1Hanoi - Mai Chau. (~160 km-5 hours)
2Mai Chau - Phu Yen. (~140 km-5 hours)
3Phu Yen - Son La. (~160 km-6 hours)
4Son La - Tuan Giao. (~140 km-5 hours)
5Tuan Giao - Sin Ho (~180 km-6 hours)
6Sin Ho - Sapa (~120 km-4 hours)
7Sapa (trek or relax)
8Sapa - Luc Yen. (~180 km-6 hours)
9Luc Yen - Vu Linh (~80 km-3 hours)
10Vu Linh - Hanoi (~180 km-6 hours)
Day 1 - Hanoi - Mai Chau, ~160 km, ~5 hours, (L, D)
Leaving Hanoi on dyke roads to avoid the heavy
traffic and breaking out of the delta plains, we will pass through endless
limestone karst scenery as we travel south through "Perfume Pagoda"
country and extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by
tree-lined roads. Striking northwest and over two passes, finally dropping down
to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau. Here we stay overnight
with friends of the White Thai minority in a traditional stilt house. In the
evening, after feasting, we can enjoy a cultural show of Thai dancing and a
range of special local liquors. Overnight in Mai Chau.
Day 2 - Mai Chau - Phu Yen. ~140 km, ~5 h (B, L, D)
In the second day we will go from Mai Chau to the direction of Moc
Chau and turn to the less travelled Road 43 leading to the Da River. After
crossing the reservoir of Da river at Van Yen ferry, we will ride
on a beautiful winding secondary road until Phu Yen where we stay in a
Day 3 - Phu Yen - Son La, ~160 km, ~6 hours, (B, L, D)
Continuing on the almost empty Road 37 we enter
mountains heavily populated with Black Thai people, who work on large terraced
rice fields. The winding road passes through many Thai villages and fields and
provides a great opportunity to watch country life passing by. We continue
through rolling hills before rising up to the sugar cane growing areas on the
cooler Son La plateau. Overnight in Son La.
Day 4 - Son La - Tuan Giao, ~140 km, ~5 hours, (B, L, D)
Heading out northwest from Son La, the road crosses a series
of mountain passes and areas of busy Black Thai activity. Children walk to
school, kids tend buffaloes, women plant rice seedlings and men pull the
buffalo. Then we come to the beginning of the very long and steep Pha Din pass where at the top we
have vast views of the surrounding mountains, then down the other side on very
steep sealed road. Overnight in Tuan Giao.
Day 5 - Tuan Giao - Sin Ho, ~180 km, ~6 hours, (B, L, D)
Heading out northwest from Tuan Giao the road passes
isolated communities of Hmong and Thai people, whose small villages
settle on the banks of dark green rivers and on the steep slopes of the
mountains. After lunch by a forest stream the road begins to climb up the high
Sa Tong pass. At the top for sunset before dropping sharply into the deep Lai
Chau valley. Muong Lay town was sunk in early 2010 and our new place for
overnighting is Sin Ho, a small remote town.
Day 6 - Sin Ho - Sapa, ~120 km, ~4 hours, (B, L, D)
We head straight toward the main Fansipan Mountain range. There is
also the option for a very challenging back route which takes us through
several river crossings. The massive mountain range dominates the road until
finally we must make a splendid climb up from Binh Lu and up to the top of the highest
road pass in Vietnam (Tram Ton Pass). Crossing into Lao Cai Province at over 2,000m the
views looks out over the main range for miles and miles, before we descend to
the mountainous Sa Pa valley. Overnight in Sapa.
Day 7 - Sapa, trek or relax (B, L, D)
Depending on the group’s mood, we can either take it
easy in Sa Pa town, or make excursions back
to the top of the highest pass in Vietnam, or down deep into the amazing Sapa valley. All options are
dominated by the crest of the enormous Fansipan mountain range that looms over
2,000 metres above us. The entire region is populated by Hmong, Giay, Tay and
Dao people. Stay in Sapa.
Day 8 - Sapa - Luc Yen, ~180 km, ~6 hours, (B, L, D)
Ride down from Sapa and then through palm forest all
the way to Luc Yen and stay in a Dao family who live in the Tay territory. It’s
a great home stay, very typical of Vietnam hill tribes and the hosts are very
Day 9 - Luc Yen - Vu Linh, ~80 km, ~3 hours, (B, L, D)
Explore the Luc Yen area and visit our friends’
families before riding to our Dao friends’ village of Vu Linh. The hosts are
"drinkers of Vietnam" and they like to party. The welcome is
exceptional and we hope you will not be too much tired.
Day 10 - Vu Linh - Hanoi, ~180 km, ~6 hours, (B, L)
After breakfast we cruise southeast on Highway 2 and
then branch off to the sleepy town of Phu Tho. We follow the edge of the Red
River along the dyke, almost to the point where it merges with the Black River
after which they flow together to Hanoi. By now we are very much in the
lowlands of the delta plains and the north’s main agricultural areas. Harvest
time here is a sea of activity. Crossing the Black River by bridge, we pass
through Son Tay and then return to Hanoi on the highway.
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