Ho Chi Minh Trail Introduction
Ho Chi Minh Trail is the name of the trip, it doesn’t mean we ride mainly on the old trail. The government already built a new highway on most of the original trail. However, we still have some parts on tracks and shortcuts that offer off-road riders a chance to test out their riding skills. In fact, this is the shortest trip offering you a taste of the trail. Allow more days and you will cover more of this trail and retrace the route of BBC’s Top Gear Vietnam Special show. The full Ho Chi Minh Trail trip is in 16 days that first covers a bit of North Vietnam then follows this itinerary and finally extends further down South and ends in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). The longer you ride, the more taste of the trail you have.
More Vietnam Motorcycle Tour Routes
Below is a video clip from one of our Ho Chi Minh Trail motorbike tours. If you want to watch more videos of our Vietnam tour, please check our YouTube channel.
Ho Chi Minh Trail On Two Wheels Itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi – Tan Ky (290 km, 9 hours riding)
Ride South from Hanoi from the west end on a small, spectacular and paved trail along the Red River. Then join the Ho Chi Minh trail (now a newly built highway) all the way from Xuan Mai to Tan Ky town where we spend the night in a hotel.
Day 2: Tan Ky – Phong Nha (280 km, 8 hours riding)
Ride on Ho Chi Minh Highway until Pho Chau where we stop to visit the HCM Trail victory monument. This is, in fact, the real starting point of our HCM Trail ride.
Ride all the way to Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina and is now a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geographic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers.
Day 3: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi (60 km, 2 hours riding)
Boating and exploring World Heritage site of Phong Nha where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during wartime. Then we drive down to the coastal town of Dong Hoi, which was heavily shelled by US warships during the war. At a hotel overlooking the beach, we can take in some sunbathing by the beach. Overnight in Dong Hoi.
Day 4: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh (200 km, 6 hours riding)
We strike south through foothills which were once sprayed heavily by Agent Orange towards the former DMZ. There is still much evidence of bombing on the mountainsides. From time to time we will see remnants of the original Trail. We take in the Vinh Moc tunnel, the famous Hien Luong Bridge (former demarcation line between North and South Vietnam, the Truong Son Cemetery and finally Khe Sanh (former US Marine base). Overnight in Khe Sanh.
Day 5: Khe Sanh – Hue (180 km, 7 hours riding)
In the morning we head south over the Da Krong Bridge (built by the Cubans in 1973) into the infamous A Shau Valley. This valley is an area of intense wartime activity. Passing Hamburger Hill and mountains still barren due to the extended effects of Agent Orange, we arrive at A Luoi, where there are many Bru Van hill tribe people. Then, cruise through green back country down the steep Me Oi Pass. We continue on to the beautiful city of Hue which lies along the banks of the Perfume River. Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Hue – Hoi An (125 km, 4 hours riding)
See the Forbidden Citadel in the morning. Join the National Highway 1 and head up the Hai Van Pass (Cloudy Pass) before the World Heritage site of Hoi An, a major trading centre in SE Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. The tour actually ends at Danang train station and our guides will arrange the shipping of all bikes back to Hanoi on the train. He will arrange a car to take you to Hoi An and he flies back to Hanoi this afternoon.
Hoi An is a big town and it’s super easy to see this old town on your own. From here, you either head South or fly travel back to Hanoi.