There will be plenty of opportunities to meet and find out more about the fascinating tribes that inhabit these lands
Even the cultivated land here is exquisitely beautiful and fits into the landscape perfectly, working with nature
During the tour, you will become acquainted with the locals and experience the great diversity between tribes as you overnight in different communities
Discover another way of being as you experience life in a very remote but welcoming culture
There's some tough climbs on this tour and the odd animal to look out for too! But the rewards are immeasurable as are those fantastic views
Get off the beaten track but also experience the stunning scenery for which Vietnam is known for, and enjoy the white sand island beaches

Cycling Vietnam Tour: Discover the Hill Tribes of the Northeast

10 days
Site savings
$2,037 USD

Beginning in Hanoi and journeying further north via an overnight train, the adventure kicks off immediately. Setting out in an easterly direction, you will enter the Ha Giang province, a stunningly beautiful and unspoilt region, and discover the jewel in Vietnam's crown. The Northeast of the country borders China and is home to a vast array of ethnic minorities dotted around the magnificent landscape. The vibrancy of the tour comes in part from the wonderful locals you will meet along the way, staying for a few nights in different villages to experience the culture first-hand. The riding is phenomenal but challenging, and will surely exhilarate, enchant and potentially exhaust in equal measures!

  • Category
    Cultural & Historical
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    10 days
  • Culture Level
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    4 - Challenging
  • Elevation
    4 - Challenging
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    311.9 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    44.7 miles
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SpiceRoads Cycling
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    10 days
  • Main Destination
  • Distance
    311.9 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    44.7 miles
  • Elevation
    4 - Challenging
  • Terrain

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Hanoi

    Meet in the evening at Hanoi for a trip briefing and dinner.

    • Church Boutique
    • Dinner
  2. Day 2Hanoi - Ba Be National Park

    In the morning, you'll transfer 4 hours outside Hanoi and have a lunch break in Bac Kan. Then it's finally time to get on the bicycles and start cycling on quiet roads and through small villages of Tay and Thai ethnic minorities. The riding will be along rivers and undulating most of the day.

    Passing Cho Ra's small market, you'll left and then are only 17 km (10.5 mi) from Ba Be National Park. The park is home to 65 mammal species, 27 bat species, 233 bird species, and 43 reptile and amphibian species. Ba Be National Park is also known for its diverse butterflies -- 354 species have been recorded. If time permits, you can take a boat trip to explore the beauty of poetic Ba Be Lake. Considered as the green pearl of northeast Vietnam, Ba Be Lake is Vietnam’s largest natural lake and is surrounded by rugged limestone mountains.

    Spend the night in a Tay stilted house on the banks of the lake. Hot showers and western toilets are available.

    • 23.6 miles
    • Homestay
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
  3. Day 3Ba Be National Park - Bao Lac

    In the morning a short transfer takes you to the starting point at Ha Hieu. From there, you cycle on dirt and paved roads to Tinh Tuc where there will be a break for lunch. If you're lucky, some delicious sticky rice in banana might be available to power you through the afternoon of riding.

    There are two hills to conquer today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but both are gradual with no steep gradients. You'll cycle until Bao Lac after which there'll be a van to transfer to your hotel.

    The Black Lolo hill tribe are the primary residents of Bao Lac and are recognisable by their heavily adorned black clothing and dyed black teeth. Descendants from Yunnan province, the Black Lolo migrated to Vietnam some 400 years ago and reside in wooden stilt houses along the mountain edges and grow rice, corn, vegetables and breed small livestock for their villages.

    • 49.7 miles
    • 2,408.1 ft
      4,986.9 ft
      2,578.7 ft
    • Viet Hoang Guest House
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
  4. Day 4Bac Lac - Dong Van

    Get on the bikes first thing in the morning and cycle directly from the hotel following the Gam River. It is a leisurely, flat pedal for the first 50 km (31mi). Thereafter will be a long ascent to Meo Vac, cycling alternately through forests and terraced rice fields. On each switchback you'll be the recipient of stunning views and limestone panoramas. There are still some challenging hills ahead so you'll be transferred the remainder of the route to Dong Van. But stay awake as the scenery remains spectacular, including the amazing Ma Pi Leng Pass, also known as Heaven Gate.

