Book a tour: Best Routes To Ride In Vietnam – The East Ho Chi Minh Trail

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There is no denying that the East Ho Chi Minh Trail, or the Truong Son Dong road as Vietnamese like to call it, is among the best routes to ride in Vietnam. However, it is also a huge construction that spans numerous biomes and provinces.
That is why you need a concise and thorough guide before you can challenge it, which is what we provide with this article.

A Quick Introduction To The Ho Chi Minh Road By Motorbike

If you have seen an episode of the Vietnam Top Gear Special, I’m pretty sure that you can’t calm down your itchy feet to explore this country. Among the top-notch routes, the East Ho Chi Minh trail stands out.

What we call the Truong Son Dong road, or The East Ho Chi Minh Trail, was essentially an attempt from the Vietnamese government to construct a “middle way” between the central highlands and southern center. It runs parallel to the other two main arteries connecting the south and north sides, QL1A and the Ho Chi Minh trail.

The reason for its construction was the hope that it could open previously isolated regions up. As a result, there will be a lot of stimulation of growth in trade, tourism, agriculture, and industry.

This road was planned to extend a full 700 km between the North’s Thanh My and the South’s Dalat. At the moment, a total of 600 km has been finished and is serving in excellent condition. People are still working on three short sections, though.

There is some liberation in my name translation for this road, ‘The Road East of the Long Mountains’. I believe that this name carries the most meaning of the road over. After all, it contains all the literal translation parts of the original name and makes the road feel deserving as a part of the best routes to ride in Vietnam.

You can always use a more concise and still correct version, like ‘Eastern Truong Son Road’, but I still personally prefer this more poetic interpretation. It does both the landscape and the road justice by evoking the enchanting and mysterious sense that this region is famous for.

Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam

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How You Can Use The East Ho Chi Minh Trail Map

This map’s sole purpose is to show you all the completed sections of the road, which appear as blue lines. 

The East Ho Chi Minh Trail Road map.
The East Ho Chi Minh Trail Road map.

On the other hand, all the incomplete parts, which don’t appear on Google Map, will show as black lines. There are also many potential connection routes between the road and regions in the south, east, and west. These are purple in color and connect all the way to cities.

You will see one exception in the blue route between M’Drak, Buon Ma Thuot, and Dalat. The reason for this exception lies in the incompleteness of the Truong Son Dong road between M’Drak and Dalat. That is why you must take the alternative route.

As for the symbols, each of them has its own unique meaning. The green icons let you know about intersections and road names, the orange icons show all the accommodation options, and the red pins signify all the cities, towns, and villages. Finally, the black roadworks icons signal which part of the road is in bad condition.

As this map covers a humongous space, it is absolutely necessary for you to zoom in on specific sections. Only by doing so can you have a clearer look at all the things that this road has to offer. Some parts still haven’t shown up on Google Map, so I had to draw them manually.

Best Routes To Ride In Vietnam
Hai Van Pass

Road Condition Of The East Ho Chi Minh Trail

It is undeniable that, for the most part, the road condition on this route is in good shape. However, some parts are still in their final construction phases, so going on the Ho Chi Minh trail by motorbike can pose some challenges there. As for the completed parts, they are all perfectly accommodating to motorbikes.

 

A completed part of the East Ho Chi Minh trail. Dalat, Lam Dong, central highland

The one exception is a short section extending 7 km between Tra Giac and Son Tay intersection. While it’s still in the last few stages of construction, most riders can easily handle this kind of road condition.

In the south, this road starts with Dalat, heading north along the Pine Tree road throughout Krong No river. This river is also the natural border between 2 provinces, Daklak and Lam Dong. You must be careful here, as there is no bridge crossing the river and no road construction on the opposite side.

Krong No river, central highland Vietnam

Connecting Routes, Best Starting, And Ending Points

It is not at all an overstatement to say that you can start the route and end it anywhere you want along its length. That explains why it is among the best routes to ride in Vietnam. For example, I personally started in Dalat, as it is the endpoint and it’s one of the biggest Central Highlands hubs.

Thanks to the connecting routes, there are many points that you can use to start/end your journey along the road. As such, it’s no longer necessary to ride the road in its entirety. You can now incorporate it into a more expansive road trip plan and join it whenever you like.

Image of the road on the pass, Da Lat city, Vietnam. The road is very quiet and the weather is beautiful

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Accommodation, Eating, And Drinking

You should always keep in mind that some parts of the road are among the most sparsely populated and isolated across Vietnam. That is why all Vietnam motorbike tours in this place recommend settling in a town and village before night falls.

In these places, you will always be able to find some food and rest at some local guest houses. There are red pins all over the map marking all the villages that I know of. Some specific accommodations that I like are also present on the map with orange markings.

You should also remember all the connecting routes, as they are the best escape ways from the road if you are stuck. They all connect to huge towns and cities, where you can find any supply you need.

Ann and Bill are drink beers at beach side bar ( 16 Day motorcycle trip across Vietnam )

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When To Go On The East Ho Chi Minh Trail?

As this road covers a huge area, encompassing many provinces and terrains, it gets quite hard to specify a “best” time frame for an adventure. I do believe that the safest and most accommodating range is between October and December.

This is especially true if you are riding in the southern parts, as it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.

Vietnam Motorbike Trip along the coast

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Conclusion

With this guide, I have introduced you to another pick of the best routes to ride in Vietnam, the East Ho Chi Minh Trail. The whole guide is divided into six parts, with each having its own focus. You only need to follow the instructions, and you will be able to enjoy this interesting challenge with no difficulty.

Just hop on your motorbike and ride through the East HCM trail, and you will buy my words! More dates and infos visit our website: https://vietnammotorcycletours.com/

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