Experience the quieter side of Vietnam! Ride through and stay in four of Vietnam's most serene national parks and nature reserves: Cuc Phuong, Pu Luong, Xuan Son and Ta Xua. Check out some of north Vietnam's awesome mountains, forests, valleys and jungles, and traverse the famous Dinosaur's Spine single track at the top of Ta Xua mountain.
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Cuc Phuong
Cuc Phuong National Park; following the Red River down to Hung Yen
Day 2: Cuc Phuong – Pu Luong
Pu Luong Valley
This is a long drive and we need to be up and out early if we are to visit any of the conservation centres AND make it to our homestay before dark. We skirt the national park and take a few back roads before entering the nature reserve and getting to our secluded homestay.
Day 3: Pu Luong – Mai Chau
H’Mong country; Mai Chau back roads
This is a short hop which means we do not need to rush and that we can take a detour if needed. There is plenty of time for pit stops, selfies, and group photos on what are very quiet roads. We may even be able to see the locals producing bamboo items such as toothpicks and chopsticks.
Day 4: Mai Chau – Xuan Son
boat ride across Hoa Binh Lake; Go Lao waterfall; Hang Kia back roads
Today, we head up to the Hoa Binh Dam Lake and hop across to Da Bac. From there we can head for Xuan Son which is another peaceful oasis that gets very few visitors. Here we have the chance to visit the caves or swim in the freshwater spring before feasting on a delicious home-cooked meal.
Day 5: Xuan Son – Ta Xua
Bac Son Valley; Dinosaur Spine; Ta Xua Valley
Now, we head up into the hills and it may get a little chilly. However, it means we get to see the spectacular views in Ta Xua and the ‘dinosaur spine’. We stay at the highest homestay in the park and have an early night so that we can get up early for ‘cloud hunting’ and to view the often spectacular sunrise.
Day 6: Ta Xua – Moc Chau
Xuan Son back roads; Xuan Son National Park
Back down the hill and we retrace some of yesterdays route before heading South down to the Black River and then up to the often misty Moc Chau Plateau. We stay in a secluded homestay nestled amid fields of Peach and Plum trees. This is especially beautiful in Spring.
Day 7: Moc Chau – Ha Noi
quiet roads along the Black and Red Rivers
This is the home run and quite a long one it is too. We can take a small detour along the Hoa Binh Lake but the majority of this is fast tarmac as we need to make good time. We still get to see a few new sites along the way and many seasonal fruits being sold on the roadside. We will make it back to Hanoi in time for our farewell dinner 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