10-Day Dien Bien Phu Motorcycle Tour

Ancient Northwest

The fantastic roads and views in Ha Giang, Vietnam
Ancient Northwest Dien Bien Phu motorcycle tour takes you through the best of Vietnam’s mountainous north, through stepped rice fields and over insane mountain passes. Visit historical sites both ancient and semi-modern in the country’s least densely-populated region. Explore national parks, ethnic villages, lakes, hot springs and the old colonial hill station of Sapa.
Dien Bien Phu Motorcycle Tour Map - Ancient Northwest - Black - ADV Outriders

Location

north Vietnam

Distance

1300 km

Duration

10 days

Difficulty

Intermediate

Pillion

pillions welcome

A lesser known small track that takes you into Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Take the back roads west from Hanoi along the Black River and down to Hoa Binh. The town is home to an absolutely massive hydroelectric dam, and the views from it are awesome. From there, we’ll descend into the Pu Luong Valley, on a mountain road surrounded by forest. Our homestay is next to a cool waterfall, too—an excellent place for a dip!
Deeply rutted dirt tracks near Mai Chau, Hoa Binh
The route to Moc Chau Plateau takes us up through Pu Luong Nature Reserve, an area populated by a variety of ethnic hill tribes and boasting some of the most impressive mountains and stepped rice fields in the country. From Pu Luong, we’ll ride Highway 6 up to the plateau. Highway 6 was built by the French to connect Hanoi with Dien Bien Phu, and remains one of the most impressive roads in the country.
Royal Enfield Himalayan, with Enduristan bag and Roc Straps, parked up on a dirt trail in Ha Giang, Vietnam
The main road from Moc Chau to Son La winds through the mountains on the way to one of Vietnam’s least densely populated areas, with scenery reminiscent of the Ha Giang Loop. You’ll see strawberry fields and clusters of stilt houses along the way, before stopping off to check out Son La Prison. This place was built by the French to house captured revolutionaries, and remains one of the most interesting and best maintained historical sites in the country.
A motorbike tour though stepped rice paddies in Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang
The Pha Dinh Pass was how the Vietnamese revolutionaries brought all their guns and artillery to Dien Bien Phu, the site of the climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War. It’s highest point is around 1,100 metres above sea level, and it offers an almost panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. Today you explore some of the historic sites of this Dien Bien Phu motorcycle tour: when you arrive in te city itself, you’ll have the opportunity to check out a variety of sites of historical interest, including A1 Hill, the War Museum and the Bunker of Colonel de Castries.
easy dirt roads
Follow the river northwards along the valley, up the steep, winding road to the village of Sin Ho. We love Sin Ho: while small enough in itself, it serves as a sort of market town for members of the local hill tribes. This means you’ll meet people from some very different walks of life there, and you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime insight into the local way of life.
A pretty young lady ethnic girl in her traditional costume in the homestay in Ha Giang
Continue north along the winding road that leads from Sin Ho up to the old hill station of Sa Pa, now a bustling tourist destination. On the way, you’ll ride the O Quy Ho Pass, which in our estimation is easily up there with Hai Van among the most impressive mountain passes in the country. O Quy Ho looks out over the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which is home to Fansipan Mountain, or, the ‘Roof of Indochina’.
A happy rider and his Royal Enfield in the vietnamese mountains
From Sa Pa we’ll backtrack a little, heading over the O Quy Ho Pass, this time in the opposite direction. The reason for this is that we want to hit up Mu Cang Chai. Forget what you’ve heard about Sa Pa: it’s awesome, but Mu Cang Chai (a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site) is home to the best rice terracing and single tracks in the world. We don’t want to miss it.
An early morning view over the beautiful rice terracing in Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam
There’s another sweet mountain pass, Khau Pha, on the way south to Nghia Lo. That’s our route. It cuts right through another massive mountain range and the sights there are incredible. It’s also pretty remote, since most people heading south take the main road east of the pass. This means you’ll be experiencing a part of Vietnam that, until now, has remained pretty well untouched.
Royal Enfield Himalayan, with Enduristan bag and Roc Straps, parked up on a dirt trail in Ha Giang, Vietnam
Close to Yen Bai township on our way south we’ll stop by Tram Tau Hot Springs. We love the clear blue waters there, and the way they look out over some really nice countryside. From Tram Tau, we’ll tak the back roads to Xuan Son, a massively underrated national park that, being there, you’d never believe is only 80 kilometres away from the country’s capital, Hanoi.
Royal Enfield Himalayan, with Enduristan bag and Roc Straps, parked up on a dirt trail in Ha Giang, Vietnam
Day Ten is all about finding the most chilled, scenic route back to the capital. There are actually some really nice roads, through local villages and the tea hills of Long Coc, that’ll get us nice and close. Then it’s all about following the Black and Red Rivers back into the capital, where we’ll have a farewell dinner in one of the city’s top restaurants.

