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North West Motorcycle Tour 10 Days
Posted date 21/07/2010 on 05:51:14 (Viewed 1037 time(s))
Routes:  Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La - Tam Duong - Sapa - Coc Ly - Bac Ha - Than Uyen - Nghia Lo
Duration: 10 Days


Itinerary in brief
Day 1: Hanoi - Hang Kia
Day 2: Hang Kia - Son La
Day 3: Son La - Lai Chau
Day 4: Lai Chau - Boating
Day 5: Lai Chau - Tam Duong
Day 6: Tam Duong - Sapa
Day 7: Sapa - Bac Ha
Day 8: Bac Ha - Than Uyen
Day 9: Than Uyen - Nghia Lo
Day 10: Nghia Lo - Hanoi

Detail Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi - Hang Kia. ~200 km, ~7 h.
Ride to the direction of the West. We pass through Hoa Binh town, then along the Laotian border on our left and Da (Black) river on our right. We leave the river in the mountainous cirque of Mai Chau to go up until the plateau of Mai Chau. Multiple horizons in range of green and grey. Before the plateau, we turn right toward the border until the H''mong village of Hang Kia, which accommodates us for the night.

Day 2: Hang Kia - Son La. ~200 km, ~8 h.
On good road looking high over distant mountains we head up into a forested region populated by H''mong people before descending into a mountainous tea-growing region. Soon after we follow a long valley floor covered in a sea of rice surrounded by Black Thai villages all the way to Son La with its bargain-filled market. Sleep in a hotel.

Day 3: Son La - Lai Chau. ~200 km, ~8 h.
15 passes. Very nice road and stunning landscape. Probably the most beautiful journey of the whole trip even the road is in poor condition.

Day 4: Lai Chau - Boating. ~6 h.
After breakfast, we take the boat from Lai Chau to Nam Ma village (40 km from Lai Chau ~2h) with stopover at Pa Po waterfall (20 km from Lai Chau ~1h). Beautiful waterfall! Arrive in Nam Ma, walk to Hoi Ca village (White Thai people), and have lunch in our captain''s house. This region is totally ignored by mass tourism and the welcome is exceptional. After lunch, boating upstream back to Lai Chau in 3 hours.

Day 5: Lai Chau - Tam Duong. ~150 km, ~7 h.
The most demanding and remote section of the drive takes us upstream along the left side of a Black River tributary through forest on a bumpy dirt road past isolated pockets of Tay, Thai, H''mong and Man peoples before breaching a pass to enter the Tam Duong plain, which is covered in shark''s teeth like limestone karst. We would visit a Mang village near Sin Ho, the guide will buy some food to give to the head of the village, and he later distributes our donations to the villagers. We stay O/N at Phuong Thanh Hotel.

Day 6: Tam Duong - Sapa. ~100 km, ~5 h.
Tam Duong market in the morning. There are colourful Montagnard groups living in Tam Duong: Black H''mong and Dzao. ~10 am: beautiful ride at slow pace on bumpy road to Sapa. We will have a big breakfast because there is nothing to eat on the way, just us with the wildness. We stay O/N in Cat Cat Hotel.

Day 7: Sapa - Bac Ha. ~120 km, ~4 h.
The ride from Sapa to Bac Ha takes ~4 hours, down from Sapa to Lao Cai (34 km) and up to Bac Ha (70 km) with stunning landscape. We check in Dang Khoa Hotel and have lunch. In the afternoon, we trek to Lung Phinh village of Flower H''mong people. Stay overnight in Bac Ha.

Day 8: Bac Ha - Than Uyen. ~170 km, ~7 h.
The ride from Bac Ha to Than Uyen is quite wild and bumpy. We head up Hoang Lien Son range to Than Uyen, a small town on the top of the range.

Day 9: Than Uyen - Nghia Lo. ~150 km, ~6 h.
The road is wild and bumpy. Between Sapa and Hanoi, we will find an important mountainous massif, almost as high as the Fansipan: the Mu Cang Chai. From the top, we have one of the most beautiful views of North Vietnam. Nghia Lo is a small town populated mostly by Thai and Viet people.

Day 10: Nghia Lo - Hanoi. ~180 km, ~6 h.
Ride on the country road through Son Tay to Hanoi in ~6 hours.

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