For those who are interested in motorbike riding or are professional riders, Vietnam could be a really nice place to test your skills and satisfy your passion. With the typical, incredible mountainous terrain and breathtaking natural landscape on the way, a motorbike ride through Vietnam would not only give you a real challenging adventure, but also rewarding and satisfying. In this post, we will guide you through the Top 5 Best Motorbike Routes in Vietnam to help you better plan your trip and fully enjoy the ride.
Before you go…
There are a few things that you should keep in mind while riding a motorbike in Vietnam:
- Vietnamese drive on the right side of the road.
- Foreigners must have an International Driving Permit.
- Helmets are required
- The best time to travel to Vietnam is between October and April when the weather is cooler and there is less chance of precipitation.
- November through February is a pleasant and dry time for motorcycling. March and April are smoky because farmers practice the burning of their lands during these months.
- From May to September, it can be quite hot.
- The monsoon season lasts between July and September.
Best Motorbike Routes in Vietnam
1. Hai Van Pass
On the North – South nation highway, Hai Van Pass is an impressive landscape. This is the highest pass in Vietnam (500m above sea level). Hai Van means “Sea Clouds”, since the peak of the mountain is in the clouds while its foot is close to the sea.
With sudden curves and blind corners, Hai Van Pass is likened to an arrogant but beautiful girl challenging drivers’ skills. It has always been an attractive landscape, full of perilous obstacles and is the last spur of the Truong Son Range reaching to the sea. Hai Van Pass is well known for its dangerous roads, and accident warning boards carefully appear regularly along the side. It’s a surprising sight to see the animation and modernity at the peak as foreign visitors buzzed about buying souvenirs. The area is a perfect place to have a cup of coffee and contemplate the scene, looking over Hai Van as if from the heavens as the trees blow with the wind.
Hai Van Pass will satisfy your desire to conquer high peaks and remind you of the glorious past of the Viet people. Moreover, from the pass, on nice days, visitors can enjoy the whole vista of Danang, the Tien Sa seaport, Son Tra Peninsula, Cu Lao Cham Island and long sandy beaches.
2. Ha Giang Loop
If you are an experienced motorbike driver, Ha Giang Loop would be the perfect place to challenge your skills (even more than Hai Van Pass). It is a 300-kilometer winding road in the northern Ha Giang, bordering the Yunnan Province of China. It is often described as the most spectacular ride in the country, however, this route is not for beginners. Expect hundreds of hairpin turns, mountain scenery and friendly local hill tribes such as the H’Mong people, who inhabit this area. Multiple viewpoints are scattered throughout for stunning panoramas.
The time to complete the full loop is approximately 3-4 days, although it’s recommended to carve out at least four days as to not rush the experience and be able to soak in all the sights. If you’re really short form time, you can ask around for a shorter loop route, but you will be sacrificing some incredible stops along the way. The best time to ride through Ha Giang Loop is from October to April, since it’s the dry season.
If you dare to navigate a motorbike through steep, winding cliffs and rocky roads, you will be greatly rewarded with some of the most breathtaking, mountain views in Vietnam and all of Southeast Asia, including the awe-inspiring Ma Pi Leng Pass.
3. O Quy Ho Mountain Pass
If you love taking adventures on challenging routes of Vietnam, then O Quy Ho Mountain Pass should definitely be on your top list when visiting Vietnam – one of the most favorite destinations of hard-core adventurers. This is considered the longest mountain pass in Vietnam, stretching for about 50 kilometres through the Hoang Lien Son range and connecting Lai Chau – Lao Cai province. The pass is also called “Cloud” pass because it is obscured by clouds all year round.
As the most tortuous and difficult pass in the Northwest, its risky hairpin curves attract and challenge all kind of adventurous motorists. However, these trials reward successful explorers with victorious thrills driving through the limitless curves there. Coming to the peak, you will reach the “Heaven’s Gate”. O Quy Ho pass’s peak is the highest point in Vietnam, which reaches an altitude of 2000 meters (6,560 feet). At the top of the pass, you can see Lai Chau’s beautiful valleys below, with endless sky, mountains and looming green fields. When it is sunny, the passes of Lao Cai province are often shrouded in the rivers of clouds, flowing in the windy sky that provides tourists the feelings of being wild birds.
Lao Cai belongs to a tropical climate, so summer and winter will be great seasons for a nice trip to O Quy Ho. The best time to go through the pass is around 10AM in the morning, when the sun has fully risen and you will be able to completely, sharply witness the beauty of Vietnam’s natural landscape. As one of the most difficult and winding passes in Vietnam’s northwestern mountains, O Quy Ho always inspires a lot of adventure tourists and satisfy their deep passion to conquer the height.
4. Hon Giao Pass
Hon Giao Pass is located in the Central Highlands, connecting the coastal city of Nha Trang with the flower city of Da Lat. It is 33km long – a great length for a motorbike trip. This pass is also known by names such as Khanh Le, Khanh Vinh, Bidoup, Long Lanh and Omega Pass. For a long time, Hon Giao Pass is a road for those who love to explore – each turn here is a new landscape that is both majestic and poetic with fog flowing down the valley.
Hon Giao pass has spectacular and dangerous slopes, therefore gives visitors an indescribable adventure feeling, almost like the feeling when getting off an airplane. Slopes continuously appear on the way of more than 30km of the pass. Through the winding slopes, you will go through a height of 1500m down to 1000m and down to 500m.
From Da Lat city, the road goes through immense primeval forests, overcoming many cliffs with beautiful streams, passes and waterfalls, rustic and small villages of Cil and K’Ho people. At the top of Hon Giao with an altitude of 1,700m, you will see the fog as far away as the dew rivers. The best thing about going through this pass is the fog – it is so thick that you will have to turn on the lights to get through. The fog is thick all year round, as if it wants to hold back the traveler.
There have been a lot of warnings about the danger of this pass, so you should be a very experienced driver and slow down a little bit while travelling here. Also, you should visit the pass in the summer when it’s sunny and clear to better see the roads, and always travel with some friends.
5. Khanh Son Pass
Khanh Son Pass is considered the second Dalat in Vietnam due to the cool, relaxing climate and its “four seasons in a day” weather characteristic. Located to the west of Cam Ranh city, the pass in only 10km long and 600m higher than the sea level, but its pristine beauty will give you an unforgettable experience.
Being the boundary between the white-sand lobe and the sunny, windy plateau, the air in Khanh Son Pass here is always quite cool and chilly all year round. Even though the pass is not too long or too high, there are still many miraculously rolling hills and challenging bends that stimulate the passion for driving inside riders. A perk of travelling to this pass is definitely the weather – since it’s always clear and chilly, it’s easier to pass through without danger.
The scenery of the Khanh Son Pass changes with the seasons: dry and rainy. In the rainy season, you will be immersed in the green of the plants, the clouds and the sky and the nostalgic petals of the roadside. In the dry season, the plants and trees seem to be wearing a new coat with all kinds of vibrant colors, mixed with the green color commonly seen as the yellow color of bamboo leaves, the red color of the unknown leaves – as beautiful as an autumn painting.
A small note while travelling through Khanh Son pass is that you need to carefully check your vehicle and bring all the necessary items to avoid the case of the car shutdown in the middle of the pass. Since it’s rarely inhabited here, if you do not have a mobile phone, you will have to walk quite a distance to reach the car repair shop.
Listed above are the Top 5 Best Motorbike Routes in Vietnam. Although each of them has a different and unique characteristic, they are all guaranteed to bring you the most vibrant and excited feeling, no matter you are a new or experienced driver. We hope you will be inspired by our incredible natural landscape and satisfy your own challenging passion.