from our partners;
A motorbike tour in Vietnam is a fantastic experience, and head-and-shoulders above any other form of travel. Vietnam’s northern mountains offer thousands of kilometers of narrow, winding roads through spectacular scenery and colorful hill tribe villages that have seen very few Western tourists. Every bend in the road opens up a different view and a new experience.
While the motorbike is an essential part of any adventure and the means by which all facets of the tour are brought together, it is more than just about being on two wheels. Our adventure tours are about the people, the scenery, the markets, the culture, the food and drink, witnessing the traditional way of life in Vietnam and becoming a part of it.
We have organized hundreds and hundreds of motorbike tours in Vietnam and our team of mechanics is second to none. Our responsible guides make sure you will be able to experience a flexible tour, with plenty of options and opportunities to go where no one else has been to before in Vietnam. If travelling from NZ we recommend Mac and Chris for your travel arrangements, there are no additional costs : you still pay only our advertised prices and your bookings are made for you with inside knowledge on where to stay and the best deals! Digby & Thuy Greenhalgh
Digby & Thuy Greenhalgh jointly own Explore Indochina, which is based in Hanoi. Digby is an Australian now a semi permanent resident of Vietnam, the beautiful Thuy is his business partner and Vietnamese wife. There's the new team member - Sam who recently joined Max, who is a delightful toddler with everyone at his beck and call!
The company is Vietnam's largest motorbike hire company and endorsed by Charlie Boorman who has completed several rides with Digby after his epic "The Long Way Down".
The bikes are classics, the Urals are 30 - 45 years old which is why we love them and the Minsk so light and easy to ride. Best of all they come with their own mechanic and spare parts!
NEXT TOUR: Ho Chi Minh Trail Laos 2019 January 7th 2019. Open for bookings until 30 Nov 2018.
12 days riding, 1 rest day During the Vietnam War the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a labyrinth of trails, tracks and roads hidden in the Laotian jungle. Luckily, many sections, especially those which were cobblestoned, still exist in the forest. Explore Indochina has made 24 exploratory motorbike rides down the Ho Chi Minh Trail over the last 13 years, slowly piecing together the sections that are still navigable by motorbike. The result is a challenging and extremely rewarding motorbike ride especially suitable for strong and experienced dirt bike riders.
Much of the war remains, and it is fascinating to get a ground view perspective of the air war which was fought against the Vietnamese armies that travelled down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Along the way we pass tanks, APCs, SAAM missiles, bomb craters in their thousands, bombs, mine clearance teams, plane crash sites, villages made of bombs, boats made of jettisoned jet fuel canisters, caves with 45-year old Vietnamese graffiti, aircraft parts and AAA bunkers. The motorbike tour starts in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, takes 12 days, and is on 250cc Honda motorbikes. At the tour’s conclusion in southern Laos, we fly back to Vientiane rather than riding back.
This ride is only possible from mid December through to mid April, as rain plays havoc with the trails and river crossings during other months, making it impossible to tour by motorbike.
In Vietnam / Laos - How much can I expect to pay?
(We pay in USD / and Airlines change flights and pricing these rates are subject to change). Our pricing is based on twin share basis but single supplements are available on request although we often can get around these with our partner companies where ever possible.
Use the following to estimate your costs: Prices are in NZ dollar
Budget for Around
Your airfare return $2,600 NZD, visa application and overnight in Singapore on route to Hanoi. This amount can vary depending on which airline and how you decide to get there or you may decide to book your own flights to and from Hanoi. Our price is based on ex Christchurch or Auckland with Singapore Airlines. They have flight times that we find work the best to line-up with the tours. (We can then offer a land based price for you).
Allow : $80 (50USD visa on entry)
and; for days not on the motorcycles / jeeps allow : $80 per day and when riding; $250 per day using a Minsk and $330 per day on a 650cc Ural. Pillion rate is $250 per day either bike. (Remember includes EVERYTHING except your alcohol while on the ride).
We recommend around spending money $700 - $1000 for a tour of around 21 days.
Per person this is totals around $5,700 - $6,500 for most of our rides, plus your spending money. We give fixed quotes for tours and a deposit of $3,000 is required to secure the tour once you accept the quote. We do have payment plans for tours up to 12 months in advance.
The sooner you book the cheaper your airfare etc can be purchased, we work with Yvonne Richards of Travel Managers and have done for many years, she has arranged special pricing for us and continues to get the best deals on flights.
All the rides can be done in a open top JEEP!
what's the most popular? The China Border Crawl!
Rider Skill Level
- If you can ride a road bike in NZ from city to city and a bit of gravel thrown in - you can easily do the easy - moderate rides.
- If you can ride on more gravel than hard seal roads in NZ - then moderate to experienced is for you.
- If you have off road skills - trail bike or similar then the experienced rides are perfect and may even challenge you!
Hit the road on a Minsk riding easy roads taking in rice terraced mountains, hill tribe cultures, jungle clad national parks and traditional homestays:
2 - 5 days ride, 490-830 km Easy - Moderate
The War Tour:
Classic road trip out to the former Dien Bien Phu battle site that takes in a huge collection of landscapes, high mountain passes, hill tribe cultures and traditional homestays:
6-8 days, 1,000-1,300 km Easy to Moderate
Challenging off and on-road adventure through the highest mountain range past many isolated hill tribe cultures and incredible rice terraces:
4 - 8 days, 660-1,050 km Difficult - experienced riders only
Fantastic summer riding through magical limestone karst landscape with side trips to waterfalls, beautiful lakes and national parks:
5 - 7 days, 760-950 km Moderate
The China Border Crawl:
This is one of the most popular tours on offer, the spectacular ride takes in a full swath of the northern mountains, including the most amazing rice terracing Vietnam has to offer. The road initially goes straight up the spine of the Fansipan mountain range so you can expect large mountains and distant vistas.
Then we follow the Chinese border up into the top most region of Vietnam, which is simply out of this world, and will blow your mind! We will enjoy a number of home stays with local people and have a great day exploring Ba Be Lake by boat.
Challenging and remote road ride which skirts the Chinese border passing spectacular national parks, lakes, waterfalls, limestone karst, gorges and steep mountain passes. Many hill tribe communities:
8 - 12 days, 950-1,400km Moderate - Difficult Experienced riders Only
The Ho Chi Minh Trail:
The legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail was the supply line used by North Vietnam to link North and South Vietnam during the American War. Soldiers, ammunition, weapons and supplies were carried by hand, bicycle and truckfor hundreds of kilometres through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that covered Vietnam's mountainousborder with Lao. A testimony to the ingenuity, fortitude and commitment of the North Vietnamese, the Trail slipped from use at the end of the war and was taken back by the jungle. Recent road works that follow original sections of the Trail have changed this. Besides incredible driving, deep in the Vietnamese countryside, this ride takes in the former imperial capital of Hue, the ancient trading town of Hoi An, the World Heritage listed Phong Nha Cave and Khe Bang National Park, the Khe Sanh battle site, the Vinh Moc Tunnels, China Beach,Vietnamese war museums and the DMZ. We also take time to stay overnight in a traditional Thai hill tribe village and visit the former Imperial Tombs of Hue. Take this one off chance to be among the first to traverse the Ho Chi Minh Trail! This tour can vary in days and length but on average its length:
1,250km – Difficulty: Moderate