6 Routes You Can’t Miss for Motorcycle Touring in Vietnam

Motorcycle touring in Vietnam

Motorcycle touring in Vietnam

Vietnam—a country rich in history, culture, and unmatched natural beauty. While many travellers opt for the typical tourist trail, the thrill-seekers among us know there’s no better way to explore this Southeast Asian gem than on two wheels. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a newbie, motorcycle touring is an extraordinary way to see the landscape unfold before you. Here are some routes you can’t miss if you plan to hop on a bike and explore Vietnam.

1. The Ho Chi Minh Trail

For those interested in the historical backdrop of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Trail is more than just a scenic route. It was originally used during the Vietnam War to transport supplies from the North to the South.

Today, it serves as an iconic path that stretches over 1,200 miles. The route combines excellent riding conditions with lush forests and staggering mountainous regions. Be prepared to be stunned by dramatic cliffside views and crystal-clear waterfalls as you traverse this trail.

In addition to its historical and scenic aspects, the Ho Chi Minh Trail is also a testament to Vietnam’s tenacity and ingenuity. Many sections of the trail have been preserved and now serve as educational landmarks.

You can take detours to visit war memorials and museums that tell the story of the trail’s importance during the Vietnam War. This adds a layer of depth and understanding to your journey, making it both an adventure and a learning experience.

2. Ha Giang Loop

Easily one of the most famed routes for motorbike tours in Vietnam has to offer, the Ha Giang Loop is a must-ride for any motorcycle enthusiast. Located in the northernmost region of the country, near the border with China, the loop offers jaw-dropping vistas of terraced rice fields, twisting roads, and towering limestone peaks. 

It’s a challenging route, so it’s recommended for those with some biking experience. Remember to stop at Ma Pi Leng Pass, which offers some of the most panoramic views of the Nho Que River below.

Another reason to tackle the Ha Giang Loop is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. The route takes you through various ethnic minority villages, where you can experience firsthand the traditions and lifestyles of Vietnam’s diverse population. 

Whether it’s enjoying a home-cooked meal or participating in local festivities, this route offers more than just breathtaking scenery; it provides a window into the soul of Vietnam.

3. Hanoi to Cat Ba Island

If you’re looking for a bit of coastal breeze with your tour, riding from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island will fit the bill perfectly. The journey will take you through the vibrant Red River Delta, where you can see traditional Vietnamese life in action. Once you reach Hai Phong, hop on a ferry to Cat Ba Island and enjoy some beach relaxation after the thrilling ride.

Beyond the beaches, Cat Ba Island also offers an incredible national park, rich in biodiversity. This makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

While you’re there, don’t miss out on the hiking trails that offer stunning views of the island’s diverse landscapes. The routes are well-marked and range from easy to challenging, making it a perfect extension of your motorcycle adventure.

4. The Central Highlands

The Central Highlands of Vietnam offer a different beauty that’s no less intriguing than the iconic coastal and mountainous regions. The coffee plantations and rolling hills serve as a backdrop to peaceful rides through quiet towns and picturesque scenery. The routes here are also less frequented, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer solitude and nature.

Another allure of touring the Central Highlands is the chance to explore Vietnam’s ethnic diversity. The region is home to various minority groups, each with their unique traditions and way of life.

You’ll often come across local markets where artisans sell hand-crafted goods, providing a beautiful blend of culture and commerce. This not only adds a different dimension to your motorcycle tour but also allows for enriching interactions with the locals.

5. Nha Trang to Da Lat

This route gives you a combination of sea, mountains, and stunning green valleys. Begin your journey in the coastal city of Nha Trang, renowned for its beaches and scuba diving sites.

As you head inland toward Da Lat, you’ll climb into the highlands, where the scenery transforms into misty forests and tranquil lakes. Da Lat itself is known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its pleasant weather and blooming flowers.

Da Lat is also often dubbed Vietnam’s “Little Paris” due to its French colonial architecture and a laid-back atmosphere that’s a stark contrast to Vietnam’s otherwise bustling cities.

As you explore the town, you’ll encounter historic churches, villas, and the iconic Da Lat Railway Station, a slice of Europe in the heart of Asia. With its romantic air and cooler climate, Da Lat serves as a relaxing counterpoint to the more intense segments of your motorbike journey.

6. Phong Nha to Hue via the DMZ

Another route that mixes natural beauty with historical significance is the journey from Phong Nha to Hue, passing through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that once separated North and South Vietnam. Not only will you pass through Vinh Moc Tunnels and Hien Luong Bridge, but you’ll also be rewarded with views of untouched landscapes.

Aside from its historical weight, this route is also a gateway to the natural wonder that is Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, home to some of the world’s largest caves, including Son Doong and Paradise Cave.

Before you embark on your journey towards Hue, consider taking a day off the bike to explore these subterranean marvels. The experience offers an exciting deviation from the road and a chance to witness nature’s artistry below ground level.

Pro Tips for a Smooth Ride

Before hitting the road, make sure you have all the necessary driving licenses and permits; International Driving Permits (IDP) are generally accepted in Vietnam. Safety should be your utmost priority, so always wear a helmet and protective gear. While GPS is a handy tool for navigation, it’s always a good idea to carry a physical map as a backup, especially in areas with poor reception. Riding at night is not recommended, as many roads are not well-lit. Lastly, remember to respect local traffic rules and customs. In Vietnam, for example, honking is a common way to signal your presence on the road.

Final Thoughts

Motorcycle touring in Vietnam is an experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. So, gear up, rev your engines, and get ready to explore the captivating routes of Vietnam. Happy riding!

Spread the love

Article Author Details

Patrick Watt

Patrick Watt is a content writer, writing in several areas, primarily in business growth, value creation, M&A, and finance. Other interests also include content marketing and self-development.