North Vietnam Guided Motorcycle Tour from Hanoi via Ha Giang to Cat Ba Island

Arrive 21st October 2024 – Guided Tour 23rd October 2024 – 6th November 2024 – Depart 7th November 2024


Adventurous North Vietnam Motorcycle Tour
From Hanoi to Cat Ba Island via Ha Giang in the North Vietnam mountains our expert guides lead you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Vietnam, ensuring that you have a safe and unforgettable journey. Included in the tour are ten days of guided motorcycle riding, cultural events, two boat cruises, a kayaking adventure on Halong Bay and four rest days to explore local communities and sights at your own pace. Come and ride through beautiful North Vietnam with The Platypus Foundation and Asian Lotus Travel.

Options starting at USD$2,020 per person.

Key Information


  • Hotel and homestay accommodation for the duration of the guided tour, i.e from Wednesday 23rd October to Wednesday 6th November 2024 inclusive – see itinerary for details.
  • Food and drinks – 15 breakfasts (B) 1 lunch (L) and 14 dinners (D) – see itinerary for details.
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Motorcycle: Honda XR150 motorbike (or similar) hire with insurance & petrol for the motorbike
  • Entrance fees for sightseeing activities, cruises and kayaking

Not included

  • Your international and/or domestic air tickets.
  • Your Vietnam visa.
  • Your international driver’s licence (required by everyone driving a motorcycle).  Vietnam recognises the International Driving Permit, available on-line here.
  • Your personal travel insurance. All participants are expected to arrange their own insurance. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance from home. Polices should cover any and all potential risks involved in your holiday. Insurance with cover for a motorcycle is available from Covermore.
  • Your accommodation and meals on Monday 21st October and Tuesday 22nd October.
  • Tips / gratuities. We recommend USD$8 – 10 per day per person to the Asian Lotus Travel support team (guide and driver).
  • Your motorbiking jackets, pants, gloves, helmets (compulsory) – Asian Lotus Travel can provide standard helmets and gloves upon request. If you do not bring your standard motorbiking jacket and pants, you can buy these from a shop near your hotel in Hanoi before the trip starts. Sizes are limited. Please contact Kuong @ Asian Lotus Travel if you need to check the available sizes. (All riders must wear boots and a helmet)
  • Waterproof bags / raincoats (these items can be bought in Hanoi)
  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic drinks

Tour Highlights

  • Touring distance: approximately 1655 kilometres
  • Daily rides: between 120 – 200 kilometres
  • Terrain: mix of tarmac, gravel, muddy, rocky, and off-road
  • Stay in the Stilt house of the White Thai People and explore the scenic village of Mai Chau and its local culture
  • Discover long forgotten off-road French trails from the Indochina War
  • Stay in a hot spring bungalow at Suoi Chieu Lake
  • Discover Mu Cang Chai – the beautiful world of rice terraces
  • Enjoy a cruise on the stunning Chat village reservoir
  • Ride the spectacular O Qui Ho Pass in to Sapa
  • Visit Lung Tam secondary school and meet the kids who receive support from The Platypus Foundation
  • Visit the Palace of the H’Mong Kings
  • Take a boat cruise on Ba Be Lake visiting the cave and hidden cove
  • Go kayaking around the stunning ‘Wonder of the World’
  • Enjoy the relaxed luxury of Cat Ba island at the end of your tour

Skill level

Suitable for:

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


During this tour you will be accommodated in twin shared hotel rooms and local homestays. (NB: Hotel single room accommodation will incur an extra charge.)

Detailed costing

The following costing has been calculated for a party of at least 11 participants travelling together with twin-share hotel accommodation and 150cc motorcycles. The costs are quoted on a cash payment basis and are exclusive of any government and / or third-party taxes and service charges. If payment is made by credit card, traveller’s check or bank transfer, addiotnal charges will apply.

