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Eastern Tear Away
Ban Gioc Waterfall to the mountain town of Sa Pa.
12 Days, 11 Nights
This is a huge loop of the eastern territories. Experience Bang Gioc Waterfall and Ha Giang, the north's most famous riding destination. Pass through several geographic and ethnic regions, stop at local markets and visit significant historical sites, including Uncle Ho’s Cave (Pac Bo) and the H’Mong King’s Palace, before heading up to Fansipan, the highest peak in Southeast Asia.
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Bac Son
Bac Son Valley
We head our of Hanoi as quickly as possible on some of the larger roads. The idea is to get the city behind us and get into the countryside for some peace and quiet. We turn off onto quieter roads that take us through small villages and past open fields of rice and custard apple grove. We finally get to our homestay, which is nestled in the Bac Son Valley, and enjoy a home-cooked meal washed down with a little ‘fire water’.
Day 2: Bac Son – Ban Gioc
Ban Gioc Waterfall; karst scenery; Tiger Cave
We are now in the countryside though still on fairly large road. If we get up early, we will have enough time to take some detours on smaller roads and still get to the waterfall before dark. We can choose to stay in another homestay or a small hotel. This depends on our mood and the weather.
Day 3: Ban Gioc – Cao Bang
Evil Eye Mountain; Ma Phuc Pass; Thang Hen Lake
It is an easy trip to get back to Cao Bang from here so we have time to visit the waterfall or the nearby cave and even to put a toe in China. After lunch, we take the road to Cao Bang where we stay in a small hotel by the night market.
Day 4: Cao Bang – Bao Lac
14 Level Pass; Nong Thong Town
We can choose our route to some extent here as we can either visit Uncle Ho’s Cave up in Pac Bo and then take the back road to Bao Lac or we can head straight over on the main road, which is still quite scenic and fun to drive at this point. The first option means we are a bit tight on time and the second allows us to dilly dally and have an easy day of it.
Day 5: Bao Lac – Dong Van
Dong Van back roads
This is a very easy drive and it takes us past some great sights so it is good that we have the time to stop and hang out. There are plenty of photo ops here and we can rest assured of making it to our accommodation in time for afternoon beers.
Day 6: Dong Van
Dong Van Plateau; Hmong King’s Palace; Lung Cu Flag Tower; Xa Phin Market
We can hang out in Dong Van and have a day off the bike. There are plenty of interesting things to see and do around Dong Van not least Don Cao Fortress which gives an impressive view over the town. You may choose to back track the route to Meo Vac and view any sights that you skipped by yesterday or take the road up to Lung Cu Flag Pole to visit the northernmost part of Vietnam.
Day 7: Dong Van – Du Gia
Du Gia Valley
We take the quieter inner road to Du Gia and enjoy an easy and scenic drive down to the small village where we stay in a local homestay. It is often quite crowded here as it is a major spot in the area but this gives us the chance to mingle with other travellers.
Day 8: Du Gia – Hoang Su Phi
Hoang Su Phi back roads
We take the smaller road down to the main highway 4 and head for Ha Giang, which we can bypass and then on to Viet Quang and Hoang Su Phi, which is known for its rice terracing and for being a UNESCO world heritage site. We can choose to take the easy or more difficult route, as there are several options not on the highway. We stay in a small hilltop resort with great views over the valley.