The definitive Vietnam motorcycle tour. Experience the stepped rice fields and karst mountainscapes of the north, before heading south along some gorgeous coastline all the way to Ho Chi Minh City. National parks, UNESO World Heritage sites and the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Sa Pa
4 hours + 6 hour bus ride
We get out of Hanoi early but we take a private VIP minibus up to Bao Ha where we pick up our bikes. From here, it is only a short hop up to Sa Pa taking the back road and not the main road. This means we needn’t negotiate the Ha Noi traffic and that we get an easy day learning how the bikes feel. We stay in a small homestay in a village overnight and feast on a hearty family meal washed down with a drop of firewater.
Day 2: Sa Pa – Mu Cang Chai
Today we skirt around Fansipan and then head down the Hoang Lien Son Range into the Mu Cang Chai valley. Our first obstacle is the O Quy Ho Pass, which is a long descent down and then we get into the beautiful rice terracing of Mu Cang Chai. This is where we learn the pace and how we wish to drive. We stay in a small homestay some way out of town, which is quiet and peaceful.
Day 3: Mu Cang Chai – Phu Yen
We stay on the QL32, which takes us around the Ta Xua Nature Reserve and on to Phu Yen. If weather permits, we can take a rugged off-road route. Otherwise, it is on the main road, which is relatively quiet up here in the hills but is a great road to drive. We stay in a small mini-hotel in town, which becomes our base.
Day 4: Phu Yen (rest day)
There is not much to do in Phu Yen but our hotel is a comfortable one and there are plenty of food options. The reason we hang out here is that there are plenty of small track loops that we can take for a day trip. We can even head up to Ta Xua to get a look at the dinosaur spine and the ancient tea forest.
Day 5: Phu Yen – Pu Luong
We should be quite well-rested and ready for a good drive today. We take the road down to the Black River, where we need to get a ferry and we can usually take the smaller roads over the hills to get to here. Then, we need to climb up the Moc Chau Plateau and again we can get off into the hills to do this. We can take the old highway 4 and quickly be in Mai Chau. However, we do not stop here in this very touristic area; we head further down to Pu Luong where we can find a quieter and more secluded place to stay. This is a small family-run homestay with great food and firewater.
Day 6: Pu Luong – Tan Ky
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