Day 1: Hanoi - Mai Chau (160 km). Once out of the Red River Delta, which brims with traditional farming activity, we pass through limestone monoliths and into foothills populated by Muong people. We head straight at the main range before breaching a high and beautiful forested pass, which descends into the hidden valley of Mai Chau where we spend the night with friends in a traditional Thai stilt house.
The valley of Mai Chau lies between two rivers: the Da River and the Ma River both make it very fertile and rich in varied landscapes, medium mountains, forest, lake, rivers, and infinitude of small footpaths and offer many possibilities of trek. In the valley of Mai Chau and its surroundings are Muong, White Thai, H'mong (in the height), and the Dao who we meet at the markets or in their villages during trekking, boating or while driving.
Day 2: Mai Chau - Phu Yen (150 km). We go from Mai Chau to Moc Chau and then to the Da River. After crossing the reservoir of Da river, we ride on secondary road until Phu Yen where we stay in a guest house.
Day 3: Phu Yen - Tuan Giao (200 km). Long stage. We cross the Da river to Tuan Giao. Landscape of Pha Din pass, mountain road, Dao territory. Night in guest house (showers).
Day 4: Tuan Giao - Lai Chau (100 km), 13 passes. Very nice road and stunning landscape. Probably the most beautiful journey of the whole trip even the road is in poor condition. Sleep in Lan Anh Hotel.
Day 5: Lai Chau - Tam Duong (120 km). We go toward the Chinese border following the Nam Na river. Stop at Pa Tan village to have a lunch with our friends. Then, direction Tam Duong, going through areas populated by a lot of different hill tribes like H'mong, Red Dzao, Black Dzao, Mang or Ha Nhi. Overnight in hotel.
Day 6: Tam Duong - Sapa-Muong Hum (120 km). Easy road until Sapa. We cross Tram Ton pass, the highest of Vietnam (1,900 m). Lunch in Sapa. Then, dirt track for 30 kilometers. Amazing sceneries. Overnight in Muong Hum, village of Giay people.
Day 7: Muong Hum - Bac Ha - Xin Man (170 km). The ride from Muong Hum to Bac Ha takes approximative 4 hours, down to Lao Cai and then up to Bac Ha, taking us from Hoang Lien Son Mountain range to the Chay River Massif. We continue then, following Secondary road and tracks until Xin Man. Quiet cruising next to the Chinese border. This area is mainly populated by Flower H'mong. Reward: A superb hotel of nowhere awaits us in Xin Man. Well deserved rest.
Day 8: Xin Man - Luc Yen (150 km). Long stage but on easy road. We leave the Chinese border and go toward south until the Thac Ba lake. Good asphalted road.
Day 9: Luc Yen - Vu Linh (80 km). We go round the lake following small tracks. We arrive at Vu Linh, a traditional village of Dzao people where we sleep in the family of our friends. The welcome is exceptional.
Day 10: Vu Linh - Hanoi (180 km). Dao market in the morning. Come back to Hanoi by Son Tay. Very nice road.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Vietnam Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring
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