Along the Border
Karst mountainscapes of Vietnam's far north.
From $1200/rider
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Vietnam Motorcycle Tour Map - 10 Day Along the Border - Rentabike Vietnam - White


10 Days, 9 Nights
1340 km
Pillions Welcome


Follow Vietnam’s northern border with China, riding some of the country's most impressive roads across vast karst limestone mountainscapes. Along the way, you'll visit a many ethnic markets, staying with locals and getting a feel for how the people of this remote region live. Along The Border is a great choice of motorcycle tour for those looking to get as far from the tourist trail as possible.

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4 riders
sunset view over west lake hanoi from yen phu village
240 km
6 hours
Secret Cave; country roads
This is a long first day and we need to make an early start to miss the traffic in Hanoi and to get some distance behind us so we can relax in the letter part of the day and enjoy the scenery. We start off with a pretty bland trip just getting out of Hanoi and up to Thai Nguyen. However, from there on we start to head to the hills and the roads become quieter and the views more scenic. That Khe is not much to write home about but it will give you a feel for life in the countryside in Vietnam.
misty mountains and winding road 3
80 km
3 hours
Quang Uyen back roads; karst scenery; war history
A much easier, shorter day today so we can get up late and also stop a lot on the way for photos and pit stops. We can also try to take some of the smaller detours and explore the countryside a little. We have time to get lost :) Quang Uyen is a tiny lineated town but we stay in a cosy homestay a little way outside. We can choose to visit the Ban Gioc falls today if we have time.
the main falls of ban gioc waterfall
150 km
6 hours
Ban Gioc waterfall; Ma Phuc Pass; Tiger Cave
If we haven’t visited the falls we might do that today or choose to head up to Uncle Ho’s Cave / Pac Bo for sightseeing before heading to the provincial capital Cao Bang where we can stay in a guesthouse and visit the night market.
view of Thang Hen lake in Cao Bang
140 km
5 hours
Phia Oac National Park; karst scenery; Pung Cave; Ba Be Lake
We take the fantastic stretch of road through the Cao Bang GeoPark and over Phia Oac mountain. It is around 1800m elevation here so it can be very nippy in winter. It is up and over and then down to the Ba Be National park where we can boat over to our homestay. This is a popular tourist spot so we will likely meet a lot of local tourists.
a small dirt road on a hillside in Dong Van, North Vietnam
180 km
7 hours
Ma Pi Leng Gorge; Dong Van back roads
We have a choice of routes today and a lot depends on how everyone is feeling after a fun evening in Ba Be. This can be part tarmac, part dirt of purely tarmac and it is best to decide on the morning of the day. Whatever route is taken we are now in the hills for real and we get to climb some beautiful mountains on some fun road on the way up to Meo Vac and the famous Ma Pi Leng pass and Happiness Road.
minority woman harvesting soybeans on the slopes of the Dong Van Karst Plateau
40 km
4 hours
Dong Van back roads; rice terracing; UNESCO World Heritage Site
This is a very short ride and it gives us time to look at all of the sites in the area there are a few caves and views to see and we can choose to head up to Lung Phin Flag Post the northernmost point of Vietnam. We stay in Dong Van which is a booming tourist town now.
Dong Van Plateau, Ha Giang
220 km
8 hours
Dong Van back roads; rice terracing; UNESCO World Heritage Site
This is a huge drive, which could be easily broken up with a stop in Ha Giang. This means adding an extra day or removing a stop such as Ba Be or Si Ma Cai. Either way, we come down off the Dong Van GeoKarst Plateau on the Happiness Road and then over to the UNESCO world heritage site of Hoang Su Phi, which is well known for its exquisite rice terracing. We stay in a small homestay resort high up in the hills with great views of this terracing.
a view along the road in the Dong Van Geopark, Ha giang
90 km
5 hours
Chay River Gorge
As with large parts of this tour we skirt the border with China on our way over to Si Ma Cai. We need to go around, or over if we wish, Kiou Leou Ti mountain at 2,300m before we follow the river valley past Xin Man and on up to Si Ma Cai. This area is extremely beautiful so prepare for amazing views.
ethnic kids in ha giang on their way back from flower picking in the fields
70 km
4 hours
Bac Ha Market; Xin Man back roads
Again, we skirt the border with China taking the very long route to get to Bac Ha, which is a popular market town. The views are great on this loop and the traffic is minimal. If we are lucky we will be here on market day in Coc Ly or Bac Ha and have a chance to see the locals in action.
Highway 6 in Ha Dong, Hanoi
130 km
5 hours (+ 6 hour bus ride)
Coc Ly Market; Lao Cai back roads
This is a very easy run back into the insanity of everyday Vietnamese life for the low landers. We head down from the hills and take the old road along the river and the train tracks up to Lao Cai where we drop off our bikes and meet our VIP bus. Then, it is straight back to Hanoi so that we can wash up a get ready for our farewell meal.