A comprehensive guide to cycling around South-East Asia. These include the best motorcycle, scooter, quad, and bicycle routes in Southeast Asia. The below guide includes recommendations from some of the top travel bloggers and travel writers in the world. The list includes top choices for motorbike, bicycle & scooter routes in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Cambodia.
Best Motorbike, Bicycle and Motorcycle Routes in Southeast Asia
These motorcycle routes in Southeast Asia you should definitely have on your bucket list! We’ve rounded up 16 of the very best places to cycle or motorbike in Southeast Asia and have organized it below based on geography.
Cars are boring. Ride a bike or rent a motorbike to explore SE Asia!
Epic Motorcycle Routes In Southeast Asia That You Shouldn’t Ever Miss. Ask most travelers who have been to SE Asia and they will tell you one of the best ways to see these countries is traveling on your own bike and on your own timetable. I am an affiliate for BikesBooking as well as other affiliate programs, so I may earn a commission if you purchase through my links.
Thailand Motorcycles & Bike Routes
Explore Koh Lanta, Thailand by Scooter
For all who love to go by scooter, the island Koh Lanta in Thailand is the perfect spot for cruising. With the wind at your back, you will explore countless dream beaches, but also beautiful waterfalls, deep jungles and traditional villages.
Driving a scooter is pleasant on Koh Lanta, because the approximately 30 km long island has a well-developed road network. Also, the traffic isn’t bad and becomes quieter and quieter towards the south. Only the last section towards the national park becomes quite steep but is in any case for halfway practiced drivers feasible.
The actual route starts in the north of the island and goes to the end of Koh Lanta where the national park is located. On your way, you should definitely visit some of the most beautiful beaches in Koh Lanta, which are all located on this road. Very recommended for a break are the Relax Beach and Nui Bay. Beautiful for having a break is a viewpoint at the Kantiang Bay, where countless cozy restaurants and bars are located.
The best place to start the tour is the upper end of the island, in the village of Saladan, where are countless budget accommodations and many scooter rentals. You should plan at least one full day for the tour, as there are countless stops along the 70 km route (there and back) where it is worth stopping.
Distance: 70 kilometers | 44 miles
Ride time: plan at least one full day
Start Location: Village of Saladan
End Location: End of Koh Lanta
Best Viewpoint: Kantiang Bay
Contributed by Martina Hzb from Places of Juma
Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai Loop
Starting off in Chiang Mai, this route first heads to Chaing Rai. With a short deviation, we included Bua Tong (sticky waterfall) on the way to Chaing Rai. The journey takes 3.5 hours and offers an ever-changing scene of winding roads through the jungle and dramatic views of lakes and rice fields with mountain views in the backdrop.
Chaing Rai is a rather sleepy town and is known for housing some of Thailand’s most artistic temples. Chiang Rai’s Blue Temple and White Temple are simply stunning.
The next stop will be in a beautiful town named Nan. Nan offered us a glimpse and feel of Thailand’s authenticity. The streets lined with traditional houses, the simplicity of life, and the lack of tourism influence made us imagine what popular destinations in Thailand must have been like.
After a night in Nan, we got a super early wake-up, cruised along pitch-black streets, and reached Doi Samer Dao just in time for sunrise. The challenging ride in the dark and cold nighttime temperatures was worth it. Once the sun lit up the day, an epic scene of North Thailand’s highlands covered in a golden morning mist was revealed.
From Doi Samer Dao we started our journey back to Chaing Mai. Phrae and Lampang are 2 other towns that are both on the way. Phrae and Lampang both offered a genuine Thai feel especially Phrae where we stayed in a traditional teak house with creaking floors and squeaking door hinges.
- Some parts along the journey there are steep downhills that go on for a long distance. In these cases occasionally change the brakes, don’t stick to just one brake, but change from front brake to back brake. This is to prevent brake pads from overheating which would result in a lack of braking.
