Northwest Vietnam in slow motion offers 8 days riding and 8 nights accommodation. We cruise at a low pace to take in the scenery, meet people, or take as many photos as we want. Despite the slow tempo, the ride is still demanding. Therefore, we suggest this trip to riders from the intermediate level.

About Far-Away Northwest Vietnam

During the period of Vietnamese feudalism, the Northwest was a faraway mountainous and also a secret area. In fact, stories of the people from these remote areas were more like fairy tales characterized by mystical lands populated by nomadic tribes having such a special relationship with the environment. These people were considered savages by the rest of the nation and the more developed populations in the area. These “savage”, living in a large area from the Northwest of Vietnam to Northern Laos, Southern Myanmar, Southern China, and Northern Thailand depended entirely on the local wildlife for their subsistence living with little trade with groups outside the area. It was only when the French colonized Vietnam ventured into this mystical area that the inhabitant’s secrets and wild lives were revealed to the outside world for the first time.

Current Northwest Vietnam

Currently, once you have had the opportunity to visit the Northwest, you have the opportunity to see a variety of ethnic diversification that exists nowhere else in the world. The Northwest is the home to heroic historical figures; known through historical stories honouring their triumphs in the battle against nature and its beasts from deep in the forest. The Northwest is also the home of unique ethnic mountain tribes. Motorcycling through over 1,000km and crossing 7 provinces on a Minsk, you are offered a perfect opportunity to discover the intimate culture of various minority groups, such as the Thai, Muong, Dao, Lu, Khang, H’mong and Giay, etc. It is also a unique chance for you to learn about the 9 years against the French colonialists during the period between 1945 and 1954.

Be ready to travel and discover the majestic miracles of the area on the open road and the secrets of the beloved Northwest – a land which always draws open-jaw amazement and curiosity from travellers, even from “the composer who travelled and stayed in the Northwest for over 10 years”.

Below is a video clip that has some portions of this Northwest Vietnam trip. In case you want to watch more videos of our Vietnam motorbike tours please check our YouTube channel.



Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~170 km, ~4-5 hrs.

Today is our first day of an 8-day Northwest Vietnam motorbike adventure. We start around 9.30am and leave Hanoi from the West end. We start late to avoid crazy traffic in the inner city.

Prepare your bikes and begin our adventure on the “iron buffalo”. We first ride on the beginning part of Ho Chi Minh Highway. Then turn to a small, zigzag road round mountain feet. Pass through villages of Muong minority villages near Kim Boi Hot Spring for a drink or swimming before lunch in Muong Khen – a Muong village in Hoa Binh province.

In the afternoon, we climb up mountain passes with beautiful scenery of rice fields and valleys before descending into Mai Chau, a village of White Thai minority. You do short hiking around the village, through rice-fields to discover local people’s lives.

Dine with a Thai family where we spend the night with. Finally, we join the traditional dancing group of the village, hand-in-hand and drink ruou can.

Lunch, dinner, permits, entrance fees, and traditional dancing show.

Hanoi Motorbike Rental - Northwest Vietnam In 8 Days: Hanoi Mai Chau motorbike tour.

Day 2: Mai Chau – Thung Man. ~100 km, ~4 hrs.

Today we continue venturing onto Northern Vietnam by following the old National Highway No 6 which has been neglected for 20 years. This is a rough narrow road, cutting through many hill-tops makes the terrain difficult to maneuver. Therefore, road transport is very limited. Sometimes, if lucky you might catch sight of a horse-drawn carriage or buffalo cart but. However, apart from that, this road is quite deserted. Along the way, we have excellent opportunities to learn about the people of different cultures, such as the Red Dao, Dao Tien, Muong and Thai ethnic groups. The people living here are very friendly and live a simple lifestyle. Typically they live by cultivating dry rice, vegetables, and fruit at high altitudes and hunting in the wild forest.

