Introduction Vietnam's famous passes have been on our to-do list for a long time. We scheduled a long rest for the Grand North Vietnam motorbike tour for 15 days to have enough time for the great northern mountains. Without a doubt, our dream was fulfilled, but most of all, we got to discover this beloved S-shaped country's unique and diverse culture.
Guided Tour15 Days / 14 Nights
Vietnam's famous passes have been on our to-do list for a long time. We scheduled a long rest for the Grand North Vietnam motorbike tour for 15 days to have enough time for the great northern mountains. Without a doubt, our dream was fulfilled, but most of all, we got to discover this beloved S-shaped country's unique and diverse culture.
From the bustling capital, we passed many regions, such as Xuan Mai, Hoa Binh, and Muong Khe, before Mai Chau. Gone were the days filled with never-ending tasks and obligations that left us overwhelmed and anxious; the tranquil and picturesque suburbs just showered our souls with peace and caressed our inner child.
It was the first time in a long year that we turned off our phones, said goodbye to deadlines, and felt the rhythm of life with our hearts. We did not stop at any crowded places but dedicated the first day to the rustic scenery on both sides of the road. It's great start of motorbike tour in northwest Vietnam.
Turning off the alarm and having a good night's sleep, we woke up late and started our motorcycle tour to Moc Chau in a hurry. However, the cool atmosphere and full-of-life plateau calmed our restless souls and immersed us in the wild.
We dropped downhill to the foot of the pass and waited for a ferry to cross the Da River. The fast-flowing water contrasted with the gentle rivers of our trip to Hue a year ago. The gentle breeze ruffled our hair as the vehicles moved between the riverbank and the mountainside. The romantic sunset that afternoon left a deep attraction in our minds.
The bumpy roads passing through the small minority villages greeted our footsteps in the morning. They took us to agricultural farms such as sugar cane, corn, and tea built on vast terraces. Despite the busy harvest season, the local farmers welcomed our visit with hospitality and enthusiasm.
Our team arrived in Son La at 3 o'clock - much later than planned due to our fall into the crowded market. Hence, we had to speed up to the old French colonial prison before its closing time. The stories of resilience and patriotism of Vietnamese political prisoners unfolded a naked and brutal side of crime and its aftermath in the war against colonialism. Today could be one of the most amazing days of Grand North Vietnam Motorbike Tour.
The old trees created great shadows to block the sunlight until the foot of Pha Din Pass. As one of the most adventurous roads in the Northwest, the steep climb posed a challenge that even experienced riders must pay 100% attention to.
The sharp bends and deep chasm on the right wing sent chills down our spine. Our hearts were fluttering for the spectacular route and magnificent nature. We felt a shortening distance from the sky when we reached the top. An endless sea of clouds embraced us and all the living beings around.
Following the flow of the Da river, we headed to Sin Ho at an altitude of 1500m. It was a pleasant drive in picturesque surroundings blended with crystal clear waters and towering limestone mountains.
We stopped at Muong Lay in the middle of the way. Absent the chaotic tourist groups; the whole town retained its old and rustic vibe as if time had stopped by the village gate.
Suddenly, we discovered the most practical value in life: be satisfied with what we are endowed with. Locals have lived in rundown houses without many modern conveniences, but they are always grateful that everything around them contributes to their lives.
We woke up to a breathtaking view: thick fog obscured our windows and the whole valley. The tour guide suggested a later departure only when the sunshine opened up a clear vision. The delay further fueled our excitement for a second memorable milestone in this motorcycle tour - O Quy Ho Pass.
We sneaked along the treacherous path under cliffs. The cold wind slapped our faces, along with a terrifying hiss, as we got closer to the top. On the bright side, our efforts paid off with the dreamy city of Sapa on the way down.
We set foot in Sapa when the slanting rays of the setting sun painted a warm orange tinge on the sky and casted long shadows on the ground. All of those sceneries were like celebrating the glory of nature, making us feel like we were in an escape travel scene from a Hollywood movie. It's could be the best Vietnam motorbike tour today
To give our full attention to the scenery, we preferred a smooth path among the beautiful terraced fields to reach Lao Cai. We slowed down to capture a panoramic view of the endless mountain ranges. The floating clouds covered some peaks causing the sky and the mountains to merge when we zoomed out.
Our crew stopped at the China border for hot coffee cups that warmed our cold bare hands and energized the whole journey afterwards to Xin Man. Spring air spread through this peaceful district like a blessing for our eyes. Gradually appearing behind the overlapping mountains, a green steppe was dotted with leaves of buckwheat flowers and rustic wooden houses.
