Great North Ride Introduction
Vietnam Motorcycle & Motorbike Tours provides this exotic great North ride on motorbike to people who want to explore a complete Northern mountain loop of Vietnam. The Vietnam great North ride was designed for intermediate and advanced riders. However, less experienced riders can pay a riding lesson in Hanoi to join this trip.
On this specific motorbike adventure, you will ride on many high mountain roads. It can be either on Hoang Lien range to Sapa or Dong Van karst Geo-Park. In addition, you meet friendly and colorful people. Moreover, rich culture and diverse lifestyle will certainly make this one of your lifetime adventures!
GREAT NORTH RIDE DETAILED ITINERARY
Day 1: Hanoi – Nghia Lo. ~180 km, ~7 h.
Today is the first day of this 14 days Great North ride. To get out of Hanoi safely, we will have a short briefing to let you know about the rules. In addition, the guide will show you how to understand him by his body language. We start around 9.30am after the rush hours.
Easy drive on sealed road. Ride through rural areas with beautiful rice field along the road before we head up the main mountain range (Hoang Lien, named after the most popular tree grown in this range) to the mountain town of Nghia Lo.
Day 2: Nghia Lo – Than Uyen. ~140 km, ~6 h.
The road is wild and bumpy. Between Sapa and Hanoi, we will find an important mountainous massif, almost as high as the Fansipan: the Mu Cang Chai. From the top, we have one of the most beautiful views of North Vietnam.
Day 3: Than Uyen – Sapa – Ta Van. ~150 km, ~5 h.
Walk/ stroll in the morning. Ride toward the direction of Sapa. Stay in Ta Van (Giay people). In fact, this is the best way to get away from touristy Sapa and enjoy local food, tradition, and customs. Today is one of the best riding days of this great North ride on the Hoang Lien mountain range.
Day 4: Trekking to Fansipan day 1. Camping
Ride back to Sapa and take a jeep to Sin Chai village (Black H’mong people) for 3 km. Then we take the rocky hike to the attitude of 1,900 m in 4-5 hours. Very steep hike!!!
Day 5: Trekking to Fansipan day 2. Camping
Hike from 1,900 m to the top of Fansipan at 3,143 m and then down to 1,900 m. Very long day (8-9 hours) and chances to meet wild animals like green snakes, monkeys etc. Watch out!!! Fansipan is the top (or roof) of Indochina.
Day 6: Trekking down from Fansipan day 3 – Sapa. Hotel
From 1,900 m to get down to Sin Chai village and then drive in a jeep to Sapa. Hot bath and spa to refresh ourselves.
Day 7: Sapa – Bac Ha – Xin Man. ~150 km, ~4 hrs.
In the morning, ride down to Lao Cai town to visit Lao Cai border gate with China. Then rolling along route 70 to Bac Ngam for a breathtaking scenery of mountain and river view before heading up the mountain pass to Bac Ha for our lunch and short hiking to some H’mong villages.
In the afternoon, we continue the small trail to Xin Man in the wild rocky road. Hope it doesn’t rain, otherwise, we have to ride in the mud as a water-buffalo. Currently, the roads are in better conditions, so this portion is not as challenging as before. Despite the short distance, the scenery on the way to Xin Man is amazing.
Day 8: Xin Man – Ha Giang. ~140 km, ~6 h.
Quiet road with the joys of riding through picturesque landscape along the Lo river. Superb. It is necessary for us to be able to obtain authorizations from the authorities of Ha Giang. The following stages cross the mountainous territories of the frontier ethnic groups. In addition, it is necessary to show the white leg to penetrate there.
Day 9: Ha Giang – Meo Vac. ~160 km, ~4 hrs.
Rise and shine for a few hours trek to many of the Heaven Gates such as Quan Ba, Yen Binh, and Dong Van. They are called so because one gets the feeling of touching the sky, the heaven gates. This is the best time and place to enjoy the wonderful sightseeing of the vast limestone mountain range and perpendicular walls of rock, which brings one a feeling of adventure while being lost in a magic land.
