The RAMS Northwestern Vietnam Tour has an impressive vastness distinguished by mountain ranges, Paddy field terraces and cultural diversity. As we venture toward the Chinese border we enjoy the ethnic minority villagers with their traditional dress, working the fields as they welcome us to the area. Always keen to stop and look at the strangers who have come to their village, intrigued by the size of the bikes and the riders.
Stunning passes, roads cut into the mountains and huge drops make this ride spectacular and literally breathtaking. We then take you to Ha Long Bay where your luxury Vietnamese Junk Boat is waiting to sail around the bay of 1600 islands stopping off only for kayaking, swimming and exploring the endless cave networks.
Vietnam will delight you with its traditions, its idyllic scenery and majestic mountain ranges
Hanoi is a vibrant full on city that has to be explored. Stay in the Old Quarter of the town where you can sample the street traders food and night market or visit the downed B52 American Bomber in the middle of one of the cities lakes.
Overnight Sleeper train to the Chinese Boarder - That evening we will catch an overnight sleeper train to Lao Cai in the northwest province of Vietnam, unload the bikes and following breakfast we hit the trails and head into the mountains.
Sapa - In unsurpassed natural surroundings, visit cultural sights of great importance and watch the ethnic villagers fill the air with their traditions and colourful outfits as they wave and smile as we pass through. Marvel at the the mountain passes and look down the valleys toward the Chinese Boarder as we traverse each road cut into the rocks. Weave through the endless tracks as we climb to the sky through the clouds in search of the next amazing landscape.
Ba-Be National Park - Explore Vietnam's largest National Park where you find nestled in the rainforest the magnificent lake of Ba-Be with its waterfalls and cave network make it a must for any visitor. Get wonderful views and amazing photos across the province from the top Ba-Be tower or head across the lake to the An Ma temple.
Overnight Cruise around the islands of Ha Long Bay - Watch the endless boats weave through the thousand island network of Ha Long Bay which was featured in BBC's Top Gear Vietnam Special.
Ban Gioc Waterfalls - The waterfalls probably hang on a wall in a Chinese takeaway near you however seeing and hearing the falls up close is something that stays will you forever.
4th October - Leave UK
5th October - Day One: Arrival in Hanoi
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and is known for its centuries-old architecture. We stay in the chaotic Old Quarter of the city with its quirky tall buildings and street traders the pace of life will amaze you. Tonight we will go to the Minsk Bar to meet the team and to enjoy our first beer.
6th October - Day Two: Hanoi to Lao Cai aboard the Night Train
After breakfast the day is your own. Check out the downed B52 Bomber in the lake, the War Museum or the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We will meet late afternoon to check out the bikes before they get loaded onto the Night Train. After dinner we also board the train and bed down for the night. Arrive at Lao Cai the next morning around 6:30am.
7th October - Day Three: Lao Cai to Sapa Village (120km’s)
Time to get on the bikes and start the adventure. We ride out of Lao Cai and soon turn off on to the mountain trails. Small broken roads and stone paths take us high with our first chance to see the scale of the surrounding landscape. Lunch at Ta Van, but check out the minority hill tribe people. View the Sapa pass, a ribbon of tarmac draped over the mountains with incredible switchbacks and elevation changes and then ride it. Tonight we stay in Sapa Village, a small trading post with many markets and tourist shops to explore.
8th October - Day Four: Sapa Village to Xi Man (180km’s)
As we head down the mountain tracks from Sapa we again return to Lao Cai for lunch at the Chinese trading post and Boarder Crossing. Small pushbikes laden with goods come into the town from China to trade at the local markets. We leave Lao Cai along the river boarder on single broken roads as we ride into back into the hills.
9th October - Day Five: Xi Man to Ha Giang (160km’s)
Today is the day of waterfalls, switchbacks and long drops. Roads are a great mix of smooth tarmac, broken trails and hill tracks to the town of Ha Giang. Here we get to ride through the hotel on our bikes, a great opportunity for a photo but remember no wheelies in reception.
10th October - Day Six: Ha Giang to Dong Van (165km’s)
Huge peaks shadow our ride as we wind our way through endless valleys along the river to Dong Van. Tonight we sample the Vietnamese Hot Pot, which involves a noodle soup, some raw ingredients and a small cooker on the table, great fun with plenty of rice wine. Chúc sức khoẻ (cheers)
11th October - Day Seven: Dong Van to Bao Lac (80km’s)
We each buy the inner line permits that allow us to enter the next province. You may notice the mountains start to change shape, huge limestone boulders seem to have some symmetry to each other as we weave around their bases, stunning.
12th October - Day Eight: Bao Lac to Ban Gioc (120km’s)
After breakfast its straight on the bikes and into a small off-road section which takes us through some tiny bamboo villages. The Villagers are always welcoming to strangers with a cup of hot green tea and maybe a glass of rice wine, my advice is stick to the tea. On arrival at Ba-Be we jump on a small boat and explore the tiny bays, waterfalls and caves around the lake. The accommodation is basic but wait until the morning you will have a treat with the sun rising over the lake.
13th October - Day Nine: Ban Gioc to Ba-Be Lake (240km’s)
As we ride through the mountain passes its an endless line of switchback corners which seem to continue for miles until we head off the tarmac onto broken roads. We are treated to the Ban Gioc Waterfalls, an area that is on the Chinese border, stunning vast and dramatic. Tonight we stay overlooking the falls.
14th October - Day Ten: Ba-Be Lake to Hanoi (200km’s)
Following a an early start on the bikes we continue to head south through the National Park to Hanoi. Hanoi is a huge city with scooters, bikes and pedestrians coming from all angles, don't worry because you should be seasoned Vietnamese riders by now, confident in the rules of the road.
15th October - Day Eleven: Hanoi to Ha Long Bay (by minibus)
The bay is a famous World Heritage Site and a Vietnamese Junk is the best way to see the 2000 limestone pillars rising from the waters. We have lunch on board the boat and then head to a nearby island to explore the bays by kayak or just kickback on the beach. Tonight after watching the sunset on deck we enjoy a beautiful dinner before retiring to your cabin.
16th October - Day Twelve: Ha Long Bay (by boat)
After a breakfast on board we have the chance to buy gifts from the pearl farms and visit the caves as the boat continues to sail around the bay, failing that just kick back and enjoy the sun deck.
17th October - Day Thirteen: Halong Bay to Hanoi (by minibus)
After saying goodbye to our friends on board the boat we head back to Hanoi for one last night in the city.
18th October - Day Fourteen: Leave Hanoi
Kawasaki or Honda 250 Enduro bike is included in the overall cost however we want you to be comfortable on the bike therefore reduced height and suitable for pillion bikes are available. We also have a selection of Suzuki DRZ400’s Honda XR400’s and 650cc machines - please enquire.
£2700 per rider
£2200 per pillion
£500 single room supplement
Tours available for groups or as individuals