Motorcycle trip in northern Vietnam
Vietnam is characterized by a collection of exceptional panoramas, particularly in the north of the country. This is where the mountains emerge from the pastures dramatically. The rice terraces crisscross the valleys, like the footsteps of mythical giants.
Geography of North Vietnam
The term northern Vietnam refers to Hanoi, its surroundings and all provinces north of Hanoi. This region is characterized by mountain ranges cut by deep valleys, the main one being Song Hong (Red River Delta) - the second largest granary in Vietnam after Mekong.
It is near the border with China on the border of the Lai Chau provinces, Lao Cai that we find the highest peaks of the country: Fan Si Pan (3143 m), Phu Ta Leng (3096 m), Pu Si Long (3075 m). Highlands and medium-sized mountains, sparsely populated, oppose the plains of Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lang Son ... irrigated by the river Lo, Chay, Ky Cung ... as well as the immense delta of the Red River, where the population is very important. The Red River has its source in China in Yunnan province and then flows into northern Vietnam before flowing into the Gulf of Tonkin. So, on these geographical points of northern Vietnam, we can say that the landscapes of this region are very varied and grandiose.
Climate of northern Vietnam
From December to March, in the high mountains of northern Vietnam, the climate is relatively cold and humid. The polar air that blows from Siberia can bring temperatures down to 10 degrees in Hanoi and the Northern provinces. The summer season, which runs from May to September, is characterized by higher temperatures, heavy rainfall and sometimes typhoons.
The highlands and mountain ranges of the north are home to a few million people, who belong to very diverse ethnic and linguistic groups. Their way of life and their economic system depend on the altitude: the Thai, the Tay and the Nung, living in the valleys, the regions below 600m, practice flooded rice cultivation. The Lolo and Dzao, established between 600 and 900m, and the Hmong and Ha Nhi, located between 800 to 1600m, use slash and burn cultivation. So, traveling in northern Vietnam offers us unique opportunities to immerse ourselves in the daily life of these peoples, cultural diversity and amazing know-how almost out of time.
Northern Vietnam motorbike travel itinerary
To fully explore the beauty of northern Vietnam, you can make a two-week itinerary for approximately 1500 km. Take small country roads to ethnic minority villages.
Leaving the capital Hanoi, if you take the road to Sapa, passing through Nghia Lo and Than Uyen, you will see some of the most spectacular rice terraces in Asia.
Extend your stay for as long as you want before taking a break in the direction of Ha Giang, with a stopover on the famous markets of Bac Ha and a night in Coc Pai.
More rice terraces to satisfy the visual senses, as well as mountain passes en route slow your pace while you stop constantly to admire the magnificent views.
The capital of Ha Giang province is an interesting destination where one has the impression of living in an authentic city that has not yet been exposed to mass tourism. The part that will leave you breathless and amazed: the Dong Van Geopark ! Containing 2356 km2 of limestone formations, 17 minority ethnic groups and the deepest canyon of Southeast Asia, Ma Pi Leng, this section is the most surreal riding of Vietnam.
Going through Meo Vac is like entering a concrete village of the Soviet era, but it's not without charm. From Meo Vac, head to the waterfront city of Bao Lac. The jagged peaks fade and blend into wooded hills and rolling farmland.
Enjoy the green pastures and winding waters to Cao Bang City.
Cao Bang serves as a stepping stone to the second largest waterfall in Southeast Asia - Ban Gioc Falls. These thundering waterfalls straddle the borders of Vietnam and China and tourists can visit the misty stream of both countries.
After so many days of constant motorcycle bliss, a brief respite from the lush Ba Be Lake in Ba Be National Park is the perfect end to the motorcycle adventure in northern Vietnam. Spend a relaxing night in a traditional host family and dive into the National Park, where you can meet the families of many ethnic minority villages.