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South by Southwest | 5 Days

fields and hills in Ba Khan, Hoa Binh

Tour Info

This is a wonderful loop that takes you first to some of the most popular tourist villages and national parks around Hanoi and then off to much less known areas that see very few foreigners. The riding is not difficult and there is plenty of time for photos and taking in the views. Comfort levels do drop a little as the tour progresses due to the simplicity of the quieter places we visit, but that is a welcome trade off.



Hoa Binh Dam on a bright day

We take the longer, more scenic route to get out of Hanoi and get used to the bikes. Following the Red and then Black Rivers before heading into the hills. We enter the lush Pu Luong Valley and stay in the more remote area away from the crowds. 

a few bamboo boats on the lakeshore

On paper a very easy route, however, we take the Hmong Highway in order to spice things up and get away from the traffic. You’ll leave the Pu Luong Valley and then through the bamboo groves before moving higher up the hills then dropping into the Mai Chau Valley. 

Go Lao Waterfall

We head straight for the old French highway and down towards the upper reaches of the Hoa Binh Dam and Black River. We cross by ferry and possibly take a shortcut on a boat if possible. Then, we take the back route into the lush forest of Xuan Son. 

winding roads in Xuan Son National Park

Today you can choose to take the quiet back roads or the more challenging hill routes. You will pass through the virgin forest of the reserve and down to the managed hillsides of Da Bac. 

Honda XR 150, Hoa Binh lakeside

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. 



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!


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 - 5 Day South By Southwest - Rentabike Vietnam
4 riders