- Take some extra layers with you, North Thailand gets cold at night especially while cruising on a bike.
- The whole trip took us 5 nights and each town was around 1.5 hours away from the previous. Apart from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and Chiang Rai to Nan which were about 3.5 hours.
Distance: 800 kilometers |500 miles
Ride time: 4-5 Days
Start Location: Chiang Mai
Turnaround Point: Doi Samer Dao
End Location: Chaing Mai
Best Viewpoint: Sunrise at Doi Samer Dao
Contributed by James Cutajar from The Travel Deck.
Pai to Hidden Hot Springs
Ride time: 2-3 hours with stops
Start Location: Pai
End Location: Hidden Hot Springs, Mueng Paeng
Best Viewpoint: Sunset from Pai Canyo
The Mae Hong Son Loop
Let me get this out of the way first. If you don’t know how to ride a motorbike, Thailand is NOT the place you want to learn, especially if you are from the US, where you drive on the wrong side of the road.
In Thailand, traffic laws are mere suggestions, and lines on the road are invisible to locals. With chaos in the streets, it’s no wonder that Thailand is Numero Uno when it comes to per-capita motorcycle deaths. If you don’t have a proper motorbike license, just don’t.
If you have a proper license and the experience to ride, I have a treat for you. The Mae Hong Son Loop is one of the best, if not THE BEST riding route in SE Asia. I rode the Loop on my first trip to Thailand after retiring to the Philippines.
The Mae Hong Son Loop needs to be on any rider’s bucket list. Your jump-off point is the Foodie and Digital Nomad mecca of Chiang Mai.
From Chiang Mail, the Loop will put you on top of Thailand’s highest mountain and through a Karen Long Neck village (the ethics of stopping here is a personal decision). Then you head past the namesake Mae Hong Song town, over to the hippie backpacker town of Pai, and back to Chiang Mai.
The attractions along the Loop are nice, but the ride’s best part is the ride itself. Over 1,800 hair-raising twists and turns dot your ride alongside scenic mountain views, green rice fields, and stunning waterfalls.
The Loop is approximately 375 miles / 600 km long and needs at least four days to complete without any excess stops, but I suggest taking six days and enjoy some of the attractions along the Loop. This is truly one of the epic motorcycle routes in Southeast Asia.
You can take the loop clockwise or counterclockwise, but my recommendation is to start south and take the clockwise route. This route has less traffic allowing you to acclimate to your bike and the flow of Thai traffic.
Plus, the best part of the ride is the 80 mile/130 km stretch from Pai to Chiang Mai with over 750 hairpin curves. I loved saving that part for last.
Distance: 600 kilometers | 375 miles
Ride time: 4-6 days
Start Location: Chiang Mai
End Location: Chiang Mai
Best Viewpoint: Doi Inthanon (the highest mountain in Thailand)
Contributed by Marco From Nomadic FIRE
Indonesia Scooter & Bike Routes
Scenic Motorbike Ride from Ubud to Pura Lempuyang
Probably one of the best motorbike rides from Ubud is to Pura Lempuyang. The entire route from point A to point B takes around 2 hours. With all the recommended additional stops added, the journey may take up to 6 hours one way.
It starts in Ubud and for some time the road will wind through the blossoming marigold fields, of which there are plenty in the area. Apart from being postcard-perfect, this part of the route is also very light in terms of traffic. It then transforms into the busy highway for most of the trip and turns into a series of daring hairpins closer to Pura Lempyuang.
Keeping in mind all of this, two safety recommendations will be to drive fully covered to stay protected from the sun and to avoid driving in the rain because those final hairpins to the top of the mountain can be quite dangerous when the road is wet.
One of the first points of interest about an hour into the trip is the Lotus Lagoon in Candidasa. Perfect for stretching the legs while making a short and easy stroll around the pond, it may take anywhere between 15 to 40 minutes if you choose to stay for breakfast in a nearby cafe.
