Let’s go to Vietnam!

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Vietlong
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine
Vietnam Hung phấn Tour
Let’s go!

You’ve been waiting for it and here it is! Our next readers’ tour is to Vietnam and boy have we got a trip for you! We have a ten day North Vietnam tour lined up with the experienced Vietlong Travel people. This tour will take in some of the most stunning sights and experiences there are to see and do in Vietnam. The route includes some dirt roads but Stuart will help you through if need be. It isn’t overly challenging so don’t fret. The Honda CRF250 is the perfect device to ride the route. We have also organised the days’ riding to not be overly long (although very visually appealing) so we can all soak up the atmosphere and take plenty of photos. This ride is for solo riders, there is no facility for pillions.
We have organised two options for you to choose from. One is with flights, the other without. You can also choose to have your own room each night for an extra few bucks. And whichever version you choose: it’s very affordable!

The important stuff is –

Dates – 4-14 March 2018 (Arrive on Sat 3rd March, fly out 15 March)
How to book –
Vietlong Travel
Tel: (+84 4) 39766534
Email: sales@vietlongtravel.com
Website: http://www.vietlongtravel.com or http://vietnam-motorbiketour.com/

* OPTION 1 – Without Flights US$2310 per person
* Inclusions:
+ 11 days, 12 nights Vietnam private group tour sharing double/twin rooms at standard hotels plus homestay
+ Private transfers for the airport pick-up and see-off
+ 3-star hotels in Hanoi at start and finish of tour
+ Motorbike (Honda CRF250)
+ Helmet & riding gear (if needed)
+ Gasoline on tour
+ 2 English speaking guides
+ 1 Mechanic
+ Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary (based on twin or/and triple shared)
+ Homestay permission
+ Meals as indicated in the itinerary
+ Entrance fees & Sightseeing fees
+ Bottled water
+ 1 coffee or 1 cold beer or 1 cold soft drink for every stopover on tour
+ Government taxes
+ Van to carry luggage
+ Add $220US if you want your own room

* OPTION 2 – With Flights US$2950 per person
* Inclusions:
+ 11 days, 12 nights Vietnam private group tour sharing double/twin rooms at standard hotels plus homestay
+ Private transfers for the airport pick-up and see-off
+ 3-star hotels in Hanoi at start and finish of tour
+ Motorbike (Honda CRF250)
+ Helmet & riding gear (if needed)
+ Gasoline on tour
+ 2 English speaking guides
+ 1 Mechanic
+ Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary (based on twin or/and triple shared)
+ Homestay permission
+ Meals as indicated in the itinerary
+ Entrance fees & Sightseeing fees
+ Bottled water
+ 1 Coffee or 1 cold beer or 1 cold soft drink for every stopover on tour
+ Government taxes
+ Van to carry luggage
+ $220US if you want your own room
WITH FLIGHTS – arrive on Saturday 3rd March 2018

The itinerary is as follows –
Arrival March 3rd – Hanoi
On landing at Noi Bai airport, you’ll be welcomed by our driver then escorted to your hotel for check-in. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.

Lay day March 4th – Hanoi
A meeting between you and the operators and guides to finalise all necessary details before the tour’s departure the next day. This is a free day essentially to rest up and do a bit of shopping in the local area if you wish. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.

Day 1: Hanoi to Mai Chau (Hoa Binh)
Start of our tour by leaving Hanoi on dyke roads to avoid the heavy traffic around 9am. We ride our motorbikes west to Mai Chau, an area of beautiful landscape and home to the Thai ethnic minority. We will ride on Highway 6, passing extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads punctuated by limestone karst scenery. After a light lunch in Hoa Binh Province, we cross Thung Khe, one of the most beautiful mountain passes in North Vietnam, then descend to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau. After dinner we join a performance, where you can dance and share a range of special liquors (rice wine) with the locals. Overnight in a house-on-stilts of the Thai people.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 160km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
+ Offroad Ratio: 30%
+ Accommodation: Home-stay

