Twelve days on Ho Chi Minh Trail/Road from Hanoi to Saigon (HCMC) via Tan Ky, Phong Nha, Dong Hoi, Khe Sanh, Hue, Danang, Hoi An, Central Highlands, Kon Tum, Buon Ma Thuot, Nha Trang and Da Lat.
HISTORICAL HO CHI MINH TRAIL MOTORBIKE VOYAGE
Introduction Of Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbike Voyage
Ho Chi Minh trail is so famous that BBC Top Gear made a special show first time ever by motorbike called Top Gear Vietnam Special. This was back in 2008, a long time ago but many riders still watch that show over and over again. If you want to retrace Top Gear route and see how bad the war was then ride this Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbike Voyage. In addition, American veteran riders are also welcome! Vietnamese people didn’t care about the Vietnam/American War as much as before. In general, this expedition is only good for experienced riders because the riding hours are quite long.
Honestly, this 2 wheels voyage does not focus on people or views but culture and history. Therefore, expect lower mountains and more flat terrain. On the other hand, this ride is varied and diverse in many ways. You experience a complete Vietnam inside out.
12 DAYS HO CHI MINH TRAIL MOTORBIKE VOYAGE ITINERARY
Day 1: Hanoi – Tan Ky (290 km, 9 hours)
Today is the first day of this Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbike Voyage. To get out of Hanoi safely, we will have a short briefing to let you know about the rules. In addition, the guide will show you how to understand him by his body language. We start around 8.30am after the rush hours. This is earlier than other tours due to the first long day. Just like the name of the trip, right from the beginning.
We leave Hanoi from the Southwest end to avoid heavy traffic during late rush hours.
Then ride on a small, spectacular and paved trail. Then join the Ho Chi Minh trail (now a newly built highway) all the way to Tan Ky town where we spend the night in a hotel.
Day 2: Tan Ky – Phong Nha (280 km, 8 hours)
Today is another long day of this 12-day Ho Chi Minh Trail Motorbike Voyage.
Ride on Ho Chi Minh Highway until Pho Chau where we stop to visit the HCM Trail victory monument which is, in fact, the real starting point of our HCM Trail ride.
Ride all the way to Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the biggest and also the most beautiful cave in Vietnam and Indochina and is now a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geographic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers.
Day 3: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi (60 km, 2 hours)
After the first long days, we have a short day to recover and relax a bit.
Boating and exploring World Heritage site of Phong Nha where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during wartime. Then we drive down to the coastal town of Dong Hoi, which was heavily shelled by US warships during the war. At a hotel over looking the beach, we can take in some sunbathing by the beach. Overnight in Dong Hoi.
Day 4: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh (200 km, 6 hours)
We strike south through foothills which were once sprayed heavily by Agent Orange towards the former DMZ. There is still much evidence of bombing on the mountain sides and from time to time we will see remnants of the original Trail. We take in the Vinh Moc tunnel, the famous Hien Luong Bridge (former demarcation line between North and South Vietnam, the Truong Son Cemetery and finally Khe Sanh (former US Marine base). Overnight in Khe Sanh.
Day 5: Khe Sanh – Hue (180 km, 7 hours)
In the morning we head south over the Da Krong Bridge (built by the Cubans in 1973) into the infamous A Shau Valley, an area of intense wartime activity. Passing Hamburger Hill and mountains still barren due to the extended effects of Agent Orange, we arrive at A Luoi, where there are many Bru Van hill tribe people. Then, cruising through green back country down the steep Me Oi Pass, we continue on to the beautiful city of Hue which lies along the banks of the Perfume River. Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Hue – Hoi An (145 km, 5 hours)
See the Forbidden Citadel in the morning. Join the National Highway 1 and head up the Hai Van Pass (Cloudy Pass) before the World Heritage site of Hoi An, a major trading centre in SE Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 7: Hoi An. Sightseeing day.
Those who wish can ride up to My Khe beach, where US marines first landed, otherwise enjoy a free day to explore Hoi An by foot or by motorbike taxi. With fine wining and dining (including a range of Hoi An specialties), impressive architecture, fantastic tailoring, endless shopping, and a glorious beach, there is no shortage of activities to indulge in.
Day 8: Hoi An – Kon Tum (~290 km, ~9 hours)
We strike back up to the mountains before rejoining the Trail at Phuoc Son (also known as Kham Duc). From there we head up the towering Lo So Pass, passing through remote areas thinly populated by people of the Ba Na ethnicity. Edging close to the border with Laos, where a number of Trail arteries crossed over in Laos, we continue on to Kon Tum.
Overnight in Kon Tum.
Day 9: Kon Tum – Buon Ma Thuot (~240 km, ~8 hours)
In the morning we head south through the Central Highlands, passing Pleiku and the Ia Drang Valley battlefield, before continuing onto Buon Ma Thuot (also known as Buon Me Thuot). This city is where northern forces launched their final assault on the then Saigon. Buon Ma Thuot produces most and best coffee products in Vietnam.
Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot.
Day 10: Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang (~190 km, ~7 hours)
We take an easy drive back down off the Tay Son highlands towards the coast, arriving at Highway 1 some 30 km north of Nha Trang. Taking in this scenic coastal stretch past turquoise waters and scarlet fishing boats, we arrive in the bright lights of Nha Trang and its relaxing holiday options.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
Day 11: Nha Trang – Da Lat (~180 km, ~5 hours)
This 150km ride shows you some footage of the famous 2008 BBC’s Top Gear Vietnam Special show. Mountainous ride on the Central Highland.
Da Lat is known as “The City of Love”. It is a favourite holiday resort for Vietnamese as well as the French. With evergreen forests, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, the country’s best flower gardens, and delicious fresh produce, Da Lat has always provided a welcome respite from the heat of the lowlands. We can spend the rest of the day visiting the highlights of Da Lat – its gardens, cathedral, waterfalls, market, Valley of Love, convent, university and train station.
Day 12: Da Lat – Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon (~320 km, ~10 hours)
Down on road 20, we ride to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as many of you may call.
This is so long and a big day as traffic is very crazy when we enter Saigon (HCM City). Finally, we ride straight to the train station where the ride ends. If you need information about places to stay and/or to eat our guide will be able to recommend some.
- Day 1: Hanoi – Tan Ky (290 km, 9 hours).
- Day 2: Tan Ky – Phong Nha (280 km, 8 hours)
- Day 3: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi (60 km, 2 hours)
- Day 4: Dong Hoi – Khe Sanh (200 km, 6 hours)
- Day 5: Khe Sanh – Hue (180 km, 7 hours)
- Day 6: Hue – Hoi An (145 km, 5 hours)
- Day 7: Hoi An. Sightseeing day
- Day 8: Hoi An – Kon Tum (~290 km, ~9 hours)
- Day 9: Kon Tum – Buon Ma Thuot (~240 km, ~8 hours)
- Day 10: Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang (~190 km, ~7 hours).
- Day 11: Nha Trang – Da Lat (~180 km, ~5 hours)
- Day 12: Da Lat – Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon (~320 km, ~10 hours)
- 1 motorbike per person
- All petrol (gasoline)
- Rain gear, helmets
- Motorbike jacket
- 12 nights in hotel
- Local English Speaking guide
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
- All entrance fees including boat trip in Hue and Nha Trang
- Visa to Vietnam
- Any other transportations are not mentioned in the itinerary
- Meals are not mentioned in the itinerary
- Tip for guide
- Other personal expenses
What to bring
- Good sunglasses
- Good shoes for walking
- Other personal needs and some cash for drinks or souvenirs.