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Black River Loop
Cross the Black River and ride the lakeside road.
3 Days, 2 Nights
A great route out to the lesser-visited northern shore of Hoa Binh Lake. We can stop to take in the Hoa Binh dam as well as get on a few smaller dirt tracks. We end up in the hills of Da Bac and then the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. Both areas are quiet and very scenic. This is a tour accessible to all and one that everyone will enjoy.
Professionally maintained. Maximum reliability.
Transparent pricing. No hidden charges.
Third party insurance
Full coverage as standard.
We'll organise your invitation letter for you.
Zero commitment. No card details required.
Day 1: Ha Noi – Da Bac
Hoa Binh Dam; lakeside road; Thai or Dao village
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 can stop to view Hoa Binh Dam and then head onto the northern shore and the winding lake road to our homestay of choice.
Day 2: Da Bac – Pu Luong
boat ride across Hoa Binh Lake; Go Lao waterfall; Pu luong Nature Reserve
We have to get across the Hoa Binh Lake to get to the southern shore and then on our way southwards. We can stop for a swim in the middle of the lake or visit a closeby waterfall. Then, it is southwards down to the Pu Luong Nature reserve where take the inner roads to get to our secluded homestay.
Day 3: Pu Luong – Ha Noi
ATK routes; Pu luong Nature Reserve
It is an easy ride back to Ha Noi today, so we take a meandering route with a lot of stops. We stay off the main road as much as we can and opt for the ATK routes and the smaller back roads. The final push is a little hectic as we get back to Hanoi so we need to be there before dark and pay attention. We drop you directly at your hotel for your convenience.
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
storage space beneath the seat
light and easy to maneuver
Honda XR 150
The Honda XR 150 is the most popular dual sport in Vietnam for a reason: whether you’re riding a highway, a country road or a single track through the jungle, it’s built to handle anything the region has to throw at it.
comfortable seat, even carrying a pillion
huge fuel tank gives the XR fantastic range
very capable off road
manual (5 speed)
Honda CRF 250
The extra power provided by the CRF’s 250cc engine makes it an absolute joy to ride. Its enduro/off road pedigree means it was designed specifically with the gnarly roads Vietnam likes to throw at you in mind.
front and rear disc brakes
high riding position and excellent suspension
our most powerful, capable motorcycle
*Images Coming Soon*
manual (6 speed)
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.
Food and Drink
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 $25 to receive your visa.)
We take it on ourselves to offer a covid guarantee. We offer a full refund/rescheduling of your tour should you be unable to fly due to having covid. All we ask is that you provide us with photo copies of a failed covid test taken less than 3 days prior to your flight departure date.
At the beginning and end of your tour, we’ll be happy to arrange transportation to and from the airport for you!
You are able to hire a support vehicle that will allow follow your group you to stow extra luggage that you do not want to carry on the bike, this is especially useful if you plan to take a pillion.
We will also have an extra pair of hands to help with the tour and back up in case of sickness / break down. we often put a spare bike on this vehicle. the charge for this is 150$ 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 $20 per day per bike extra.
Tour Price (per rider)
Honda Future 125
Honda XR 150
Honda CRF 250
Support Vehicle (< 8 riders)
Support Vehicle (8 or more riders)
Why should I choose a guided tour?
Choosing a professionally guided tour allows you to make the most out of your adventure.
You’ll take roads and visit areas well off the beaten track that only someone with a lot of riding experience in the country could know about.
And, you get to focus entirely on your adventure, since everything from your meals, accommodation and motorcycle to things like route planning and motorcycle maintenance is taken care of.
Where will the tour begin?
The bulk of our tours start in Hanoi because the best riding in the country is easily accessible from here. However, we have offices in Hanoi, Danang and HCMC so we are able to start and end tours from any of these three locations.
Can you arrange accommodation for me in Hanoi?
Yes, this is what we do. We can assist with reservations in any hotel in Hanoi and also provide a FREE airport pick-up that will take you to your hotel of choice. Good hotels can be had for 30-40usd per night and they will also store any excess gear you may have until you return from tour. You can choose from staying in the heart of the city’s old quarter or closer to West Lake and our office.
When is the best time to tour?
Up in the North, it is hard to say as each of the four seasons has distinct advantages and drawbacks. The Summer is usually around April to October and ranges from warm and wet to boiling hot with the occasional torrential downpour. This also leads to the risk of flooding and landslides. The Autumn, October to December will generally be dry and cool with the potential for cold fronts to descend creating cloudy drizzly days. Winter, January / February, will be relatively cold (10C) and colder at altitude (Ha Giang, Cao Bang), but often quite dry and clear. Spring, around February to April will often have mixed spells of warm and cold air with dry or drizzly days.
Driving North/South or South/North means that you pass through a whole range of climatic regions (northern, central and southern) and it is very difficult to answer which is the best time. This is because the weather may be great to ride in one regions but not optimal in another. We suggest not passing through the central or southern regions in Summer as there can be a lot of storms and flooding.
What is the optimum length of tour?