Day 2: Mai Chau to Phu Yen (Son La) Tribal Villages
Mai Chau is one of the closest places to Hanoi where you can experience a ‘real’ Montagnard village. In the morning we take a short walk around the village to discover local life. Life in the countryside starts early so by sunrise there is a wealth of activity. You will see women weaving on looms under or inside their houses in the village. We can buy some handmade traditional-style clothing, knives or a cross-bow.
After breakfast in the home-stay, we say goodbye to villagers and leave Mai Chau around 10am. We ride from Mai Chau in the direction of Moc Chau, where we have lunch. This highland town produces some of Vietnam’s best tea and is a good place to stock up. The surrounding area is also home to several ethnic minorities, including Green H’mong, Dzao, Thai and Muong. Moc Chau boasts a pioneering dairy industry that started in the late 1970s with Australian (and later, UN) assistance. After lunch, we turn to the less travelled Road 43 leading to the Da River, crossing the reservoir of the Da river at Van Yen ferry, then ride on a beautiful winding secondary road to Phu Yen where we stay the night.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 140km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
+ Offroad Ratio: 60%
+ Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3: Phu Yen to Than Uyen (Lai Chau)
In the morning, we keep riding across Lung Lo pass before heading up on Road 32.
During the First Indochina War, the 15km long Lung Lo Pass, used by the Vietnamese resistance force to transport weapons, goods and food during the Dien Bien Phu campaign of 1954, was heavily bombed by the French in order to sever the front lines from the rear. Lung Lo Pass, situated in the northern province of Yen Bai, has been recognised as a national heritage by the ministry. After lunch, we ride through the Mu Cang Chai massif, almost as high as the Fansipan. From the top, it offers one of the most beautiful views of North Vietnam. The ride is somewhat challenging but very rewarding.
Overnight in a hotel.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 210km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
+ Offroad Ratio: 60%
+ Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4: Than Uyen to Sapa Villages (Lao Cai)
We ride straight toward the main Fansipan Mountain range. There is also the option for a challenging back route which takes us through several river crossings. The massive mountain range dominates the road until finally we make the splendid climb up from Binh Lu to the top of the highest road pass in Vietnam (Tram Ton Pass).
Crossing into Lao Cai Province at over 2000m the view sweeps out over the main range for miles and miles, before we descend to the mountainous Sa Pa valley. Sa Pa is in Lao Cai Province, north-west Vietnam, and 350km north-west of Hanoi, close to the border with China. Sapa is famous both for its fine, rugged scenery and for its rich cultural diversity. The French used Sapa as the Summer Capital of Northern Vietnam in the early decades of the 20th century. Its natural beauty keeps attracting more and more people to spend their vacation there since then. Particularly, the place is the foremost choice for honeymoon couples!
* Summary:
+ Distance: 110km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
+ Offroad Ratio: 60%
+ Accommodation: Hotel

Day 5: Sapa to Bac Ha (Lao Cai)
Motorcycle down from Sapa to Lao Cai City and then have a coffee-stop on the bank of Nam Thi river, which is the Vietnam/China border. Enjoy your coffee while taking the view to China. Head to Road 70 before turning to Bac Ha on Road 153. Long touted as the weekend alternative to Sapa, this small highland town doesn’t have the same dramatic location as its more illustrious neighbour, but it is calmer when Saturday comes. It fills up to choking point on Sunday morning, when visitors flood in to meet the Flower H’mong at the Bac Ha morning market. Compared with Sapa, tourism is still in its infancy here and during the week the town has a deserted feel. Bac Ha is a good base to explore the surrounding highlands. Around 900m above sea level, it is noticeably warmer than Sapa.
One of Bac Ha’s main industries is she manufacture of alcoholic home brews (rice wine, cassava wine and corn liquor). The corn hooch produced by the Flower H’mong is so potent it will ignite! Bac Ha is the only place in Vietnam where you’ll find this particular moonshine; there’s an entire area devoted to it at the Sunday market.
Overnight in Bac Ha.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 120km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
+ Offroad Ratio: 60%
+ Accommodation: Home-stay

Day 6: Bac Ha to Ha Giang City
After breakfast, we ride on the track to Xin Man and Hoang Su Phi on many small; back roads with scenic mountain views. Xin Man is right on the border between Vietnam and China. It is well hidden and completely surrounded by wild mountains and forests.
There’s a single road from Xin Man to Hoang Su Phi. Hoang Su Phi is among the most untouched area of Ha Giang Province of Vietnam. The area was separated from the mainstream society until very recently. Passing Hoang Su Phi, we will be charmed by the pristine beauty of the wild mountains and the authentic culture of the local ethnic groups which include: the Nung, the Flower H’mong, the Tay and the Ha Nhi People. After lunch, join the main road heading up to Ha Giang City, where we stop for the night and apply for a permit to ride the border.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 200km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
+ Offroad Ratio: 60%
+ Accommodation: Hotel

