm, 5 minute-walk to the boat station and start a 2-hour boat trip to visit Tam Coc. Known as “Halong Bay on land”, Tam Coc are three limestone caves stretching along Ngo Dong river. The boat trip is a nice journey along the river with peaceful scenery of limestone mountains, rice paddy and the site of some temples along the way from Hang Ca (first cave) to Hang Hai (second cave) and Hang Ba (third cave).
The rest of time, you’ll be free on your own to explore more local villages around Tam Coc.
Distance: 150 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Tam Coc
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa: Ninh Binh motorbike tours to Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Thanh Hoa) via Cuc Phuong National Park
We motorcycle to shout west of– an area of beautiful landscape.
You’ll be at leisure a bit to experience the fresh & quiet atmosphere & daily life of the locals here then jump on the bikes to go straight to Pu Luong. En route, you’ll have chances to stop by visit a plenty of authentic villages of the hill tribes and view stunning natural landscapes of streams, forests, mountains.
After lunch, we will have great motorcycle tour on forgotten French road No 6, passing extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads punctuated by limestone karst scenery. Here is known as Ha long bay on mountain. (Home to the white Thai people who are living in houses on stilts).
Pù Luông Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in northern Vietnam. This nature reserve is situated in Quan Hóa and Bá Thước districts of Thanh Hóa Province, North Central Coast region of Vietnam. Pu Luong Nature Reserve is bordered by Mai Châu, Tân Lạc and Lạc Sơn districts of Hòa Bình Province.
The reserve is located along two parallel mountain ridges, that run from north-west to south-east, and are divided by a central valley, which contains several human settlements and a large agricultural land area, therefore, is not included within the nature reserve. Pù Luông is endowed with great biodiversity, its flora and fauna is closely associated with the Cúc Phương National Park 25 km south-east.
Dinner and overnight at Homestay.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa: PU LUONG MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO PHU YEN VAI MAI CHAU & MOC CHAU
Today we will have easy and relaxing Vietnam motorbike tour in north west mountainous area It offers many stopover 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 to the direction of Moc Chau. We ride around Mai Chau village and take a look around the amazing valley.
After lunch, turn to the less travelled Road 43 leading 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 in a guest-house.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance: 160 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa : PHU YEN MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO MU CANG CHAI (YEN BAI)
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. Mu Cang Chai is one of the most amazing landscapes of rice-terraced fields in Vietnam. Located about 1000 meters above sea level, Mu Cang Chai has a special topography with steep hills and deep valleys where the local residences such as Hmong, Thai, Dao have created the master-piece, Terraced Fields.
They has cultivated about 500 hectares of rice terraces for centuries in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh, Tu Le communes. In 2007, the fields were recognized as national heritage sites for its amazing landscape. The fields look stunning during the rice season.
The best times are the planting season (June) and the harvesting season (The end of September to the beginning of October). During harvesting season, ready crop is turning to yellow, while new crop is dotted with white of water and young green of seedling rice. The scenery is a big attraction to photographers and trekkers
Overnight in a hotel.
Distance: 210 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa: MU CANG CHAI 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 6: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa : SAPA MOTORCYCLE TOUR TO THAC BA LAKE, VU LINH (YEN BAI)
Take our motorbikes down from Sapa to Lao Cai City and then have a coffee-stop on the bank of Nam Thi river, which is Vietnam – China border. Enjoy your coffee while taking the view to China. Get on the road, take a 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.
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: 200 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 7: North Vietnam Motorbike Tour to Pu Luong, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa: 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 hanoi through 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.
Accommodation in Hanoi: Your own arrangement
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STUNNING NORTH VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOUR TO PU LUONG, MU CANG CHAI AND SAPA- 7 DAYS Rating: 9.8 out of 10 based on 370 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 speaking guide
Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary (based on twin or/and triple shared)
Saigon, Cat Tien National Park, Dalat – Lak Lake, Buon Ma Thuot, Pleiku, Kon Tum, Hoi An via My Son Sanctuary, Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An, DMZ & Khe Sanh, Phong Nha Caves, Tan Ky, Cuc Phuong National Park, Mai Chau, Hanoi