Cloud Hunter is all about getting up high, riding to the top of some of Vietnam's highest mountains so that you can look down on the clouds from above. Traverse the narrow Dinosaur Spine on Ta Xua mountain before heading through national parks, stepped rice fields and back roads all the way up to the historic mountain town of Sa Pa.
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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
We take the road halfway up the Moc Chau plateau only to then descend down into the Black River valley and up the other side. There are plenty of opportunities for dirt track in this area and we will try to stay off the main roads, even if it means getting lost on occasion :) With luck, we will have time to get to the Dinosaur’s spine for photos.
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.