BBC Top Gear Vietnam Motorcycle Tour - 16 days Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City
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Day 1: Hanoi - Phu Yen
180km 7h ride (Sealed road and off-road options)
Saying goodbye busy Hanoi, we start our journey by taking the Red river dyke road. Beautiful villages along the way. In the afternoon, we will see some beautiful green tea plantation. Getting in to the mountain area. Before arriving to Phu Yen, there will be a chance for a nice off-road track, if time permits. Overnight in Hong Long hotel, dinner in town.
Day 2: Phu Yen - Mai Chau
160km with some off-road options.
After breakfast, we start our ride towards Van Yen ferry port. Board the local ferry to cross the Black River hydropower reservoir. We then get to Moc Chau for lunch before riding through tea plantations on single track. If weather permits, we will ride on a dirt track before arriving to our homestay in Mai Chau valley. Overnight at the homestay and dinner with delicious local food.
Day 3: Mai Chau - Pu Luong Nature reserve
Say goodbye to the host, we continue our tour. Ascending to Thung Khe pass, we stop at the viewpoint where we can see all the valley and the town of Mai Chau. We then take off onto a secondary road along the Black River hydropower reservoir.
In the afternoon, we will ride on some dirt tracks through the bamboo forest. Arrive to the area of Pu Luong Nature Reserve, check in to our homestay, jump into the creek to refresh after riding day.
Day 4: Pu Luong - Tan Ky
In the morning, we will ride around to discover more about the nature reserve area on some single dirt tracks.
After lunch in Ngoc Lac, where we hit the Ho Chi Minh new highway, we continue our ride toward Tan Ky. If time permits, there will be another chance for an off-road riding before arriving to hotel. Dinner in a local restaurant
Day 5: Tan Ky - Phong Nha
270km, some off-road options.
After breakfast, we take a visit the historical site of Ho Chi Minh Trail, Km No.0 monument, where all the troops, food, weapons and the equipments gathered before transported on the Trail down south.
We start our ride on a back road through villages with some parts on dirt before getting back on HCM highway. There will be another chance for some more dirt track with a river crossing along Laos border.
We stop at another site on the Trail, the Runway Khe Gat, the only airport combat on Truong Son mountain range, the legend of Vietnam Air Force in the liberation process of the country.
Before arriving to the area of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National park, we will get off for a short ride on the path of the rice paddies for some fun. Overnight at the hotel, dinner in town.
Day 6: Phong Nha - Dong Hoi
70km, mixed of paved and dirt track.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang was recognized as the world heritage since 2003, with the special and unique karst formation evolved since the Paleozoic (about 400 million years ago). It extends to an area of more than 65km, lasting through the border of Laos PDR. This area has the significant values of both topographies and also biodiversity. There are hundreds of caves discovered here, and many of them have been evaluated and also taken into exploitation for tourism.
Discover the area of national park in the morning by taking a boat to visit the most famous cave, the Phong Nha cave. We can see the massive and huge one with glorious stalagmites in side. Boat will take us back to the hotel around lunch time. After lunch, we start our ride toward Dong Hoi city. Riding on some dirt track through villages along Con river, we will reach to the coast by Nhat Le beach. Overnight and dinner at the hotel.
Day 7: Dong Hoi - Khe Sanh
200km with some off-road options.
Heading south on the track along the coast towards the former DMZ. In fact, there is still much evidence of bombing along the way. Take off for some ride in the pine forest and rubber plantations before taking in the Vinh Moc tunnel, the one in a strategic position, served as a bomb shelter for local people of Vinh Linh district, Quang Tri, Vietnam in the Vietnamese Demilitarized zone. The tunnel construction was started in 1966, and used until 1972. Around 60 families lived in the tunnel like normal with kitchens, rooms for living and so on. Roughly 17 children were born in the tunnel during the period. The people were believed to support food and other stuffs for Northern Vietnam garrison on Con Co island.
After lunch near the tunnel, we will keep riding to Hien Luong Bridge - the boundary between North and South of Vietnam in American war, visit the museum of the 17th parallel and Truong Son Cemetery.
Continue our ride on historical road No.9 along Dakrong river, we arrive to Khe Sanh. Overnight and dinner at hotel.
Day 8: Khe Sanh - Hue
180km paved road.