  1. Charitable donation to Platypus for each participant: USD$325 (equivalent to AUD$500)
  2. Tour cost per rider: 8 – 9 riders: USD$1868 each; 10-11 riders: USD$1788 each; 12 – 14 riders: USD$1698 each; 15-16 riders: USD$1639 each


  1. Tour cost per pillion passenger: USD$1356 each
  2. Tour cost per car passenger: USD$1065 each
  3. Hotel accommodation single room premium: USD$235
  4. Bigger motorcycle premium (250cc – 400cc): USD$35 per day


Monday 21 October 2024 – Pre-trip – Hanoi Arrival – Accommodation: Hotel on rider’s bill

International participants fly into Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport. You are responsible for your hotel booking and transfer. Asian Lotus Travel can help organise your transfer and hotel.

Tuesday 22 October 2024 – Pre-trip – Exploring Hanoi – Accommodation: Hotel on rider’s bill

An opportunity to explore Hanoi’s shopping districts and, if required, purchase bike gear such as waterproof clothing and travel bags from a local store. Asian Lotus Travel can provide advice. In the evening, all participants are invited to attend a group dinner at Koto.  (NB: The Koto dinner cost is the responsibility of each person attending.)

Wednesday 23 October 2024 – Day 1 – Bike and Kit Check – Meals D – Accommodation: Hotel

All participants must attend a group briefing and bike testing session at 3.00pm. The location will be advised separately.

Thursday 24 October 2024 – Day 2 – Hanoi to Mai Chau – Touring distance: 170 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Homestay – White Thai

We quickly leave behind the busy life of Hanoi and travel on Highway 06 to the northwest of Vietnam. The ride will take you through a patchwork of paddy fields surrounded by green mountains to the township of Mai Chau in Hoa Binh province. Along the way we will stop for a ‘buy your own lunch’ at one of the remote village wayside kitchens. Sometimes lunch may cost you the equivalent of $3, sometimes a little more, and typically involves large woks of rice or noodles with seasonal produce. It’s very communal and lots of fun. After lunch we continue onto Mai Chau where, upon arrival, you check into a stilt house of the White Thai people in an idyllic setting of verdant jungle, limestone outcrops, and mountain tops. Mai Chau has no shortage of intricate fabrics woven by skilled weavers on ancient looms. A little gentle bargaining is expected and even welcomed. Known for their warm hospitality, the White Thai are also fantastic cooks and will serve up an excellent home-cooked feast for dinner followed by a performance from the local Thai girls and boys dressed in their finest traditional clothing.

Friday 25 October 2024 – Day 3 – Mai Chau – Mộc Châu – Phu Yen (Sơn La) – Touring distance: 160 – 190 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Hotel / Bungalow

In the morning we leave Mai Chau and continue riding northwest towards Mộc Châu. With about 3000 hectares of tea fields, Moc Chau is the largest tea growing region in all of Vietnam. Sprawling waves of green tea leaves are found in an area mostly inhabited (and worked) by the Hmong and Black and White Thai ethnic groups. Conical hats and colourful costumes bob amongst the blanket of green as they go about their cultivating practices, creating a visual feast. Along the way you will discover the off-road forgotten French trail left from the Indochina War time and visit some local villages. After a ‘buy your own lunch’, your ride will continue along the Black River reservoir before Phu Yen town where we check-in to a hot spring bungalow by Suoi Chieu Lake for dinner, rest and relaxation.

Saturday 26 October 2024 – Day 4 – Phu Yen – Than Uyên – Mu Cang Chai – Touring distance: 160 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Thai Family Homestay or Hotel in town

Leaving the hot spring bungalow we start the ride to Mu Cang Chai, home to some of Asia’s most magnificent, cultivated topography. Rice terraces coil in ribbons around the hills to spectacular effect. The sheer terraces were sculpted over centuries of small-scale cultivation. Each season brings its own charm. During the summer, they bulge with ripening rice stems that blanket the hills in a vibrant green. By early autumn, the rice plants have turned a bewitching golden yellow, ready for the harvest. In wintertime, the lonely terraces fill with water, creating cascading rows of reflective infinity pools. Once spring comes, the terraces transform into anthills of activity, as the farmers plant a new crop. Make sure you have your camera ready, as each vista will seem better than the last.