    To construct this pass in 1962, thousands of workers tied themselves to the cliffs to complete the project in just 330 days – a legendary achievement. At almost 2,000 meters (6561 ft) you feel like you can touch the sky but at the same time are grounded by the meandering flow of the Nho Que River. In this region you are likely to see ethnic families of the Black Dao, Red Dao and Hmong.

    • 46.6 miles
    • 1,499.3 ft
      4,084.6 ft
      2,585.3 ft
    • Hoa Cuong
    • Breakfast, Dinner, and Snacks
  5. Day 5Dong Van - Ban Me

    You'll commence another marvelous cycling day with two long climbs ahead. On the way, there will be a stop to see Vuong's Palace, which once belonged to a Hmong king during the French domination. The palace is a unique architecture mix of European and Chinese styles. The road today is rolling with a lot of stiff climbs and long descents, including one 17 km (10.5 mi) downhill where you will lose close to 1,000 m (3280 ft) in elevation. There will be many opportunities for photos of the perpendicular walls of rock of this limestone mountain range.

    Stop riding at Quan Bai and transfer from there to the provincial capital. There will be a stop in Ha Giang town where you can take a quick look around town before we heading to your home for the night in the outskirts of town, Me Village. This beautiful Nung village is a maze of small paths leading through tended rice fields and well kept traditional homes on stilts.

    • 59.7 miles
    • -590.6 ft
      5,295.3 ft
      5,885.8 ft
    • Homestay in Me Village
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
  6. Day 6Ban Me - Hoang Su Phi

    Leave behind your homestay this morning and new Nung friends as you head south along the Lo River. The first 45 kms (28mi) are flat and easy and you'ill finish them off quickly. The next 17 km (10.5mi)  will be tough though, as you slowly climb up to the top of Con Troi Pass at 800 m (2624 ft). Along the way you'll see many ethnic groups -- Tay, Nung, Hmong and Dao – working in the steep rice terraces or in their hamlets. Once the climb is behind you it is mostly downhill to the Pan Hou Resort. Located in a beautiful valley, the resort is nestled amid terraced gardens along the banks of a small river.

    • 51 miles
    • 954.7 ft
      7,132.5 ft
      6,177.8 ft
    • Pan Hour Resort
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
  7. Day 7Hoang Su Phi Rest Day

    Today is at your leisure to enjoy the surroundings of youreco lodge. Go for a stroll through local villages and end your day at the resort's small spa, offering traditional medicinal hot tubs and massage (optional).

    • 46.6 miles
    • -1,729 ft
      7,126 ft
      8,855 ft
    • Pan Hou Resort
    • Breakfast
  8. Day 8Hoang Su Phi - Xin Man - Bac Ha

    Today is hard day with mixed surfaces to the market town of Bac Ha. You'll start from the hotel and have an undulating day through through townships and dense pine forests with the smell of trees lingering all morning. There are many small roadside waterfalls that make for a refreshing cool down for those in need.

    Stop for a picnic lunch at a beautiful vista before continuing on roads carved out of the mountains. Some sections of the road today are under constant repair so dependent on the previous weather and the work being done, there may be the need to jump on the bus for a small section.

    You'll stop riding in the town of Xin Man, at the base of a major climb. From here, transfer to the town of Bac Ha, famous for herbal steam baths, the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day.

    • 40.4 miles
    • -262.5 ft
      5,016.4 ft
      5,278.9 ft
    • Sao Mai Bac Ha Hotel
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
  9. Day 9Bac Ha - Bao Yen - Hanoi

    Wake up early and be ready to be infiltrated by a flurry of colour and commerce that is the Sunday market. Villagers flock in from the hills and valleys for their weekly shopping and socializing. The cattle and clothing sections are interesting but don't bypass the food stalls where people meet, talk, eat and drink a kind of locally made corn-wine.

    Afterwards, head back to the hotel then depart Bac Ha town which will be a largely downhill affair for the first 20 kms (12 mi) as you leave the hills and mountains behind and head into the lowlands for a leisurely pedal. At the main highway, the bus will be waiting for the 4 hour transfer back to Hanoi. You'll arrive in the early evening and have enough time to freshen up at the hotel before a farewell dinner at a restaurant to share memories about the trip.

    • 41 miles
    • -2,732.9 ft
      2,614.8 ft
      5,347.8 ft
    • Church Boutique
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
  10. Day 10Hanoi Departure