Trip Report: Robert Eblin - Due North - 8 Day Tour

Hanoi - Yen Bai - Ha Giang - Yen Minh - Dong Van - Du Gia - Ba Be - Bac Kan - Hanoi

Ride Details

1080 km
8 days, 7 nights
Jan 2023

Group Info

This is the best Vietnam has to offer in terms of motorbiking, scenery and ethnic culture. Ride the western portion of the world-famous Ha Giang Loop through vast karst limestone mountainscapes in Vietnam's far north. Visit the waterfall at Du Gia, Ba Be lake and Tat Ma cave, and hang out with local hill tribe people on one of Vietnam's coolest motorcycle loops.
You will often see sights like a motorbike carrying another motorbike on the road in Vietnam

Day 1: Hanoi - Yen Bai

160 km
6 hours
small tarmac road
Miserable rain, cool 22C
We got out of Hanoi on the back road along the Red River and past Son Tay and then went through Phu Tho and up to the Victory Monument.
From there it was smaller roads and into the countryside that surrounds Thac Ba Lake where our homestay was.
A view out over Thac Ba Lake, Yen Bai

Day 2: Yen Bai - Ha Giang

190 km
6 hours
Small DT roads, keep off the highway
Miserable rain, cool 22C
A long way to go today but we still keep OFF the highway and zig zag on the small back roads
We stopped for a bite in Viet Quang and then continued on small roads to take the back way into Ha Giang City
riders in the rain coming around a corner in Ha Giang

Day 3: Ha Giang - Yen Minh

90 km
4 hours
main road, then small back roads
Cloudy, dry, warm 25C
We took the main road to get out of town and then detoured to the local market and the border with China
Then, we headed on to look at Heaven's Gate and Fairy Bosom before going down into the Dao Village and our homestay. Interesting place with Dao people and great food.
a view of bao lac market ha giang

Day 4: Yen Minh - Dong Van

140 km
6 hours
small sealed road
Cloudy misty, 15C
We opted for the back route to stay away from the crowds of backpackers and went through a beautiful valley until we got to the sparse highlands around Lung Ho. Then, we had to join the main road but could get off this for a cool detour up by the China border.
We went through some really quiet villages with friendly people who didn't seem to have seen many foreigners. We joined the main road again and saw the HMong King's Palace. The hotel tonight was a palace with all mod cons. Very welcome. Dinner was street food.
the nine turn pass in Ha Giang

Day 5: Dong Van - Du Gia

100 km
5.5 hours
mixed small roads
Sun, 20C
We started on regular small road but then turned off to some forest track, easy driving but remote. We saw few people, only locals and had some fun and banter with them.
We had to get some locals to guide us through the maze of small roads from then on as we went over a huge mountain. Then down to Du Gia which was beautiful but busy with tourists, especially the waterfall.
Hmong King's Palace Courtyard looking down

Day 6: Du Gia - Ba Be

180 km
6 hours
A mix of big and small tarmac rds
Cloudy, Light rain, 18C
It's a beautiful drive out of Du Gia and down to the QL34, which is ok but just a tarmac road. We turn off and Bac Me and it is much of the same, small road through small villages with some nice views. It is easy driving and easy to make good time so the long distance today isn't a big problem.
About half way into the drive we go over a mountain, on good road, and get some great views. Then, we go down down down and past Pung Cave into Ba Be Lake Valley. The homestay tonight is a little basic but has good food and rice wine.
the road ahead through the limestone karst of Cao Bang province

Day 7: Ba Be - Bac Kan

100 km
4.5 hours
small back roads, easy
Dry, warm 22C no rain
It is a short easy drive today and then a stay in a nice hotel for the last night. So, we take the small roads that are under construction and that go through little out of the way places.
There is a mix of tarmac and good dirt and some muddy sections where they are building. It's all easy road and it goes through smaller out of the way places. Plenty of time for pictures and hanging out. a very mellow day.
AH14 - Highway 6 Hanoi to Hoa Binh

Day 8: Bac Kan - Hanoi

190 km
7 hours
small DT road, Highway
Dry, warm, 21C, no rain
e can take detours to get on to the smaller DT roads and take a more scenic route. This increases the drive time a little but lowers the stress level.
After lunch in Thai Nguyen it is the same deal trying to keep off the main road and then finally having to just gun it back to Hanoi.



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