You will see that we do not list tours less than 5 days on our site. This is because it takes a day to get out of Hanoi / Sai Gon and to get to the ‘countryside’. While this may be interesting and a culture shock for many, we don’t think it is what you came here for. You then have 3 days of pleasurable riding, which, in all honesty, will leave you wanting more. Therefore, we would say an optimum length of tour to be around 7 – 9 days with one or two rest days thrown in so that you can take some time off at key points and transform from being a motorbike tourist to just a tourist.
North / South – South / North Route
You will need more time to complete this tour due to the distance covered. It simply isn’t wise to cover 1,600km in 8 days. We recommend around 10 days as a minimum and 14 – 16 days being perfect.
The longer you have, the more chance we have of getting you to the most remote places that offer the highest rewards.
Is Vietnam safe for female travellers?
Absolutely, yes. Generally, speaking foreigners are left alone and not hassled other than by pesky tourist touts (just like any other country). Vietnam is a predominantly Buddhist and partly Christian country and women play a vital role in daily life. They are not wall flowers and nor are they hidden away. They are strong and capable and, although, there are some extra precautions that a female traveller might feel necessary, these are no more or less than most countries in the world. Also, bear in mind that this is a guided tour and there is plenty of support from our staff in all aspects of the tour. Contact us for details of female guides and female only groups.
I am a solo traveller. Can I join a group?
Yes, we can let you know what tours we have arranged and whether they are willing to accept a new member. Often times this is possible but it takes a little understanding on both sides due to different skill levels, needs and desires. We have found that most people can get along quite well and this isn’t an option.
Is it a good idea to visit at Tet (Asian New Year) Holiday?
No, definitely not. Whilst the country does not shut down as it did in the past a large number of businesses, including ours, will close for at least one week and perhaps longer. It will be difficult to find services available and there will likely be a holiday ‘premium’ applied.
Further to this, travelling on the roads at this time can be quite dangerous du to the levels of traffic, distraction and, unfortunately, drink driving.
Passport and Visa (required)
You need a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity to obtain a visa for Vietnam.
We have an excellent visa agent we work with, and will be happy obtain visa invitation letters for all riders in your group for free!
All you have to do is provide us with copies of your passports, and we’ll send you your invitation letters before you arrive in Vietnam. With your invitation letters sorted, you each bring two 3x4cm passport photos and around $20USD for the visa stamping fee to the immigration counter, they’ll give you your visas and you’re ready to start your adventure!
Home driving license (required)
All riders in your group must have a valid motorcycle license.
International Driving Permit (optional/desirable)
If you can get an International Driving Permit, then you should do so. However, you must check to make sure that Vietnam is named on this. There are two different conventions and Vietnam signed up to the 1968 Convention so this is the one that you need.
Personal medical insurance (required)
You must have your own personal medical insurance that covers you for riding a motorcycle in Vietnam, and you must adhere to the requirements of that insurance.
Motorcycle damage waiver (optional/desirable)
We strongly recommend taking out our motorcycle damage waiver. For $20 per day, we cover you against loss, theft or any damage to the motorbike caused by an accident or fall and you will be covered should the bike be damaged beyond repair. This is not a license to go crazy as you will not be covered for misuse of the bike. The policy excludes any personal medical insurance, 3rd party liability or damage / injury caused by other vehicles or drivers. The peace of mind this offers is worth its weight in gold.
Can I bring a pillion?
Yes, you are welcome to bring a pillion passenger. The cost of a pillion on a tour is 20% less than the rider rate as we provide the same service only minus the bike.
Can I rent a bike and bring it on tour?
No. We do not allow bikes other than our own on tour. This is because we cannot be sure of the history of any strange bike and we do not wish to jeopardize the enjoyment and safety of the whole tour because of this. What would a bricklayer say, if you asked them to build a wonky wall?
What is the maximum number of riders in a group?
Technically, we have no maximum number. However, we assign one guide and one mechanic to a maximum of 12 riders. This means that if you have 13 or more, we will split into two groups for the daily ride.
The advantages of this are a higher level of safety and comfort along with the ability to group riders according to riding skill.
Is there a minimum number of riders on each trip?
We require a minimum number of 4 riders on a tour to offer the listed prices. However, if you have a smaller group we can custom build a tour and price this accordingly. There are a number of fixed costs that mean a tour with fewer members is often more expensive per person.
What is the difference between a standard tour and a VIP Tour?
In a nutshell, better accommodation and better food.
For the VIP tours, we stay in a better class of hotel and homestay and we tend to stay in more hotels than homestays. This means that you get a little extra comfort, which can make a tough tour less tough. This is of particular importance in the colder months when piping hot showers are preferred to draughty bathrooms.
On a VIP tour, we take better food with us that allows the lunch options to be more interesting and varied. We also have more scope to feast in our accommodation and request larger than average portions. This can be needed when we have some long tough driving days ahead of us.
Payments and Deposits
How can I book my tour?
You can book via the website! The booking form will give you a full breakdown of all the options available to you, and calculate the cost for you.
We’ll then get back to you within 24 hours to confirm.
Do you require a deposit?
We request a deposit of 15% of the tour fee, per person, to secure a booking with us at the time of reservation. We will then confirm those dates and make the necessary arrangements for the tour.
Full payment must be made no later than 2 weeks before the start date of the tour. Failure to do so will result in the loss of the booking and any deposit paid.
How do I pay the deposit?
We use OnePay as our online payment gateway and can send an invoice to you requesting payment. OnePay is a subsidiary of VietComBank and is secure and reliable.
We have bank accounts in the UK and Vietnam and can accept inward remittances in GBP or VND.
If you prefer we can use Wise to accept payment. This is well known, safe and secure.
How long is a typical day?
This varies greatly on the tour and the level of the riders. We can arrange long days on the bike or short days. We can also offer tour routes that allow rest days in interesting locations such as: Ba Be, Phong Nha, Sa Pa etc…
We recommend not planning to be onthe bike for more than 5hrs per day and also arranging our leaving time so that we can arrive at our accommodation early int he afternoon. However, due to many factors this cannot always be guaranteed.
Should I bring my own gear?
Yes. You know your gear and it is well worn and comfortable. This will increase your pleasure and safety on the tour immeasurably. It is a no-brainer. However, are you willing to pack or carry your gear? Do you have enough space? Can you be bothered? Ask yourself and if the answer is no, you will need to use our gear, which is up to international standards but is likely to be a little less comfortable or suited to any particular need of yours.
What do we carry on the bike?
This depends largely on whether you have opted for a support vehicle or not. Without a support vehicle you will need to carry the clothing and personal items you need for the duration of the trip. Don’t forget any medication. We an provide waterproof bags for you to use. With a support vehicle you will only need to carry the items needed for the day.
You can leave the bulk of your luggage in your hotel and if it is a one way tour we can assist in sending your excess bags to one of our offices in Hanoi, Danang or HCMC, or a hotel of your choice.
Will we have a support vehicle?
We can provide a support vehicle to carry baggage and, occasionally, a tired pillion passenger. This is particularly useful on long trips around the North, so that extra baggage does not need to be carried on the bike and also on the North / South – South / North route where extra baggage would need to be carried or shipped to destination.
This also gives us one more member of staff to support us which can help in numerous ways. It is an option worth considering for any number of passengers/tour days.
Should I bring gifts to hand out to local kids?
We generally advise AGAINST this. We understand that you may feel like you want to help or to share your culture by handing out small trinkets and souvenirs. However, this can encourage a cycle of poverty and desperation which ultimately harms far more than it helps. We feel it is much better to buy products and services from local adults i.e. drinks, ferry crossings, and give a small tip, if you wish. This money is far more likely to go to families and their children.
Is it safe to ride in Vietnam?
Yes, the death toll is high but bear in mind that nearly all of the 100million citizens who are old enough to drive, drive a motorbike. There is a certain level of organized chaos on the roads and it often looks far more dangerous from the outside. Once, you are ‘in the swim’ so to speak, you will find that you can just follow the flow. Also of note, the average speed of traffic is usually less than 40kmh, which gives you plenty of time to react in a possible crash sitatuion.
Driving conditions in Vietnam are challenging, especially in the cities. We need to drive defensively and on the slower side whilst we are getting used to the traffic flow/logic. It is also imperative to expect the unexpected at all times. That means kids running into the road, other drivers missing corners and driving head on in our lane, inconsiderate overtakers, overloaded vehicles with minimal control etc…
What happens in the event of an accident?
Our first priority is you, then it is the other members of the tour and then the crashed vehicle. Our guides have first aid training and a basic medical kit. They will also seek to get you professional medical assistance as quickly as possible. The location of the nearest medical centre is known to us and we contact them as well as hospitals in the nearest city for advice. Note: the tour is put on hold until any injured rider is stabilized.
If repairs are needed we will arrange for those to happen in the nearest mechanic or ship the bike to a suitable location for this. We may need to take a detour on the tour and adjust the schedule.
Any 3rd party damages that are needed to be paid can be dealt with by the tour leader or mechanic and recouped from the rider involved. Damage to our vehicle will be charged to the rider unless they have completed and paid for the damage waiver.
We find it is usually advisable to go along with the locals with a view of extricating ourselves from the situation as quickly as possible. Arguments over ‘right of way’ etc… are generally fruitless.
If the tour can go ahead, with or without the tour member involved in the accident, then it will. This is ultimately a decision for the tour leader and the mechanic (with consultation from the group members).
Am I liable if the bike is stolen?
Only if you go against the advice of the tour leader and or mechanic and leave the bike unattended in an unsecure location.
Whilst on tour the guide/mechanic will tell you where to leave the bike and take responsibility for this decision as well as the decision to lock the bike or not.
In general, theft is not an issue and we do not need to worry about this. If you follow our guidance, then you have no need to think about this at all and can enjoy your tour stress-free.
Can you teach me to drive?
No. Vietnam is not the place to learn to drive if you are visiting for a tour. We do not provide driving lessons and require all of our drivers to have a motorcycle license from their home country.