Our motorcycle tour returned to off-road trails that guaranteed thrills and spills. We pedaled around the most beautiful terraced fields in Hoang Su Phi. The gentle breeze wafting the ripe rice's bracing scent gave our souls a feeling of relief.
Not long after that, we came to the "roof of the Northeast" - Tay Con Linh. The higher we climbed, the sparser the population was. The asphalt roads slowly faded away and transformed into dusty dirt ones. Sometimes we rode straight through the dense forest or crammed between cliffs and a deep abyss.
Contrary to our imagination of the barren limestone mountains, we thought we were lost in the "sea of flowers" as soon as we arrived in Dong Van. Peach and plum gardens bloomed all over the hill, brightening up the whole area and breathing a youthful sense. Our camera worked non-stop against this one-of-a-kind contradictory show.
We sensed an overflowing vitality in the Hmong and Lo Lo villages, where the houses breathed an ancient and contemplative vibe. The guide told us to leave our motorbikes at the village gate and walk deep inside to learn the valuable traditional customs.
When the last ray of the sun sent its last fiery kiss to the old town, the darkness didn't stand a chance to invade the village since all lanterns were lit, making the whole neighborhood shimmering and romantic. Ha Giang loop is always the best part for motorbike touring in Vietnam.
The weekend came, and the festive markets knocked on our door. Of course, we couldn't miss this great opportunity to study the highland cultural activities and ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Indeed, it was no longer difficult to distinguish between the communities based on their colorful suits.
Our motorbike tour then continued to Dong Van Geopark, where preserved limestone masterpieces and precious relics of the development history of the earth's crust. The only minus point was the absence of a knowledgeable speaker for geology and biology, which diminished the depth of our experience.
The Bao Lac - Quang Uyen leg took much of our energy due to the degraded terrain. Plus, it was worth paying the price for a pollution-free nature.
Our motorcycle trip stopped by Cao Bang briefly to observe life in the border area. Besides the bustling trading activities, we discovered a few subtle differences in the lifestyles of the two countries despite Asian cultural blends from hundreds of years ago.
When twilight shadows deepened, rural houses gradually emerged on the two roadsides in front of our eyes on the way to Quang Uyen. The language barrier couldn't stop the Tay and Nung people from showing their friendliness, which melted our hearts.
Not possessing monumental artificial architectures or novel services, Ban Gioc waterfall shone for its pristine beauty. The strong upstream flowed through the rocks, crept into the heart of the jungle and poured down the foot in rapid waves. Along with the fresh air and echoes of waterfalls, our sorrows and worries were soothed by Mother Nature.
We spent an entire day healing the inner child through simple activities in jaw-dropping surroundings. Following the call of our hearts, we plunged straight into the freshwater lake, floated and looked up at the clear blue sky.
We set off early to Ba Be Lake as the tour guide told us about the vastness and excitement of the destination. Not to let us down, Ba Be National Park was home to many attractions, including freshwater lakes, caves, islets, and waterfalls. We struggled to pick out some of the most popular destinations and rented a raft to visit them.
The dense cave system imprinted its beauty in our minds with sparkling stalactites inside the hearts. Trust us; you should go with a humorous boatman. Our friend served many interesting lore stories for any of the stops we passed.
We had a hearty breakfast with the host, who revealed more legends about Ba Be lake. He then guided us on a new route behind Dao villages to reach Thac Ba lake. Though the country roads were narrow, the flat pavement let us twist the throttle hard.
The immense water surface with islands covered with countless tree clusters was the first thing that caught our eyes. We once again sat on a boat floating on the waves and let the fresh air fill our lungs. Ngoi Tu Cultural Village, which served us delicious and simple dishes, won our compliments.
A tight night's sleep washed away our tiredness but reminded us of farewell. It was hard to say goodbye to the slow pace of life, friendly locals, appealing foods, and great companions on this adventurous trip. Regret filled our souls even though our escape from reality must end. Real experiences are over, but good memories will always stand the test of time.
The Grand North Vietnam motorbike tour brought us close to wild nature and unique Vietnamese cultural values. We felt fulfillment in our bones after 15 days of wandering the roads.
Every trip ends, but the values it leaves are worthy of gratitude. No words can fully describe the good things brought by motorcycle tours; thus, you should feel it with your own eyes. Get out of your sofa and hit the road now!
|Number of riders||Days on tour|
|15 days 14 nights|
All prices are per person all inclusive, twin share and are in US Dollars$
A deposit of $14.00 per person is required to secure your booking, final payment in full must be made in Hanoi office before tour departure.
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