HO CHI MINH TRAIL MOTORBIKE TOUR
Ho Chi Minh trail motorbike tour – one of the hardest motorbike tour.
If crossing one of the most untouched, driest region in Laos on dirt-bike is your kind of trip then the Ho Chi Minh trail motorbike tour is the tour for you!
It is the ethnology live museum where you see, meet local ethnic minorities. The missed of Indochina histories that you will discover, the training course for your physical health and mind.
There will be plenty of river crossing, dusty roads, and single tracks. You will ride through out from grassy plateau of Xieng Khoang, on Ho Chi Minh eastern leg, down to Bolaven plateau – also known as the coffee capital of Laos.
Day 1: Vientiane Arrival
– Airport pickup, check in hotel
– If time permits, let get a round trip on Tuk Tuk to see city. Nice fresh beer in a local restaurant on Mekong river bank will be a good warm up.
Day 2: Vientiane – Hin Hoeup – Vang Vieng. 250 km/~190 km dirt-road
The day first of riding will follow the path of the Me Khong south and pass thru the Phou Pannang National Forest. Along the way the route will be partially sealed and under construction up until lunch. After the lunch stop, we turn off for small single track to Feuang. There will be a load of dust until we hit back highway no.13.
Last ride to Vang Vieng is easy on paved road. The most notable feature of the area is the karst hill landscape surrounding the town.
Vang Vieng has become a backpacker-oriented town, with the main street filled of guest houses, bars, restaurants, internet cafes, tour agencies and western tourists. But you will enjoy our dinner outdoor of a hotel on Nam Xong river.
Day 3: Vang Vieng – Phonsavan. 220 km paved road
The third day of Ho Chi Minh trail motorbike tourÂ will ride all on paved road.
Ride past limestone karsts and over a rugged mountain range. Enjoy twisties all day long. Make good time arriving in Phonsavan, check in hotel.
Visit the mysterious Plain of Jars and explore around the surrounding town.
Firstly, we take a look the MAG (Mine Advisory Group) offices to learn a little about unexplored bombs left behind from the Indochina War and effects on the area. We then ride to Site 1 of Plain of Jars for our first look at the mysterious site. It gets its name from the hundreds of stone jars scattered across the landscape, ranging in site from 1-2.5 meters in height. There is considerable speculation as to the origin of the jars.
Day 4: Phonsavan – Vieng Thong (Bolikhamxai province). 260 km/~70 km dirt-road
After breakfast, we head to Muong Khoun. Enjoy our first road-break!
Muong Khoun was once the capital of XiengKhoang Province. There is time to visit temples such as Wat Chom Phet and Wat That Phoun which were built the same time as That Luang in Vientiane. Depending on time, we can also visit some colonial building and old Lao Military Base that was seriously damaged by American bombing.
Our destination today is Muang Vieng Thong where we overnight. This town locates on the dirt road no.10 was also a branch of Ho Chi Minh trails. Now main traffic comes from logging trucks. The road is still under construction with mixture of gravel and tarmac. This remote town has never been an attraction on a tourist map. That’s why we are here!
Day 5: Vieng Thong – Na Hin. 110 km paved road
There will be the shortest distance of riding today. Ride last part of road no.10 on brand-new paved surface then turn off for Na Hin.
Just before Na Hin, we stop at the Sala Viewpoint for a panoramic look over the karst limestone formations. Lunch in Na Hin and we take an excursion to Khong Lor, a 7.5 km long underground river.
After dinner, we join in a Basi ceremony. It is a good-luck ritual in Laos tradition. That will be a rare occasion you could witness and be a part in a ceremony of Laos.
Day 6: Na Hin – Na Kai. 160 km/~80 km dirt-road
Time to say farewell our lovely hospitable family in resort, we are riding south over the Nakai Plateau. We’ll stop along the way to look over the resettlement villages from the massive hydro-electric project.
We have all way long from Lak Xao to Na Kai is unpaved. Road condition acctually is not too bad, mostly gravel. Some parts are really quite and deserted. It is interesting to see plenty of trees sunk into water in huge area before main dam of electric project.
Day 7: Na Kai – Villabury. 200 km/~100 km dirt-road
We ride east further towards the Vietnam border and then go south into Savannakhet Province. We ride over the Ho Chi Minh Trail but it’s been upgraded and easy to ride but dusty. Our first dirt-ride to Bualapha is along Hin Namno National Park which is considered to have same value of geology and geomorphology with Vietnam’s Phong Nha park. Easy to relise that there are stunning limestoned moutains surrounding your view. There is a big river crossing, hopefully water does not flow too hard.
Have lunch in a small local food shop with traditional Laos Pho (noodle soup), then we continue to Villabury. From here, riding turns into even more intersting. There are more big trees, villages and river crossing (small). A section takes us on a 25 kilometer stretch of bad road and one river crossing by a remote village.
Day 8: Villabury – Ta Oi. 180 km/~100 km dirt-road
Today will be on the most original part of Ho Chi Minh eastern leg in Laos.
Enjoy breakfast, we start riding on good paved road to Xepon then Dong, near the Vietnamese border and make a short stop at a museum of war junk being put together in Dong.
Then turn off for Ho Chi Minh trail. Road turns into fast packed gravel/dirt. You will see a couple of km of an old rock road that had been fenced off. And that is a section of Ho Chi Minh trail which is being preserved.
Have lunch in Nong, there is also one small museum with tanks & a lot of bomb shells. From here we start another section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the riding is sometimes difficult as there is no real road, only track. Along the southern edge of the difficult track, we’ll stop at a remote village and spend a little time seeing how life stands still in Remote Asia.
Day 9: Ta Oi – Attapeu. 230 km/~80 km dirt-road
Now it takes only about 1 hour ride from Ta Oi to Salavan on new paved road. Then head to Attapeu by continuing on the less traveled road via Sekong, that majority is dirt road and bull dust road. We stop in Sekong for a simple lunch. After lunch, we continue driving along the Sekong River, a waterway that Northern Vietnamese used to transport supplies to the Southern Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Just before Attapeu, we could drive thru town to Paam, a Alak village for a visit (this is optional!). Here, you can see a Russian surface-to-air SAM 2 missile that has been left next to the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Take a walk around the village, you may be able to watch women weaving in their homes. Alax textiles can be bought in this shady village. We then return to Attapeu for the night.
Day 10: Attapeu – Pakxe. 165 km/~115 km dirt-road
One more hard day of the Ho Chi Minh trail motorbike tour.
First part from Attapeu to Thang Beng is hard! You should get ready for the jungle track and many water crossing along the bottom road of Laos. This is one of the most enjoyable and challenging rides with good tree tunnel cover, multiple water crossings of various depths, remote villages and finishes with a ride through the Xe Nou River.
Have a simple lunch at the T-junction, take it easy to Pakxe.
Check into the hotel and get our boots washed and set up to dry. Let’s make a party tonight!
Day 11: Pakxe Departure
After breakfast, you are free until the transfer to the airport.
By Nguyen Anh Tuan