Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tours: 19 Days On Dirt Roads
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Vietnam offroad motorbike tours are designed for adventure enthusiasts who love unique experiences. It took us - first-time tourists to Vietnam - from one surprise to another. We decided to spend our entire vacation in the remote mountainous and Chinese border areas in the North. Unspoiled nature and amicable Vietnamese people treated us with unforgettable experiences.
Vietnam Offroad Motorbike Tours: 19 Days On Dirt Roads
Day 1: Hanoi - Mai Chau Motorcycle Tour
We started our Vietnam dirtbike tours when the sun was high to avoid heavy traffic. Far from the noisy center, the buildings disappeared and gave way to a clear view on either side.
The scene transformed into a romantic movie set in the countryside. It was a long time since we freed our minds from the deadlines and plunged into the idyllic valley of the tribes.
Day 2: Mai Chau Motorbike Trip To Son La
From Mai Chau, we rode on degraded roads. The rough terrain did not stop our excitement as the ethnic people showed off their warmth, waving their hands from the houses scattered on the hillside.
We stopped at Xa Linh for about two hours to visit a Hmong tribe. They treated us to a simple yet delicious lunch and an interesting performance with traditional musical instruments.
The happiness continued to fill our souls when we encountered another, the Black Thai, on the way to the Moc Chau plateau. They worked hard under the blazing sun on the tea plantations but welcomed us with interesting stories about their customs.
Day 3: Son La - Dien Bien Phu Motorbike Route
We spent our mornings at the provincial museum and the old prison near the homestay. War stories then followed our next steps as we crossed Pha Din Pass. The tour guide told us many great legends of the Dien Bien Phu battle in 1954. You won't believe this growing town was once a bloody battlefield.
We stopped by the Dien Bien Phu Museum, which served the most detailed record. It was a masterpiece timeline arrangement to reconnect with all the historical facts we've gathered over the long riding experience.
We walked to the war ruins behind the museum, where old tanks and forts still stand. This experience was the epilogue of a historical document that touched our hearts.
Day 4: Dien Bien Phu - Lai Chau Motorcycle Path
Another wonderful day came on the dirt roads in the countryside of Vietnam. Instead of the route crowded with tourists, we rode slowly through the fields and rivers.
Leaving our worries and painful past behind, we fell in love with every minute movement of the surrounding landscape and local life. Though no suspense or excessive hype existed, peace took over our souls and left precious healings.
Day 5: Lai Chau - Muong Te Motorcycle Tour
It was an escape against the flow of the Da River. We headed to the upstream - Muong Te town, where many ethnic minority groups gathered. Poor road conditions posed real challenges to our concentration and riding level.
On the bright side, our efforts paid off as we reached remote villages, which were nourished by the river with the most stunning scenes. The magnificent mountains and gentle streams gave birth to a charming watercolor painting, while the blend of ethnic cultures opened up a new perception and inspired our current work.
Day 6: Lai Chau Motorbike Tour To Tam Duong
We continued to remote areas to meet more mountainous tribes like Kho Mu, Mang, Dao, and Red Hmong. Fortunately, our riding journey to Sin Ho was accepted by the local government. Beautiful mountain scenery dotted by immense tea plantations in Tam Duong stole our hearts.
The world of the locals was set apart from the rapid development of the rest, as they resided beneath the mountains for ages and carried on the ancient culture from generation to generation. Away from the amenity of modern society, we first realized the necessary value of life.
Day 7: Tam Duong - Sapa By Motorcycle
We felt different vibes in each locality that we passed. Following the main trade artery in the Northwest, we gradually went uphill to Sapa. We cranked up the throttle to conquer bumpy roads or escape mud puddles.
Once again, we were melted by the hospitality of the locals. A couple of men helped to push our vehicles out of potholes caused by a sudden downpour. We said nothing since we didn’t understand each other, but no words sometimes mean a lot, right?
Day 8: Sapa By Motorbike
We fell in love with Sapa at first sight. Though the French colonial regime influenced architecture, we discovered the one-of-a-kind features of this dreamland.
The central area was a honeypot of tourists since the Sapa market attracted much domestic and foreign media attention. The locals gathered very early and carried a lot of goods in baskets, and we were hyped up by the bustling atmosphere of trading activities. We found a few hand-made brocade scarves at very affordable prices.
The European cities' differences became more obvious when we rode to the suburbs. We stopped in a valley and walked around with some Tay people to experience their life, which was a great opportunity to engage in unique activities such as logging, plowing, or herding buffaloes.
Day 9: Sapa - Lao Cai Motorcycle Trip
We made our way to another spectacular mountain region - Bat Xat. It was an impoverished area but rich in long-standing cultural values. We also encountered some new tribes like the Phu La and Giay. To be honest, we could not tell them apart unless our guide unclogged some secrets in their clothes.
We moved slowly on the degraded roads and came across the old villages, where most localities did not have access to residential power systems. Surprisingly, people seemed content and grateful for what they owned; their simple joy put us to shame. We didn’t realize that bliss comes from the smallest thing around us for so long!
Day 10: Lao Cai Motorbike Path To Bac Ha
It was another special day of Vietnam offroad motorcycle tours! We woke up early to get to the weekend market in Muong Khuong, reminiscent of the Sapa market but with fewer tourists.
The ethnic minorities did not bring many souvenirs like Sapa market, but they sold mainly fresh food, pets, farm tools, and other necessary household items. Of course, the bustling atmosphere that dispelled our sleepiness remained unchanged.
