Written by a Tigit guide and lightly edited by Jon. Keeping the language and grammar very Vietnamese! Enjoy.
Offroad to The North West
The North West is known as the best section for riding with rough roads and stunning views. It is also a very local area for travelers to explore, to see the real Vietnam.
- For on-road riders, it would be very nice to ride on local, small, steep and curvy roads such as QL32, DT174, DT156,…
- For off-road riders, even if you have done the whole the North by yourself or following Tigit recommendation maps, there are still many trails up in the moutains out there for you that are not on any maps. The trails still lead you to the same destinations you want, but have absolutely no tourism.
It is a serious adventure trip that everyone can dream about. Everything is very random, it can be easy, or, it can be difficult, it can be possible but it can also be impossible. No plan is a perfect plan.
- The trails can be very different every time you ride, changed by the weather.
- You have to make your decision to go or not to go. Sometimes you realize that it is even more difficult to go back after climbing up or going down a hill.
My friends ride XR150, CRF250, can I go with them on a Honda Blade?
- Yes, you can. You can go everywhere on a semi-automatic. That’s how locals ride everyday.
- The cool thing about semi-automatic is that you can ride it in both ways as automatic and manual. It is also small, light and super controllable. The bag of corn or rice that locals carry actually helps them to weigh the bike to make more traction for the rear wheel.
I see they even have 2 guys on the bike.
Yes, they do. Because they have to do that. The person on the back has to walk a lot to complete trails. Don’t go 2-up riding for offroading, it is not fun.
So XR150, CRF250 are good for off-roading?
- Yes, they are. But you will need offroad tires that Tigit Motorbikes will provide when you book in advance.
- I have done a lot of enduro on my dualsport tires XR150, I like it a lot, it is good for onroad an offroad. However for an entire trip it sometimes takes me a lot more effort on slippery trails in wet weather.
- If you have no experience for offroading, you’re going to break the bike, take a Honda Blade as a good choice.
What do I do if the bike is broken?
- You can have some spare parts such as levers, cables, tubes. I used to ride without front or back brakes, sometimes no clutch lever or with a bent handle bar. Any bigger problems, I prefer to quit.
- The thing we should do is try not to break it. The clutch on XR150 could be burned after 10 minutes of feathering in a row, if you push the bike to the limit, it could lose the compression. CRF250 could be overheated if you ride too slowly, the fan also jams if you drop the bike in the wrong way. Don’t push your bike too much; let it rest.
- If the bike is totally broken, you can hire locals to bring it out of jungles, which costs around 1 -2 mil dong. (not easy)
Are there mechanics that I can find in local villages?
- Yes, there are. Mechanics are everywhere in the country. You can call us to talk to them. They don’t speak English and also limited Vietnamese. But they are very friendly and helpful, they fix your bike with little money.
- For offroading, I stop for a mechanic every morning to wash and check the bike, and pay them to borrow their tools.
What do I need to maintain the bike?
- You need to lube, check and tighten the chain everyday but tell the mechanic to do that properly. The dirtbike’s chain must not be too tight.
- You also need to set air pressure for the tires, I recommend to inflate the tires 100% then leave it overnight. It is a flat tire test.
- You should check the oil and coolant too, make sure the fan still works.
- You should also wash the bike. Dirt on the bike, contributes towards overheating.
What is your recommendation? Should I go or not?
- If you see our pictures, video and the maps on Google Earth, You will absolutely want to ride.
- For advanced riders, you can have everything from us to ride yourself such as bike setups, maps, recommendations for hotel, food,…
- For newbie riders, you can book us to ride you. Our tour guides will be very helpful to make a fun and safe trip for you. Check the prices here.
Day 1: Hanoi to Phu Yen
Hotel: Linh Hương hotel is the best in the town, VIP room costs 500.000vnd.
Food: Quán Bia Xanh is a local beer place where you can have good Vietnamese Foods.
This day is a good practice for newbie to get use to offroading. I used to ride with a few Tigit customers on their first day of riding a motorbike. It is only 4 hours on highway from Hanoi to Phu Yen but takes us up to 8 hours on trails.
Note: We now skip the section in Ba Vì National Park to save time for more riding in the afternoon.
Day 2: Phu Yen to Ta Xua
Hotel: We don’t have any recommendations for hotel in Tà Xùa.
If you don’t mind about hard mattresses, there are full of cozy homestays in the town.
Hotels are always full booking on Saturday, if you can’t find a room, go to Bac Yen for 20km more but half price cheaper.
Food: All homestay have good Vietnamese Food, my recommendation is hot pot with black chicken.
This day is very difficult for me to ride in wet weather, It is very cool to ride this map. It takes you 1 and half hour to ride straight from Phu Yen to Ta Xua but takes up to a full day of riding to climb over the moutain. Look at the pictures above to decide if you want to go or not.
Day 3: Ta Xua to Tram Tau
Hotel: Zoni Tram Tau is the best homestay you can look for.
Food: Vietnamese food at homestays.
This day map takes you through many peaceful H’mong villages, you can not imagine how locals live and ride on the trails everyday.
The map just updated, now we ride to Lang Cheu instead of DTT112. DT112 used to be very nice offroad trail but has been done already.
The plan: You ride from Ta Xua to Tram Tau, leave everything at the hotel then keep riding for a loop around the town, go for a hot spring before dinner.
Day 4: Onroad back to Hanoi
This line is the fastest way to get back to Hanoi.
Google maps always get you to QL32, but CT08 is the best in real life.