NORTHEAST VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOURS
NORTHEAST VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOURS
Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours will give you an opportunity to visit a very special part of Vietnam. The scenery through to the coast is magnificent; the craggy mountain ranges covered in mystic clouds make travelers feel like wandering in a fairyland, valleys between the mountains are enhanced by spectacles of colored villages each with distinctive architectural features and fascinating spots for watching the sunset. If World Heritage had a cultural hot spot for diversity, this would be it. There are an estimated 20 ethnic minorities in the area. If lucky, or planned well, the weekly market in Meo Vac will provide an opportunity to see this wonderful mix of cultures and people.
It’s not an easy challenge, though; to get there, riding the motorbike through jungle and cloud forests where these ethnic minorities live sporadically, the journey is hard. Roads of Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours are currently under construction and the motorbiking terrain is anything from wet, slippery mud baths to 1-meter wide rough gravel mountain passes. If you’re looking for an adventure you know where to find it.
Those who have come here will be amazed at the exotic ethnic cultures of which local fairs are characteristic. It is recommended that riders come on New Year’s day when Khen dancing, music played with instruments made from leaves, folk songs, traditional corn-made alcohol and the bizarre custom of stealing the bride will keep you amazed forever.
The Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours is impressive due to the opportunity to develop friendly relationships with the locals where you will be enjoying meals with them, and the accommodation will be provided by them. One of the specialties of the Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours is the local cuisine skills in our host kitchen. You don’t only study about ethnic minority lives; you will also be able to study their cuisine.
Cao Bang is a beautiful landscape with limestone karts which cannot be compared to anywhere in the world. The Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours are more suitable if your intended stay in Vietnam is short. The Northeast Vietnam motorbike tour could provide you some options for easier riding and will suit every rider, even a beginner to tour on a motorbike.
Video of Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours
Day 1: Hanoi – Vu Linh. 170 km, ~4 hrs.
To head out of Hanoi city, the Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours road to get out of Hanoi traffic we will ride along the Red River to avoid the city traffic jams. This exciting river road will give a taste of things to come, including testing your biking abilities. After that, we’ll board a ferry to cross the traditionally famous Lo River, in which a number of important events took place during our resistance war against the French colonialist. We continue our journey north to Babe Lake by riding along the river Chay.
In the afternoon we should reach the village of Dzao ethnic call Vu Linh village. If we arrive early, we will make a short hiking around the village to visit Dzao and Cao Lan minority people and partake in the daily life of the locals. This experience is unique as the Dzao ethnic are a very colorful and nice dressing people. Back to the homestay, the dinner is prepared and you have an opportunity to spend the evening sitting around a fire together, chatting and laughing with the local people. The host family will provide accommodation where we will all share the house with several beds, complete with mosquito nets. The locals live a very simple life and are very friendly.
– Local host family in Vu Linh village
Day 2: Thac Ba – Luc Yen. 80 km, ~3 hrs.
An early morning start to Thac Ba lake by canoe is provided for an excursion to Thac Ba Lake containing crystal clear water where there is an opportunity for a refreshing swim. For lunch, we can have a picnic on a beautiful green island with chicken BBQ, sticky rice, some local fruits…
By late afternoon, after several hours driving, we will arrive in Dong Inh village, hard driving up the steep hill for the last 2 km but the village is set right at the most beautiful spot for the view of the valley and Thac Ba Lake. The Red Dzao ethnic people populate this village. The local Red Dzao earn their living by collecting forestry products, hunting and farming a variety of subsistence crops and some fruit.
– Local host family in Dong Inh village, Luc Yen
Day 3: Luc Yen – Xin Man. 160 km, ~5 hrs.
The morning will walk along a small path, through numerous beautiful villages and terraced rice fields. It is an opportunity to enjoy the picturesque landscape of the Vietnamese countryside. The Northeast Vietnam motorbike tour will continue with a not long distance but a climb up to Xin Man is a must. Vehicles haven’t appeared on the tortuous road up the mountain for a long time. The local ethnic family leaves the travelers with a very impressive experience.
– Huyen An Hotel
Day 4: Xin Man – Ha Giang. 140 km, ~5 hrs.
The regular Sunday Xin Man market is located right at the edges of Xin Man itself. Here you will see people from the H’mong, Nung; Tay, Dao ethnic minority groups. They all walk through mountain paths and rough terrain from their mountain villages to Xin Man market to trade items and socialize. This market is one of the most isolated in Vietnam, so it has never been given much attention. To reach Xin Man, it’s at least a 3 hours ride along narrow meandering roads from the town of Bac Ha, on this leg, you have to be careful not to lose yourself in the dense woods. An easier but longer route can be taken on the curving road cutting through steep mountains for the 100 km ride from Xin Man. This will still take about 4 hours despite the newly upgraded bitumen road and the absence of other vehicles.
The lively central market of Xin Man will be visited in the morning before we depart for Bac Quang where you will have to be alert as the road has many dangerous meandering turns. After reaching Heaven’s Gate II and the Hoang Su Phi Pass, a picnic lunch will be provided amongst superb surrounding landscape. When dropping down into Tan Quang the tour will take a leisurely ride along the National Highway No 2. If time permits we’ll have a dip in the warm waters of the hot springs. The remainder of the day we will spend relaxing. The fourth night of the Northeast Vietnam motorbike tour will be spent in a hotel.
– Local host family in Tha village (Tay ethnic)
Day 5: Ha Giang – Meo Vac. 165 km, ~5 hrs.
