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Central And Northern Vietnam Culture

Day 1 - Departure – Country of origin

Day 2 - Arrival - Hoi An

Depending on the airline, you will arrive at Da Nang Airport in the morning or afternoon. It is then about a 45-minute drive to the hotel in the center of the old town. Hoi Ann is a small town with traditional houses that many travelers experience as one of the most attractive and fun places in Vietnam. The town is located along the river, there is a colorful market and there are traditional streets filled with historic Chinese-influenced buildings and small Chinese shrines.

Day 3 - Hoi An - accommodation - half-day tour
Today we test the motorbikes and ride to my Son (30 km from Hoi Ann). My Son was the political and religious center of the Cham people. These are the descendants of the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Champa. Although the war has left its mark, it is still an interesting and attractive place to visit. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the city. You can take a boat trip on the river or to the nearby beach. There are delicious restaurants and charming cafes in Hoi Ann.

Day 4 - Hoi An - Hue
We start driving through the Marble mountains in Da Nang. During the war, American ships were bombed from the coast and the caves in these mountains. Today it is a marble quarry and the surrounding villages are home to marble artists. Then we take a breathtaking mountain pass along the sea, then past Bach Ma National park, and we end in Hue. There we visit the ancient Citadel of Hue, where the Forbidden Purple City is located.

Day 5 - Hue - Dong Hoi 
We visit the Vinh Moc tunnel complex. Where the Chi-Chi tunnels in the south - near Ho Chi Minh City - mainly functioned as war routes. The Vinh Moc tunnels were shelters for residents of the village to escape the intensive American bombing. At that time, approximately 60 families lived here and 17 children were born here. This horrific war is still visible in the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). DMZ was the dividing line between North and South Vietnam during the war. After the tour, we get on the motorbike and ride along the coast to Dong Hoi. This city was destroyed during the Vietnam War. The city is located along the and is now very attractive again because of the beautiful beaches, colorful markets and delicious Vietnamese coffee.

Day 6 - Dong Hoi - Phong Nha
Today we have an adventurous route through part of the Ke Bang National Park. This park consists of 90% primary forestation. This forest is therefore not influenced by humans and that results in a high degree of biodiversity. Here we also find the most secret part of the Ho Chi Minh route. This was a logistical system of trails, roads and rivers that connected North Vietnam to South Vietnam via the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. Through this infrastructure, the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and the Vietnamese People's Army supplied their troops during the Vietnam War. The route came about after the American army closed the sea route, forcing the North to transport its transport over land. The path was subject to bombardment from 3 million tons of explosives. In the afternoon we take a boat trip to visit the Phong Nha caves. These caves were formed about 250 million years ago and are the largest and most beautiful caves in the country. The cave is at least 8 kilometers deep with a network of underground rivers. We will spend the night in a small village nearby.

Day 7 - Phong Nha - Thai Hoa
Today we spend the whole day on the road. We are driving on an infamous road towards Ho Chi Minh, and we follow this road north. This legendary road was once just a road through the jungle that the North Vietnamese forces used to supply the Viet Cong in the South during the Vietnam War. We follow almost deserted roads through spectacular mountains and ride past the Vu Quang National Park, a remote area on the border with Laos. A few years ago, the saola or spindle horn, also known as the Vu Quang ox, was spotted for the first time. It is one of the rarest animals in the world. People from the Muong ethnic minority group live in and around this national park.

Day 8 - Thai Hoa - Tam Coc
We continue the infamous Ho Chi Minh route and ride through small villages and rice fields. The road is getting narrower, this region is sparsely populated. We hardly encounter any tourists here. We get to know life in rural Vietnam. We ride through small villages, past rubber plantations, tea and grain fields and see past bulls grazing and plowing in the rice fields. What is striking about this area is that there are more churches than temples.

Day 9 - Tam Coc – Stay 
Today we take a boat trip of approximately 1 1/2 hours to view the beautiful limestone mountains, natural caves and authentic agricultural activities. It is a short ride to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Northern Vietnam. Some temples were built in honor of the first Vietnamese emperor ─Éinh Tiên Hoàng (924-979) (r. 968 – 979), after the country's liberation from the rule of the southern Chinese Han dynasty. 

Day 10 - Tam Coc - Mai Chau
We continue our way and ride on narrow and quiet roads, past a few nature parks, to Mai Chau. The city is located in an idyllic valley, surrounded by hills and rice fields. The valley has several Thai villages, characterized by traditional stilt houses. If there is time and the weather is good, we can optionally take a detour on a country road through the hills to visit a chopstick factory.

Day 11 - Mai Chau - Nghia Lo
We are awakened by the birdsong and the water flowing through streams. Today we again follow a narrow but paved road. It is a beautiful area and along the route there are many small villages and tea plantations. In the morning we mainly meet Thai people, but later we see more and more Hmong people. We cross the black river on a ferry and continue our way to Nghia Lo. This is a rapidly growing mountain town and is located at the intersection of two major roads. In the city you will encounter Dao and Hmong people.

