Grand Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbike Tour – 15 Days
Talking about the Vietnam War, everyone remind the Ho Chi Minh trail, or legendary road from North to South Vietnam. The original trail was constructed in 1959 and served the war in 6,000 days.
In year 2000, the Vietnamese Government reconstructed a new Ho Chi Minh highway connecting from North to the South; However, There are still some original parts of the trail that you can have off-road motorcycle ride or chances to feel the war time.
Let Vietnam Motorbike Tour Expert be with you to discover this road and see what the Ho Chi Minh trail looks like today. Starting from Hanoi, we take you to the mountain in North Vietnam via Mai Chau before head down to the South on the trail. This offers wonderful mountain roads, hill tribe people customs and traditions those it’s hard to find along the trail or in Southern part of the country.
This is really a big trip passing through many provinces and retracing some parts featured in the Top Gear Vietnam Special show. A real opportunity to experience Vietnam on motorcycle based on the route BBC’s Top Gear Vietnam show was created. Please contact us if you would like to do the tour shorter, longer or simply a little bit different.
Itinerary in brief:
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau : 170 km ( Home stay)
Day 2: Mai Chau – Tan Ky: 290 Km ( Hotel stay)
Day 3: Tan Ky – Phong Nha: 280 Km ( Hotel stay)
Day 4: Phong Nha – Khe Sanh: 220 Km ( Hotel stay)
Day 5: Khe Sanh – Hue: 190 km ( Hotel stay)
Day 6: Hue – Hoi An: 160 Km (Hotel stay)
Day 7: Hoi An. ( Relaxing in Hoi An )
Day 8: Hoi An – Kon Tum: 290 Km ( Hotel stay)
Day 9: Kon Tum – Buon Ma Thuot: 240 Km ( Home stay)
Day 10: Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang: 190 Km ( Hotel stay)
Day 11: Nha Trang ( Have a rest in Nha Trang)
Day 12: Nha Trang – Da Lat: 170 Km ( Hotel stay)
Day 13: Da Lat ( Short motorbike tour around Da Lat)
Day 14: Da Lat – Cat Tien: 190 Km ( Guest house)
Day 15: Cat Tien – Saigon. 160 Km
Please view the route here!
Day 1: Motorcycle ride from Hanoi to Mai Chau: 190 km.
Start the grand motorbike tour through Vietnam by taking a bus to the outskirt of Hanoi, from here we get the bikes and enjoy motorbike ride to Mai Chau. After lunch in An Lac (Hoa Binh province) We will ride through endless limestone karst scenery (known as Halong bay on land), the extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads. Arrive in Mai Chau in late afternoon. Here we stay overnight with the White Thai minority in a traditional stilt house. The local women here are famous for cooking and dancing so in the evening, after feasting, we can enjoy a cultural show of Thai dancing and a range of special local liquors.
Overnight in Mai Chau – home stay.
After enjoying breakfast in the peaceful village of Mai Chau, we keep riding on a small, spectacular and paved trail along the Ma river until Cam Thuy town where we stop for lunch. Hit the historical Ho Chi Minh trail and then stay all the way to Tan Ky town where we spend the night in a hotel.
Tan Ky is a very small town located in two sides of the Ho Chi Minh road, with some thousands of people this is good chance to experience the daily life of people in remote area.
Overnight in Tan Ky – Hotel
Day 3: Tan Ky – Phong Nha: 280 Km
After simple breakfast served by local restaurant, We continue the Vietnam motorbike touring on Ho Chi Minh trail to Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina and is now a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geographic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers.
Diner and overnight in Phong Nha – Hotel
From Phong Nha, the Ho Chi Minh Trail is divided into 2 branches one in the eastern side and another one is in the western side. Motorbike Tour Expert recommend to ride on the western Ho Chi Minh trail. The trail goes through the National park of Phong Nha – Ke Bang, in more than 200 km, you will just see few other motorbikes but a lot of beautiful and beautiful mountain view. Especially, we will get chance to visit the former US Marine Base with tunnels, Air base and a interesting museum that is newly built.
This motorcycle ride is another highlight of this 15 day motorcycle tour Ho Chi Minh trail.
Diner and overnight in Khe Sanh – Hotel
Day 5: Khe Sanh – Vinh Moc tunnel – Hue: 190 Km.
The motorbike ride to Hue today is mostly from the west to the east. After breakfast, we will ride along the 17th parallel – the former border between the north and south of Vietnam. We will do some stops to visit the famous historical vestiges such as Hien Luong Bridge. Vinh Moc tunnel…
After lunch we will join the high way No 1 down to beautiful city of Hue.
Arrive Hue at about 4.30 PM.
Dinner and overnight in Hue – Hotel.