The next 3 stops on the road from Ubud are located within a relatively short drive from one another. These are the Virgin Beach with its white sands, Charly’s Chocolate Factory, where you can try some local chocolate, and Taman Tirta Ujung.
This one is the absolute gem, as you can see from the image above. The residence of the last kings of Karangasem is 3 levels of lush gardens and buildings overlooking the sea. Save at least an hour for this stop. About an hour will also be needed to explore Pura Lempuyang, the last stop on the route. The best advice would be to try getting here on a sunny day to be able to enjoy the views of Agung from the iconic gates atop the mountain.
Distance: 154 kilometers | 96 Miles Roundtrip
Ride time: 4 hours roundtrip (without stops)
Start Location: Ubud
End Location: Pura Lempuyang
Best Viewpoint: Lotus Lagoon in Candidasa
Contributed by Inessa and Natalie from Through a Travel Lens
Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
If you’re visiting Bali and want to explore the neighboring island, consider visiting Nusa Lembongan. It’s the second-largest island of Nusa Islands (the largest is Nusa Penida and the smallest is Nusa Ceningan) and only a 30-minute speedboat ride away from Bali.
The best way to explore Nusa Lembongan is by motorbike. The trip can take a couple of hours up to a full day depending on the number of stops. Without any stops, the ride is 30-45 minutes around the island and an approximate distance of 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) or 24 kilometers (15 miles) if visiting Nusa Ceningan. It’s recommended to use the Google Maps app to help you navigate the roads since they aren’t marked.
A good starting and ending point is along the main road, Jl. Jungutbatu, since many of the hotels and restaurants are located here. Follow the road and go southwest to visit popular attractions and beaches. A must-visit site is Devil’s Tear to see large ocean waves, while Sunset Beach and Mushroom Beach are recommended to see the sunset.
Check out the neighboring island, Nusa Ceningan. Drive along Jl. Raya Lembongan until you reach a fork in the road that leads to the Yellow Bridge. Cross it carefully as pedestrians share the road with motorbikes. On Ceningan, drive along Jl. Nusa Ceningan to see gorgeous views at Ceningan Cliffs and Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is a must-visit as the vibrant aqua ocean is photogenic. The ride will take about 30-minutes to 1 hour with short stops along the way.
Return to Nusa Lembongan using the same bridge and return the same way to Jl. Jungutbatu. You’ll continue north of the island to visit the Mangrove forest and take a tour of the area. There are also some fantastic restaurants on the beach with an ocean view. It’s a good spot to end the day by eating delicious seafood and Indonesian cuisine.
Distance: 16-24 Kilometers | 10-15 Miles
Ride time: 2 hours to a full day depending on stops (without any stops, the ride is 30-45 minutes)
Start Location: Jl. Jungutbatu Road
End Location: Jl. Jungutbatu Road
Best Viewpoint: Devil’s Tear
Contributed by Jackie Szeto from Life Of Doing.
Scenic coastal drive with a Scooter in Sekotong, Indonesia
When you think of Indonesia, the first destination that would come to your mind is Bali. But, Indonesia is far more than just Bali, you will find unbelievably beautiful routes in many corners of the country.
Sekotong in Lombok is one of those breathtaking routes that will make you come back again. Just imagine exploring a beach the size of a football ground with no soul at all. That’s Pantai Mekaki for you. Just after visiting that, when you come to the main road, take the right-hand side and realize that it’s a steep ascend.
You will struggle to go up, you need to put the bike in full throttle; you don’t know how much time has gone by to control your bike. Suddenly you look to your right, and your breath stops in excitement. You get a full panoramic view of the turquoise blue Indian ocean. You realize that the golden sand on the Mekaki beach you left 30 minutes back is literally glowing in the sun.
The green mountains in front of you look like a rolling, endless carpet. You are not sure if you should stop to enjoy the view, or focus on the front so you don’t get involved in an accident. Then you realize again that the more you are going to the top of Mekaki hill, the more breathtaking the views are becoming. It leaves you with awe and you are missing more eyes in your body than the two you have.
