14-Day North Vietnam Guided Motorcycle Tour from Hanoi via Ha Giang to Cat Ba Island
Arrive 11th March 2024 – Guided Tour 14th March 2024 – 27th March 2024 – Depart 28th March 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.
Cost Options starting at USD$2,020 per person.
Hotel and homestay accommodation for the duration of the guided tour, i.e from Wednesday 13th March to Wednesday 27th March 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
Your international and/or domestic air tickets
Your Vietnam visa
Your international driver’s licence (required by everyone driving a motorcycle)
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
Your accommodation and meals on Monday 11 March and Tuesday 12 March
Tips / gratuities. We recommend USD$8 – 10 per day per person to our supported team (guide and driver)
Your motorbiking jackets, pants, gloves, helmets (compulsory) – Asian Lotus Travel can provide our 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 hotel in Hanoi before the trip starts. The size is 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)
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
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.)
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.
Charitable donation to Platypus for each participant: USD$322 (equivalent to AUD$500)
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
Tour cost per pillion passenger: USD$1356 each
Tour cost per car passenger: USD$1065 each
Hotel accommodation single room premium: USD$235
Bigger motorcycle premium (250cc – 400cc): USD$35 per day
Monday 11 March 2024 – Pre-trip – Hanoi Arrival – Accommodation: Hotel
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 12 March 2024 – Pre-trip – Exploring Hanoi and dinner at KOTO – Accommodation: Hotel
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 13 March 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 followed by dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. The location will be advised separately.
Thursday 14 March 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 15 March 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 16 March 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 17 March 2024 – Day 5 – Than Uyen – Chat village reservoir boat trip – Sapa Touring distance: 120klms – Meals – B, D – Accommodation: Hotel
In the morning we ride up and down to the Chat Village reservoir pier before taking a relaxing boat ride. It’s a great opportunity to capture spectacular views and learn about the lifestyles of the local Hmong and Red Dzao peoples. 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 18 March 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 ticket that take 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. not only can you find great options for local cuisine, but you can also indulge in other international food.
Tuesday 19 March 2024 – Day 7 – Sapa – Bắc Hà – Hoàng Su Phi – 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.
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.
We lunch in Bac Ha before continuing to Hoang Su Phi. The region is renowned for its stunning rice terraces and has been recognized as a national heritage site by the Vietnamese government. Hoang Su Phi is home to Dau, Nung and Tay people who have lived in the region for centuries. These communities have preserved their unique cultures and traditions, including their distinctive clothing, food and festivals, making Hoang Su Phi a fascinating destination for cultural tourism. The district is home to diverse flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species. Overall, Hoang Su Phi is a hidden gem offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.
Wednesday 20 March 2024 – Day 8 – Hoang Su Phi – Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Touring distance 170 klms – Meals B, D – Accommodation: Homestay – Dzao Family Homestay
We leave Hoang Su Phi town in the morning for the ride to Ha Giang city, located on the banks of the Lô River. 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 21 March 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 22 March 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) andon 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 23 March 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 24 March 2024 Day 12 Ba Be Lake – Hữu Liên ( Lạng Sơn) – Touring Distance 160 klms – MealsB, 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 25 March 2024 Day 13 Hữu Lien – Ha Long – 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 26 March 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 27 March 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 28 March 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
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.
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.
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 Email: email@example.com Web: asianlotustravel.com International Tour operator licence: 01-599/2015/TCDL = GPLH
If you would like to join one of our Vietnam Motorcycle Tours, or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for prompt attention.