When the bright sunlight embraced the road, we headed to Bac Ha. Though our team arrived earlier than scheduled, there was no time for rest. The next destination was the residence of King Hmong and Ban Pho. At sunset, we sat in front of a courtyard with a wide view of the mountains and enjoyed a strong glass of bold corn wine.
Day 11: Bac Ha - Ha Giang Motorbike Tour
Our adventure spirit was awakened when the winding roads came, especially the Hoang Su Phi route. We focused 100% on the vision ahead since we had to cross a zigzag pass looking down to the abyss.
After a short break at the peak, the way down posed another difficult challenge due to the steep slope. Luckily, it was easier than the previous route. Ethnic locals on the way home became our companions, which doubled our excitement during the adventure ride.
Day 12: Ha Giang - Dong Van Motorcycle Route
We moved out of Ha Giang City and headed towards the North Pole. Our hearts beat for craggy mountains and centuries-old villages. The adventure tour was full of thrills and spills due to the twists and turns, and narrow roads winding through the hills sent chills down our spine.
What held us back in Sa Phin was the Hmong royal house. During a stroll around this attraction, crowds of ethnic girls in colorful dresses that lit up a corner of the sky turned our heads.
Some maids gifted us a yellow flower wreath, and we took a picture together. Indeed, Vietnam’s beauty not only comes from its majestic sceneries stretching from the North to the South but also from its hospitable and lovely people.
Day 13: Dong Van Motorbike Trip Meo Vac
"A gray world" was the first thought to pop into our minds when we spent our first morning in Dong Van. We realized our small presence before the sweeping nature on the road between the towering limestone mountains.
Remember to bring sunscreen and sunglasses if you intend to join this route; we emptied our water bottles to fight the boiling climate. The huge rocks and road surface absorbed the harsh sun and radiated the heatwave at passersby.
We stayed in Dong Van for an extended period to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Lo Lo and Pu Peo groups. It was effortless to distinguish between these two tribes based on the different traditional cloth.
Returning to Ha Giang, we took a new turn passing through Yen Minh, and the vast pine forests saved us from a tropical summer day.
Day 14: Ha Giang - Bao Lac - Ba Be Lake Motorcycle Path
We began to travel among the rolling limestone mountains. The rocky road took us through prosperous hill tribes and unspoiled areas. Compared to the previous days, we felt a stronger and more intense charm from the surroundings.
However, the green leaves of plants and flowers soften the barren vibe of the towering mountains, showing the powerful vitality of living beings.
As we approached Ba Be National Park, the ingenious creation of Mother Nature took our breath away. This land was bestowed with the greatest landscapes of the universe.
Day 15: Ba Be Lake By Motorbike
Leaving "our horses" on the shore, we boarded small boats to go down the Nang River. The old captain took us around the vast lake, explaining every nook and cranny with interesting myths. We still cannot forget the blend of beautiful landscapes, from clear blue water, towering limestone mountains to mysterious islands - all create breathtaking scenery.
The marine vehicle stopped at another bank which opened a way to the Dau Dang waterfall. We followed the small streams to reach the marvelous upstream, whose crystal-clear water crawled on stacked giant rocks and then poured down to the large gorge.
Day 16: Ba Be - Cao Bang Motorcycle Tour
We kicked off a slow motorcycle tour to Cao Bang. The hurtful past was cut out of our minds to make room for the jaw-dropping natural scenery. The stunning terraced fields under the clear blue sky left a strong visual impression. It was the first time in our lives that we witnessed the unique sight of rice sowing and watering.
There were only 3 days left on our Vietnam motorcycle tour, so we decided to go off stream, spending the rest of this day to blend in the peaceful life in Cao Bang.
From our homestay, just a short stroll away was an immaculate lake where the host usually went fishing. While my buddies hopped on their bikes to explore every nook and cranny of the town, I chose to drift my soul on the tranquil and calm lake, as if it was in its dormancy.
Day 17: Cao Bang - Pac Po Cave - Lang Son Motorbike Tour
We couldn't hold back our passion before we visited a famous historical site - Pac Po cave. There were many interesting stories about President Ho Chi Minh and his great patriotism.
Our awesome adventure continued to pass through the lush hills before reaching Lang Son. The tour guide told us about the ravages of war in this town. Surprisingly, it has become a busy commercial center in the northeast region.
Day 18: Lang Son - Halong Bay Motorbike Trip ( Stay overnight on luxury cruise )
We had a healthy breakfast in the central market. Knowing that we were first-time tourists, the shopkeeper even offered us another free dish. That was so lovely! We then headed to Tam Thanh cave, where a magical world of fancy stalactites was opened.
After that, we no longer hesitated and drove quickly to our most desirable destination - Ha Long Bay. It was fortunate that we reached the beaches before dark. We sat for more than two hours on the white sand to admire the sunset and the daily activities of the locals.
Day 19: Halong - Hanoi ( Shuttle bus to Hanoi )
We let our feet and motorbikes rest in the morning by getting on a sailing boat out to Halong Bay. Floating on the water for about 5 hours was a once-of-a-kind experience to discover over 3,000 limestone islands.
We also dropped anchor to explore secluded beaches and caves hidden behind massive rocks. After a delicious lunch of fresh seafood dishes, we kissed goodbye to our offroad Vietnam motorbike tours and returned to the capital.
Our Vietnam offroad motorbike tours have ended with unique memories and experiences. Will we go back? The answer is always YES. Despite spending almost a month in Vietnam, the friendly people and wild scenery motivated us to stay longer.
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