At noon we stop for lunch at the top of the pass and enjoy a beautiful view of the spacious Moc Chau grassland and the Da River.

The afternoon will provide a real challenge. After heading out on New Highway 6, we make our way onto the torturous and bumpy road. However, exploring the H’mong hill tribe’s colourful customs and majestic mountainous scenery makes the hardship all worthwhile.

2 options

– Overnight and dinner in our host family of H’mong people or
– Standard hotel in Moc Chau.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

Day 3: Thung Man – Phu Yen. ~130 km, ~4 hrs.

After breakfast, we say farewell to our hosts and visit Thung Mai. This is the most timeless village of the H’mong ethnic people residing at an altitude of over 1,000 meters above sea level and in complicated topography. The H’mong people have lived here for nearly 100 years. While on the way to Ha Giang, they were forced to flee from French colonialists and settled in this remote area. To reach Thung Man, it takes about one and a half hours to the top of the mountain. There is no motorbike or karaoke here!

The owners of this mountain still retain their age-old culture and traditions. Moreover, visitors to this remote area will have the opportunity to discover these people’s unique customs and simple lifestyle and even share the wisdom of the elders who enjoy the happiness of living under the same roof with 5-6 generations. You also have a chance to listen to the legends about the “toward South” process.

After lunch, we have the afternoon free to explore the dreamlike grasslands. These beautiful grasslands of Moc Chau have the best of both worlds, breathtaking scenery and some of the most favourable climate, in the Northwest mountains. Moc Chau’s flora is diverse, ranging from forests and tea plantations to fruit orchards.

We can walk to the local dairy farms and sample products from the local processing factories. Dairy produce is Moc Chau’s specialty and is exported to many other countries.

After enjoying a beautiful view, we drop down to Da River and take a specialized boat along the river. Then we ride along the river to Phu Yen valley, one of the most prosperous and beautiful villages of Thai people in the Northwest.

2 options

– Overnight and dinner in our host family of Thai people or
– Standard hotel in Phu Yen.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

Day 4: Phu Yen – Tuan Giao. ~210 km, ~6 hrs.

The journey north continues onto Son La, following 113 Highway. Along the way, there are superb landscapes with green valley and terraced rice fields. Passing the Bac Yen Mountain top, through Chen Pass to the largest “maize” and “manioc” forest, we arrive at Son La plateau.

There is a possibility to ride from Phu Yen up to Ta Xua dinosaur backbone and then to Bac Yen. That’s recommended for experienced riders. In exchange, there is no sightseeing in Son La because we haven’t got enough time to do it.

After lunch in Son La town, we will visit the former French Prison and provincial museum. We have more mountain passes to challenge us, such as Son La, Chieng Pac, and Pha Din. You will enjoy the beautiful landscape on your way from Son La to Lai Chau town. The afternoon will provide free time to climb over the top of the Pha Din Pass – known as the interface between Heaven and Earth. Pha Din forms a natural border between Son La and Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence in 1954. Then we take the time to travel to Tuan Giao to view the sunset.

Standard hotel in Tuan Giao.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

Hanoi Motorbike Rental - Northwest Vietnam via Ta Xua spine.

Day 5: Tuan Giao – Sin Ho. ~150 km, ~5 hrs.

Today we continue venturing into northern Vietnam with the 98ksm remainder of the historical Highway 6. The road is rough, but the scenery is unbelievably beautiful and magnificent with the 7 tall passes cutting through steep mountain along the Da River flowing around the foot of the passes, which can be found nowhere else in the Northwest route. Moreover, part of the pleasure of travelling by motorbike in this region is the simple joy of the friendly smiles and greetings of the local people, which make the hardship all worthwhile. Along the way, we stop to visit the Black Thai, Kho Mu, Lu, Black H’mong, Green H’mong, and White H’mong, just some of the many hill tribe groups, and discover their simple lifestyles and colourful cultures.