Mu Cang Chai is mainly populated by the Black Hmong, a subgroup of one of Vietnam’s largest ethnicities. Pretty Hmong villages are dotted around the district. Each one offers a glimpse into a rich culture. Hmong textile culture is highly developed, and you’ll find that many villagers – both men and women – still wear traditional dress. Black Hmong men typically wear dark tunics and hats, while women wear longer tunics with arms and waistbands in bright colours.

We continue the ride to Than Uyen in Lai Châu province, one of the most sparsely populated regions in Vietnam and sharing a border with China. Late in the day you in check-in for dinner and an overnight homestay with a Thai family or Hotel in town.

Sunday 27 October 2024 – Day 5 – Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen – Tea Plantation – Sapa Touring distance: 150klms – Meals – B, D – Accommodation: Hotel

In the morning we ride up and down to Than Uyen and Tan Uyen with spectacular views at the Tea Plantation.  In the afternoon we continue our motorbike ride passing through the developing towns of Phong Tho, Lai Chau and Tam Duong before riding the stunning O Qui Ho pass into the northwest market town of Sapa. Providing a perfect oasis in the midst of our tour, the Gothic stone church at the centre of Sapa is a bull’s-eye in the bustling shops and stalls, serving as a reminder of the town’s French missionary influence.

Monday 28 October 2024 – Day 6 – Rest Day in Sapa – Touring distance: 0 klms – Meals B – Accommodation: Hotel

Spend the whole day exploring the mountain town of Sapa, known for its terraced rice fields, traditional lifestyle, and ethnic communities. Take a walking tour to a local Black Hmong or Dao village, or visit Mount Fansipan, “the Roof of Indochina” and highest mountain on the Indochina peninsula with an elevation of 3143m and offering incredible views over northern Vietnam and southern China. Get there early to avoid queues for the cable car and funicular railway. Best to get a ticket that takes you from Sapa central to the top and then walk back down the steps back to the cable car. Allow at least two hours for your visit. Back in town you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the selection of restaurants including great options for local and international cuisine.

Tuesday 29 October 2024 – Day 7 – Sapa – Bắc Hà – Touring distance 200 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Hotel

We leave Sapa town in the morning and either ride to the timber market town of Lào Cai or, weather permitting, head for the Muong Hoa valley road to Ta Van and onto Muong Khuong for lunch. In the afternoon we continue our ride along scenic hilly roads to Bac Ha.

Lào Cai, at the junction of the Red (Sông Hồng) and Nanxi (Yunnan) rivers, has been known since ancient times as a historic trading post. Here, the Chinese, the Vietnamese and the local ethnic minorities fought to gain control of the region. Alternatively, the Muong Hoa valley road is one of the most famous and attractive destinations in the north, and often known by names such as the ‘Eden in Sapa’ or ‘a hidden pearl behind the mist’.

A visit to Ta Van is a journey back to the past, where people and nature live together in harmony. The village leans back on the Hoang Lien Son Mountain and in keeping with local feng shui concepts, the inhabitants of Ta Van, including the Mong, the Red Dao and the Giay ethnic groups, build their rustic thatched houses facing away from the mountain along narrow dirt roads with colorful flowers on the two sides. The locals cultivate rice and other crops on the terraces as well as raise stock to serve their daily life.


