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Great Loop
Follow the border over epic mountains.

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Hanoi
12 Days, 11 Nights
1700 km
Pillions Welcome

Overview

A massive tour for those who want to see it all. This is a huge loop through north Vietnam, where you'll ride the Chinese border through some of Asia's most stunning landscapes. Cover more than 1,700km on tarmac, dirt, and single track, spending your evenings staying with and getting to know the ethnic highlanders who inhabit this remote region.

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this little cave is tucked away just a little south of Ha Giang
220 km
7 hours
Secret Cave
We obviously need to get out of town today and we do that with minimal hassle but with some traffic. We get off the main highway as quickly as possible and then head for That Khe on the smaller back roads. Along the way, we will pass through small valleys, custard apple groves, and tiny hamlets. There is not much going on in That Khe but that is the charm of the countryside.
80 km
3 hours
karst scenery
Today, we head into Cao Bang Province and take a visit to the Ban Gioc Waterfall before heading back down to our homestay which is tucked away from the madding crowd. Another peaceful night here means we are rested and ready for the next day.
John Nadalin at Ban Gioc Waterfall
160 km
6 hours
Ban Gioc Waterfall; Uncle Ho’s Cave
We pass through the provincial capital of Cao Bang and head up to the Chinese border to visit Uncle Ho’s Cave (Pac Bo). It is a great drive on small country roads and we stay in a small homestay hear the cave ready to take the tricky road the next day.
the 14 level road in Xuan Truong, Cao Bang
160 km
6 hours
14 Level Pass; Ma Pi Leng Gorge
We take the cross country route rather than backtrack on roads already travelled and head for Bao Lac. We get great views of China over the border and ride on some very remote roads. We can stop in Bao Lac, Bao Lam, Meo Vac or Dong Van depending on how we do for time. At each of these locations, we have homestays ready to greet us with hot food and warm beds.
the mountains outside Dong Van
150 km
5 hours
Dong Van Plateau
We can make the choice to take the inner or outer roads today knowing that there will be more traffic on the outer loop. There are a lot of places to stop and hang out so we need to choose carefully as it may not look far but riding in the mountains takes a little more time. Once in Ha Giang we can rest up at a homestay a little way outside of town, which is more peaceful.
XR on a ledge in Ha Giang
120 km
6 hours
Ha Giang; mountain views
Today is not a difficult day and it is one of the most scenic. We enter the UNESCO world heritage site of Hoang Su Phi, which is known for its beautiful rice terracing, and can stop to take photos as we ascend the hills. We stay at a hilltop bungalow resort, which looks down on the beautiful valley. It is worth getting up early the next day to witness the sunrise.
stepped rice fields in Sapa, North Vietnam
225 km
8 hours
Sa Pa Valley
This is a good long drive that takes us around the Kiou Leou Ti mountain and along the river valley bordering China to Bac Ha and then Sa Pa. There is a lot of good scenery and a few local markets on the route so we will definitely see some interesting things.
hiking on a cloudy day in Sapa
optional
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Fansipan cable car; Fansipan Mountain; trekking
After a couple of hard days, it is good to have a rest so we take the opportunity to do so in Sa Pa. We can choose to stay in the main town which is useful if we plan to ascend Fansipan or to head down the valley to stay with the villagers. Either way, we will get some good western food and see some interesting sights.
terraced rice paddies in Mu Cang Chai