Ha Giang Motorbike Tour 13 Days

North Vietnam

No of Days: 13 Days

Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark in Ha Giang Province has many amazing sceneries, special beautiful sites, endemic geological system, various groups of valuable and rare animals and vegetables. This is really an attractive destination for scientists and tourists. For this tour package, you will be visiting places only by riding a motorbike. This is a guided tour. If you are looking for non-motorbike tours, please go here.

Hanoi – Mai Chau – Phu Yen – Son La – Than Uyen – Sapa – Bac Ha – Ha Giang – Dong Van – Meo Vac – Bao Lac – Ba Be – Na Khan – Hanoi

Day 1: Hanoi motorcycle tour to Mai Chau (Hoa Binh)
Day 2: Mai Chau motorcycle tour to Phu Yen (Son La)
Day 3: Phu Yen motorcycle tour to Son La City
Day 4: Son La motorcycle tour to Than Uyen (Lai Chau)
Day 5: Than Uyen motorcycle tour to Sapa (Lao Cai)
Day 6: Sapa trek or relax
Day 7: Sapa motorcycle tour to Bac Ha (Lao Cai)
Day 8: Bac Ha motorcycle tour to Ha Giang City
Day 9: Ha Giang motorcycle tour to Dong Van (Ha Giang)
Day 10: Dong Van motorcycle tour to Bao Lac (Cao Bang)
Day 11: Bao Lac motorcycle tour to Ba Be National Park (Bac Kan)
Day 12: Boat ride on Ba Be lake and motorcycle tour to Na Khan (Bac Kan)
Day 13: Na Khan motorcycle tour to Hanoi

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No of Days: 13 Days

Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark in Ha Giang Province has many amazing sceneries, special beautiful sites, endemic geological system, various groups of valuable and rare animals and vegetables. This is really an attractive destination for scientists and tourists. For this tour package, you will be visiting places only by riding a motorbike. This is a guided tour. If you are looking for non-motorbike tours, please go here.

Hanoi – Mai Chau – Phu Yen – Son La – Than Uyen – Sapa – Bac Ha – Ha Giang – Dong Van – Meo Vac – Bao Lac – Ba Be – Na Khan – Hanoi

Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau (Hoa Binh)
Start our motorbike tour by leaving Hanoi on dyke roads to avoid the heavy traffic around 9 am. You ride your rental motorbike west to Mai Chau, an area of beautiful landscape and home to the Thai ethnic minority. We will ride on Highway 6, passing extensive farming lands, which comprise a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads that are punctuated by limestone karst sceneries.

After a light lunch in Hoa Binh Province, we cross Thung Khe, one of the most beautiful mountain passes in North Vietnam and descend to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau. After dinner, you can take part in the local performance, where you dance and try a range of special liquors (rice wine) with the locals. Overnight in a house-on-stilts of the Thai people.

Summary
Distance: 160 km
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Homestay

Day 2: Mai Chau – Phu Yen (Son La)
Mai Chau is one of the closest places to Hanoi where you can experience a ‘real’ Montagnard village. In the morning, we take a short walk around the village to discover local lifestyle. Life in the countryside starts early, therefore it will be buzzing with activities by sunrise. The Thai women are weaving masters, who ensure there is plenty of traditional-style clothing to buy at the center of the village. You will see women weaving on looms under or inside their houses in the village. Along the streets, you can also shop for some handmade traditional-style clothing, knife or cross-bow.

After breakfast, we wave goodbye to the villagers and leave Mai Chau at around 10 am. We will ride from Mai Chau to the direction of Phu Yen. This highland town produces some of Vietnam’s best tea and is a good place to stock up. The surrounding area is also home to several ethnic minorities, including Green H’mong, Dzao, Thai and Muong. Moc Chau boasts a pioneering dairy industry, which started in the late 1970s with Australia’s assistance, later UN’s. The dairy provides Hanoi with fresh milk, sweetened condensed milk, and little tooth-rotting bars called “Banh sua”. After lunch, we turn to the less-travelled road, leading to the Da River, crossing the reservoir of Da river at Van Yen ferry, then finally riding on a beautiful winding secondary road until we reach Phu Yen. Overnight at a guest house.

Summary:
Distance: 140 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Guest house

Day 3: Phu Yen – Son La City
Continue our motorbike adventure on the almost empty Road 37, we enter the mountains heavily populated with Black Thai people. They are farmers who mostly work on large terraced rice fields. The winding road passes through many Thai villages and fields, and provides a great opportunity to watch country life as you pass by. We continue through rolling hills before rising up to the sugar cane planations on the cooler Son La plateau.

