About Ho Chi Minh Trail
The legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail was the supply line used by North Vietnam to link North and South Vietnam during the American War. Soldiers, ammunition, weapons, and supplies were carried by hand, on a bicycle, and truck for hundreds of kilometres through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that covered Vietnam’s mountainous border with Laos. A testimony to the ingenuity, fortitude, and commitment of the North Vietnamese, the Trail slipped from use at the end of the war and was taken back by the jungle. However, recent road works that follow original sections of the Trail have changed this.
This ride takes in the former imperial capital of Hue, Khe Sanh battlefield, the infamous A Shaw Valley, Vietnamese war museums, and the DMZ. We also take time to stay overnight in a traditional Thai hill tribe village. Take this one-off chance to be among the first to traverse the Ho Chi Minh Trail! This is a moderate level trip, designed for intermediate or experienced riders.
Below is a video clip that has some portions of this Ho Chi Minh Trail trip. In case you want to watch more videos please check our YouTube channel.
Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbiking Itinerary At A Glance
1st day: Hanoi – Phu Yen.
2nd day: Phu Yen – Mai Chau.
3rd day: Mai Chau – Tan Ky.
4th day: Tan Ky – Phong Nha.
5th day: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi.
6th day: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh.
7th day: Khe Sanh – Hue.
HO CHI MINH TRAIL DETAILED ITINERARY
Day 1: Hanoi – Phu Yen (165 km, ~6 hours riding)
Today is the first day of this Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbiking Tour in 7 days. To get out of Hanoi safely, we will have a short briefing to let you know about the rules. In addition, the guide will show you how to understand him by his body language. We start around 9.30am after the rush hour.
Ride to Phu Yen on a country road with a stop in Son Tay. On November 20-21, 1970, a joint force composed of USAF Special Operations and rescue personnel and U.S. Army Special Forces, supported by U.S. Navy Carrier Task Force 77, made a daring raid on the Son Tay prison camp located less than 50 miles from Hanoi. The objective was to rescue as many as 100 U.S. captives thought to be held there. The assault troops, in six ARRS helicopters accompanied by two C-130 aircraft, flew 640km to Son Tay from bases in Thailand. U.S. Navy pilots made a diversionary raid while 116 USAF and Navy aircraft from seven air bases and three aircraft carriers flew refueling, surface-to-air missile suppression, fighter cover, close air support, early warning, communications support, and reconnaissance missions. However, there were no prisoners found in the camp.
After lunch, ride on the winding mountain road to Phu Yen to take in some of the best mountain views in Northwest Vietnam. Overnighting in a hotel.
Day 2: Phu Yen – Mai Chau (145 km, 5 hours riding)
There are many small roads that lead to the mountains around Mai Chau so we’ll take the chance to ride out to isolated H’mong, Dao, and Thai villages. Then you take on the challenge of an old road built by the French army and spend the afternoon exploring nearby villages. Overnight in a Thai ethnicity stilt house in Mai Chau.
Day 3: Mai Chau – Tan Ky (290 km, 9 hours riding)
Ride on a small, spectacular, and paved trail along the Ma river until Cam Thuy town where we stop for lunch. Then hit the Ho Chi Minh trail (now a newly built highway) all the way to Tan Ky town where we spend the night in a hotel.
Day 4: Tan Ky – Phong Nha (280 km, 8 hours riding)
Ride on Ho Chi Minh Highway until Pho Chau where we stop to visit the HCM Trail victory monument. In fact, this is the real starting point of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Ride all the way to Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina. Currently, it’s a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geographic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers.
Day 5: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi (60 km, 2 hours riding)
Boating and exploring the World Heritage site of Phong Nha where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during wartime. Then we drive down to the coastal town of Dong Hoi, which was heavily shelled by US warships during the war. At a hotel overlooking the beach, we can take in some sunbathing by the beach. Overnight in Dong Hoi.
Day 6: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh (200 km, 6 hours riding)
We strike south through foothills which were once sprayed heavily by Agent Orange towards the former DMZ. In fact, there is still much evidence of bombing on the mountainsides. From time to time we will see remnants of the original Trail. Then we take in the Vinh Moc tunnel, the famous Hien Luong Bridge (former demarcation line between North and South Vietnam, the Truong Son Cemetery, and finally Khe Sanh (former US Marine base). Overnight in Khe Sanh.
Day 7: Khe Sanh – Hue (180 km, 7 hours riding). End of Ho Chi Minh Trail voyage.
In the morning we head south over the Da Krong Bridge (built by the Cubans in 1973) into the infamous A Shau Valley, an area of intense wartime activity. Passing Hamburger Hill and mountains still barren due to the extended effects of Agent Orange, we arrive at A Luoi, where there are many Bru Van hill tribe people. Then cruise through green back country down the steep Me Oi Pass. Finally, we continue on to the beautiful city of Hue which lies along the banks of the Perfume River.
End this 7 days Ho Chi Minh trail around 5pm.