Wednesday 30 October 2024 – Day 8 – Bac Ha – Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Touring distance 170 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Homestay – Dzao Family Homestay

We leave Bac Ha town in the morning for the ride to Road 279. Then we start to climb the Dong Van Karst Plateau to Quan Ba. Located at over 1,000 metres above sea level, the Karst Plateau consists of narrow valleys alternating with rocky mountain ranges. Over 80 percent of the surface is covered with limestone, including a high concentration of rocky peaks sitting over 2,000 meters above sea level. The rock of Dong Van is believed to contain fossils from 400 million to 600 million years ago. We overnight in the charming village of Nam Dam, about 45 klms from Ha Giang city, nestled peacefully in a valley surrounded by Karst mountains.  The Dzao’s traditional houses are built from compacted soil to make it cool in summer and warm in the winter, protecting the people here from draconic weather in the high mountains.

Thursday 31 October 2024 – Day 9 – Quan Ba – School visit – Dong Van – Meo Vac – Touring Distance 170 klms – Meals: B, D – Accommodation: Hotel

After breakfast, we say farewell to the Dzao families and continue our ride across the Karst Plateau. We’ll visit Lung Tam secondary school and meet the kids who receive support from The Platypus Foundation. After school, we continue along the road leading us along the high, rocky mountains and through spectacular valleys to villages of H’Mong, Lo Lo, and Ha Nhi people About fifteen kilometres from the town of Dong Van is the historic site of the Place of the H’Mong Kings. Built in 1902 the palace may look like a mere wooden hut but be aware you are entering one of the most important historial sites of the H’Mong ethnic groups designed in the spirit of a traditional Chinese courtyard with four wings and sixty-four rooms surrounding the central atrium. It was the seat of two Hmong kings, Vuong Chinh Duc and Vuong Chi Thanh, who ruled from the beginning of the 20th Century. In 1993 the palace was designated a National Historic Landmark and opened to tourists.

Our day finishes in Meo Vac, a small but charming district capital hemmed in by the steep karst mountains. The journey along the spectacular Mai Pi Leng Pass from Dong Van is the main attraction. The road has been cut into the side of a cliff with a view of rippling hills tumbling down to the distant waters of the Nho Que River far below. Right at the top of the pass is a lookout point where you can stop to take in the majestic scenery.

Friday 01 November 2024 Day 10 Meo Vac – Khau Vai – Bao Lac – Ba Be – Touring Distance 190 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Homestay with the Tay people

Leaving Meo Vac, we ride along the mountain range of Song Gam (Gam River) and on eventually to Ba Be. Ba Be National Park, often referred to as the Ba Be Lake, is situated in Bac Can Province, about 240 km from Hanoi. It spans over 23,000 hectares of beautiful waterfalls, deep rivers, valleys, lakes and caves, all set amongst towering peaks. The whole area is home to many ethnic communities too. In 2004, Ba Be National Park was recognized as an ASEAN natural heritage and in 2011 the park was recognized as a wetland area of international importance, ranking 3rd in Vietnam and 1938th in the world.

In the afternoon we check-in to the local homestay of the Tay people by the lake.

Saturday 02 November 2024 Day 11 Ba Be Lake Boat trip – rest day – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Homestay

Following breakfast in our homestay, we will take a boat ride to enjoy the nature of Ba Be Lake. The prominent Ba Be Lake is in fact three lakes linked by wide channels, about eight kilometres in length. The surface of the lake is always calm and perfect for a relaxing boat trip downstream. We will visit the cave, hidden cove on the lake.

In the afternoon why not relax and explore? There are three main ethnic minorities in and around Ba Be National Park: the Tay, the Dzao and the H’mong. They form communities ranging from small clusters of just a few split houses to larger villages. Pac Ngoi is home to a large Tay community with more than forty traditional stilt houses located on a mountain hill.

Sunday 03 November 2024 Day 12 Ba Be Lake – Hữu Liên ( Lạng Sơn) – Touring Distance 160 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Homestay – Nung or Tay

We leave Ba Be Lake in the morning, enjoying the ride on nice and scenic roads with stops for photos and meeting the locals.

In the afternoon, we arrive in Hữu Liên (Lang Son Province) and discover the beautiful Meadow before overnighting in a friendly village homestay.

