Northwest Vietnam by Motorbike



by DIWYY

The Northwest impressed me with the most majestic mountainous scenery. We went through five provinces located in the Northwest region during five days this year. We passed over 1000 km by experiencing Vietnam by motorbike, went for trekking to A Pa Chai – the West pole, had a view of terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai and Sapa in fog and conquered three of “Four great passes” in the North.

All of our Northwest Traveling Schedule, Experience and Expense in August are shared in this post. I hope that they will be useful for travelers who desire to drive on challenging and majestic mountain roads.

Preparation

Roadmap 

Google map is the best choice. It’s necessary to save topographic maps, offline maps and mark some destinations on road.

Budget

Our estimated expense would be around 2,000,000 – 2,500,000 VND/person. We separated cash, ATM cards and kept in different things like backpacks or brought along with us. (Detailed budget included at the end of this article). 

Identification

ID, Passport and driving license were put in different things. These are significant for the flight back, motorbike or hotel rent, etc.

Gear

  •  3/4 or full-face helmet was compulsory for the safety. Armor protection also needed.
  • A raincoat set per traveler, raincoat for backpack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Ties to fasten backpack and sleeping bag
  • Technology devices and backup battery and members’ phone numbers as well.
  • Snacks and dry food.
  • Drinking water and gasoline reserves

Flights

All four of us were from Ho Chi Minh city, so we decided to fly to Noi Bai airport at night and return Ho Chi Minh city in the early morning after five days wandering through the Northwest.

Vietnam has three major flag carriers. The price is fairly cheap at Traveloka VietNam Consider VietJet Air  and Vietnam Airlines

Schedule

Total distance is approximately 1041 km.

Day 0: Sai Gon – Hanoi

Sapa in a shining day (on the far side, Hoang Lien Son range and Fansipan summit appeared)

Sapa in a shining day (on the far side, Hoang Lien Son range and Fansipan summit appeared)

Day 1: Sapa – O Quy Ho pass – Muong Te – Pac Ma (242 km). Maps did not show a road segment in day 2. From Muong Te, the route should have been Muong Te – Pac Ma – Chung Chai – A Pa Chai, but Muong Te – Muong Nhe – A Pa Chai as in the map).

Silver Fall

Silver Fall

Day 2: Pac Ma – A Pa Chai – Cha Cang market (60 km and 158 km)

T-junction at Vietnam border, West pole of Vietnam

T-junction at Vietnam border, West pole of Vietnam

Day 3: Cha Cang (6.30 a.m) – Muong Lay – Pha Din pass – Muong Gion (242 km)

Clouds covered from Cha Cang to Muong Lay

Clouds covered from Cha Cang to Muong Lay

Day 4: Muong Gion – Khau Pha pass – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai (173 km)

Ban Chat Hydropower reservoir

Ban Chat Hydropower reservoir

Day 5: Mu Cang Chai – Sapa – Ta Phin – Sapa (157 km)

Cloudy O Quy Ho Pass

Cloudy O Quy Ho Pass

Expenses

Many factors affect the expense of a trip like this. We hope the following provides a general reference for your trip from Ho Chi Minh to the Northwest region of Vietnam.

  • Flight ticket: from 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 VND for a return ticket depending on each airline and booking time. You should choose Vietnam Airline or must buy luggage pack because it is often more than 7 kg. You must buy 1 pack for your group. Buy tickets with departure time of flight at the beginning or end of a day to save your time and money.
  • Buses with beds: around 200,000 – 250,000 VND/ one way (saodieu.vn and vexere.vn for your reference). We went to Sapa by Phuc Xuyen bus (at 00:30 a.m at Noi Bai T-junction and with price 250,000 VND/a ticket) and returned to Hanoi by Quen Coffee bus (It departed at 10:00 p.m from Sapa bus station. There was toilet on bus. The price was 220,000 VND/a ticket).
  • Renting motorbikes in Sapa: It’s hard to pass over 1000 km mountainous road within 5 days in the Northwest by driving rented motorbikes in Sapa, so most of people who provide motorbike renting services just want their vehicles back within a day. We hired 2 Wave RSX ones from Ms. Ly (Phone no. 0915190874) and Mr. Hoc (Phone no. 0945350714) at a price 120,000 VND/day. They were quite strong and not too old. However, we must have paid for repairing a motorbike’s collar (it was used for a long time, so its collar shook) and another’s crack (in the third day) and bought a lubricant bottle for each one. Therefore, you should check it carefully when taking motorbike. Except these above, they were fine with two people and two 10kg backpacks in 5 days.
  • Motel: about 50,000 – 100,000 VND/person/night depending on your negotiation skills and motel’s quality. It took us 940,000 VND for 4 people in 4 nights.
  • Eating and drinking: around 30,000 VND/person for breakfast and about 50,000 VND/person for lunch.
  • Gasoline: about 400,000 VND/a motorbike in the distance of 1000 km. It exceeded 3 litres when we gave them back.
  • Other fees:
    • Visit ticket at Love waterfall: 70,000 VND/person
    • Visit ticket at Ta Phin village: 40,000 VND/person
    • Guiding fee in A Pa Chai: 400,000/group

Total amount: around 2,500,000/person (Flight not included).

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