Hidden Northern Vietnam Tour

4 Day / 3 Nights

Hanoi – Ba Vi National Park – Pu Luong Nature Reserve – Mai Chau Village – Hanoi

South West from Hanoi lies Mai Chau, a little gem well-hidden in the mountains of Hoa Binh Province. Mai Chau neighbours Moc Chau to the West and Ninh Binh to the East, both of which are more frequently-visited and highly-praised travel destination. Thus, Mai Chau, overlooked by tourists, opens up to endless opportunities for you to explore what it has to offer.

From quaint villages nestling amongst rolling hills to sweeping bends unveiling one breathtaking views after another, venturing through Mai Chau on a motorbike is an exhilarating ride once you managed to survive the hustle of going out of Hanoi.

We have to ourselves 4 days to do a loop from Hanoi to Ba Vi National Park to Pu Luong Nature Rerserve to Mai Chau village, then back to the capital, starting from Style Motorbikes Hanoi. The adventure only gets better after each day.

To make the most out of the first day, we start early heading towards Ba Vi National Park on the road that runs along Red River. We meander through the lush green on swirling passes of Ba Vi Mountain to find ourselves at Ho Chi Minh Temple sitting at 1,200 metres above sea level. We stop at a local restaurant for hotpot on our way down before making our way to accommodation for the night. There’s a swimming pool nearby buried in a sea of trees so we decide to wind down and crack open a (couple) of cold ones and enjoying the waterslides.

Pù Luông, south of Hòa Bình province, is our next stop. It is a smooth drive between patches of rice fields that are multi-layered like an emerald quilt. Undulating mountains are dimmed in the background as we ride towards them. The roads are either concrete slaps or smooth tarmac, nothing that a beginner rider cannot do. After ploughing through small villages with wood-and-thatch houses scattering on the side of the tarmac ribbon, green paddies are replaced with mountains covered in blankets of trees. The road snakes in between two boulders of mountains. There is no sign of civilisation besides small sheds with corrugated cement sheet as a roof every now and then. It is just mother nature and switchbacks with a series of sharp bends. Every turn is another stunning views of ripples of the mountain range backlit by arrays of sun seeping through cascading clouds. The challenge arises when we veer onto a dirt track en route to our homestay for the night.

The area is predominantly covered in red clay soil. If there’s one thing you need to know about this type of soil, it is that you do not want to drive when it rains as it is prone to erosion, especially on steep slopes. We, however, will prevail over the first obstacle and will make it to the homestay before dawn. The homestay is a stilt house nesting in a deep forest and, fortunately, there is a natural pool awaiting you. We spend the night in Pu Luong and enjoy a home-cooked dinner with our host.

Before heading back to Hanoi, we spend our third day weaving through the sea of green rice paddies of Mai Châu District. A single straight lane of concrete slap divides a boundless field into 2 halves of green carpet that runs for so long, we can barely see the hamlet curbing at the foothills. But that is not the highlight of the day. In the morning we have river crossings and then overcome muddy roads, after leaving the valley we make it to Mai Chau View Point where we are in awe of a bird eye’s view of Mai Chau Valley and mountain ranges you left behind. It is that scenic view that you see on postcards but you will come to realize that postcards don’t do it justice once you get to witness the vista yourself. We go all out for our last night at the local homestay. Our host prepares a BBQ over a bed of hot smoky coals and treats us to a jar of homemade Mai Ha Wine, a local delicacy that cannot be found elsewhere. If Long An in the far south is known for its Gò Đen wine, Mai Châu is infamous for Mai Hạ. wine made from herbs harvested in the forest. It comes in a ceramic jar and in consumed through a long bamboo straws.

As we nurse the rice wine hangover the morning after, we drive back towards Hanoi stopping at an amazingly hidden waterfall, where you can freshen up and bring yourself back to life. We cruise along the stunning Hoa Binh Lake where the pass takes us along the very edge just high enough to see the infinite beautiful landscape.

We finish up at our Hanoi office. It has been a tiring but exhilarating 4 days exploring some of the hidden beauty of Vietnam that few get to enjoy. The loop can be extended to more than 4 days if you want to spend more time to go trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve.

Number of Riders 1 2 3 4+
Price per Rider $432 $360 $300 $250

This tour is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders, and we are able to offer bikes which are suitable for all riders as we use both Honda Wave semi-automatics and Honda XR 150cc as well as other options.

On the second and third day the tour has the option of going further exploring the areas of Pu Luong national park and Mai Chau villages meaning more experienced riders are able to continue further if they want to.  This can be discussed during the tour.

The following bikes are available for the trip but riders must be experienced to take the manual bikes. Beginners will be able to take the semi auto bike.

Honda Wave Alpha 110cc

Suzuki GD 110cc

Honda CB 150cc

Honda XR 150cc

What is included?

Motorbike and petrol
10 meals and soft drinks
Tour guide
National park fees and swimming pool fee

What is NOT included?

Personal insurance
Motorbike damage
Personal expenses
Police fines

Interview with Customer

Brief Inventory and key locations

Day 1

Hanoi to Ba Vi National Park.
Explore the mountain of Ba Vi along with the Ho Chi Minh temple.
A late hot pot lunch outside the natural park.
Go swimming in the natural swimming pool or waterfalls
Return to have dinner in a local restaurant before returning to the homestay.

Day 2
Ba Vi to Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
Leaving Ba Vi we following the river and the edge of the natural park before entering the nature reserve.
We stop for lunch as we enter the reserve at a local restaurant.
Discover local villages through Pu Luong and enjoy the mountains rides and views as we spend the rest of the day riding to the homestay.
Relax in the waterfall near your homestay with a dip natural pool or waterfall before we get a home cooked dinner.

Day 3
Pu Luong to Mai Chau village.
We ride from Pu Luong through Mai Chau enjoy the rest of the reserve before reaching the rice fields of Mai Chau.
We stop in the valley for a BBQ lunch before heading to the Mai Chau viewpoint.
Feast on BBQ and local rice wine at your homestay overlooking a lake.

Day 4
Mai Chau to Hanoi.
Wake up with a dip in a mountain waterfall.
Return to Hanoi via the mountain lake pass stopping for lunch on the way back to Hanoi before a well deserved beer.