I need to confess that this tour was blessed with all the things that make a great tour:
- Perfect weather
- Great group dynamic that was perfectly sized at 8 people
- Similar riding skill levels throughout the group
- Smooth border crossings all the way
- A terrific selection of unique resorts throughout the tour
After an entire month of the organization to prepare all essential documents and permits, we were ready to take off in late September.
Our riders and pillions came from very different parts of the world – Australia, Egypt, Pakistan, the USA, Thailand and Germany. The youngest was a pillion of 16 years and the oldest was over 70. Despite every doubt before the tour, it was a great bunch of people, humorous and no issues with communication.
We rode almost 3,500 km in 12 riding days with a rest day in Sapa, Vietnam. This is an average of 300 km per day which sounds reasonable but most of the days were quite intense, reaching the hotel, not before 5 pm.
How many thousands of curves did we conquer? How many mountains ranges we crossed? How many villages did we pass? Countless!
We focused on the mountainous areas in Northern Vietnam – a delicacy for motorcycle riders. The highlight in Vietnam is the amazing landscape of Sapa and Nghia Loh with impressive steep rice terraces and some of the most spectacular winding roads in SE Asia.
We bypassed Hanoi due to its crazy traffic. The Ho Chi Minh Highway sounds more romantic than it actually is. The traffic is tough with constantly honking trucks and vehicles. It felt like heavy metal music.
In Hoi An we swapped the bikes with a boat to explore some of the amazing caves of the so-called “Dry Halong Bay” before returning to Laos.
Riding in remote Laos is like riding in Thailand some 50 years ago. And “Thailand’s little sister” still is charming even though the rising Chinese influence is obvious. Several huge projects are currently underway, e.g. the construction of 414 km (257 miles) railway line, a link between Kunming and the Laotian capital Vientiane.
While many roads suffer from heavy trucks, Laos still has some of the best and remotest roads of this tour. Highlight: The newly opened road between Luang Prabang and Kasi. 100 km of AWESOMENESS!
Another highlight was the UNESCO heritage site of Luang Prabang. A “pearl” and one of the most beautiful towns in SE Asia.
After 11 intense days of riding in Laos and Vietnam, it felt almost strange to ride on the left side again. We enjoyed the nicely paved roads in the Nan area and the wide selection of chic coffee places for the remaining 2 days.
For this route, 4 border crossings were required and none of them took longer than an hour. I can’t remember a previous tour with such smooth immigration processes, which made more time to spend enjoying the scenery and roads of each country.
See pictures of this tour: https://biketourasia.smugmug.com/Vietnam-SepOct19
Join our next tour to Vietnam & Laos:
02 Oct 2021 until 16 Oct 2021