Day 1: Hanoi - Vu Linh (~180km, ~7h). Leave Hanoi via Road 32 all the way to Son Tay, easy ride to on the sealed road to Thac Ba Lake and follow the little road 11km more to Vu Linh. Vu Linh is a Dzao village by the side of the lake, very friendly people and the welcome is exceptional. We stay in the host house for this first night. Day 2: Vu Linh - Ha Giang (~180km, ~6h). Ride on the East side of the Thac Ba lake, a small road lined by palm trees and scenic mountain views to join the main road heading up to Ha Giang where we stop for the night in a nice hotel. If you prefer a home stay, ride 10km more to Thanh Thuy. Day 3: Ha Giang - Dong Van (~180km, ~6h). From Ha Giang, ride on small challenging mountain roads (but incredibly beautiful) on the land of colorful mountain hilltribes. This will be the most beautiful day of the whole trip. Head up the Ma Pi Leng Pass. Here is yet another amazing place, with cloudy mountain ranges and the poetic Nho Que river winding off in the distance. Ride on a zig-zag track until Dong Van, a remote area and meet the hard-working local people here. It is inspiring to see how they survive as they manage live in the rocks. When we reach town we will have some extra time to wonder the ancient streets lined with H'mong homes of clay bricks and tiles roofs built centuries ago. Stay in a hotel in Dong Van. Day 4: Dong Van - Bao Lac (~80km, ~4h). The road is in good condition and tracks what make the ride relatively long in spite of few kilometres. The landscape is among the most beautiful of Vietnam, and the slow tempo is only more appreciable. We cross the wild regions of the mythical province of Ha Giang. Stop for the night at Bao Lac, the ethnic crossroad of
Northeast Vietnam. Many other ethnic groups on the two sides of the border meet at the market every Sunday. Bao Lac is just a small town, not much night activity and the hotel is basic. Day 5: Bao Lac - Cao Bang (~150km, ~5h). Beautiful ride down to Cao Bang province. There are few passes from where you can dominate the area with Ma Phuc is possibly the best pass of the whole journey. The road is easy but there are many sharp turns. We can stop very often for photos. Stay in a hotel. Day 6: Cao Bang - Quang Uyen (~140km, ~5h). Ride in 1 hour and half to reach the beautiful village of Quang Uyen, in the middle of a mountain cirque. This is the territory of Nung An people. Home stay in a host family and the hostess is a great cook. We make our way through spectacular scenery to Vietnam's most impressive waterfall, Ban Gioc Waterfalls, 50km from Quang Uyen. The road is not in a good condition because trucks use it to reach Po Peo border gate and export agricultural products to China. Weather permitting we can swim right up to where the 50m high falls hit the river. This is the border between Vietnam and China, China has the falls and Vietnam has the lake downstream. Day 7: Quang Uyen - Lang Son (~180km, ~6h). Ride from Quang Uyen to Lang Son on the famous historical Highway 4. There is one part between Dong Khe and That Khe the road is in bad condition. It's muddy in wet season and super dusty in dry season. We will have time to discover Lang Son which has become a big trading post between China and Vietnam. You can shop for cheap Chinese products at the nearby Dong Kinh market. Overnight in hotel. Day 8: Lang Son - Hanoi (~150km, ~3h). Easy day back to Hanoi on the new Highway 1B. You can wake up late in the morning as we guess you can be tired after 7 long riding days. Arrival at Hanoi around 3pm.
* Photos used with permission granted by Mr Bruce Campbell from Australia who rode with Offroad Vietnam on a 16-day guided motorbike tour in January 2012. For more information, please log on at www.offroadvietnam.com website.