Pricing X Availability

  • Honda XR 150
    Honda XR 150 $1800/rider
  • Honda CRF 300
    Honda CRF 300 $2000/rider
  • R.E Himalayan 400
    R.E Himalayan 400 $2100/rider
  • Honda CB 500X
    Honda CB 500X $2200/rider
  • BMW 1250 GS
    BMW 1250 GS $3200/rider

Tour Gallery

Inclusions X Extras

Each of our guides has years of experience running motorcycle tours and is an expert on the local area.

All speak English and the local language, and guides who can speak other languages are sometimes available on request.

The cost of hiring your motorcycle is included in that of the tour. All running expenses, including fuel, are included as well.

All meals are provided, as are drinks and snacks along the way.

You’ll dine sometimes in your accommodation, sometimes at quality local restaurants.

Let us know in advance of any preferences or dietary requirements and we are happy to cater for these.

Accommodation is minimum 3-star quality.

Standard is a twin share room but on occasion (due to remote location) we will share one large, dorm-type room: in a stilt house or a yurt, for example.

All locations have been scouted beforehand and checked for cleanliness and good service.

Conditions in many of our destinations, in Asia, for example, may be really different from your home country.

Rain can be heavy, and start falling at a moment’s notice.

We’ll sort you out with a waterproof rain poncho and overtrousers where necessary.

We offer twin-share accommodation as standard. In most locations, though, we can arrange single occupancy if you prefer.

This comes at a small surcharge, but in most tour destinations is quite reasonable.

While most riders prefer to bring their own gear, we do have a limited range of extra gear (boots, gloves, armour and helmets, for example) in most of our tour destinations.

Naturally, whether or not we’ll be able to supply you with gear depends on size and availability.

We are happy to provide suggestions on pre and post-tour bookings in accommodation: knowing the area well, we know the best places to stay at all price points.

We can even book for you as an added extra without any service fee, sometimes even at a discount.

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Ancient Northwest Motorcycle Tour

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4 riders

R.E. Himalayan 400

Royal Enfield Himalayan 400 motorcycle rental
Royal Enfield’s first adventure bike: the Himalayan is a reliable, capable all-rounder.

Engine Type

air-cooled, single cylinder, SOHC, 4-stroke

Displacement

411 cc

Bore X Stroke

78 mm x 86 mm

Ignition

Digital Electronic Ignition

Fuel System

fuel injection

Compression Ratio

9.5:1

Starter

electric

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

telescopic, 41 mm forks, 200 mm travel

Rear Suspension

monoshock, 180 mm travel

Front Brakes

disc

Rear Brakes

disc

Front Tyres

90/90-21

Rear Tyres

120/90-17

Wheelbase

1465 mm

Seat Height

800 mm

Ground Clearance

220 mm

Kerb Weight

199 kg

Fuel Capacity

15 litres

Dimensions

2190 mm (L) x 840 mm (W) x 1370 mm (H)

Honda CRF 300

Honda CRF 300 motorcycle rental
The perfect balance between size, weight, power and handling.

