HO CHI MINH TRAIL VIETNAM MOTORBIKE TOUR
An exotic mix of hill tribe villages, stunning landscape scenery, loads of history and plenty of endearing people can be met on this Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Motorbike Tour Trail. A popular tour for the adventure traveller looking for something that will provide life long memories
Join us on a truly stunning, once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the incredible Ho Chi Minh Trail on a motorcycle. Experience the stunning beauty and culture of Vietnam as you make our way through small villages, learning about the how the people coped during the war and staying overnight in hotels and home stays
This is an incredible offer of an inclusive* 14 day motorcycle holiday to Vietnam to ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Similar to that seen on Top Gear) The sights, sounds, smells and culture is inspiring, beautiful and thought provoking. If you ever wanted to join a motorcycle tour that tops the rest, then this is one of them, this really is fantastic value for money and an awesome experience.
Our accommodation is always of reasonable standard. The hotels and home-stays are clean and friendly with showers, toilets, fresh cooked food etc and would have a UK equivalent of a 2 or 3* hotel
During the home-stays we sample the delicious local sourced and cooked food, cooked by the owners (to western standards), this usually consists of chicken and pork, rice, omelette, noodles, spring rolls and greens followed by fruit for dessert. During the evening we may be treated to some traditional dance displays from the locals in the village.
When in Hanoi or other larger city we are likely to eat out and our guide will take you either to a street restaurant or an indoor restaurant that serves excellent freshly cooked food and plenty of Beer and rice wine!
Each morning for breakfast we are treated to yogurt, fruit, pancakes, eggs and bread. It’s all very delicious topped with a drizzle of fresh honey!
At lunchtime, around 12.00 – 13.00, we stop for about an hour and indulge in some noodle soup, rice, spring rolls, meat and other fine food, all freshly prepared for us. (this is the only cost, as well as alcohol that you need to cover). the food is clean and freshly prepared and as an IBS sufferer, I can honestly say I never need to take medication when eating in Vietnam!
After lunch, we head off again and may even take in some dirt tracks and narrow pathways, often crossing shallow streams and rivers or negotiating rope suspension bridges, it’s all brilliant fun.
By the end of each day, your camera memory cards will be bulging with photos captured and memories that will last forever. Bring a small camera so you can carry it in a small backpack or hydration pack, even better. A small helmet camera is also a good option
Vietnam is relatively cheap outside of the main cities, such as Hanoi. Lunch is approximately £3 – £5 each day and beer is around £1 – 2 a can. Fuel, breakfast and dinner is included (except for rest days where you will pay for your own dinner), as is airport transfers and bike hire
We insist you take out suitable medical and travel insurance, we use HolidaySafe for this
There is a low risk of Malaria in North Vietnam, but a higher risk in the south. Mosquito’s aren’t usually a problem in the locations we go to but they are present. A good insect repellent does help. See your GP for recommended vaccinations and we do recommend you do plenty of research before taking anti-malaria drugs as some can make you very poorly.
You do not need a Visa for this tour as Vietnamese Government have extended their entitlement to Uk visitors as long as your stay does not exceed 15 days, which it doesn’t (12 days)
The Vietnamese currency is Dong. However, Dollars are widely accepted. It is good practice to change around £200 – £300 into Dollars in the UK and then into Dong when we arrive at the airport. You will get more for your money using Dong than Dollars. Credit Card machines are rarely used in Vietnam, it is all cash and good old fashioned bartering
*Evening meals are included other than on your rest days or last day. *International or connecting flights are not included and cost approx £500 – £600 (£120 for internal flight). Flights will need to be booked 8 – 12 weeks before departure, details of which, will be provided to you. Support vehicle is provided where there is more than 6 riders on the tour. Otherwise a dry bag will be required (40 – 60ltr) which is strapped to the bike, alternatively, you can arrange locally for a driver to take your luggage to the hotel each day for approximately $50 – 100 for the group.
Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi
Day 2 - Relax / Explore Hanoi City
Day 3 - Hanoi – Mai Chau . 170km, 5hr ride.
Leaving Hanoi and breaking out of the delta plains, we pass through endless limestone karst scenery as we travel up to the Northwestern region, the extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads. Lunch on route, arrive in Mai Chau in late afternoon, night on a stilt house of the Thais Minority peoples, dinner with the family, traditional music performance.
Day 4 - Mai Chau – Tan Ky. 270km. 6hr ride
Day 5 - Tan Ky – Phong Nha. 300km - 6 hr 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. Lunch on route, dinner and overnight at hotel in Phong Nha
Day 6 - Phong Nha – Khe Sanh. 240km 6 hr ride
Day 7 - Khe Sanh - Hue. 190km.
Day 8 - Hue - Hoi An, 150km, 4 hr ride. Relax in the morning, afternoon ride to Hoian
Day 9 - Hoi An, Relax.