One of the most beautiful days of the Northeast Vietnam motorbike tours is today. Rise and shine for a few hours trek to many of the Heaven Gates such as Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van. They are so called because one gets the feeling of touching the sky – heaven’s gates. This is the best moment and place to enjoy the wonderful sightseeing of this vast limestone mountain range and perpendicular walls of rock, which brings one a feeling of adventure whilst being lost in a magic land. Here we are surrounded by many rocks of all shapes and sizes. After lunch at Yen Minh town, the scenic route climbs over a pass before arriving in Pho Bang, also called Pho Bang Street, which was built along many centuries ago and features multi-storey houses made of clay bricks and tile roofs. Then we continue our trip to visit the infamous Vuong Palace, a H’mong family of high rank during French colonial rule. This palace attracts keen interest from architecturally minded visitors due to its mixed style of European and Chinese architecture. After bidding farewell, we take time to climb over the Ma Pi Leng Pass from which we can see and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Nho Que river.
Visiting these remote areas, we will witness how hard the local people struggle with their environment for their survival and development. Living conditions are extremely harsh, there is barely any arable land within the rocky mountains and the people survive on a diet of corn, which is the only crop able to grow in the rocky soil. Even through this hardship, the local people are very friendly, simple yet develop a strong attachment to other people. They are the soul of this remote area.
– Hoa Cuong Hotel 3***
Day 6: Meo Vac – Bac Me – Ba Be. 180 km, ~5-7 hrs.
The Meo Vac market lasts till the mid-afternoon. However, the tour will hit the road before lunch, as today is a real challenge as the group travels by a track through a forest. This 80 km motorcycle ride is a measure of your bravery and skill. The rolling rocky roads take you to hell on a rainy day. However, the breath-taking scenery makes the hardship all worthwhile.
Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill villages remaining unchanged for centuries. The Meo Vac market attracts a wide variety of ethnic minority groups who walk all the way from their mountain villages to Meo Vac market in order to trade goods and produce. Market sessions provide a chance for locals to promenade and young men and women in colorful costumes to meet, date or seek sweethearts. For this reason, markets in the northern mountainous areas are often called the Love Markets. Visiting Meo Vac on Sundays, one can shop in a very original mountain market where all kinds of goods and multi-colored clothes can be purchased.
We traverse many tall passes and deep river valleys. This road trip will take you only 3-4 hours during the dry season, but at least 7-8 hours during the rainy season. However, the feeling of conquering nature makes the hardship all worthwhile. Upon arrival, we will cross 3 rivers between 20-30m in width and up to 70cm in depth, all managed with the instruction of our experienced guide. The remaining 3kms of the journey is a pleasant and relaxing ride. You’ll ride along an open hillside road along the Nang river. Catch your breath while you can. We end the driving today here and take a boat trip for an and half hour in Ba Be Lake to Pac Ngoi village where we will stay with our host family.
– Tay ethnic family
Day 7: Ba Be – Quang Uyen. 180 km, ~5 hrs.
Time to prepare for the quite difficult riding ahead, steep mountains and passes. To reach Cao Bang, we avoid National Highway No 3 but take the Colie Pass road, through the dense old-growth forest. The road is rough but the scenery is unbelievably beautiful and magnificent. After lunch at Nguyen Binh town, we continue our journey for about one and a half hours to visit Cao Bang township. The national vestiges are some of this hill town’s major sights. We have a chance to visit these before we head out in the direction of Ma Phuc Pass to enter an area of innumerable vast steep limestone karsts and visit the North and North East’s district which is home to Nung and Tay ethnic people.
– Local host family in Quang Uyen, Nung ethnic
Day 8: Quang Uyen – Ban Gioc – Quang Uyen. 100 km, ~5 hrs.
Today we will take the opportunity to explore the spectacular scenery and wonderful world of local ethnic minority people. Along the way, we will visit Ban Gioc waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Vietnam, which form a natural border between Vietnam and China. The echo of the falls can be heard kilometers away. In the rainy season, the waterfall makes the scenery even more magnificent. While here we will take a bamboo raft trip and have a picnic lunch. We also have a chance to visit China on the other river bank. Before the sun sets, we ride back to Quang Uyen and visit Phjia Chang village, settled by Nung An ethnic people 300 years ago. This village is famous for the traditional handicraft, such as basket ware, weaving and so on. We will have dinner with our friends in the village.
Alternatively, in the afternoon we will return to Quang Uyen town to visit some villages of Tay and Nung An people where they make incense and local rough paper from mulberry trees to burn when praying to their ancestors.
– Local host family in Quang Uyen, Nung ethnic
Day 9: Quang Uyen – Bac Son. 110 km, ~5 hrs.
The most impressive landscape of Cao Bang is the riding from Quang Uyen to Dong Khe. The scenery of the road is unequaled with the steep limestone mountain and green rows of sugarcane fields. After seeing this scenic site, we continue our journey following the historical National Highway No 4 with the famous battles, such as Dong Khe, That Khe, Coc Xa or Lung Phay Passes. We stop for lunch in That Khe.
In the afternoon, the riding turns into quite challenging way on a mountain road. Some last kilometers bring a great view of rice-fields and Tay villages which are interposed between mountain sides.
– Local hotel
Day 10: Bac Son – Ha Noi. 150 km, ~6 hrs.
On the way down hill, we will stop for a short walk to visit Phuong Hoang cave (Phoenix cave), where you can have a good time with fresh water from the underground stream and cool place for coffee.
The last day of the North east Vietnam motorbike tour is also with a possible riding through countryside surrounded by steep mountains before we turn off to National Road No1 for last distance to Hanoi.
By Nguyen Anh Tuan