Trails of Tonkin Alpes



This extreme 10 days trip takes you to the very heart of the north Vietnam mountain . You will discover some of the finest cycling trails in Vietnam has to offer. Beginning in  Hanoi , we will cycle and climb five major passes from 1,500m to 1,800m.

  This allows you to reach one of the most delightful parts of the Northern Top in Vietnam where you’ll find big rolling hills, great views and speedy open descents with good sight lines. A single track  in the middle reminds you what real mountain biking is all about.  At its end, it lands you on a steady climb that takes you over some grand hill tops and more amazing views for some excellent descending . With enough left in the legs the day can be rounded off by dragging yourself up and ripping down trails.  By that stage in the day they are usually are pretty empty. The images below were taken on a series of visits.They say more than I could about the type of riding and atmosphere on the route.  There’s no doubt I’ll be returning just as many times. 

This is ” King of Mountain Bike Trip “

We are supported by a sturdy transit van on the main road , motorbike  is perfectly equipped support for the terrain . Some day we not riding from hotel to hotel  but not an entirely comfortable passenger vehicle and participants should sign up expecting to ride as much of the tour as they can.

This trip is 8/10 difficult mountain bike with off road ,terrain, dirt trails , single track, tough…. That is  REAL mountain bike trip.

Night1 : Night train: Hanoi- Lao Cai : Meet in hotel then transfer (15’) to train staion take over night train to  LaoCai. Night in train ( from 22:00 to 6:00 + 1 next day )

Day 1: Laocai-Bac Ha. Distance ride : +- 42 Km. D+: 1250m   D -: 500m, 60% off road, dirt road, trails, single track uphill

Arrival Laocai at 6:00 AM in the morning, Breakfast in local restaurant with rice noodle soup, banana pancake, breads, coffee, tea… Transfer by van to Bao Nhai, stating riding to CocDao on asphalt back road ( 17 km ), then go off road uphill with 2 of climbing in 10% , more than 6 and 5 km per one climb. After more than 10 km we arrival villages where we will stop for lunch, after  lunch  riding down to river then long up hill to Bac Ha.

Overnight in Bac Ha . Dinner in  local restaurant. (B,L, D ).

Day 2: Bac ha-  XinMan(total suggested cycling 45 km of which a minimum of 20 km are off road)

After breakfast in Hotel, we start biking directly from hotel, climb above Bac Ha through Di Thau. Continue riding off road to Nama villages. Stop somewhere for lunch, then ride off road in the mountain on a wide track to a mountain pass and long asphalt downhill to Xin Man. Overnight in Xin Man. Dinner at basic Hotel.

D+: 1400m   D-: 1600m. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Xin Man – Ho Thau – Hoang Su Phi

(total distance 65 km of which off road cycling 30 km, Optional cycling maximum 65 km)

After breakfast clients are transferred by Mini bus to Gio Mountain, start biking from there on flat asphalt road. After some 15 km we take an off road track (pretty wide) and start climbing on the left. After many villages and a beautiful narrow suspension bridge, we enjoy a long single track section, starting on terraces by a long climb, leading to an off road pass (about 1000m of elevation) and finishing on a long downhill through rain forest. Lunch consists of noodle soup and breads, fruits, tea, coffee.
Then we get to the asphalt road that leads to Ho Thau where the minibus is waiting. One Motorbike will assist the group until meeting with the minibus. The vehicle takes the guests from this meeting point over a small asphalt pass (tough climb and long steep downhill).  Meet a team ( bus , minibus then transfer to Hoang Su Phi. Night in small hotel ( B, L, D )

Day4: Hoang Su phi – Vi Xuyen. Distance ride : +- 50Km. D+: 1100m   D-: 1230m, single track, 100% off road.