The former harbour town of the Champa people at the estuary of the Thu Bon river was an important Vietnamese trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled down. During this period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Seaside Town) in Vietnamese. During the French colonial period (1883 – 1945), it was called Faifo. Originally Hai Pho was a divided town, because across the “Japanese Bridge”, it used to be the Japanese settlement (16th – 17th century). The bridge (Chua Cau) is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side.
The town is known to the French and Spanish as Faifo, and by similar names in Portuguese and Dutch. A number of theories have been put forth as to the origin of this name. Some scholars have suggested that it comes from the word “Hai pho” meaning “sea town”, while others have said that it seems more likely to simply be a shortening of Hoi An pho, “the town of Hoi An”, to “Hoi pho” which became “Faifo”.
In 1999, the old town was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, whose buildings display a unique blend of local and foreign influences.
Today, Hoi An is still a small city, but it attracts a fair number of tourists, also being a well established place on the backpacker trail. Many visit for the numerous art and craft shops and tailors, who produce made-to-measure clothes for a fraction of the western price.
Day 10 - Hoi An - Quy Nhon. 300km 6hr ride
Day 11 - Quy Nhon – Nha Trang, 210km, 6hr ride
Day 12 - Relax in Nha Trang. Flight to Sai Gon, connecting flight to get home
Please note: The itinerary is a guide, it may not be exactly as stated, due to weather, road closures or other elements out of our control. It is an adventure tour and as such parts of the itinerary can change without notice.
Notes on flights:
GMT Ltd will recommend an outbound flight from London to Hanoi so that we can get everyone arriving at the same time for the transfer to the hotel. If you prefer to opt for a different flight or airline to that recommended, you will need to ensure you arrive at the airport in Hanoi in time for the transfer to hotel in Hanoi, if not you will need to get a taxi to the hotel in Hanoi to meet the others (details will be provided).
Our business partner and local tour guide will arrange internal flights on the last day of the tour to get us back to an international airport (Saigon or Hanoi – TBC) whereby we can get a return flight home to UK. The cost varies but is approx £80 – £140 payable directly to our business partner on the tour. From here you can make your own arrangements regarding return flight to the UK (details will be provided 2 – 3 months before departure)
HO CHI MINH MOTORCYCLE TOUR VIETNAM DATES 2020
Option 1: 22nd March 2020
Option 2: 28th November 2020
Single rider sharing a twin room: Only £2495 per rider
(you will share with another person booking on the tour if you are booking one place on the tour for yourself)
Single rider own room: Only £2795 per rider
(Unless it can be arranged, you will sleep in the Communal room when staying in the Home-Stay, usually 1 or 2 nights during the tour)
Rider & Pillion sharing double/twin room: Only £3995 per rider & pillion
(Rider & pillion price is total cost for rider & pillion. You will be offered a separate room at the Home-Stay if available. A larger bike is offered and included in the cost)
- Bike Hire
You will be given the use of a Honda CRF250 or Kawasaki KLX250. Rider & Pillion will be offered a larger machine such as a GS650 or KLR350
All fuel costs are included
- Breakfast & Evening meals
Evening meals are excluded on the rest days to allow you freedom to do as you please and experiment with the local cuisine. Recommendations are provided if asked
All accommodation costs are included. Where the night is a stay in the traditional home-stay, it is more often than not communal sleeping in a large room, each bed has its own privacy curtain and mosquito net curtains. Sometimes we may be able to provide private rooms for couples and single riders booking a private room
- Airport transfers
If booking the recommended flights, we will ensure you are collected and returned to the airport
- Local English speaking tour guides
Our local knowledgeable tour guide holds professional qualifications in travel and tourism. He also speaks fluent English, Spanish and French
- Bike Mechanic
We have a mechanic available to repair the bikes if they develop a fault
- History tour
Our tour guide has a great wealth of knowledge on the history of Vietnam, he also has a couple of very interesting stories to tell of his own, such as being born in a cave during the Vietnam war!
- Support vehicle
(other than water carried on support vehicle)
You pay your own lunch and drinks (average cost $5)
- Evening meals on rest days x 2.
This is to allow you the freedom of choice
- International or internal flights
International flights cost between £550 – £700 pp (we will recommend via our agent a flight for the group). Internal flight to get into Saigon to end the tour is approx $100 pp paid to our business partner in Vietnam as these have to be arranged in advance
- Entry fees to attractions
- Room service or mini bar
- Tour guide tips
- Damage/repair costs unless mechanical fault
Damage to motorcycles is usually very rare and minor and often results in something simple as a broken wing mirror or similar at worst. As such these costs will be settled directly with our business partner. Any mechanical costs, such as; punctures, snapped cables, engine failure etc are covered by our business partner
- Support vehicle (when less than 6 riders)
A support vehicle is always provided when there is more than 6 riders on the tour. A supplement of $100 per day for a vehicle to carry your luggage is charged locally to the group when there are less than 6 riders in a group. The cost can be split between the group.
- Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory on the tour, we recommend HolidaySafe
- Visa (if required)
Visas are not required for British Passport Holders travelling to Vietnam for 15 days or less
- Motorcycle Helmet or clothing
Anyone using a helmet being offered by a tour agent in Vietnam would be foolish. We insist you bring your own motorcycle gear (helmet and gloves is a minimum requirement). Helmets can be taken on board the airline as carry on luggage, as well as a carry on bag (Thai Airways)
CAN I TAKE A PILLION?
Yes, you can. However, we would recommend that you are a very competent and experienced rider who has ridden many miles with a pillion and are very comfortable riding on dirt roads with a pillion. Riders with pillions will be offered the more comfortable, KLR300 or BMW GS650 or similar
WHAT IS THE SEAT HEIGHT OF THE BIKES?
The seat height varies depending on which bike you choose but on average they are 80 – 84cm. At 5’9″ tall and with a 29″ inside leg, a rider is able to sit on the bike with knees bent and feet on the floor, this is because we will be riding bikes with smaller frames, designed for the Asian people who are typically shorter than westerners!
SOME OF THE TRAILS LOOK A BIT NARROW, WILL I HAVE TO RIDE THEM?
No, the support vehicle (usually a Ford Ranger 4×4 pickup truck, as seen in the photos section) can only drive along the roads suitable for it, such as compacted dirt tracks wide enough but obviously, it cannot drive up the narrow trails. If you prefer not to ride the narrower trails (or through the streams etc, perhaps because you have a pillion) you simply follow the support vehicle or the alternative route clearly provided by the tour guide and meet up with the group on the other side of that section
DO I NEED TO HAVE A MOTORCYCLE LICENSE? I CAN RIDE A BIKE!
You will need to have a valid full motorcycle license to join the tour. You may be entitled to join the tour if you have a provisional license but speak to us first as we need to ensure you will have sufficient holiday insurance cover and the correct entitlement on your license.
DO I NEED A VISA?
No, currently ‘British Citizens’ passport holders travelling for tourism or business can enter Vietnam for up to a maximum of 15 days (inclusive of dates of entry and exit) without a visa.
DO I NEED VACCINATIONS?
You will need to consult your pharmacist or doctor as to what they recommend is the best course of vaccines for you. We recommend Holiday Safe who will also be able to provide specific insurance cover for using a motorcycle off road
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
Most of the tour dates we organise for Vietnam bring good weather as it is outside of the rainy season. The climate is usually very manageable. Typical temperatures are 22 – 35c with the odd shower.
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY?
Currency is Vietnamese Dong but Dollars are widely accepted. Money can be changed at the airport and in Hanoi
WILL I HAVE TO EAT INSECTS?
No, not at all. In Thailand this cuisine is more common but in Vietnam the food is rather much more simpler.
DO THEY EAT CATS & DOGS?
Not that we have known about! All our hotels and Home stays have been taught to cook the western way, this means hygiene and menu selection is taken into account
WHAT BIKES DO YOU USE?
We use Honda CRF250 Dirt Bikes, and Kawasaki KLR 350 or similar for riders with pillions. Supplements may apply to bikes larger than 250cc.
IS THE TOUR ON OR OFF ROAD?
Much of the surface is tarmac and some compacted dirt tracks, trails and shallow streams. Even without dirt road riding experience, as long as you are an experienced and competent rider you shouldn’t have any issues. There are some shallow streams but there is always an option to take the tarmac road route with the support vehicle. 90% of our clients have never ridden off road before (off tarmac) and have all managed.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT FLIGHT TO BOOK?
We will provide all the details regarding recommended international flights 8 – 12 weeks prior to departure. The cost of the intentional flight is approximately £500 – £700 GBP. You will also need an internal flight, this is organised by our business partner in Vietnam prior to your arrival and costs approximately $100 (paid to him direct on arrival) so that you can get to Saigon Airport for your return home. The tour starts in Hanoi, finishes in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City
WHAT RIDING GEAR SHOULD I BRING?
We always recommend wearing what you feel comfortable and safe in. Some wear cargo trousers and hiking boots with a jacket. Obviously a helmet and light summer gloves are a must. Whilst there is an amount of off tarmac riding (dirt tracks) speeds in Vietnam are typically around 30 – 40 mph.
After 28 March 2019, British visitors wishing to drive cars or ride motorbikes in Vietnam will need to present both their UK domestic driver’s licence and a UK issued International Driver’s Permit.
*Evening meals are not included on your rest days.
*International & internal flight is not included in the booking cost. Cost of international flight from UK to Vietnam return is £500 – £700 payable direct to our booking agent. You will also need to pay $100 for the internal flight to take you back into Saigon for the final part of the tour, which is to be paid to our business partner directly in Vietnam.
Flights will need to be booked in plenty of time before departure, details of which, will be provided to you.
*Support vehicle is included in the cost only where there is more than 6 riders on the tour (we rarely have less than 6 riders on the tours). Luggage can be strapped to the bike or alternatively, we can arrange for a driver to take your luggage to the hotel each day for approximately $50 – 100 p/day splitting the cost between the group of 5 or less riders