A real exploration of Vietnam - the trip of a life time

Motorbiking the Ho Chi Minh Trail - Complete Challenge

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Hanoi - Mai Chau - Vinh - Phong Nha - Dong Hoi - Dong Ha - Hue - Hoi An - Kham Duc - Kon Tum - Buon Ma Thuot - Dalat - Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
15-day trip with 11-day motorcycling
Motorcycling grading: Moderate to challenging. View grading definition here
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The legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail was the supply line used by North Vietnam to link North and South Vietnam during the American War. Soldiers, ammunition, weapons and supplies were carried by hand, bicycle and truck for hundreds of kilometers through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that covered Vietnam’s mountainous border with Laos. A testimony to the ingenuity, fortitude and commitment of the northern Vietnamese, the trail slipped from use at the end of the war and was taken back by the jungle. Recent road work that follows original sections of the trail has changed this.
Besides incredible driving, deep in the Vietnamese countryside, this ride takes in the charming ancient trading town of Hoian, Khe Sanh battle site and DMZ. We also take time to stay overnight in a traditional Thai hill tribe and visit to some tribal villages on the way.

 

Tour Highlights
  • Stunning scenery
  • Historical sites
  • Charming ancient trading town of Hoi An
  • Relaxing in Dalat
  • Encountering ethnic minorities
  • Just you, no others travelers
  • All inclusive

Motorbiking the Ho Chi Minh Trail - Complete Challenge route map

ITINERARY AT A GLANCE

Day 01 Arrival in Hanoi
Day 02 Hanoi – Mai Chau
Day 03 Mai Chau – Tan Ky
Day 04 Tan Ky – Phong Nha
Day 05 Phong Nha – Hue
Day 06 Hue – Hoi An
Day 07 Free time in Hoi An
Day 08 Hoi An – Kham Duc
Day 09 Kham Duc – Kon Tum
Day 10 Kon Tum – Buon Me Thuot
Day 11 Buon Me Thuot – Da Lat
Day 12 Da Lat motoring around
Day 13 Dalat – Mui ne
Day 13 Mui ne - Sai Gon
Day 14 Sai Gon – Departure.

PRICE (Per person)
Valid to 31st December 2016

01 person:   US$ 5400
02 persons:   US$ 2895
3-4 persons:  US$ 2160
5-6 persons:  US$ 1565

Single Supplement:  US$ 290

Inclusion:

  • Honda (or Yamaha) 125 CC (semi-automatic gear)
  • Helmet
  • English speaking guide
  • Mechanic (only for group from 6 passengers)
  • Hotels & Guesthouse based on twin shared.
  • Homestay permission
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Water & Snacks
  • First-aid kit
  • Entrance fees & Sightseeing fees

Exclusion:

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Air-tickets
  • Tips
  • Gasoline on tour (average US$ 10 per day)
  • Personal expenses (beverage, excluded meals - 10$ per person per meal, souvenirs,...)  

Surcharge for:

  • Dirtbike:

    o   Honda XR 150CC: US$ 16/day
    o   Honda XR 250CC: US$ 29/day
    o   Honda XR 400 CC: US$ 40/day

  • Support truck : approx US$ 110 per day

Note: These prices are subject to change without prior notice.

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Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi.
Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam!
Up on arrival in Noi Bai airport, ActiveTravel Vietnam’s tour guide greet you with warm smile then transfer to the hotel in downtown. If the time permits, we could take a short tour around the city and enjoy Water Puppet Show the traditional art which is a unique art performance hardly shown in entire Asia.
Welcome dinner is served in local restaurant for first taste of delicious Vietnamese food.

Summary:
Transfer: AC vehicle
Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi – Mai Chau
In the morning we take our very first ride to the  Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum on the outskirts of Hanoi (if support truck requested, we will take taxi while the truck transfer bikes there in advance). The museum is a great place to learn about the historic trail which we are about to ride on. Following with museum visit, we jump on our motorbikes and spend sometime to get familiar with the bikes.
Now, let’s begin our adventure. Start our ride on Highway 6 passing extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads and punctuated by limestone karst scenery.
After a light lunch in Hoa Binh Town, the capital of Hoa Binh Province, we cross two short mountain passes then descent to a valley settlement of Mai Chau. Overnight in a stilt house of the Thai people.


