10 Day Vietnam Motorcycle Tour

VN Great Northern

one of our ADV Outriders guides looking good in the Summer heat
Love deep jungles? Huge lakes and picturesque colonial towns? Meandering mountain passes? North Vietnam’s where it’s at. This ride heads north from the capital, skirting the mountainous Chinese border and hitting the highlights of the Ha Giang Loop. Vietnam Great Northern is the closest you’ll come to a definitive north Vietnam motorcycle tour.
Vietnam Motorcycle Tour Map - Vietnam Great Northern - Black - ADV Outriders

Location

north Vietnam

Distance

1300 km

Duration

10 days

Difficulty

Intermediate

Pillion

pillions welcome

Happy riders on their Royal Enfield Himalayan motorbikes in Vietnam
Start your adventure on the back roads that lead along the Red River and out of Hanoi. There’s a cool monument commemorating a historic battle between the French and Viet Minh forces that we’ll check out, before heading north via the Lo River Valley on the way up to Thac Ba. Test your offroad skills on the dirt tracks in the area before, weather-permitting, taking a boat across the massive man-made lake (and perhaps even doing a bit of fishing).
A luxurious Dinner in Panhou Retreat, Hoang Su Phi
There’s an absolutely crazy little bamboo bridge to be ridden on the way north from Thac Ba. Presuming we don’t all drown, we’ll take the mountain roads north to Hoang Su Phi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for having some of the most impressive rice-terraced vistas on the planet. Our hotel in Hoang Su Phi’s great, too: it’s a sort of boutique lodge with hot springs attached, boasting some of the best-cooked food in the region.
Royal Enfield Himalayan, with Enduristan bag and Roc Straps, parked up on a dirt trail in Ha Giang, Vietnam
Most tour companies take the main road from Hoang Su Phi, but we recently discovered an awesome (challenging) back road. Provided everyone’s up for it and the weather isn’t crazy, we’ll ride that way up through the green tea fields of Cao Bo up towards Ha Giang City. We actually like to stay the night a little outside the city: we’ve some really cool ethnic Dao friends in the area who have a fantastic home and are always up for a party!
Motorbikes parked up at a small family homestay in Du Gia, Ha Giang
It ain’t far from Quan Ba up to Dong Van, but there’s a crazy amount to see along the way. The Lung Khuy cave in the area is massive, and all lit up in coloured lights, and the linen Co-op offers a cool opportunity to check out the skills of local ethnic artisans. While the H’Mong King’s Palace doesn’t stand up, say, to its European Equivalents, the story of its most recent inhabitants’ association with Ho Chi Minh is fascinating.
Royal Enfield Himalayan, with Enduristan bag and Roc Straps, parked up on a dirt trail in Ha Giang, Vietnam
We spend our exploration day in the Dong Van because the place is fascinating. The town itself, while fun, is pretty small, but it’s surrounded by Dong Van Karst Geopark. Covered in limestone mountains, the place looks almost like an alien landscape —it’s unique. There’s also the huge Ma Pi Leng Gorge to check out, and we should be able to head up to Lung Cu, Vietnam’s northernmost point, where we’ll get a panoramic view of Vietnam and southern China.
Stopping for a break on the road through Duc Hanh, Cao Bang. There are some great dirt tracks in the area.
By this point, we’re essentially riding the world-famous Ha Giang Loop. Huge, karst mountains, winding rivers and deep gorges—it’s all there. On the way north we’ll get the opportunity to check out Meo Vac, as well as take a bamboo raft across the water. Bao Lac’s cool, too: it’s one of these ‘hub’ type of towns, where local ethnic people come to trade at the huge Sunday market. Even in these modern times it has an ancient rural feel.
The impressive sight of Ban Gioc Waterfall in full flow
Ride the mountain roads that thread Vietnam’s natural border with China, all the way down to Ban Gioc Waterfall. Actually, this whole area is subject to ongoing border disputes: while it’s perfectly safe for foreigners, the vibe can be interesting, to say the least. Your guide will likely tell you the story of the displacement of the ‘border demarcation stone’, which happened during the War. Whatever the case, the waterfall itself is an awesome sight—it’s basically a must on any Vietnam motorcycle tour.
Danny stops for a drink at the M curve in Ha Giang
It’s actually a pretty short ride from Ban Gioc to Cao Bang, so we’ll have the opportunity to check out the awesome Tiger Cave or even further explore Ban Gioc Waterfall and the surrounding area before heading south. The Ma Phuc Mountain Pass, which we’ll definitely hit up on the way, offers some fantastic views of the region and there’s a village nearby where we’ll get to see local craftsmen making knives.
Paul on the Honda XR150 in Ba Be National Park, Vietnam
The road through Cao Bang to Ba Be winds through a massive valley, then takes us over Phia Oac, another mountain pass. One of the highlights of the day, though, is taking a little boat right through Puong Cave and on to a gorgeous, locally-owned homestay that we maintain is home to some of the best food Vietnam has to offer.
The entrance to the tunnel into the cave in Bac Son, Lang Son
Entering Hanoi from the north is far more chill than from, say, the west. This means we’ll be able to enjoy quiet back roads most of the way, a couple of which even have a nice river crossing or two. When we get back to the city, we’ll have our farewell dinner in one of our favourite of the city’s many world-class 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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VN Great Northern 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)