Off-Road Adventures in Northern Vietnam Attract the More Adventurous Tourists
Published: 06/18/2010 by ptg
Beyond the interesting mix of Vietnam’s bustling streets, busy fastfoods, serene lakes, historical museums and centuries-old pagodas tourists come to the country to see, there is a different form of experience that await tourists with more adventurous spirits. The country’s northern mountainous region has always been a favorite destination for travelers because of the scenic views and breathtaking landscapes cradled by the beautiful slopes encircling the region. But a certain travel company, Offroad Vietnam, have found a way to take one’s adventure to a different level by offering On and Offroad Motorbike Tours as a more exciting way to explore the region versus the traditional bus, train and boat rides.
Their destinations covering the most challenging tracks in the country, mostly in the mountainous provinces of Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Cao Bang, Bac Can, Tuyen Quang and Lang Son, Offroad Vietnam also offer diverse routes in the many tour itinerary options they have in line. From custom rides and day-ride options which lasts for a day or two, they also offer Ha Giang Scenic Ride, Northeast Ride, Northwest Ride, North-Central Ride and Big North Ride among the many (over 150 itineraries to be specific), which could vary between 5, 7, 10 and even 16 days if the traveler prefers so. Being the only one of its kind in Northern Vietnam offering the service, it had taken over 500 bikers to some 130 rocky road voyages since it began its operation last year. Most of the experienced riders they cater are Americans, Canadians, Australians and British, though they offer their unique adventure to all nationalities who want the extraordinary experience.
An Extraordinary Experience Indeed
Of its many destination offers, the 10-day tour is among the most commonly availed. Bike travelers usually ride the 220 km.-long road from Hanoi to Yen Binh District where the beautiful village of Vu Linh is located. Known for the breathtaking views surrounding their 200sq.km.village lake and the friendly Dao people, Vu Linh has already welcomed more than 400 tourists since the start of this year and is where travelers usually spend their first night. Apart from the at-home atmosphere, travelers find the delectable traditional Dao food and the chance to stay in stilt houses with palm roofs among the most enjoyable part of their experience.
In Northeastern Vietnam, Ha Giang province, sharing borders with China and where the country’s northernmost point lies, is best viewed by a motorcycle ride. 1,000 meters above sea level, the winding roads along its hills offer riders the opportunity to come across challenging tracks and at the same time witness picturesque scenes only to be found in this part of the country. A night’s stay at Ha Giang is also a wonderful way to for tourists to refresh themselves and be up and about as they wind from the town of Quan Ba to Cong Troi (Heaven’s Gate). The next three days of the trip includes about 270kms. of ride from Quan Ba through Yen Minh, Meo Vac Valley and Dong Van town. The karst landscape from these very areas is expected to be recognized as a UNESCO Geopark in the very near future.
Taking the 10-days and 9-nights tour from Offroad Vietnam takes the traveler through the roads of Luc Yen District, Ha Giang and Yen Bai provinces before crossing the woody paths of Hoang Su Phi District all the way to Bac Ha town of Lao Cai province. The multiple stops along the entire tour covers the most beautiful sights of northern Vietnam. It is usually on the seventh and eighth days where trippers are seen heading back to Ha Giang through the forests of Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man districts to Bac Ha, popularly known as the land of Tam Hoa plums and home to about 50,000 Mong people. The last days of the tour are the easiest as riders take the main road from Bac Ha to Ha Noi, yet the entire return journey totals some 360 kilometers.
The entire tour may sound overwhelming for the less physical travelers and for those who are accustomed to taking the more convenient methods of transport. But other tourists would even seek for flexibility and extensions of the off-road tours offered by Offroad Vietnam. Thus, the company partnered with Sinhbalo Adventures for biking and cycling trips, Motorbike Thailand for modern road bike adventures, Dancing Roads for those who want motor crossing and James Barbush for Laos destinations. These travelers’ desire for ultimate adventure and upfront encounter with nature makes them not seem to mind paying some $300-$500 for the entire tour, depending on the destination and length. More details are available at www.offroadvietnam.com or www.motorbikevietnam.com.
Always Worth the Trip
Naturally, a few problems would be experienced along the way. But from Offroad Vietnam’s experience since the start of its operations, there isn’t much they could not handle. Flat tires are among the most common. But as providing their clients the best experience is their cup of tea, they have a wide option of the most reliable and safest vehicles and accommodations incorporated in their tour package offers. With about 60 motorbikes of different models and brands from 100-250cc, Baja XR 250 and GL150 are seen as favorite choices of tourists for off-road tours. Their destinations always have commercial accommodations, but home stays make the visitors’ trip a lot worthwhile as it gives them the chance to experience the lives and culture of ethnic people first-hand.
With the indeed different level of adventure the traveler encounters along the rocky paths of the country’s north, this type of tourism is seen to grow in the not so distant future of Vietnam.
Photo from Dancingroad