Vietnam offers travelers many means of transportation. Some of these forms of transportation can be unpleasant or long, but one thing is for sure, the best way to embrace this country’s beauty is hopping on a motorbike for a trip. We have a proud collection of many breathtaking motorbike passes throughout the country, looping around stunning mountain and jungle views. Let’s take a ride across Vietnam from north to south!
Hanoi – Moc Chau Route
An Unrivaled Beauty Between the Mountains
It’s about 180 kilometers from Hanoi to Moc Chau along National Route 6 towards Son La and Dien Bien province. Overall, National Route 6 is well constructed with two wide lanes and a nice surface. Traveling by motorbike will take approximately four hours, including passing Kem and Cun slope halfway through the route. They are not very dangerous but you always have to be calm and cautious when riding as you might not be familiar with these sudden ascending terrains in the northwest area of Vietnam.
After passing the slopes, you will arrive at Cao Phong – a lovely town in Hoa Binh province that is famous nationwide for its distinctive local oranges. More interestingly, if you travel during the production season, these orange gardens will be even more beautiful with their ripe fruit and a pleasant citrus smell. Be more careful on this track because there are often police stationed here to check on your speed and motorbike papers.
Now, lying ahead of you are Muong Khen, Tan Lac, and Thung Khe pass, which are all considered to comprise one of the most spectacular loops in Vietnam. They act as boundaries between craggy mountain ranges and the vast abyss. You’ll enter a picturesque scene made of dense green forest, lovely stilt houses of the ethnic people, and a gentle touch from the foaming clouds above. It’s very likely that there’ll be fog in this area during the winter so ride more carefully and pay attention to the roads to avoid getting lost. Midway down the pass, there are many small local markets selling wild orchid flowers in various colors and the iconic snack in this region – steamed corn. Situated by the foot of Thung Khe pass is Mai Chau valley which is an extremely photogenic scene. You can also take a short break here to recharge your energy for the remaining route. After that, you’ll meet another track that has a regular police control point – Long Luong village. Continue for 20 kilometers, and Moc Chau is right in front of you.
When to Go: Hanoi – Moc Chau Route
The landscape on the way to Moc Chau has seasonal beauty, so you can visit at any time of the year. Pick your most favorite scene, pack your bags, and you’re ready to go! There are several distinct seasons.
From October to February is the season of mustard green flowers and wild sunflower with strong yellow color. Before and during Tet holiday in Vietnam, there’ll be peach blossoms and plum flowers blooming all over the place. They will magnificently cover Moc Chau in white just like a snow covered mountain.
Moving on to March, you can experience a pink flower theme with camel’s foot tree flower, or simply hoa ban in Vietnamese. There’s even a song written and performed by one of our famous rock bands about this beautiful flower.
Plants will produce fruit from April to August in relatively cool weather, which is a perfect occasion to escape the scorching heat from Hanoi. This season doesn’t yield too many flowers but you can still see a marvelous scene of peach and plum fruit everywhere.
Hanoi – Ta Xua
Explore Unspoiled Nature at this Destination
Ta Xua commune belongs to Bac Yen town, Son La province and borders Yen Bai province. It is home to the tenth highest mountain in Vietnam with surprisingly delightful weather and unique cloudy scenery. This place is becoming more and more popular for many tourists in Northwest Vietnam, especially young and adventurous motorbikers. “Cloud hunting” is a term that is often associated with Ta Xua traveling as its cloud clusters are so mesmerizing and worth discovering once in your life. 220 kilometers away from Hanoi and 100 kilometers from Moc Chau, Ta Xua is quite an easy route so beginner motorbike travelers can also try this track. Here’s where it leads: Hanoi – Son Tay – Trung Ha Bridge – Thu Cuc – Thu Cuc Intersection – National Route 32 – turn left toward Phu Yen direction – Bac Yen towards National Route 37.
It usually takes six to seven hours to ride if you start in the Hanoi center, which already includes a lunch break on the way. Like Hanoi – Moc Chau, Hanoi – Bac Yen is fully packed with splendid mountainous roads and gorgeous natural scenery. If you start your trip in the early morning, you’ll have a chance to watch sparkling sunshine through multiple layers of clouds, which lights up the whole forest underneath. The way from Bac Yen to Ta Xua center is only 15 kilometers but it’s more challenging. There’ll be more dangerous slopes and rugged terrain, with thick fog and clouds blocking your vision so remember to be cautious when riding. If you don’t feel comfortable traveling this route by yourself, take a short rest in Bac Yen and hire a motorbike taxi to Ta Xua.
