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Stepped rice fields and high mountains.
9 Days, 8 Nights
The main aim of this tour is to get from Hanoi to Sa Pa. Along the way we take in some of the most scenic routes in northern Vietnam. We call it cloudhunter due to the number of times you will find yourself above cloudbase looking at a blanket of white clouds below you. We pass through several nature reserves and more isolated areas where you will only see local people. The riding is not easy but it is fun and helps work up a good thirst :)
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Pu Luong
Hoa Binh back roads; Hoa Binh Dam; Pu luong Nature Reserve
We get out of town as quickly as possible and then we take the smaller back roads and ATK roads to get to the beautiful Pu Luong valley. This is not a hard day but concentration is needed as you become acclimatised the the bike and the traffic conditions.
Day 2: Pu Luong – Mai Chau
bamboo industry on the QL15C; Mai Chau back roads; Pu Luong Valley
Again, not a difficult day, technically and it is a chance to relax a little and get a good feel for the bike. We take the road less travelled and, if time, a detour to get back round to Mai Chau village where we stay in a homestay that serves the best food in the village.
Day 3: Mai Chau – Ta Xua
Bac Son Valley; Chieng Waterfall; Ta Xua Mountain; Van Yen ferry crossing
Day 4: Ta Xua – Tram Tau
church road; Ta Xua Mountain
This is a very difficult road which can only be taken in the dry season (Nov – March) and it takes us over the Ta Xua range and down towards Nghia Lo. we stop off at the hot springs and stay overnight before heading out on much less technical but equally scenic road.
Day 5: Tram Tau – Mu Cang Chai
QL32: a great road with great views; rice terracing
This is where we hit the QL32 which is a great stretch of road. It is very easy to drive and there are plenty of sights to see as well as gorgeous views along the way. It’s the kind of drive that you don’t want to stop and you’ll find this day is over quite quickly.
Day 6: Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen
small back roads
Here we follow the Hoang Lien Son mountain range northwards and up into the highlands. We will get the chance to see more H’mong, Lo Lo and Dao people from now on and also the chance to get off road and take some of the single tracks in the area.
Day 7: Than Uyen – Sa Pa
Fansipan Mountain; O Quy Ho Pass
As we move higher into the hills, the mountains open out before us and views become more and more impressive as we climb. We climb the O Quy Ho Pass, with Fansipan in view, before descending into Sa Pa town. Now is the chance to get that burger or pizza that you have been craving. We stay over night here as it gives us a chance to take the cable car up to the top of Fansipan and then go down into the valley.
Day 8: Sa Pa – Ban Ho
Sa Pa Town; Seo My Ty Village
Sa Pa town is quite crowded at times and it is good to get out and into the valley below for some peace and quiet. We head for Ban Ho village which is far far away from the crowds and a great place to relax and watch the locals going about their everyday business.
Day 9: Ban Ho – Hanoi
3 hours + 6 hour bus ride
back road to Lao Cai
We head back to the main road via the smaller back roads where we drop off our bikes and get a VIP bus to whizz us back to Hanoi. We’ll back in the early afternoon in time to get ready for our farewell meal and drinks.
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.