Distance: 18 Kilometers | 11 Miles
Ride time: 90 minutes
Start Location: Mekaki Beach in Sekotong
End Location: Belongas Beach
Best Viewpoint: Mekaki Hill
Contributed by Fuad Omar from A Walk in the World.
Nusa Penida Island Bike Tour
Many people visiting Bali will miss the nearby island of Nusa Penida, a hidden gem teeming with the world’s best natural wonders. Just 45 minutes away from Bali, Nusa Penida is a developing island. Infrastructure is not quite in place yet and many of the attractions in Nusa Penida is only reachable by motorbike or car. A motorbike is actually preferred because of how narrow some of the roads are.
Though there are many places to stay in Nusa Penida, travelers usually stay at Tojapakeh, the most developed part of the island and where the fast boat drops you off. From there, travelers can rent a scooter from one of the locals and explore the island by bike. For safety reasons, make sure the headlights to your scooter work when renting one, especially if you be driving it after sunset.
Having a motorbike gives you the freedom and flexibility to visit as much of the island as you desire. Some of the best attractions in Nusa Penida such as Klingking Beach, Broken Beach, and Atuh Beach are located over an hour away from Tojapakeh, but that is because of the terrible road system (or lack of).
Consequently, you can spend a whole day exploring Nusa Penida and only see 3 to 4 places.
Spend a few days in Nusa Penida so you can fully explore this developing island because one day it might not be as pristine as it is now.
Start Location: Tojapakeh
Best Viewpoint: Kelingking Beach
Contributed by Sean Lau from LivingOutLau
Malaysia Motorcycle & Bike Routes
Penang Island Roundtrip
There are many things to do in Penang, especially around its UNESCO World Heritage city of George Town. Fewer people though know that there are also several bike routes and lanes all around the island, making this 80km loop an interesting day trip that’s popular with local cyclists.
First of all, you can either use a bicycle or a small motorbike. A good starting point is George Town, from where a coastal bike lane starts and follows the eastern coast all the way south to the Queensbay Mall area, facing the smaller Jerejak island, and then continues bypassing the Second Penang Bridge and skirting around Penang Airport. Once here, a good side trip is visiting the village of Permatang Damar Laut and cycle to beautiful Pantai Isen, a secluded beach that few people know about.
Continue following the coast via Teluk Kumbar and Gertak Sanggul, from where a little paved track continues around and across Penang’s southwestern corner, passing durian farms and offering fantastic views of the sea and scattered islets, until you’ll emerge again at Pulau Betong, the southernmost part of Balik Pulau ( the “Back of the island”, as locals call it). If you are hungry, Jia Siang seafood is a perfect and authentic local restaurant that serves seafood fresh from the nearby beach. It gets busy on weekends.
From here, you can continue all the way along the sealed road to Teluk Bahang, probably the steepest part of your ride — prepare if you are cycling. You can make multiple stops and side-trips here, first of all to the area of Sungai Pinang, strewn with coastal fish farms, small Chinese villages, and plenty of options to try some of Penang’s remotest and best food. You can stop at the Nutmeg farm along the way, and take a peek at Titi Kerawang waterfall before you arrive to Teluk Bahang dam, one of Penang’s three, which is a spectacle in itself.
From here, either stop at Penang National Park for a hike, or turn right and continue all the way back to George Town via the coastal road that passes the heavily touristed — and developed — suburbs of Batu Ferringhi, lined with beach resorts, and Tanjung Bunga.
You can of course tackle the loop in the opposite way, depending on what you want to see the most and consider that it takes a good half-day on a motorbike, allowing for time to take in the sights. You could even plan a night stop somewhere, especially on a bike, and use your time to strike off on one of the many hiking paths — especially if you visit the National Park.
