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Military Sweep | 7 Days

sunset in Sapa, North Vietnam

Tour Info

The main aim of this tour is to see the historical military sites that pertain to the French occupation of Indochina. As such, we tend to make most headway on tarmac roads with short forays off the beaten track simply to spice up the trip. We can tailor this to more or less dirt if needed and we will listen to the group on this. There is a good mix of easy and more challenging road conditions as well as scenery and local ethnic people. You will sweep westwards and upwards before looping northwards to Sa Pa with the chance to summit the ‘Roof of Indochina’ AKA Fansipan.

Highlights

Itinerary

road construction near the Van Yen, ferry Moc Chau

This is somewhat of a long first day as we head out of Hanoi on main roads to make good time. We have the chance to get off the main road and take a few detours along the Hoa Binh Lakeside and the old French highway. After Hoa Binh is where we start to ascend and eventually go up onto the Moc Chau Plateau. This is where we rest for the night at a homestay nestled amongst the fields of peach and plum trees. 

gorgeous Vietnamese meal prepared for us in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh

What looks to be a straight route can be customised so that we get off the main road and onto the quieter ones. We have plenty of time to get to our destination today and will definitely be able to visit the Son La prison in the afternoon. We stay in the main town today just to have a little luxury. 

view from the Pha Din pass

A straight hike on the AH14 if you wish and this will take you over the Pha Din Pass. It’s a great stretch of road which is thoroughly enjoyable due to the twisty, turny nature and lack of traffic. There is an alternative, more challenging, route that can be taken but the weather needs to be consulted before making this choice. 

Honda XR 150 on a really muddy road in North Vietnam

We can visit the Dien Bien Phu Victory museum and still make the short hop up to Muong Lay where we stay in a riverside homestay. It is a simple ride along the valley but the interesting sights to be seen on the roadside make up for the lack of technicality. We can head a little further today and get to Sin Ho if we wish but that is a decision to make when on the road. 

a woman choosing which sugar cane to buy in Bac Son Market, Lang Son

We take the quieter route to Lai Chau that goes through Sin Ho. This is an extreme climb up the mountainside through some rugged and beautiful countryside. Then, we loop round to Lai Chau deciding which of the routes over the pass are possible due to time constraints and potential hazards such as landslides. 

the O Quy Ho mountain pass near Sapa

This is a short hop but it means we have time to take selfies and also to spend the afternoon ascending Fansipan, ( by cable car) before heading to the hotel. This is where we can also fill up on western food which may be welcome by this time in the trip.

two young children in Sapa

We take the back route down to Lao Cai where we meet our contact to drop off the bikes. We then take a VIP minibus back to our hotel in Hanoi where we can get ready for the farewell meal that evening. This saves us the extremely dull and treacherous journey from Lao Cai to Hanoi. We then get ready for our farewell meal and drinks that evening.

Motorcycles

Inclusions

The cost of motorcycle rental for the duration of your tour is included. Each rider on your tour can choose any of our three bikes:

  • Honda CRF 250
  • Honda XR 150
  • Honda Future 125

 

See above section for images and specifications.

Your motorcycle is 3rd party insured. This is a legal requirement here in Vietnam, and protects you in the event that you injure another road user.

Additionally, we are responsible in the event your motorcycle breaks down or suffers a mechanical failure. However, if you damage your motorcycle by crashing it or through general misuse, you will be responsible for repair costs.

Naturally, you are also responsible for your own travel and medical insurance.

All the fuel you need for the duration of the trip is provided.

Your breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided and will be a mixture of European and Vietnamese food. Soft drinks and water are also provided and guides keep them stocked up at all times.

  • Breakfast will be in your homestay or hotel and will generally be a mix of fried eggs and bread, noodles, pancakes and sticky rice, accompanied by fruit and coffee. 
  • Lunch will be in roadside restaurants (small eateries offering clean and delicious local food), or we’ll stop for picnics (sandwiches with cold cuts and cheese) when appropriate.
  • Dinner will be in your hotel or homestay and will usually be a family cooked meal with a range of meat and vegetable dishes with some local specialties (all of which will be washed down with local fire water if requested!)

 

Vegetarian and vegan options may be limited in the countryside, but we always do our best to cater to our riders’ dietary requirements.

Beer in the evening is not included, but it’s cheap and in plentiful supply.

You will have one Western tour leader who will also act as translator, mechanic and route master. Larger groups will also be accompanied by an English speaking Vietnamese mechanic.

Your guide and support staff are all trained in first aid, and will be carrying first aid equipment.

We will arrange your visa invitation letter free of charge.

(Please note, though, that you will need to collect this take this to immigration yourself and pay a stamping fee of about $25 to receive your visa.)

We take it on ourselves to offer a covid guarantee. We offer a full refund/rescheduling of your tour should you be unable to fly due to having covid. All we ask is that you provide us with photo copies of a failed covid test taken less than 3 days prior to your flight departure date.

For every rider and pillion on the tour we donate 10 usd per day to our favourite charity: Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. You can read more about the great work they do and why we’ve supported them for for so long here.

At the beginning and end of your tour, we’ll be happy to arrange transportation to and from the airport for you!

Extras

You are able to hire a support vehicle that will allow follow your group you to stow extra luggage that you do not want to carry on the bike, this is especially useful if you plan to take a pillion.

We will also have an extra pair of hands to help with the tour and back up in case of sickness / break down. we often put a spare bike on this vehicle. the charge fo rthis is 150$ per day, fuel included.

As stated above, accommodation is provided on a twin sharing basis. If you wish to have a single room we can arrange this at a small extra cost.

You can purchase this to exempt you from liability for any damage caused by accidents caused by you or a third party vehicle. we will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle but not the third party. This is only 20usd per day per bike extra.

Vietnam Motorcycle Tour Map - 7 Day Military Sweep - Rentabike Vietnam
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