Day 7: Ha Giang to Dong Van (Ha Giang)
After getting the permit for riding in border areas at Ha Giang’s Immigration Police, we ride on small, challenging but incredibly beautiful mountain roads through the land of colorful mountain hill-tribes.
Then we go up the Ma Pi Leng Pass. Here is yet another amazing place, with cloudy mountain ranges and the poetic Nho Que river winding off in the distance.
It is really difficult to find the exact words to describe Ma Pi Leng Pass, located between Dong Van and Meo Vac, near the northernmost tip of Vietnam, as a painting of astonishing beauty and magnificence that captures the eyes of all viewers and nature lovers.
Ride on a zig-zag track until we reach Vuong Family’s Residence, 14km before Dong Van.
Vuong Family were considered the royalty of the Hmong People in Dong Van, Ha Giang. Their residence was built in the scenic valley of Sa Phin with Chinese architecture. The whole house was built only out of wood and rock. The rocks for the buildings were imported from China. Vuong Family Residence is a masterpiece of manmade work in the valley of heavenly beauty of Sa Phin.
This is a remote area and we can meet the hard-working local people here. It is inspiring to see how they survive as they manage to make a living among the rocks. When we reach Dong Van Town we will have some extra time to wander the ancient streets lined with H’mong homes of clay bricks and tiled roofs built centuries ago.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 160km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
+ Offroad Ratio: 40%
+ Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8: Dong Van to Bao Lac
The morning ride is still winding along the Rock Plateau, after breakfast, enjoying some beautiful mountain passes until Meo Vac where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon, we will ride down along the river and see the different mountain view (less rocky and more green). Arrive in Bao Lac town at 5pm.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 120km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
+ Offroad Ratio: 60%
+ Accommodation: Hotel

Day 9: Bao Lac to Ba Be Lake
To save time for the boat trip in Ba Be lake, we should start the day early so after breakfast, we start riding at around 8am. Today is the best off-road route. After 20km from Bao Lac we turn to narrow and bumpy road with breathtaking view of terrace rice paddies. We cross a few rivers riding on bamboo bridges. Finish the memorable riding day with lunch in a peaceful village of the Tay people nearby Ba be lake. It’s time for relaxing on one of the most beautiful and biggest natural lake in Vietnam in the afternoon.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 150km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
+ Offroad Ratio: 40%
+ Accommodation: Homestay

Day 10: Ba Be Lake to Hanoi
Staying off the main road for as long as possible we head back towards the Red River Delta, passing through areas inhabited by Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung minority peoples. There’s a mixture of both challenging track and glorious sealed road all the way back to Hanoi. Our great Vietnam motorbike tour to Ha Giang will end safely in Hanoi before the rush hour.
* Summary:
+ Distance: 240km
+ Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
+ Offroad Ratio: 20%
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

Departure day – 15 March: Hanoi – Departure
After having breakfast at our hotel, you’ll be at leisure until it’s time to transfer to the airport for a departure flight home.

Is that a trip or is that a trip? And it should be pretty funny watching the reaction of the locals to Stuart, who will be admired as a virtual giant among them.

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4 Comments

  1. mick thomas

    I am interested in going on this tour – i went to the website noted and this tour is not listed there – lots of others are – but not this one.
    i contacted them via the email address provided and received a reply to say the tour is very similar to another and they provided a link to the other tour
    Given it is an AM ride with readers tour then I am more confident that the tour group are reliable and do a good job but its a bit disconcerting that they don’t have the tour listed and therefore can’t make a booking- would you please find out when this specific tour to be listed on their web site.
    A feew questions.
    What is the maximum size of the tour group?
    What are the payment terms – deposit up front and balance later?
    If book to include flights then what flight options are available?

    thanks – looking forward to hearing from you
    Mick

    Reply
  2. Raymond Jones

    Haha, I emailed them for more information and received a reply with booking number. The local Flight Centre has saved me heaps on the airfares which I have started to pay. Am really looking forward to the ride

    Reply

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