Distance: 80km circuit
Ride time: Half Day on Motorbike and Full day on Bicycle
Start Location: George Town
End Location: George Town
Best Viewpoint: Village of Permatang Damar Laut
Contributed by Marco Ferrarese from Penang Insider
Laos Motorbike & Scooter Routes
Laos Thakhek Motorbike Loop
There are few experiences in life that offer a truer feeling of freedom & reckless exploration than riding a motorbike in Southeast Asia. I’ve ridden thousands of miles in the saddle of these zippy little death traps & I can confidently say that Laos Thakhek loop is the most breathtakingly serene journey you can embark on.
You start the ride through Central Laos in the small city of Thakhek, where over the course of three to five days you’ll wind through the limestone mountains, quaint rural villages, and vast open farming landscapes of Laos. You’ll stop first in the mountains to explore your first caves, then carry on to the small flooded town of Thalang. You’ll have the option to make a side trip to Kong Lor (an absolute must) & then as you loop back toward Thakhek you’ll cross through Nahin & some lovely bright blue lagoons perfect for a mid-afternoon swim.
The loop is around 273 miles in total. It’s hard for me to pick one part in particular to call my favorite. But if I had to choose, it’s the spirit of exploration that this ride gives you. There are so many potential stops & side trips to take, so many caves to spelunk in or blue lagoons to dive into, that you’ll feel truly free to explore off the well-trodden path of others who have ridden before you.
Distance: 439 Kilometers | 273 miles
Ride time: 5 Days
Start Location: Thakhek, Laos
End Location: Thakhek, Laos
Myanmar Motorbike & Scooter Routes
Hpa-an Motorbike Route in Myanmar
One of the best motorbike routes in Asia is the one around Hpa-an in Myanmar. This destination might not be on everyone’s bucketlist Myanmar itinerary, but that’s probably the charm of Hpa-an. It’s not overrun by tourists, but it offers stunning scenery easily to visit by motorbike.
Hpa-an is in the southeast of Myanmar. It’s a small town surrounded by beautiful scenery, mountains, countryside, temples, and caves. You can easily visit most highlights in one day, so make your motorbike tour a day trip. Drive along the 85 Road south and the parallel 85 Road back up again. Your furthest point of the route will be the Mahar Sadan.
Drive your motorbike along the Hpa-an countryside and make a loop along all highlights. Start at Mount Zwekabin with its 1000 buddhas at the base of it. You can actually climb the mountain for stunning views, but safe that for another day in Hpa-an.
Make sure to include the Mahar Sadan cave, but be willing to walk around the uncomfortable cave floor. This cave is unique and much different from others, as you can make your way along the cave and arrive at the other end where you can take a boat ride back to the entrance.
Other caves in the area along your route are the Kaw Ka Thaung Cave, the Kaw Gon Cave and Yathae Pyan Cave.
One of the most impressive stops will be at the Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda. There’s a big temple at the site, but you’ll be visiting for the pagoda balancing on top of a rock. You can climb all the way up.
Distance: 70Kilometers | 44 Miles
Ride time: 2.5-hour drive excluding stops
Start Location: Hpa-an
Turnaround Point: Mahar Sadan
End Location: Hpa-an
Best Viewpoint: Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda
Mandalay to Mingun Bike Trip in Northern Myanmar
What makes Mingun worth your time is a collection of historic landmarks: the world’s second-largest bronze bell from the 19th century; Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an unfinished stupa, whose construction was started in 1790 and stopped after the prophet said the ruling King Bodawpaya would die when the stupa is finished.Since the king was superstitious, the construction of the stupa was slowed down and after he died, it was stopped completely.
If Mingun Pahtodawgyi were to be complete, it would have been the world’s largest stupa. While the building has been deteriorating, it remains one of the most popular landmarks near Mandalay. It was damaged by two earthquakes in 1839 and 1956 and has multiple cracks around the perimeter.