Vinh Moc (Vịnh Mốc) is a tunnel complex in Quang Tri, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War it was strategically located on the border of North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The tunnels were built to shelter people from the intense bombing of Son Trung and Son Ha communes in Vinh Linh county of Quang Tri Province in the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. The American forces believed the villagers of Vinh Moc were supplying food and armaments to the North Vietnemese garrison on the island of Con Co which was in turn hindering the American bombers on their way to bomb Hanoi. The idea was to force the villagers of Vinh Moc to leave the area but as is typical in Vietnam there was nowhere else to go. The villagers initially dug the tunnels to move their village 10 metres underground but the American forces designed bombs that burrowed down 10 metres. Eventually against these odds, the villagers moved the village to a depth of 30 metres. It was constructed in several stages beginning in 1966 and used until early 1972. The complex grew to include wells, kitchens, rooms for each family and spaces for healthcare. Around 60 families lived in the tunnels; as many as 17 children were born inside the tunnels
After breakfast, we have chance to discover the famous citadel of Hue and some other attractions. After lunch, we will Join the National Highway 1 and head up the Hai Van Pass (Cloudy Pass) before getting to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, a major trading centre in SE Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. The ride today is short but it offers amazing view of coastal roads.
Dinner and overnight in Hoi An – Hotel
Day 7: Relaxing in Hoi An.
Hoi An, also known as Faifo in western countries, is a city of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea in the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is located in Quang Nam province and is home to approximately 120,000 inhabitants. It is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
The city possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City). Between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Cham people controlled the strategic spice trade and with this came tremendous wealth. The former harbour town of the Cham at the estuary of the Thu Bồn River was an important Vietnamese trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled. During this period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Town on Seaside) in Vietnamese. Originally, Hai Pho was a divided town with the Japanese settlement across the “Japanese Bridge” (16th-17th century). The bridge (Chùa cầu) is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side
We spend half day to walk around to enjoy the peace and beauty of the town also visit some attractions to learn more about Vietnamese history and culture. In the afternoon you can take a taxi 4km to Cua Dai beach – the quiet beach with white sand and bright green water or get free time in town for some shopping or massage.
Day 8: Hoi An – Kon Tum (Central Highland) : 290 Km
Say good bye to the lovely town to get back to the nature. We will rejoin the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Phuoc Son (also known as Kham Duc). From there we head up the towering Lo So Pass, passing through remote areas thinly populated by peoples of the Ba Na ethnicity. Edging close to the border with Laos, where a number of Trail arteries crossed over in Laos, we continue on to Kon Tum.
Dinner and overnight in Kon Tum – Hotel
Day 9: Kon Tum – Buon Ma Thuot – 240 Km
In the morning we head south through the Central Highlands, passing Pleiku and the Ia Drang valley battlefield, before continuing Vietnam motorcycle touring to Buon Ma Thuot (also known as Buon Me Thuot), the city where northern forces launched their final assault on the then Saigon. Buon Ma Thuot produces most and best coffee products in Vietnam so the motorcycle ride today offers a lot of visits to coffee farms and you’ll feel the different beauties from other days.
Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot – Home stay
We take an easy drive back down off the Tay Son highlands towards the coast, arriving at Highway 1 some 30 km north of Nha Trang. Taking in this scenic coastal stretch past turquoise waters and scarlet fishing boats, we arrive in the bright lights of Nha Trang and its relaxing holiday options.
Overnight in Nha Trang – Hotel
Day 11: Relaxing in Nha Trang
Full free day at the beach or gathering for a seafood feast to recount our adventure and toast the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Optionally, You can also take a island tour to some beautiful island with some quiet beaches.
Day 12: Nha Trang – Da Lat – 170 Km
This motorbike tour from Nha Trang offers you some footages of the famous 2008 BBC’s Top Gear Vietnam Special show. This motorcycle ride is one of the best rides on the mountain area of Central Highland Vietnam, It offer some beautiful ride on the coastlines. It’s another highlight of this Vietnam motorcycle tour.
Overnight in Da Lat – Hotel
Day 13: Short Motorbike Touring around Da Lat – 50 km.
Da Lat is known as “The City of Love” and is a favorite holiday resort for Vietnamese. This cool and romantic land is found by the French during the Indochina wartime. With evergreen forests, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, the country’s best flower gardens, and delicious fresh produce, Da Lat has always provided a welcome respite from the heat of the lowlands. We can spend the day visiting the highlights of Da Lat – its gardens, cathedral, waterfalls, market, Valley of Love, convent, university, train station and key pagodas.
Overnight in Da Lat for the second night.
Hit the road No 20, we will have great motorcycle trip to Cat Tien National Park. This forest area used to be the head quarter of Vietnamese army during the war. The park suffered historically during the Vietnam War when it was extensively sprayed with herbicides like the defoliant Agent Orange. In some region nowadays trees/plantations have not yet grown back.
Stay in Cat Tien National Park – Guest house
Day 15: Cat Tien – Saigon : 160 Km
This motorbike ride to Sai Gon is short but could be a big day as traffic is very busy when we enter Saigon ( or Ho Chi Minh City). We ride straight to the train station where we end the Grand Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorcycle Tour. Say good bye to the staffs of Vietnam Motorbike Tour Expert and then take your time to have rest in in the city.