After lunch at Lai Chau, we take a boat to travel along the Nam Na River, passing the high, dangerous, and sheer rocks, the pretty villages on the two sides of the river, and the hillside green rice fields. The boat is not a big one, but the boatman is skilled enough to make your cruise safe and adventurous to the next destination. After that, we make our way to Sin Ho.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

Day 6. Sin Ho – Lai Chau (Tam Duong). ~110-170 km, ~4-5 hrs.

Due to the environment and a height of 1,700m, getting there is a very hard journey, so the people living here mostly retain their long-lasting lifestyle. The old school way of life from ancient days is hard to maintain in the modern world. However, there is no way for urbanization to occur in these areas of Northwest Vietnam. Moreover, only a handful of tourist agencies can visit this remote area. The reason Sin Ho is regarded as the richest mountain market in the northwest province is that anybody who is courageous enough to visit the area is rewarded with the fortune of visiting. This does nothing to limit the bright motley colours of traditional clothes of various ethics such as the Green H’mong, the Black H’mong, the White H’mong, the Dzao Dau Bang, and the Lu.

Sin Ho market lasts till late in the afternoon but due to a long hard road down the mountain, we need to prepare lunch and equipment for the trip. When arriving at the foot of the mountain we will ride along Nam Na River to Pa So. After climbing Hong Thu Man pass, home of the Dzao Khau, and the H’mong people, we will reach Tam Duong, a small town surrounding by brilliant tea fields and a tapestry of green mountain ranges.

Standard Hotel in Lai Chau.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

Day 7: Tam Duong – Sapa. ~70 km, ~2 hrs.

This morning finds us on the road for the 50km ride to the village of Lu ethnic minority whose origin comes from Lao. We’ll have a chance to see beautiful stilt houses and girls who blacken the teeth and have a seductive smile. After that, we have to cross the Muong Kim River back to National Highway 4D to travel to Sapa.

We will enjoy a picnic lunch at the top of Tram Ton Pass, the most beautiful one in Sapa. In the afternoon we are free to explore Sapa, which is usually engulfed by clouds. After enjoying an Artichaux cup of tea, a special drink from Sapa, we embark on a walk to discover this charming town and meet the host people who are the soul of this area.

Sapa was a hill resort for the French administration over one hundred years ago. In reality, it soon became famous in Indochina for its ideal climate. Nowadays, Sapa’s breathtaking scenery is some of the best in Asia.

Standard hotel in Sapa.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

Hanoi Motorbike Rental - Northwest Vietnam In 8 Days: Sapa motorbike tour

Day 8: Sapa – Muong Hum – Lao Cai, night train to Hanoi. ~100 km, ~4-6 hrs. End of Northwest Vietnam In 8 Days.

While Sapa is famous for the beauty of European architecture. On the other hand, the path to Muong Hum is absolutely different from the scenic beauty of Sapa. This road passes through many neglected villages and tracks. During the rainy season, no one dares to ride the muddy and slippery road off the highway. Despite its close link to Sapa, this road receives very few visitors.

This road received a large upgrade in 2004 but the journey of 100 km on this road is a tad difficult. However, it is definitely worthwhile as the scenery is breathtaking. Moreover, on the way back to Lao Cai, you will ride along the Red River which forms the natural border between Vietnam and China. You also enjoy a visit to Lao Cai, the international border town with China. Dinner in a restaurant en route to Hanoi and arrive back in Hanoi by 5.30 am.

Overnight in the night train to transfer to Hanoi. We end this Northwest Vietnam on two wheels early in the morning by riding 1.5km back to our office.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, permits, and entrance fees.

More Guided Motorbike Tour Itineraries

The Heart Of North Vietnam
Northeast Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh Trail
Big North Loop
One Day Short Ride

Contact us at [email protected] in case you need more information or itineraries of motorbiking Northwest Vietnam.

Top of page Hanoi Motorbike, Scooter Rental - Northwest Vietnam In 8 Days