The Northern Routes

There are many routes to take in the north of Vietnam as there is so much to see in the area. We have listed 5 routes below which take between 4 days and 14+ days to complete. Depending on your time and what you want to see, you can choose the right trip for you. All of the routes start and finish in Hanoi and if you have a longer trip which takes you the whole length of the country then you can pair one of these routes with one of the Hanoi – HCMC routes.

4-5 days – The Mai Chau / Ninh Binh Loop

This is the shortest route for the north and you will only ever be at most 4 hours ride from Hanoi. The route goes past 2 national parks and the town of Mai Chau and Ninh Binh. If you are short on time but want to experience a motorbike in Vietnam then this is a perfect route for you.

7+ days – The Ha Giang Loop

This is the shortest route to Ha Giang which is the most beautiful part of the country and also some of the hardest riding. You will go North to the border of China for some stunning mountain views before heading East to see one of the biggest waterfalls in Vietnam. On your way back to Hanoi, you will be driving through Ba Be National Park which offers a more traquil yet stunning landscape of Ba Be lake. For the sheer beauty of the region, this is the best loop but it is the hardest for beginners due to the bad roads, long rides and mountain passes. The route can easily be extended by including a ride to Du Gia, to Lung Cu flag pole and a dirt track loop which can all be seen on the map below.

8+ days – The Rice Fields of the North

If you want to see the rice fields of Vietnam, this is a great route. It starts from the Mai Chau valley where you will find plenty of rice fields surrounded by mountains. There is also the option to head through the surrounding mountains and rice fields via Pu Luong national park. The route then goes north west through Moc Chau and Son La before reaching Mu Cang Chai and Sapa which offers the stunning panoramic views of the grand mountains with terrace rice fields. If you can afford the time, visit the market of Bac Ha before heading back to Hanoi.

9+ days – The Northern Mountains

The route is a longer version of the Ha Giang Loop as it includes Sapa. By heading further west to start it allows you get get some of the stunning terraced rice field views from the Sapa region while still including all of the Ha Giang Loop. If you can afford an extra 2 days on the trip then this is a nice addition to include. As with the Ha Giang Loop this route can be extended by including a ride to Du Gia, to Lung Cu flag pole and a dirt track loop which can all be seen on the map below.


14+ days – All of the North

This route covers all of the areas of the north that the routes above cover and takes at least 14 days but can last for months. There is no time limit to how long you can spend in the north as there is always more to see. This route certainly doesn’t cover everything but it gives a good starting point to follow as you explore as much as you can. If you are just spending time in the north and have over 14 days, use this route as a starting point. We recommend doing more research what else there is to see or just come and speak to us about where to go.