Trip Report: North-East Loop - Tim (6 Days)

Hanoi - Ba Be - Bao Lac - Cao Bang - Bac Son - Hanoi

Ride Details

930 km
6 Days, 5 Nights
Jan 2023

Group Info

This was a 3 person tour (3 x UK), with one guide, Intermediate riders, new to Vietnam, looking for a mix of 50/50 tarmac and easy dirt.
Two Honda XR150s and a rider outside a pho shop in Bac Kan on the way to ba be lake

Day 1: Hanoi - Ba Be

200 km
6 hours
90% tarmac 10% dirt
Sunny and warm 25-30C
Get out of Hanoi day is always a chore. It was main highway for around half the trip but then we got onto the smaller back roads and took a couple of very small roads to get into the back of the lake. We had 1 breakdown and had to switch out the bike but no other issues.
We stayed in Ngoi village in a homestay down by the lake shore. Good food and a few too many rice wines.
A local grave on a hill in the countryside

Day 2: Ba Be - Bao Lac

130 km
5 hours
small dirt road, dt roads
Sunny and warm 25-30C
We spent all day on smaller road and dirt road going past Pung Cave and then on the Pac Nam road. We opted to go through the bamboo forest and over to the secret cave before passing over Khau Coc Tra and on to Bao Lac
We stayed at the Duc Tai hotel which was a little expensive TBH, but it was close to the restaurant in the market where we had a feast.
Filling up with petrol in the smallest petrol station in northern vietnam

Day 3: Bao Lac - Quang Uyen

150 km
5 hours
small tarmac roads, easy driving
Sunny, warm, no rain
We went out of Bao Lac the same way we came in. There were roadworks for about 20km but then it was fine. We were close to China for a while and even stopped to take some photos of the fence. Then, we went past Pac Bo and on to Quang Uyen
We had lunch in Ha Quang and then continued on along the border and then over to Quang Uyen.
The fence that is the border between vietnam and china

Day 4: Quang Uyen - Ban Gioc Waterfall - Quang Uyen

140 km
5 hours
small tarmac roads
Sunny, warm, 10 to 20C
A great loop of a day. We got to ditch our luggage in the homestay and then loop round to the Waterfall. Small quiet back roads with a very cool tunnel to take photos of and through some tiny little villages. Very interesting to see the border with China and the lack of tourists at Ban Gioc on the Chinese side.
We headed up to Phong Nam valley and got chased by a policeman on a COVID checkpoint. Then back through Trung Khanh.
our bikes in the cool cave near quinh son, bac son

Day 5: Quang Uyen - Quinh Son

160 km
6 hours
Small tarmac roads
Warm, Sunny, 15 to 20C
We took the border route for the first part and went through a couple of police checks. Then a dog took one of us out, who ended up in a gutter. Luckily, no damage to bike, rider, or dog. We took the bumpy road from Dong Khe to That Khe but then managed to get off to small road.
We joined the QL34 and then went through the massive cave before getting to our digs in Quinh Son. Good food, good homestay.
a vey happy dao chef with his roasted pig in huu lung

Day 6: Quinh Son - Hanoi

160 km
5 hours
Small tarmac; Highway
Warm, sunny, 10 to 20C
The first half of the day was on small tarmac road winding through the Bac Son valley. Lots of rocky outcrops and winding roads as well as fruit farms perched on the hillsides. We saw a Dao people's house warming party and spent time in a timber yard chatting with the workers.
The second half of the trip was getting on to the fast highway and back into Hanoi. It was, as always, a bit stressful and saddening to see the traffic and pollution.



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