Another landmark in Mingun that is worth your attention is Hsinbyume Pagoda. This incredible white pagoda is one of the most striking buildings in Myanmar, and it resembles Mount Mera, the sacred Buddhist mountain. As with other Buddhist stupas and temples, remember to take your shoes off before entering.
Although many tourists choose to rent a taxi for their day trip to Mingun from Mandalay, renting a bike will save you time and money. The streets of Mandalay are less hectic and clogged with traffic than in other major Southeast Asian cities, but I still recommend renting it only if you have prior experience.
Cambodia Motorbike & Scooter Routes
Bokor Mountain, Cambodia
Bokor Mountain in Cambodia is one of the most enjoyable, yet bizarre scooter routes in Southeast Asia. The road leads upwards through winding roads and into cold clouds only to unveil an abandoned colonial hill station on the mountain top. The route on Bokor mountain is surely worthy of any adventurous traveler.
Bokor Mountain is an easy day trip from Kampot. The first 8 kilometers, you just follow the highway towards Sihanoukville. Make a right turn when you see the “Bokor National Park” sign and follow the road to the end. As soon as you enter the National Park, the fun begins!
The road in Bokor National Park is very curvy and steep, yet it’s very well-paved and overall easy to ride on. The road to the top of the mountain takes a small hour, depending on how fast you drive, but once you’re on the top, you can easily spend several hours exploring. Overall, expect to spend 6-8 hours on this day trip.
There are many things to see in Bokor National Park. It’s full of old abandoned buildings that you can go explore. Some highlights are the old casino which is now a 5-star hotel, an old abandoned catholic church, and the lovely Popokvil waterfall. However, the best part of Bokor Mountain is the Black Palace. The Black Palace is now an abandoned ruin with beautiful graffiti art, but it used to be king Sihanouk’s summer residence.
If you’re lucky to visit on a clear sunny day, you will get an amazing view over the ocean. However, chances are you will experience Bokor Mountain immersed in thick misty clouds. The clouds give the abandoned hill station a rather spooky feel. It’s not a coincidence that several horror movies have been shot at this location.
Distance: 76 kilometers | 47 Miles
Ride time: 6-8 hours
Start Location: Kampot
End Location: Kampot
Best Viewpoint: Black Palace
Contributed by Mia Cecilie Mortensen from Worldwide Walkers.
Phnom Penh to Kampot (The Pepper Route)
Cambodia isn’t normally associated with long-distance cycling or motorbiking, but the country boasts a fair number of scenic routes. The ride from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the riverside city of Kampot, colloquially known as The Pepper Route, is one of the best.
The total distance is 150-190 kilometers (93-120 miles) depending on the exact route you take. You can either use the highway (recommended for motorbikes – just watch out for trucks) or follow smaller village roads (better for cyclists – just avoid traveling in the wet season). While you could feasibly complete the mostly flat route within a day by mountain bike, it’s recommended to set aside three days for sightseeing along the way.
Start by heading south from Phnom Penh. Try hitching a ride to Choeung Ek first to avoid the city center. As you leave the city, you enter Takeo Province, a rural area that’s almost entirely dedicated to verdant rice paddies. The area’s numerous pre-Angkorian temples, including the impressive Chisor Mountain Temple, make for good pit stops. Overnight at a homestay in Takeo city.
The best part of the ride is through the Takeo villages. When you hit the coast, head to the seaside town of Kep, with its famous crab market and fresh seafood restaurants. A side trip to Kaoh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) can be added in. After Kep, you can take a shortcut by hitching a ride on the Crab Shuttle all the way to Kampot. Otherwise, it’s another 30km (19 miles) of cycling along the coast.
The route finishes in Kampot, a city known for its peppercorn industry that flourished during colonial times and is now experiencing a renaissance. Kick back in a riverside bungalow, or continue to explore Kampot’s salt pans and pepper fields by bike.