About 5 Km, an off road track (pretty wide) start climbing on the left. After many villages and a beautiful narrow suspension bridge, we enjoy a long single track section, starting on terraces by long climb, leading to an off road pass (about 1300m of elevation) and finishing on a long downhill through waterfalls and rain forest. Lunch with noodle soup and breads, fruits, tea coffee.Then we get to the asphalt where the minibus is waiting at Vang Luong , take  short transfer (15’) to Hotel Night in Hotel  ( B, L, D )

Day5: ViXuyen – Ha Giang

In the morning after breakfast group will cycling out of the city (5 km). Then off road cycling through basically flat country side for some 35 km. After lunch we get to Ha Giang city . Afternoon free time for relax.

Dinner and overnight in Ha Giang

Day 6: Hagiang – YenMinh- Dong Van Distance: +-80Km. D+: 1500m   D-: 1330m, 10 % off road

After breakfast, We cycle up to the Yen Minh, after 22 km on the asphalt road, We start with a relatively hard of 27km off road with 7 km  ride uphill, then we stat climb some mountain pass until we get on the top of Quan Ba pass, 1,230 m . Before we hit the first of two major down hill. As we start the down hill, we slowly start to witness the beauty of Quan Ba highland . Lunch and continue riding then transfer to Dong Van. Overnight in Dong Van

Total distance about 102 km, the biker could ride as far as they want, max altitude 1500m. ( B,L,D)

Day 7:Dong Van – Meo Vac- Bao Lac

Today we are in the 2nd day of extreme riding day. We cycling some part of the road is bad with track, off road , but great view along of Gam river. This is totally a new road – built on the former trail of the flower H’ Mong tribes. We have climb with the first one more than 3km,  last one Ma Pi Leng  with 12km down hill before we arrival Meo Vac continue to Khau Vai  and we stat  biking an off road, the road is car track, broken road, some part are very bad but we are biking in the most of beautiful track in South East Asia, that is truly off road .Final transfer (25 or 30Km) in minibus to Bao Lac.
Night in very basic hotel in Bao Lac, Lunch by picnic or support by our food assistant.

Motor bike or Russian jeep standby with group.

Distance: +-60-80Km, 70% off road, jeep track, dirt trails ( B,L,D)

Lunch in local restaurant or support by our food assistant.

Mini bus always standby with group on asphalt road

Total distance about 92 km, the biker could ride as far as they want, max altitude 1500m

Day 8: Bao Lac- Ba Be lake

It is supposed to be an off road day. Today we head from Bao Lac to SonLo

Van will transfer biker to Son Lo  and we stat  biking an off road, the road is car track, broken road, some part are very bad but we are biking in the most of beautiful track .We cross the Gam river and start a long climb to a small off road pass on a building track. We cross some Dzao villages and keep of road all the time. Up and Down stage that leads to the Babe River and Lake. If we have time, take boats trip  to get close to the east side (Na Mam side) of the lake where our minibus is waiting for us. Then short transfer by a low mountain pass to  Pac Ngoi Villages. (Dinner  overnight in home stay ).

vietnam trails

Please note that a moped assistance can be useful today to bring water, food and help one people if too tyred for finishing the stage on the bike. (warning: the moped should keep behind the biker during the day and not disturb them: no noise, not stinky and pretty far away …)

Lunch  support by our food assistant.

Moto bike  stand by with group

Distance: 50% off road, jeep track, dirt trails, single track. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Ba Be lake – Vinh Loc  Hanoi

Much more easy day compare to yesterday , you  can stay in bed a bit more than the previous days .
Tough riders (only !) . We driving to Nam Cuong village ( 27 km ) and start biking in there to Khuoi Phi ( 15km ) . That would be a pretty long warm up before we take tough cycling day
Then in the village of Khuoi Phi, a short but steep climb and down section of track leads to the nice and a bit lost village of Ban Thi. Then we are use broken asphalt road for a while before getting to the intersection (cross road) of Ban Cau. Minibus will take different road and meet you in Ban cau.  Lunch in  Ban Cau and then continue biking in the afternoon in  very good single track section, very long and nice riding leads through gorges and lost villages to Dam Hong where the minibus is waiting for you.
Then, transfer from Vinh Loc to Hanoi .

70km , 75% off road, jeep track, dirt trails, single track. (B,L,D)

Distance: 45 Km.  D+: 300 m.   D-: 350m. 100% off road , single track.

