Have you ever heard of the North Shore? Well, get ready for a surprise as the Hoa Binh Lake has a northern shore which is rarely visited by the hoards of backpackers, bikers and young Vietnamese ‘dan phuot’. There are quiet, winding roads that skirt along the lake and a whole host of friendly locals. There are a few great homestays that welcome guests. It’s about time you tried it out.
To make this trip you do not need anything special. A simple semi-automatic bike like the Honda Blade or Honda Future will easily do the job. You could even take an automatic bike like the Yamaha Nuovo, but these are not very economical. We suggest you upgrade for a couple of days and rent one of our XR150s or XTZ 125s. These have much more room and can handle the sometimes bumpy roads much better.
As the map below shows you have a choice of taking an out and back or combining the two out and backs to make a loop. The only issue with this is that you need to organize a boat across Hoa Binh Lake, which could be hit and miss AND expensive. With a larger group of 6-8 people, price becomes less of an issue but you still need to find a reliable captain. That’s another area where RentABikeVN can greatly assist you.
Places to stay:
There are several places to stay on route, such as Hoa Binh, but we favor the homestays in Da Bac and Hien Luong Is the easiest of these to get to. If you wish to travel a little further then Lakeview Homestay in Da Bia is a great choice. These homestays are part of a community-based tourism project. The local people are encouraged to start up small tourism projects to help make money for themselves and the community. This is the kind of thing RentABikeVN really likes to support.
Other places to stay:
You could also stay at either Quan Dao Dua or Coi Xay Gio Thung Nai. You can call in advance to book a package that includes accommodation, meals and the ferry across the lake. This is a good option for the less adventurous and those who prefer a crowd as these places get a little busy in the season.
Things to do:
Around the area, you can visit a few places such as Thac Bo Pagoda or Thac Bo Cave.
There are trails where you can hike or mountain bike and you can swim in the lake or take a boat trip. Other than this there is not much to do other than investigate ‘homestay life’ and watch the locals do their daily thing. This gives plenty of opportunity for fun interactions with you and old alike. The local children are typically curious and entertaining.
So, what are you waiting for? You have a route map, suggestions of where to stay. Rent A Bike and get out there!