The definitive tour of sites of historic significance from the French occupation of Indochina and the French Indochina war. Visit the colonial prison in Son La as well as Dien Bien Phu, the site of the war's most famous battle. You'll ride through mountains and awesome stepped rice fields all the way from Hanoi to the old hill station of Sapa, with the opportunity there to summit Fansipan, the 'Roof of Indochina', before dropping your bike off and taking a VIP bus back to Hanoi.
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Day 1: Ha Noi – Moc Chau
Moc Chau Pass; ride along the Black River; Thung Khe Pass
This is somewhat of a long first day as we head out of Hanoi on main roads to make good time. We have the chance to get off the main road and take a few detours along the Hoa Binh Lakeside and the old French highway. After Hoa Binh is where we start to ascend and eventually go up onto the Moc Chau Plateau. This is where we rest for the night at a homestay nestled amongst the fields of peach and plum trees.
Day 2: Moc Chau – Son La
Son La back roads; Son La Prison
What looks to be a straight route can be customised so that we get off the main road and onto the quieter ones. We have plenty of time to get to our destination today and will definitely be able to visit the Son La prison in the afternoon. We stay in the main town today just to have a little luxury.
Day 3: Son La – Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien Phu back roads; Pha Din Pass
A straight hike on the AH14 if you wish and this will take you over the Pha Din Pass. It’s a great stretch of road which is thoroughly enjoyable due to the twisty, turny nature and lack of traffic. There is an alternative, more challenging, route that can be taken but the weather needs to be consulted before making this choice.
Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Muong Lay
Co Chay Pass; winding QL12 road
We can visit the Dien Bien Phu Victory museum and still make the short hop up to Muong Lay where we stay in a riverside homestay. It is a simple ride along the valley but the interesting sights to be seen on the roadside make up for the lack of technicality. We can head a little further today and get to Sin Ho if we wish but that is a decision to make when on the road.
Day 5: Muong Lay – Lai Chau
DT128 road; road to Sin Ho; Sin Ho Market
We take the quieter route to Lai Chau that goes through Sin Ho. This is an extreme climb up the mountainside through some rugged and beautiful countryside. Then, we loop round to Lai Chau deciding which of the routes over the pass are possible due to time constraints and potential hazards such as landslides.
Day 6: Lai Chau – Sa Pa
O Quy Ho Pass; views of Fansipan Mountain
This is a short hop but it means we have time to take selfies and also to spend the afternoon ascending Fansipan, ( by cable car) before heading to the hotel. This is where we can also fill up on western food which may be welcome by this time in the trip.
Day 7: Sa Pa – Ha Noi
3 hours + 6 hour bus ride
back road to Lao Cai
We take the back route down to Lao Cai where we meet our contact to drop off the bikes. We then take a VIP minibus back to our hotel in Hanoi where we can get ready for the farewell meal that evening. This saves us the extremely dull and treacherous journey from Lao Cai to Hanoi. We then get ready for our farewell meal and drinks that evening.
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