After a late lunch in Son La city, the capital of Son La province, we visit The Old French Prison & Museum. It was once the site of a French penal colony where anticolonial revolutionaries were incarcerated. It was then destroyed by the infamous off-loading of unused ammunition by US warplanes which were returning to their bases after bombing raids, but it has been partially restored. Rebuilt turrets and watch towers stand guard over the remaining cells, inner walls and a well-know lone-surviving peach tree. The tree, which blooms with traditional “Tet flowers”, was planted in the compound by To Hieu, a former inmate from the 1940s. To Hieu has subsequently been immortalized, with various landmarks now named after him. Overnight in Son La City.

Summary
Distance: 160 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4: Son La – Than Uyen (Lai Chau)
Heading out northwest from Son La, the road crosses a series of mountain passes and areas of busy activities of Black Thai. You can see children tending buffaloes, women planting rice seeds and men pulling the buffaloes. Then we come to the start of a very long and steep Pha Din Pass, where there will be vast views of the surrounding mountains at the top, then down to the other side on very steep sealed road.

Lunch at Tuan Giao. Turn to the almost empty winding Road 279, leading to Pa Uon bridge. The first span of the Pa Uon bridge spanning the Da river got connected on Highway 279 in Chieng On commune, Quynh Nhai district, Son La province. The bridge invested by the Ministry of Transport lies within the food-avoiding highways and provincial roads project after the Son La Hydro-electric Power project had been deployed, contributing to forming the nearest road between Son La and Lai Chau provinces. The construction of the bridge started on May 28, 2007. It opened to traffic on April 30 and put into use in July 2010. Continuing on the empty winding road until we get Than Uyen Town, Lai Chau Province. Overnight in Than Uyen.

Summary
Distance: 180 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 5: Than Uyen – Sapa (Lao Cai)
We will ride our  motorbikes straight toward the main Fansipan Mountain range. There is also an option for a very challenging back route, which takes us through several river crossings. The massive mountain range dominates the road until we need to make a splendid climb up from Binh Lu, and then up to the top of the highest road pass in Vietnam (Tram Ton Pass).

Crossing into Lao Cai province at over 2,000m, the views stretch over the main range for miles and miles, before we descend to the mountainous Sapa valley. Sapa is located in Lao Cai province, 350km northwest of Hanoi. It is close to the border with China. The town is famous for its fine, rugged scenery and rich cultural diversity. The French used to consider Sapa as the summer capital of northern Vietnam in the early decades of the 20th century. To this day, its natural beauty continues to appeal to foreigners, who always travel there to spend their vacation. Overnight at the hotel in Sapa.

Summary
Distance: 110 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 6: Sapa 
Depending on your itinerary, we can either have a free and easy time in Sapa, or go for trekkings which are highly recommended activities. You can even choose to stay overnight at a homestay in a local village. Regardless your choice, they will all be right under the magnificent crest of the huge Fansipan Mountain range, which looms over 2,000m above us. The surrounding region is also populated by Hmong, Giay, Tay and Red Dao people. Overnight in Sapa or homestay in a local village.

Summary
Distance: 40 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel or homestay

Day 7: Sapa – Bac Ha (Lao Cai)
Ride down from Sapa to Lao Cai city, and then take a coffee break on the bank of Nam Thi river, which is the connecting water network between Vietnam and China. Enjoy your Vietnamese coffee while appreciating the breathtaking view towards China. Head to Road 70 before turning to Bac Ha on Road 153.

Long touted as the weekend alternative to Sapa, although this small highland town does not have the same dramatic location of its more illustrious neighbour, it has its own tourist attraction. Every Sunday morning, Bac Ha always fills itself up to the choking point as local and foreign visitors flood in to meet the Flower H’mong at the market.

Compared with Sapa, tourism is still in its infancy stage. During the weekdays, Bac Ha is quite deserted though. But the town is a good base to explore the surrounding highlands. At around 900m above sea level, it is noticeably warmer than Sapa.

One of Bac Ha’s main trading industries is the manufacturing of the alcoholic home-brewed wine, such as rice wine, cassava wine and corn liquor. The corn hooch produced by the Flower H’mong is so potent that it can even ignite fire. Overnight in Bac Ha.

Summary
Distance: 120 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Homestay

Day 8: Bac Ha – Ha Giang
After breakfast, we take the motorbike ride on the track to Xin Man and Hoang Su Phi through many small and back roads. Xin Man is right on the border between Vietnam and China. Up to now, it is still well hidden and completely surrounded by wild mountains and forests. There is a single road from Xin Man to Hoang Su Phi. Hoang Su Phi is among the most untouched area of Ha Giang province. It was not known to the world until very recently. Passing Hoang Su Phi, we will be charmed by the pristine beauty of the wild mountains and the authentic culture of the local ethnic groups, including Nung, Flower H’mong, Tay and Ha Nhi People. After lunch, join the main road heading up to Ha Giang, where we stop for the night and apply for a travel permit.