Here we are surrounded by many rocks of all shapes and sizes. After lunch at Yen Minh town, the scenic route climbs over a pass before arriving at Pho Bang, also called Bang Street, which was built many centuries ago and features multi-storey houses made of clay bricks and tile roofs. Visit some of our local friends, who are Hoa minority. Then we continue our trip to visit the infamous Vuong Palace, an H’mong family of high rank during French colonial rule (Vuong Chi Sinh was supported to be the H’mong King in Vietnam). This palace attracts keen interest from architecturally minded visitors due to its mixed style of European and Chinese architecture. Overnighting in Meo Vac.
This day is probably the best riding journey of the whole great North ride in Vietnam.
Day 10: Meo Vac – Lung Phin – Bac Me
If we are lucky enough, we could visit Lung Phin market which is held according to the Chinese calendar, the 12 animal designations such as Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare/Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep/Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. This market is held on Monkey and Tiger days, instead of the weekend.
This is a far more interesting market then Dong Van, Meo Vac or Yen Minh market. It is right on the hillside, most of the locals walk here from far away villages. Some wealthier families come by horse. There are just a few motorbikes belonging to people from the lowlands coming to exchange goods.
The next 70 km of road is a bad road, probably one of the worst in North Vietnam but it is the best road for thrilling motorbiking. It seems as if this road was made motorbiking! So try your best, muster all your energy and have as much fun as you can!
Day 11: Bac Me – Ba Be. ~80 km, ~3 h.
Yesterday you had an opportunity to develop your riding skills. Furthermore, today it’s time to master up all your skill, technique and experience for 80 km of forest road.
Only with the help of our experienced guides will you not get lost in one of the 16 branching roads. Along the way, we head up many tall passes and deep river valleys. This road trip will take only 3-4 hours during the dry season, but at least 7-8 hours during the rainy season. However, the impression of ‘conquering nature’ makes the hardship all worthwhile. Upon arrival, we will cross 3 rivers between 20-30 m wide but only 70 cm deep, all managed with the instructions of our experienced guide. The remaining 3 km of the journey is an easy pleasant ride and time to relax. You will ride along an open hillside road surrounding the Nang River. Catch your breath while you can!
We complete our journey with the next destination being the Dau Dang waterfall. It is a lunch stop to break our long journey and stretch our legs, take the tiredness away and share the day’s adventure with the owner of the Nang river restaurant – Mr. Pirate.
Then we canoe our hearts out through the tranquil lakes of Ba Be – renowned for their majesty. In addition, we have an option to swim or trek to visit Tay ethnic minorities and talk with the local people.
Day 12: Ba Be – Na Khan. ~50 km, ~2 h.
More boating to see markets if we arrive on market days. Good chance to relax and recover after a long ride from the previous days. Then go to market (if it is the day you arrive). Later, we stop at waterfall, beautiful swim…Ong pirate, the chef of Dau Dang waterfall where we enjoy lunch. Down the waterfall, we could visit the village and a small school (only a few pupils during the summer). Next, comes a short ride from Na Khan to Ba Be on a bumpy road. Mr. Lo, the chef of the village will welcome us in his house.
Day 13: Na Khan – Thac Ba. ~165 km, ~6 h.
You ride from Na Khan to Thac Ba. In fact, the road is sealed almost all the way. However, the first part (10 kilometres) is wild and bumpy. We are welcome in the house of our Dao friends. best of all, the welcome is exceptional.
Day 14: Thac Ba – Hanoi. ~160/ ~210 km, ~4 /~6 h.
Easy cruise along Chay river on small dirt river bank through villages of Kinh people and beautiful maize and rice-fields. The guide will organize to ride back to Hanoi before rush hour. End our Great North ride adventure.
There are many more great North rides on motorbike in Vietnam that we can design to cater for your needs and riding experience. Just contact us and see what we can do together.