Northwest Vietnam Introduction

The Northwest Vietnam motorbike tour from Hidden Vietnam Motorcycle Tours takes you to the faraway mountains of Vietnam. This is a beautiful area but lacks good roads so motorbiking is the best way. Stop anywhere you want, ride on any road you find interesting, stay with real locals, try their food, and experience their daily life will truly give you an unforgettable experience. You can start from either end of the loop so flexibility works for you.

Allow a minimum of 7 days for this trip. If possible, 8 days would be the best duration. In case you want to relax in then allow 10 days.

More Vietnam Motorbike Tour Itineraries

Northeast Vietnam (3 – 8 days)
Scenic Ha Giang & Northeast (6 – 13 days)
Central North (3 – 7 days)
Great Loop In North Vietnam (14 – 16 days)
Ho Chi Minh Trail/Road (6 – 16 days)
Short Rides (1 – 3 days)

Below is a video clip from one of our recent Northwest Vietnam motorbike tours. In case you want to watch more videos please check our YouTube channel.



Day 1: Hanoi – Vu Linh. ~180 km, ~7 h.

Starting our Northwest motorbike tour with an easy ride on the sealed road to Thac Ba Lake and then follow the little road to Vu Linh. Vu Linh is a Dzao village by the side of the lake, very friendly people and the welcome is exceptional. Last but not least, you can find many heavy drinkers here.

Day 2: Vu Linh – Luc Yen – Bac Ha. ~180 km, ~6 h.

After breakfast, ride to Luc Yen in about 2 hours around the lake on a small road lined with palm trees and scenic mountain views. The 20-km ride from Luc Yen to Road 70 is quite bumpy and takes about one hour. Then sealed road again all the way to Pac Ngam, where we turn right and ride up the mountain 26 km to Bac Ha. Walk around Bac Ha for the rest of the day.

Hidden Vietnam Motorbike Tours - Northwest Vietnam motorbike tour on a wild track.

Day 3: Bac Ha – Coc Ly – Sapa. ~80 km, ~4 h.

Ride down to Pac Ngam to meet the boat that is waiting to take us to Coc Ly for the beautiful market on Tuesday where you will meet H’mong, Dzao, and Phu La people. Coc Ly is wild, surrounded by forest, and could only be reached by boat or bike. We would leave the bike behind to enjoy the comfort of boating on Chay River for over 1 hour (20 km). Lunch in Coc Ly before coming back to Pac Ngam and drive up to Sapa.

Alternatively, if it’s not Tuesday we will ride to Sapa and explore the valley near Sapa with many small villages and colourful hill tribe people.

In Sapa, the humidity is high and it gets colder after midnight.

Day 4: Sapa – Lai Chau. ~100 km, ~5 h.

Drive to Lai Chau after breakfast in usually foggy Sapa. The distance is short but the road is narrow and lots of blind corners. However, the landscape is very beautiful with the view of Fansipan Mount and Tram Ton Pass.

Day 5: Lai Chau – Muong Lay. ~150 km, ~6 h.

We meet Tay, Thai, H’mong, and Mang peoples. Ride through Tam Duong plain which is covered in shark’s teeth-like limestone karst. While riding, we would stop to visit some ethnic people villages on the way. The last part near Muong Lay is very bumpy, either dusty or muddy depending on the weather due to the construction of the new Lai Chau hydroelectric plant.

Day 6: Muong Lay – Son La. ~200 km, ~7 h.

We have 15 passes today. In fact, you have very nice roads and a stunning landscape. Probably the most beautiful journey of the whole trip even the road is in poor condition.

Day 7: Son La – Mai Chau. ~180 km, ~7 h.

We follow a long valley floor covered in a sea of rice surrounded by Black Thai villages with its bargain-filled market, descending into a mountainous tea-growing region and head down into a forested region populated by H’mong people before descending into the hidden valley of Mai Chau where we spend the night with friends in a traditional Thai stilt house.

Hidden Vietnam Motorbike Tours - Northwest Vietnam motorbike tour on a wild track from Son La to Mai Chau.

Day 8: Mai Chau – Hanoi. ~200 km, ~6 h. End of Northwest Vietnam.

Trek around Mai Chau in the morning. Lunch in Mai Chau before driving back to Hanoi on karst road via Hoa Binh to Hanoi. We recommend taking the long road along the Black River from Hoa Binh to Son Tay and then another road along the Red River from Son Tay to Hanoi. In reality, this saves you many hours in scary Hanoi traffic and avoid harassment.

Contact us at [email protected] for more details or options for this Northwest Vietnam motorbike tour.

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