Day 12 - Nghia Lo - Sa Pa
We ride further north. The landscape here is very beautiful. On both sides of the road, green rice fields have been built against the mountain walls. We ride through the mountains and cross a few high passes. There are more Dao people in this area. 40 kilometers before Sa Pa we reach the highest mountain pass Tram Ton of this trip. Sa Pa is the most touristic place we visit during this trip. If we don't come here on the weekend for the market, we won't see many other tourists. Sa Pa is located at an altitude of 1500 meters; During the French colonization, this place developed as a summer retreat to escape from the stifling heat in the lower parts of the country.

Day 13 - Sa Pa – accommodation
Sa Pa is a pleasant place to rest for a day. You can take a walk through the valley, rent a bicycle or discover the city and market. 

Day 14 - Sa Pa - Bac Ha
We ride the first 110 kilometers of the day on a fully paved road. On the way, we stop in Lao Cai to take a look at the Chinese border. The Red River separates the two countries and a railway bridge connects the countries again. On the opposite side of the river, we see the tall buildings of relatively richer China. We take the highway for a few kilometers and then take an exit onto a small country road heading east along the Chinese border. This tour is full of hills, bends, rice terraces and river views. Bac Ha is a typical Northern Vietnamese village with lively people, located in a valley.

Day 15 - Bac Ha-Ha Giang
Just north of the Bac Ha we turn right and follow a small road. We then ride through a spectacular area littered with jagged rocks. The people of the Hmong villages are surprised to see us. They rarely see foreigners here and certainly not on motorcycles! After a beautiful descent, we arrive in Xin Man. Just outside Xin Man we cross the bridge and turn right. We follow the river to the village of Huang Su Phi. There are many people from the Nung tribe here. There are also many Nung villages along the way. After every bend we have a view of the beautiful green rice terraces. The last part after Ha Giang we have to follow the main road. One has to be a little careful in busy traffic. Ha Giang is the capital of the province. We will spend the night in a resort on the river, just outside the center.

Day 16 - Ha Giang - Dong Van
we go to the beautiful and unique karst mountain area. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, 'Kart Plateau Geopark' known locally as 'Dong Van - Meo Vac', after the two largest villages. Immediately after the Ha Giang, the road becomes narrower and then we ride over the ridge. We take the time to enjoy the breathtaking landscape and watch the hardworking hill tribes.

Day 17 - Dong Van - Stay
Today we take time to explore the area, relax in the city, or both. One option is to visit one of the former Hmong king's palaces. Also, a short but adventurous trail takes us further north, to the Chinese border. It is also possible to take a ride along narrow roads to visit small villages in the immediate area.

Day 18 - Dong Van - Bao Lac
This morning we wake up with a view of the spectacular Ma Pi Leng Pass. It is only 21 kilometers, but Vietnamese poets have expressed their love here. We will take plenty of time today to explore the area. It is a quiet route through an undulating landscape covered with rice terraces.

Day 19 - Bao Lac - Ba Be
We ride along narrow roads to Lake Ba. The motorbikes go on a small boat with which we cross the river. The Ba lakes are located in the national park of the same name. The lakes are surrounded by pointed karst rocks. The National Park is made of limestone, so there are lakes, waterfalls, caves and strange rock formations in abundance. You can encounter special animal species such as the king cobra, the Asian black bear and the Asian golden cat. There are more than 350 different species of butterflies. Lake Ba is the largest in the country. It is about seven kilometers long and one kilometer wide. Within the park boundaries, there are also a number of villages with ethnic minorities, such as Tay, White H'mong and Red Dao.

Day 20 - Ba Be – Hanoi
This is a long day of driving back to the capital. In the morning the roads are quiet but after then Nguyen it gets busier. It is the last stage of the journey but perhaps the most special. For many participants, riding in the city in busy traffic is a fantastic end to the motorcycle trip.

Day 21 - Hanoi – Stay
Today you can explore Hanoi. During the colonial era, Hanoi was the capital of French Indochina. The French history is still clearly visible, partly through the wide boulevards and the old villas. You can walk around the old quarter through small streets and past busy shops. Or visit museums and pagodas. In the evening you can enjoy delicious Vietnamese dishes during dinner.

Day 22 - Hanoi – Amsterdam
If you do not have an extension to Ha Long Bay, you will depart for Hanoi airport for the flight back home.


Day 22 - Hanoi - Halong Bay

In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to Halong Bay in a minibus. This is a drive of approximately four hours. The pointed mountains in Halong Bay make this bay very special. It is beautiful to sail through here by boat. You will arrive in Halong Bay around noon. Here you board a traditional boat and share it with other (international) travelers. You will then sail into the bay and spend the night on the boat in a beautiful location. If there is interest, we will make a stop at various caves.

Day 23 - Halong Bay – Hanoi
In the morning we return to shore and get back in the minibus. It is very busy with traffic between the coast and the capital Hanoi. And the closer you get to Hanoi, the worse it gets. You can use the afternoon to visit the old part of Hanoi. You can ride through the city by motorbike or explore the old center on foot. Depending on the flight, you will leave for the airport tonight or tomorrow morning.

Day 24 - Hanoi – Country of origin
Today we leave by van for the airport and you arrive at Schiphol the same day.

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    Group size:
    6 - 12
    From $3.695,-
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