End of service in Hanoi.

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Tour Cost

Group Size  2 group tour
Price /person 1,485 USD 1,250 USD

Note: Prices are based per person, double occupancy, with a separate cost for solo travelers. If you are traveling in a group but prefer single accommodations, a single supplement fee applies. Triple accommodations are not available in many of the destinations we visit.

Best time to go


  1. English speaking local guide
  2. Accommodations in  home stays and  local hotel around trip as mention ( some hotel very basic standard )
  3. Meals as noted : B= breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
  4. Drink as water, coffee, tea, energy drink by nutritional gel, juice  for cycling tour
  5. Sightseeing and activities as noted in the itinerary
  6. Additional guides where necessary
  7. Ground transportation with 100% stand by
  8. Basic medical
  9. Entrance fees and permits
  10. Full Suspension mountain bikeBike Hire Cannondale F2 lefty 26

    Cannondale Scalpel 29

    Full suspension Cannondale RZ  26


International airfare; meals not noted on itinerary; Vietnam visa; insurance other than basic medical ; optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff; excess baggage charges; international airport taxes; cost of medical immunizations; items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Tour overview

Best time to go : year around

Bikes suggest :  XC Race, Freeride , All mountain

If you bring your bike please ensure that you bike is in good working order before you leave on tour. If you are not the most mechanically minded we suggest that you get your bike looked at by a professional bike mechanic. In particularly we would suggest looking and adjusting all wheel spokes, greasing all your bearings, checking your brakes/gears cable, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamps, tires and put in new inner tubes and check wheel rims are not worn. In addition make sure the bike is well serviced and ride it with as much care and attention as possible.

Gears checklist

Total Distance

+- 470 km

Number of cycling days

9 full days and one half-day

Average Daily Distance:


Off Road


Max. Altitude

1,700 metres

Road Surface:

This tour follows a mixture of well-surfaced roads and  off road onto single track, and rough tracks, so some off-road riding skills are an advantage.


One or two 15-seat air-conditioned transit vans converted to take bikes and bikers.

Group Size:

Minimum 2. Maximum 8.


Groups of 6 or more  Vietnamese cycling guide and drivers and assistants. Groups of 2-5, an experienced English speaking Vietnamese cycling leader plus guide and support team.

Accommodation :

1 night in sleeper train. 4 nights in comfortable tourist class hotels, 3 nights in basic tourist class  hotels, 1 night in home stay. All accommodation has a/c or fan, hot water and private facilities.

Food :

All meals are included as B= breakfast , L= lunch, D=dinner .

Break every 15- 20 km ( 10 miles)  for tea break with water, coffee ,tea, juice, bread, tuna ,banana, apple… including: nutritional ( 3 Clif Bar energy bars /per day)

During the ””  the main meals are breakfast and the evening meal. Thus, breakfast should be large and substantial (and include cereals). We recommend that all participants should bring a supply of their favorite cereals as many of the hotels where we stay don’t yet have cereal on offer at breakfast.

For lunch (picnic) you will need to make sandwiches in the morning, and take some fruit. We recommend you also bring along some of your favorite energy bars.

The evening meal will be in a restaurant, and precooked by the Organizers. We will make sure there are always plenty of carbohydrates and protein on the menu.

Don’t forget adequate hydration is as important as a good meal and so you should make sure you carry enough water with you. In some stages there is no where to “top up” along the way. Follow your guides instructions for each stage. We recommend you use a hydration pack with at least 2l capacity, rather than water bottles. The water bottles don’t carry as much water, plus it will get warm during the day, they are not as hygienic and the water bottle cage can get in the way when you may have to carry your bike.


We recommend you should bring nutrition  as  details:

* Hammer Gel energy gels are 100% pure complex carbohydrates

* Clif Bar energy bars are a great-tasting, convenient source of energy for any activity. Made with 70% organic ingredients

Mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber promote steady increase in blood sugar levels followed by a gradual decline for sustained energy

4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein; excellent for post workout recovery ”

Biking Grade  Extreme

Scenery : 5 star

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