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08 Days - Tonkin Loop by Mortorbike

You will be able to discover, from the first day of this experience, various sceneries while riding through the surrounding moutains and hills. While meeting and socializing to local people around a Vietnamese meal or by living with them through various homestays, you will discover their culture, their rhythm of life, to make the trip even better.

Day 01: Hanoi - Ngo Luong National Park
Departure from Hanoi, going to the west, heading to the Ngoc Son Ngo Luong natural reserve. We gently tame our motorbikes through the Ho Chi Minh road before turning on Kim Boi Valley. There, we discover bucolic landscapes in a quiet and unfrequented area, until the mountains appears, from Cuc Phuong to Pu long and Mai Chau.

We continue on the hillside to reach a plateau and then take our first break. The following paths are more difficult, with rocks, mud sometimes, but leading to wild landscapes, at the very heart of the mountains, land of the Muong. The Mu village is slowly appearing, with his stream forming a waterfall, and then few ponds of turquoise blue water, where we will be able to bathe in.

The next slope will lead us to fabulous rice terraces, and then to the Sat Village. It is time to get some rest, the Muong are welcoming us in this magnificient place, surrounded by the ponds, inside a stilt house where we will also get the dinner.

Accommodation: Muong Homestay / Private house / Shared room / Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 140 km – 5h
Service: Guide and motorbikes

Day 02: Ngoc Son - Moc Chau Plateau
We are getting ready for the second day, while taking a breakfast at the Muong’s house, facing the waterfall where we can also get a shower. We are then gone to discover the surrounding area, while still riding our dear motorbike.

Rice terraces, villages, and greeneries are all around us. We can admire local people doing their various daily activities. Then, we visit the three villages of Mon, Coi Gao and Khai, near the Pu Luong reserve, before going back to the Chieng village. After the lunch, we are heading to the north, to Muong Khen, Mai Chau and Moc Chau.

When arriving at the Moc Chau plateau, we can find a resemblance with the countryside of North Europe, with its fruit trees, its stones on the ground. Here, people live mostly from tea plantations, dairy cows. Moc Chau is appearing, and we will then take a trail heading to the Tai Dam village named Ban Doi. We will stay here for the night, inside a stilt house.
Accommodation: Night in a Tay Family/ Shared room / Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 160 km – 6h

Day 03: Moc Chau Plateau - Suoi Giang - Nghia Lo
We leave our house to visit the H’mong and Tai villages around us, where tea culture and plum coexist. If you go there during spring, you will probably be lucky enough to see the fruit trees. While heading to the north, we are crossing the mountains through a tortuous path where we will see sumptuous panoramas.

The road is unfrequented and all ours. We are continuing through tight valleys, discovering small villages, to climb the mountain pass Pa Cham afterward. Then, we go down, face to face with the lake formed by the Da river. To cross it, we need to put our motorbikes on a small ferry. Back on the ground, we will drive along the lake, with rice and manioc fields all around us.

We can now do our lunch break at Phu Yen. When it is time to go, we are still in the middle of the mountains. We are climbing to the Lung Lo peak, through a small winding road, verdant, with large stones around. While leaving the main path, we will reach Suoi Giang, H’mong village, at an altitude of 1200m, famous for his ancient tea plant, some having nearly 300 years. At this height, we overhang the Nghia Lo valley, before reaching it for then arriving into the village where we will stay during the night.

Accommodation: Thai homestay / Private house / Shared room / Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 180 km – 6h30
Service: Guide and motorbikes

Day 04: Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai
On the fourth day, we visit several villages during the morning. Then, we cross a river thanks to a suspension bridge and land to a traditional Tai village, where little alleys between houses are filled with fresh water, used to clean fruits, wash dishes and even clean hair. Meanwhile, the ducks are splashing around.