Summary
Distance:  140 km
Accommodation: Home-stay in village
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Mai Chau – Tan Ky.
Say goodbye to the villagers we then head south on a beautiful winding road following the banks of the Ma River. Spending some hours riding on undulating quiet road before joining new Ho Chi Minh Highway. This newly carved route leads us due south, through remote back country, not far from Laos border. Lunch will be on the way with local foods. In the afternoon we cut eastward towards the coast and stay overnight in the peaceful city of Vinh, which is close to the homeland of President Ho Chi Minh. Overnight in mini hotel or guest house


Summary
Distance:  268 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Tan Ky.
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Tan Ky – Phong Nha.
This morning we head inland towards the Laos border. After 40min riding, we can reach the birthplace of President Ho Chi Minh in Kim Lien Village. The place is truly a shrine to the Vietnamese and visited by few Westerners.
After paying respects to Uncle Ho, we turn into the HCM Highway via Thanh Chuong District.  You cross the Lam River on the Ro Bridge and then drive primarily on the beautiful new highway of Ho Chi Minh.  Lunch break in Pho Chau Town, a tiny town about 40km from Thanh Chuong.
After lunch, we continue on the quiet highway to Dong Loc Intersection, (main junction for supply lines during the war) which is widely regarded in Vietnamese eyes as the beginning of Ho Chi Minh Trail. We then pass through remote back country, close to the border, as the scenery steadily becomes dominated by karst limestone rock formations. We will reach our overnight spot Phong Nha town. Overnight in a mini hotel or guest house

Summary
Distance:  280 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Phong Nha.
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Phong Nha – Hue.
Getting up in early morning to prepare for long journey today. Following breakfast, we embark our today tour by a motorized boat to explore the famous Nature World Heritage Site of Phong Nha cave.
After 2 hours boating and caving discovery, we continue our motorcycle tour to Hue. On the way, having a short stop at Truong Son National Cemetery to pay respect to the soldiers who fought and died on the trail during the American War. Keep our wheels riding to Dong Ha Town by passing Ben Tat Bridge, built by the VC over the Ben Hai River.  Lunch in local restaurant before we head back to Hue – the Culture World Heritage site - in the late afternoon. Check in the hotel, dinner on your own.


Summary:
Distance: 285 km.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hue.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Day 6: Hue – Hoi An.
Breakfast at hotel then we continue our journey.
In the morning, we will spend time to visit Imperial City to visit the impressive Royal Palace and other beautiful royal buildings.
Lunch in local restaurant then we drive to Hoi An via Da Nang. Instead of taking highway along coastline with a tunnel under mountain, we will conquer the most stunning pass of Vietnam – Hai Van. From the top of Hai Van Pass you can see one side is Hue and one side is Danang city with the breathtaking combination of ocean, mountains and cloud (Hai means “ocean”, Van mean “cloud”)
Upon arrival in Hoian Town we check in hotel and free time to enjoy dinner after relaxing. Dinner on your own in Hoi An town.

Summary:
Distance: 200 km.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Day 7: Free time in Hoi An.
Breakfast at hotel, today we will spend your own time to explore small beautiful Hoi An town.
We suggest this day is an easy walk along beautiful ancient streets and enjoy coffee at love, tranquility café shop.

Summary:
Transfer: N.A
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An.

Day 8: Hoi An – Phuoc Son.
In the morning, free time for relaxing in Hoi An Beach named Cua Dai- one of the most beautiful beach in Vietnam and walk around the small town.
Check out the hotel and enjoy our lunch in local restaurant, we continue the ride on our motorbike on Highway 14, along the bank of Thu Bon river to reach in Phuoc Son in the late afternoon.
Overnight in mini hotel or hostel in Phuoc Son.

