This short Northwest 5 days motorbike ride can be good for inexperienced riders if you don’t want to negotiate with traffic between Hanoi and Sapa. However, experienced riders may find this not necessary. Just make a decision yourself based on your budget, train tickets are not cheap. The cheaper version in 4 days and by train just one way is another option.
Below is a video clip that has some portions of this Northwest 5 days trip. In case you want to watch more videos please check our YouTube channel.
NORTHWEST 5 DAYS DETAILED ITINERARY
Night 1: Hanoi – Lao Cai – Night train. ~10 h.
Departure from Hanoi at 9.30 pm.
Arrival in Lao Cai at 6.10 am.
Day 1: Lao Cai – Muong Hum – Sapa. ~120 km, ~6 h.
Take our bikes and head out of Lao Cai city, following the Chinese border along a rough road to Muong Hum village of Giay ethnic. Then we ride up the mountain to Sapa on a dirty and muddy road. Visit villages of Red Dao, H’mong. Picnic lunch will be served on the road. In reality, this is the wildest and most beautiful area of Sapa for motorbiking.
Day 2: Sapa – Tam Duong – Sin Ho. ~150 km, ~6 h.
Enjoy beautiful riding through mountain passes with some of the most spectacular greatest scenery of mountain views in the Northwest loop. After lunch in Tam Duong, we will drive up to Sin Ho. In fact, you will never forget this remote area. Sin Ho is a small town at the back of the mountain at 1,700 m above sea level. The beautiful colorful hill tribes here will welcome you as their best friend.
Day 3: Sin Ho – Lai Chau (Muong Lay) – Tuan Giao. ~200 km, ~8 h.
Going down a hill to the Nam Na River and route 12C will lead you to Lai Chau town for lunch. After lunch, we continue venturing into northern Vietnam with the 98 km remainder of the old 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, a sight to be found nowhere else on the Northwest route.
Moreover, part of the pleasure of travelling by motorbike in this region is the simple joy of friendly smiles and greetings by the local people, which makes any hardship worthwhile. Along the way, we make stops to visit the Black Thai, and Kho Mu, Lu, Black H’mong, Green H’mong, and White H’mong, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled here. We will discover their simple lifestyle and colorful culture.
Day 4: Tuan Giao – Than Uyen. ~120 km, ~4 h.
Continuing on Road no. 6 to Son La, we will head up one of the most beautiful and the longest passes, Pha Din. It is known as the interface between Heaven and Earth. Pha Din forms a natural border between Son La and Dien Bien. Here, in 1954, for 56 days and nights bombs rained down but thousands of Viet Minh bicycles kept threading their way through to Dien Bien Phu with food and weapons for the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence.
Then we go down to Thuan Chau, one of the 9 biggest muongs (districts) of Thai communities in the Northwest of Vietnam. Turn left onto a rocky road, not even on the map, and enjoy the thrill of riding your “Iron Buffalo” along this dirt road. Then we join the road no 279.
We will have a picnic lunch on the road and enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountain passes and the Black River, Song Da in Vietnamese. Take a ferry across Black River at Pac Uon village and then continue our ride to Than Uyen valley.
Day 5: Than Uyen – Lao Cai, night train return to Hanoi. ~150 km, ~5 h. End of Northwest 5 Days.
Riding on road 279 with wild Khau Co pass to Ben Cau village, then turn left on to a small road, crossing Ngoi Nhu on the bike feeling exhilarated. Return to Lao Cai in the afternoon, visit Lao Cai border gate and then prepare for the night train back to Hanoi.