It is now time to go back to our hosts to get a lunch. Now that we are ready, we head to Mu Cang Chai, not far from here, but which will be a great journey, listed as a National Heritage site, thanks to its rice terraces, ethnic villages and to the Khau Pha peak. We finally end the day in a Tai house, where we will sleep.
Accomodation: Night in a Thai Family/ Shared room / Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 90 km – 3h (excluding the morning ride)
Service: Guide and motorbikes

Day 05: Mu Cang Chai - Sapa Hill Station
Breakfast to slowly start the day, which will begin by a visit in a close Tai ethnic village. Then we ride through a Hmong province, higher in altitude, drier, to land in green valley, mostly inhabited by Tai people. We discover here some recently built villages, caused by hydroelectric projects which have created movement of population in surrounding ethnic groups.

The next road is crossing few peaks, going along the Hoang Lien Mountain. We are now doing a stop-over at the Binh Lu-Tam Duong village, close to ethnic villages, down the mountains. Several ethnic groups such as Flower Hmong, Red Hmong, Lao, Lu Dzay live in this area. We will take this opportunity to visit either a Black Dao village or a Lu village.

In the afternoon, we land at our hotel. We spend the rest of the day riding our motorbikes to discover the main valley and its wonderful rice terraces, its ethnic villages.

Accommodation: Night in Cat Cat View Hotel / Standard room / Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 140 km – 4h (excluding the riding around Sapa)
Service: Guide and motorbikes

Day 06: Sapa - Bac Ha - Ban Pho
While arriving in the north of Vietnam, near the Chinese border, we are getting off the beaten tracks of Sapa and its surrounding, to discover a valley with its isolated villages. Through a bad condition track, we will enjoy some wild landscapes, before arriving at a Red Dao Village named Ban Khoang. Afterwhile, we will pass through Ta Giang Phin, where are living Dao and Hmong ethnic groups. Just before reaching the Chinese border, in Ban Vuoc, we will head to the south-east, in direction of Bat Xa.

After having a lunch in Lao Cai, we will continue our adventure to Bac Ha where we will arrive in the end of afternoon. Then, a quick visit at the Ban Pho village, of the Hmong ethnic group, where we will discover their famous corn alcohol.

We will sleep in a Tai family for the sixth night, where the braves will be able to give a try at some rice alcohol, while enjoying a traditional dance and singing show.

Accomodation: Tay Homestay / Private house / Shared room / Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 140 km – 4h
Service: Guide and driver

Day 07: Bac Ha - Xin Cheng - Thac Ba Lake
The day begin early, we ride our motorbike to Sin Cheng for a 40km trip to the north of Bac Ha. The weekly market will take place on Wednesday, an event where numerous ethnic groups meet, mostly Flower Hmong, but also Black Dao, Phu La, Giay, and Tai, all with colored traditional clothes.

Here, people come to buy various commodities for the week: clothes, craft products, tobacco, kitchen utensils. But you can also find, as incredible as it seems, horses, buffaloes… It is also a place where minorities meet around a glass of rice alcohol, a bowl of soup!

After the lunch, we go back on the road, leaving the mountains, and heading south to the Thac Ba lake, passing by the small town of Luc Yen, famous for its precious stones and its marble sculptures. We are then continuing to the lake, on a road surrounded by lataniers and ethnic villages. Tonight, we will spend the evening and the night with the Dao white trousers.

Accommodation: Dao Homestay / Private house / Shared room / Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 190 km – 6h
Service: Guide and motorbikes

Day 08: Thac Ba Lake - Tuyen Quang - Hanoi
After being gently woken up by the sound of the people working, we are walking to the lake to embark for a journey in the biggest freshwater reservoir of North Vietnam. This artificial lake supply a hydroelectric dam located in the city with the same name: Thac Ba. The peak of the ancient hills are emerging from the water, forming hundreds of small islands. Depending on the season, we might be able to swim next to one of these islets.

We are heading to Tuyen Quang to cross some beautifull hills covered with tea plants fields. Then we turn to the south, on a countryside road along the Tam Dao massif. Reaching Hanoi in the end of afternoon, perfect to get the last dinner of the week!

Meals: Breakfast ; Lunch ; Dinner
Distance: 150 km – 4h30
Service: Guide and motorbikes

Private Holidays off beaten paths in Vietnam

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