Distance: 150-190 kilometres | 93-120 miles
Ride time: 1-3 days
Start Location: Phnom Penh
End Location: Kampot
Best Viewpoint: Takeo villages
Contributed by Emily Lush from Wander-Lush
Vietnam Scooter & Bike Routes
Hoi An to Cam Nam Island, Vietnam Bike Ride
Thanks to a set of bridges, you can cycle over the river and reach the island with no need for a boat or any other form of public transport. It’s best to cycle or take a scooter as it would be quite far to walk.
Cẩm Nam is a fascinating little place. How many islands measure just a few kilometers in length but have their own unique cuisine and customs? If busy Hoi An Ancient Town becomes too much, grab a bike or scooter and unwind in Cam Nam which is much quieter and more local. On top of this, the views from the bridge and the exterior of the island as you cycle around are stunning.
The ride by bicycle from Hoi An is a little under 4km. Since you may get caught up in Hoi An traffic before leaving the city and because you may want to stop to take photos on the bridge, you’ll want to set aside 30 minutes for the bike ride. From one end of the island to the other is roughly another 3km but you’ll want to set aside at least an hour to cycle the whole way around it and end up back at the bridge.
The highlight of Cam Nam is its gastronomy. Popular dishes are hen trom made from locally-sourced clams, eaten with banh dap, a giant crispy rice cracker. Che bop is a sweetened corn soup that goes perfectly with the fresh clams and crispy crackers. Tiny, locally-run restaurants are dotted all around the edge of Can Nam so it’s not hard to find a place to park your bike and eat.
The one thing to be aware of is local scams. Menus often don’t show prices and the staff will try to charge high prices when they deliver the bill. Make sure you verify the prices before ordering!
Distance: 7 Kilometers | 4.25 miles
Ride time: 1.5 Hours
Start Location: Hoi An
End Location: Cam Nam
Contributed by Rose Munday from Where Goes Rose.
The Ha Giang Loop in Northern Vietnam
If you’re looking for adventurous motorbike trips in Southeast Asia, you can’t miss the Ha Giang Motorbike Loop! This iconic motorbike trip is the best way to see the rugged natural beauty of northern Vietnam and explore some of the most remote reaches of the country.
The Ha Giang Loop starts and ends in the town of Ha Giang, Vietnam. This town is nestled in the mountains and the best way to get here is by bus from Hanoi. Once you’re in Ha Giang, it’s best to book a night at one of the many motorbike hostels. Here, you’ll be able to rent bikes, get route information, learn safety tips, and meet some friends who will be on the route with you.
The most popular route for the Ha Giang Loop is to go from Ha Giang to Yen Minh, then Dong Van, then Meo Vac, then Du Gia, and finally back to Ha Giang. The route is about 350km in total, and if you were to drive this route with no stops, it would take about 12.5 hours. But don’t do that!
I’d recommend doing the Ha Giang Loop in 4-5 days to allow ample time for exploring. This way, you’ll break up the driving and have plenty of time to stop along the way and sight-see.
The Ha Giang Loop (motorbike route Vietnam) has no shortage of breathtaking lookouts and wild landscapes. Don’t miss the Heaven’s Gate Pass, located in Tam Son, or the Tham Ma Pass, for the best “winding road” picture. You’ll also want to stop at Sky Walk, the narrowest part of the Ha Giang Loop and one of the best lookout points along the route.
The Ha Giang Loop contains some of the most dangerous driving roads in Vietnam, so this route is only advisable for people who are experienced at driving motorbikes. If you’re not comfortable on two wheels, you can hire a motorbike driver called an EZRider who will make sure you get through the loop safely.
Ride time: 4-5 days
Start Location: Ha Giang
End Location: Ha Giang
How to Rent a Motorcycle, Scooter or Bike in Southeast Asia
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Check out Best Options for Renting a Scooter, Bicycle, or Motorcyle:
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are a few recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis. Click here for a DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses and Travel alerts..
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.