Monday 04 November 2024 Day 13 Hữu Lien – Ha Long City – Tuan Chau ferry – Cat Ba Island – Touring Distance 140 klms B, D – Accommodation: Hotel or Boat

Today’s ride is from Hữu Lien to Cam Son Lake, and then to Ha Long City. When we reach Tuan Chau, we will finish motorbiking and try to catch the Ha Long Bay ferry for an hour before a 45-minute bus transfer from the Ferry Pier to Cat Ba town and our hotel check-in.

Tuesday 05 November 2024 Day 14 Kayaking around the Wonder of the World – Meals B, L, D – Accommodation Hotel or Boat

After breakfasting in our hotel, we start our private lake cruise. Our crew will take us to beautiful spots for kayaking to explore the caves and white sandy beaches with opportunities to swim in the calm clear water of the bay.

During the afternoon we’ll head back to our hotel for the second night’s stay enjoying beer o’clock and a magnificent sunset.

Wednesday 06 November 2024 Day 15 Cat Ba – Hai Phong – Hanoi – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Hotel

Your morning is free until our midday hotel checkout followed by our return bus journey to Hanoi. We have a late afternoon check-in in Hanoi followed by a farewell dinner.

Thursday 07 November 2024 Day 16 Hanoi Departure – Meals B – Accommodation: Hotel

This is the final day of your tour. After breakfast and check-out, your airport transfer will be scheduled.


How to get there

Recommended airport: Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi (Code HAN)

Reserving your place on the tour

  • A tour reservation requires a cash payment or direct deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The balance of the total tour price may be paid upon arrival in Hanoi.
  • Any and all additional reservations arranged through Asian Lotus Travel such as car rental, additional hotel reservations must be paid in full in advance.

Asian Lotus Travel Beneficiary Bank:

Bank For Foreign Trade of Vietnam
198 Tran Quang Khai, Hanoi, Vietnam

Swift code: BFTVVNVX


Dong Minh Cuong
Bank account (USD): 0011372559414


Amendment policy

There is no fee for any change or amendment you make prior to your final confirmation. Otherwise, amendment or cancellation fees may be charged (subject to SenAsia Travel’s supplier policy). Because we will launch the booking reservation immediately after we receive your final confirmation and starting from that point, service’s amendment/cancellation fees may be applied by our local service providers such as hotel, restaurants, airlines companies.

Note: We will not charge you any fee if our service providers do not charge us.

Cancellation policy

Sen Asia Travel must be informed in writing. Cancellation charges would be effective from the date we receive advice in writing and cancellation charges would be applied as follows:

  • From 90 days to 45 days: 20% of the total tour/service costs
  • From 45 days to 15 days: 50% of the total tour/service costs
  • From 14 day to departure: 100% of the total tour/service costs

Charitable contribution to The Platypus Foundation

  • Cost per participant: AUD$500

The Platypus Foundation Beneficiary Bank:

National Australia Bank
Shop 2b Ocean Keys Shopping Centre
35 Ocean Keys Boulevard
Clarkson Western Australia 6030

BSB: 086 412

Account Number: 124019256

The Platypus Foundation

Platypus Foundation is an Australian charity supporting at-risk and disadvantaged Vietnamese break the poverty cycle through education and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Tel: 0421 633 145
Snail mail: PO Box 2759, Clarkson WA 6030

Asian Lotus Travel

Asian Lotus Travel is a destination tour company with experienced guides and qualified experts in the tourism business, both in and outside Vietnam.

Address: 1 No 01 / N08 Huyn Van Nghe – Sai Dong – Long Bien – Hanoi
Address: 2 No 41 / Binh Than 4 – Dai Duong block – Dai Phuc – Bac Ninh
Phone: 098213316, 0936310577
International Tour operator licence: 01-599/2015/TCDL = GPLH

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October / November 2024 Vietnam Motorcycle Tour