The great thing about this loop is that it that can be tailored to the needs of any group of riders. If you want smooth tarmac and plenty of time to take in the views, chat to the locals, and hang out in the villages, it's there for you. Alternatively, if you want a little more excitement on some tricky off-piste road, let your guide know and he'll show you some really fun spots!
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Da Bac
Hoa Binh Dam; lakeside road; ethnic village
We have a choice of the direct highway route or the longer, more scenic path down the Red and Black Rivers. After Hoa Binh Dam we enter hill tribe country where the Thai and Dao people live. We stay in a secluded homestay either on the shores of the lake with the Thai or up in the hills with the Dao.
Day 2: Da Bac – Ta Xua
view of Ta Xau Dinosaur Ridge; Dolphin Rock; tea tree forest
We avoid the Google route and take some trickier paths through the hills up to the ‘Dinosaur’s Spine’, Ta Xua, where we can go ‘cloud hunting’. The choice of route is extremely weather dependent and could see us following the Black River or going high up into the hills. The uncertainty of this adds the spice we are after.
Day 3: Ta Xua – Mai Chau
Mai Chau valley; ferry across Da River; back roads past Chieng waterfall to Mai Chau
Again, we have a huge choice of routes for this portion of the tour. For those who prefer tarmac, we can head directly for the ferry crossing, and those who prefer dirt can pass through the H’Mong highlands on a mix of dirt and asphalt. Either way, interesting views are to be had by all.
Day 4: Mai Chau – Pu Luong
Pu Luong Nature Reserve; stop in a waterhole for a swim
We avoid some large sections of the main highway on this day in favour of some smaller roads. Ending up in the Pu Luong Valley you are presented with some excellent homestay choices and spectacular morning views.
Day 5: Pu Luong – Ha Noi
ATK roads through Hoa Binh; Hoa Binh Dam
This is the home run and we have a choice of routes back to Hanoi. We can speed along the highway or take a quieter more roundabout route through the hills or along the Black River once more. Either way, it is a peaceful ride back into the hustle and bustle of the city in time for our farewell meal.
Honda Future 125
The Honda Future is our most powerful semi-automatic motorbike, and makes for a surprisingly capable tourer.
fuel injected: easy to start and good throttle response
storage space beneath the seat
light and easy to maneuver
air cooled, 4 stroke, OHC
Bore X Stroke
52.4 x 57.9
carburettor / PGM-Fi
4 speed semi-auto
Wheels, Suspension and Brakes
Dimensions and Weight
1092 mm (H) x 711 mm (W) x 1962 mm (L)
Honda XR 150
The Honda XR 150 is the most popular dual sport in Vietnam for a reason: whether you’re riding a highway, a country road or a single track through the jungle, it’s built to handle anything the region has to throw at it.