Engine Type

single cylinder, DOHC, Liquid cooled

Displacement

286 cc

Bore X Stroke

76 mm x 63 mm

Ignition

Full Transistor Digital

Fuel System

PGM-FI electronic fuel injection

Compression Ratio

10.7:1

Starter

electric

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

43 mm Telescopic upside down

Rear Suspension

Prolink Mono with 5 stage pre load adjuster

Front Brakes

256 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

220 mm disc, single piston caliper

Front Tyres

80/100 21

Rear Tyres

120/80 18

Wheelbase

1455 mm

Seat Height

880 mm

Ground Clearance

285 mm

Kerb Weight

142 kg

Fuel Capacity

7.8 litres

Dimensions

2230 mm (L) x 820 mm (W) x 1200 mm (H)

Honda CRF 250

Honda CRF 250 motorcycle rental
Replaced in 2021 by the CRF 300, this bike remains a great choice for thrill seekers.

Engine Type

liquid cooled, single cylinder, 4-stroke

Displacement

249 cc

Bore X Stroke

79 mm x 50.9 mm

Ignition

computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance

Fuel System

PGM-FI

Compression Ratio

13.9:1

Starter

electric

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

49 mm leading-axle inverted, 12.2-inch travel

Rear Suspension

single shock with spring preload; 12.3-inch travel

Front Brakes

single 260 mm disc

Rear Brakes

single 240 mm disc

Front Tyres

80/100 21

Rear Tyres

100 / 90 19

Wheelbase

1445 mm

Seat Height

875 mm

Ground Clearance

333 mm

Kerb Weight

145 kg

Fuel Capacity

7.7 litres

Dimensions

2,195 mm (L) x 815 mm (W) x 1,195 mm (H)

Honda XR 150

Honda XR 150 motorcycle rental
Inexpensive, comfortable and reliable, yet surprisingly capable off-road.

Engine Type

air cooled, OHC, single cylinder

Displacement

149 cc

Bore X Stroke

57.3 mm x 57.8 mm

Ignition

CDI

Fuel System

20 mm piston valve carburettor

Compression Ratio

9.5:1

Starter

electric with kick starter backup

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

telescopic fork, 180 mm axle travel

Rear Suspension

single shock swing arm, 150 mm axle travel

Front Brakes

dual piston caliper, 240 mm disc

Rear Brakes

mechanical drum

Front Tyres

90/90 19

Rear Tyres

110/90 17

Wheelbase

1362 mm

Seat Height

825 mm

Ground Clearance

243 mm

Kerb Weight

129 kg

Fuel Capacity

12 litres

Dimensions

2091 mm (L) x 811 mm (W) x 1125 mm (H)

R.E. Classic 350

Royal Enfield Classic 350 motorcycle rental
Wide handlebars and upright seating position, with classic styling.

Engine Type

4 stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, SOHC

Displacement

349 cc

Bore X Stroke

72 mm x 85.8 mm

Ignition

Digital Electronic Ignition

Fuel System

fuel injection

Compression Ratio

9.5:1

Starter

electric

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

telescopic, 41 mm forks, 130 mm travel

Rear Suspension

twin tube emulsion shock, 6-step preload

Front Brakes

disc, 300 mm

Rear Brakes

disc, 270 mm

Front Tyres

100/90-19

Rear Tyres

120/80-18

Wheelbase

1465 mm

Seat Height

805 mm

Ground Clearance

170 mm

Kerb Weight

195 kg

Fuel Capacity

13 litres

Dimensions

2145 (L) x 785 (W) x 1090 (H)

Honda XR 250

Honda XR 250 motorcycle rental
One of Honda’s older dual sport offerings, replaced in 2004 by the CRF 250.

Engine Type

Four Stroke, air cooled, SOHC, single cylinder

Displacement

249 cc

Bore X Stroke

73 mm x 59 mm

Ignition

CDI

Fuel System

32 mm Keihin carburettor

Compression Ratio

10.2:1

Starter

electric with kick starter backup

Gearbox

6-speed

Front Suspension

41mm telescopic, air assisted fork

Rear Suspension

Pro Link adjustable

Front Brakes

dual piston caliper, 240 mm disc

Rear Brakes

single piston caliper, 220 mm disc

Front Tyres

80/100 21

Rear Tyres

100/100 18

Wheelbase

1400 mm

Seat Height

920 mm

Ground Clearance

315 mm

Kerb Weight

104 kg

Fuel Capacity

9 litres

Dimensions

2110 mm (L) x 830 mm (W) x 1215 mm (H)