Summary:
Distance: 150 km.
Accommodation: Hotel in Phuoc Son.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Phuoc Son – Kon Tum.
This day is a bit of a bumpy section of the Highway 14 toward Kon Tum – a province on Central Highland of Vietnam – that is the home of many ethnics with unique culture feature.
While driving over Lo Xo Pass, we make several stops along the way to meet De and Trieng minorities, who live along the Dak Po Ko river. Along the river are many amazing hanging bridges, built by the local people.  Lunch will be in Tan Canh. Then we visit a village of Se Dang and passing one of the key towns which once were battle sites of the Vietnam War – Dak To and outpost Charlie.
Arrive in Kon Tum, we can visit the Catholic Church and the orphanage, based behind the Catholic Church in town and run by a group of French nuns. If time permits, you can also visit a beautiful Bahnar village near town. 

Summary:
Distance:  190 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Kon Tum
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10:  Kon Tum – Buon Me Thuot
The new Ho Chi Minh Highway was built on the old trail, but from Kon Tum to Daklak, the historic HCM trail (Highway 14C), runs parallel to Highway 14 linking Kon Tum, Pleiku, and Buon Me Thuot.
We will continue riding Highway 14 today, finding that traffic is busier than usual. Lunch will be in Pleiku.  From here, we ride along the Tun River and up over a pass.  Along the way, there are vast coffee plantations and the stilt houses of the Central Highland’s largest ethnic group, Gia Rai. Eventually, we will cross the Nha Rong and down into Buon Me Thuot, the provincial capital of Dac Lac Province.
At night we can stop by the beer parlors or sample the local coffee grown in the region. Coffee in Vietnam Central Highland is believe one of the best over the world. Even though the tastes for Vietnamese is rather stronger, just taste it and enjoy its bittersweet on your tongue. Overnight in hotel there.

Summary:
Distance:  240 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Buon Ma Thuot
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Buon Ma Thuot – Lak Lake – Dalat
This morning, we drive to Lak Lake on Rte. 27, a small paved road with poor surfacing and quite busy.  Here we can have a break for refreshment and troll around the by the lake. There are said to be about 31 different ethnic groups in Dac Lac, each with their own traditional dress and customs.  Some of the villages are known for elephant hunting and taming, some for weaving and other arts. 
After lunch in Lak Lake, we continue on to Da Lat.  The road is narrow, winding, but not busy.  We have three passes to cross – Krong No, Chuoi, and Phu Son. The drive itself is quite beautiful and lined with dense forests.  Late in the afternoon, we will arrive in the hill town of Da Lat.  Overnight in Dalat.

Summary:
Distance:  200 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Da Lat
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Da Lat touring around
Following breakfast at hotel, we can spend a little time for the highlights of Dalat. Today is depending very much on your interest then we can manage accordingly. The suggestions are various from relaxing city tour with the best highlights of highland city to another adventure types such as: biking, canyoning, rock climbing or hiking.
Depending on your choice of tour, the time to back to hotel can be around 2.30PM to 5PM.

Summary:
Distance: 150 km
Accommodation: Hotel in Dalat.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Day 13: Da Lat – Mui Ne – 250 km
Wake up in early morning for the sound and sense of highland town. Prepare for this long day with full breakfast at your hotel. Don’t forget to enjoy delicious coffee – the specialties of this area.
Start our bikes for the last part of our journey – riding to Mui Ne. We can make stop on the way for lunch or beautiful waterfalls. Arrive in Mui Ne in the afternoon. Check in the hotel, dinner on your own.
Summary:
Distance: 250km
Accommodation: Hotel in Sai Gon.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day 14: Mui Ne – Sai Gon – 180 km

Breakfast at hotel then head to Sai Gon to complete the wonderful tour. Lunch on route. Check in the hotel in the afternoon. Dinner on your own.

Summary:
Riding: 180 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Sài Gòn.


Day 15: Saigon - Departure
Breakfast at hotel and free time to some shopping and enjoy the busiest hub of Vietnam. Our guide and driver are at your disposal until we transfer you to the airport for your flight home or connect to another adventures in Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar with ActiveTravel.Asia.
Our Complete Motorcycle on Ho Chi Minh Trail ends up at the airport.

Summary:
Transfer: AC Car.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: N.A

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