NWe start our day by visiting the historical site, Ta Con Airfield (Khe Sanh Combat Base) museum. We then head south into the infamous A Shau valley, an area of intense wartime activity. Ride to the Hamburger Hill on concrete trail, we have a chance for cooling down by doing river-crossing. Arrive to A Luoi, where the mountains are still barren due to the extended effects of the Agent Orange. Cruise through green backcountry down the steep Me Oi pass, we then arrive to the beautiful city of Hue which lies along the banks of the Perfume river. Check in to the hotel. Dinner in town.
Day 9: Hue - Hoi An
140km sealed road.
We spend the morning to discover the heritage site of Hue Forbidden city. Being Vietnam’s feudal capital from 1802 to 1945 under the Nguyen dynasty, Hue is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples set on a poetic background of greenery on the banks of the Perfume River. Besides monuments, Hue still retains much of its past glory in daily routines and activities in religion, gastronomy, handicraft, music, the performing arts and traditional festivals.
Check out the hotel, we start our riding day towards Hoi An ancient town. Ride on the coastal road through some fishing villages and massive family ancestor's tombs. We then ascend the Hai Van pass (Cloudy pass) with many glorious views of long and sandy beaches before reaching Da Nang city. Ride along My Khe beach, one of six most beautiful beaches in the world, we arrive to Hoi An ancient city. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10: Hoi An
We spend the day today to discover the Ancient Town of Hoi An and ride to My Son Holyland.
Day 11: Hoi An - Ngoc Hoi
260km paved road.
We start our day early. Riding along the coast down to Tam Ky, we then leave the coast and head for the highland. Ascending to Ngoc Linh on a beautiful winding mountain road. This area is well-known for one of the best Ginseng in the world.
Rejoin the Trail, we then keep riding towards Ngoc Hoi, a small and peaceful highland town, close to Cambodia and Laos border.
Overnight and dinner at hotel.
Day 12: Ngoc Hoi - Kon Tum - Ea H'leo
After breakfast, we start our ride towards Kon Tum, a small and peaceful highland town, the virgin land with pristine nature and intact hill-tribe culture. Surrounded by lakes, rivers, and mountains, Kon Tum is home to distinctive hill tribes such as Bah Na, J’rai, Se Dang. As the first settlement discovered by French missionaries in the central highland in 1848, the town still retains vestiges of ancient cathedral architecture.
Follow the single tracks through coffee and rubber plantations, we got to Ea H'leo, a very small remote town along Ho Chi Minh Trail. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 13: Ea H'leo - Buon Ma Thuot
Today we will visit Buon Don village, where we can see some elephants. Talking about Ban Don is to mention elephants, because the village is the home of the hunters of elephants and domesticated elephants in Vietnam. Their fame was once spread throughout a large area of southern Asia. In Vietnam, this is the only place elephants become a means of living and a gentle pet in the family.
After visiting Buon Don village, we will ride around Yok Don National park before arriving to Buon Ma Thuot city. Overnight in hotel.
Day 14: Buon Ma Thuot - Da Lat
210km paved road with some off-road options.
In the morning, we take a ride in the coffee plantation, through villages of M’Nong and Edeh ethnic minorities. Board a local ferry to cross the river, we got to Buon Yun village, where we may meet the local ride the elephants on the road. Ascend few passes on the Trail before taking off to the back road that leads our way to Lang Bian Plateau. We arrive to Da Lat, the city on the height of 1.500 meters above sea level. Da Lat is popular with tourists as a cool retreat from the sweltering heat of the coastal plains. It is highly praised and well-known for its lakes, waterfalls, pine-forests and French style villas. Moreover, with the temperature climate, a wide array of flowers is in bloom all year round, Da Lat has become Vietnam’s most popular honeymoon spot.
Overnight at hotel, dinner in town.
Day 15: Da Lat - Nam Cat Tien National park
Leaving Da Lat City, we continue our ride towards Nam Cat Tien National park. Riding on some single tracks through coffee plantations, we arrive to the resort in the area of national park by the side of Dong Nai river. Relax and enjoy the evening with nature.
Day 16: Nam Cat Tien - Ho Chi Minh City.
We start our last journey today from national park to Ho Chi Minh City. We ride through villages on the path of coffee and black pepper plantations before getting on the road 761 on dirt. Arrive to Ho Chi Minh City and get used to with the traffic. Check in your hotel and say goodbye to Top Motorbike Tours Vietnam team.