Summary
Distance: 200 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 9: Ha Giang -Dong Van (Ha Giang)
After getting the permit for the motorbike tour in border areas at Ha Giang’s immigration police, we ride on small challenging mountain roads (but incredibly beautiful) on the lands of colorful mountain hill-tribes. Ride up the Ma Pi Leng Pass. Here is yet another amazing place, with cloudy mountain ranges and poetic Nho Que river winding off in the distance. It is really difficult to find the exact words to describe Ma Pi Leng Pass, located between Dong Van and Meo Vac, near the northernmost tip of Vietnam. But it is like a painting of astonishing beauty and magnificence that captivate the eyes of all viewers and nature lovers. Ride on a zig-zag track until we reach Vuong Family’s Residence, 14 km before Dong Van. Vuong Family was considered the King of the Hmong People in Dong Van, Ha Giang. Their residence was built in the scenic valley of Sa Phin with Chinese architecture. The whole house was built from wood and rock only. The rocks for the buildings were imported from China. Vuong Family Residence is a masterpiece of man work in the valley of heavenly beauty of Sa Phin. This is a remote area and we can meet the hard-working local people here. It is inspiring to see how they survive as they manage to live with the rocks. When we reach Dong Van Town, we will have some extra time to wander the ancient streets lined with H’mong homes, made from clay bricks and tile roofs centuries ago.

Summary
Distance: 160 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 10: Dong Van – Bao Lac (Cao Bang)
The road is still under construction now. You may want to check with your guide as it might be completed when you travel here. The landscape is among the most beautiful scene of Vietnam. We ride across the wild regions of the mythical province of Ha Giang, including Meo Vac. It shares the border with Dong Van district of Ha Giang province and Bao Lam district of Cao Bang province.

Meo Vac is located mostly on the plateau of Dong Van, which is 1,000m above sea level. It has quite a harsh climate in the winter from November to April, with dry and cold weather. It is inhabited by different ethnic minorities, including H’mong, King, Tay and Dzao. Most ethnic groups have passed down their traditions and cultures from generations to generations. In the afternoon, we stop for the night at Bao Lac, the ethnic crossroad of northeast Vietnam. Many other ethnic groups on the two sided border of Ba Be National Park meet at the market every Sunday.

Summary
Distance: 80 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 11: Bao Lac – Ba Be National Park (Bac Kan)
Take a leisure ride down to Bac Kan Province. It is a few passes from the start point of the day. The road is easy but there are many blind curves before we turn to Ba Be Lake (inside Ba Be National Park). Ba Be National Park is an abundant natural reserve area, containing the world’s only fresh-water karst lake and several rare species of faunas and floras. It is home to 1,268 species of flora and fauna, a number of caves and a gigantic fresh water lake. It was established in 1992 by the Vietnamese Government to preserve forest ecosystems in the northeast.

Apart from the nature, Ba Be is also home to over 3,000 people from the ethnic minorities of Tay, Nung, Dao and Mong, who live in 13 villages within the park. The Tay people have inhabited Ba Be for centuries and make up 58 per cent of the population within the park’s boundaries. Ride into Bac Ngoi village, located inside Ba Be National Park. Our homestay in Tay’s family is right by the side of Ba Be Lake with a tranquil view.

Summary
Distance: 140 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Homestay

Day 12: Ba Be Lake – Na Khan (Bac Kan)
We take a half-day boat ride on Ba Be Lake to the other side of the lake, where we can explore Dau Dang Waterfall on Nang river. As one of the 27 ASEAN heritage gardens, Ba Be has the potential to attract nature lovers with its 450ha natural fresh water lake and 553 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. According to a survey from the Vietnam Institute of Geo-sciences and Mineral Resources, over 11,000 years ago, an earthquake caused a collapse of the subterranean Nang River, creating a natural dam, which led to the formation of Ba Be Lake.

Have lunch in a village near Dau Dang waterfall before heading back to the homestay. Get on our bikes for a half-day countryside ride to Na Khan. This will be the last night where we get to eat and sleep together with the locals as the tour comes to an end.

Summary
Distance: 80 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Homestay

Day 13: Na Khan – Hanoi
Have a relaxing ride in the morning, pass along the peaceful villages and rice fields before reaching the busy road in the afternoon. Traffic starts to get worse on Road 3, which is the way back to Hanoi. According to our calculation with our pre-determined departure time, we should reach Hanoi before the peak hours. Finally, we will complete our long motorbike tour at around 4pm, depending on our final arrival time.

Summary
Distance: 160 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

What to bring:
Passport
Good sunglasses
Good shoes for walking
Other personal needs and some cash for drinks or souvenirs.

Included:
Motorbike(s) (Honda or Yamaha)
Helmet(s)
Driving gears
Gasoline on tour
English or French speaking guide
Mechanic (only for group from 6 passengers)
Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary (based on twin or/and triple shared)
Homestay permission
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
Entrance fees & Sightseeing fees
Boat ride

Excluded:
Travel insurance
Visa
Air-ticket
Tips
Personal expenses

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