Ta Xua is an underdeveloped commune without any heavy tourism exploitation so it still retains a precious untouched beauty. This is an ideal destination for those who want an authentic cultural immersion with the tribal villagers in pristine scenery that is very difficult to find in other cities.
When to Go and Where to Go: Hanoi – Ta Xua
According to experienced travelers, the best time to discover Ta Xua is from November to March. Clouds during these times are more beautiful than ever, with several impressive moments of transformation and then they drift away. Save the date to enjoy the greatest version of this cloud paradise!
There are many ideal cloud hunting spots, one of which is the valley in front of O Ngong hostel. Next, visit Wind Mount – Dinh Gio, and the Lonely Pome Tree (Cay Tao Meo Co Don), which are absolutely amazing Instagram spots. How to reach it: from the commune center, turn left towards Xim Vang direction and travel for about one kilometer and you’re there.
After taking some pictures, you can go to the Dinosaur Backbone – Song lung khung long in Hang Dong, which is six kilometers away from the center. It’s a small path created by the division between two wavy hillsides. Walking up to the top of this “dinosaur” with breathtaking views stretching as far as your eyes can reach will definitely give you a sensational experience. Adding to this wonder are rice terraced fields scattered below.
Saigon – Phan Thiet
General Route Options
Phan Thiet is situated in Binh Thuan province, 183 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City to the southeast. There are three routes from Saigon to Phan Thiet, but the easiest way is to follow National Route 1A. This option is just a straight route from start to finish. However, traffic throughout National Route 1A is quite heavy with a lot of container and other transportation trucks so it’s not very clean and there won’t be any magnificent natural scenes for you to enjoy. Many motorbikers therefore choose not to ride this route.
The second option is through the forest and passes towards National Route 20 and 55. This track is nice with many planting zones along the way such as rubber forests, dragon fruit gardens, and rice fields. However, it’s quite dangerous and difficult to ride due to rough terrain and a lack of residents. If you go for this challenge, you should start the trip early and travel in groups as it can be tricky at night.
Detailed Route for the Best Option
I have to say National Route 51 is the favorite drive of motorbike travelers from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet because it runs along the seaside! You can travel from Cat Lai ferry port to Long Thanh then arrive at Ba Ria town to shorten the route by 25-30 kilometers instead of riding National Route 1A – Vung Tau Intersection – National Route 51. When reaching Ba Ria and onward, you will ride along the beautiful coastline with the pleasant stroke of the sea breeze. After Ba Ria town, you will notice a big roundabout, and you’ll have to take the road to Ho Tram through Loc An. There are clear signs at this roundabout, so don’t worry if you can’t find the right way. Also remember that Loc An is the last checkpoint in which you can refuel your motorbikes as the next gas station is more than 60 kilometers away from here.
From Loc An, you’ll travel on a great route with pristine natural scenes, but remember to keep your eyes on the road because sometimes it has several narrow turns. This is also a frequent spot for traffic police. Ride a little bit farther and you will pass by Binh Chau hot spring resort. If you need a quality break, this is the place. Rest your feet in the soothing stream, have some simple snacks such as boiled eggs, and you’re good to go. There’s also another spot worth stopping by, Binh Chau National Park, which is only six kilometers away and very interesting to visit.
Move on and you’ll arrive at Lagi town and meet a big roundabout. From there, go straight to Mom Da Chim Resort. When you are at the first intersection, turn right onto a small iron bridge. Continue on that road for about 20 kilometers and you’ll see a sign showing the way to Phan Thiet through Ta Cu mountain.
If you arrive at Ke Ga lighthouse, you’ll know that Phan Thiet city is around 30 kilometers away. From this point onward, the track is absolutely stunning and will literally take your breath away. The surrounding scenes are spectacular mountain cliffs on one side and extremely blue ocean with sandy beaches on the other side. Besides Phan Thiet, Vietnam also has many other coastal roads in other cities. When you reach the end of this route, turn right at a triple-cross and Phan Thiet city is there on Tran Hung Dao street.
When to Go: Saigon – Phan Thiet
Before starting your trip, make sure to check for places to buy or rent motorbikes in Saigon if you don’t already have one. Phan Thiet city has relatively comfortable weather so you can actually plan your trip here almost any time in the year. However, it’s advisable that you avoid traveling here during April and May as this is the hottest period in the city. Or in July and August, because there’ll be red tide during these times so you can’t swim in some spots.
What’s a better way to enjoy Vietnam’s beauty than by jumping on a motorbike? Follow our Christina’s Blog for more guides and tips about traveling in Vietnam: