Sapa and Sìn Hồ are two small towns high up on the slopes of the Hoàng Liên Sơn Range, known in French colonial times as the Tonkinese Alps. Sapa is a famous mountain retreat, enormously popular with Vietnamese and foreign tourists. Sìn Hồ, on the other hand, is hardly ever visited by travellers. These two highland towns are connected by lofty mountain passes which afford spectacular views, on a scale not found any where else in Vietnam. Take a motorbike tour from Sapa and spend 2 days on the Sapa – Sin Ho Scenic Loop, you’ll be rewarded with some of the grandest alpine scenery is Southeast Asia.
Sapa – Binh Lu Junction – Lai Chau city – Phong Tho town – Chan Nua Junction – Sin Ho town – 195km.
Sin Ho – Lai chau city – Binh Lu Juntion – Sapa town – 135km.
Day 1: Sapa - Binh Lu Junction - Lai Chau city - Phong Tho town - Chan Nua Junction - Sin Ho town - 195km.
Our guide will meet you at the Reception of your hotel for a short briefing and check all the condition of the Motorbikes. Then start your journey from the hotel by Motorbike and head through Sapa Town then Head west on Road 4D from the town of Sapa. The road passes a couple of pretty waterfalls before reaching the top of Tram Ton Pass, Vietnam’s highest mountain road at 1,900m (6,230ft), about 15km from Sapa. You will know when you get here because, if the weather is clear, you will see the pass snaking around the mountains below you, the pass is both a climatic divide and a provincial one, marking the border of Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces.
The impressive, crenelated ridge to the south is Mount Fansipan, Indochina’s highest peak at 3,143m. Its looming presence bears down on the pass, casting a cold shadow over the road. Deep down in the valley below indigo rivers forge paths over large boulders. Fansipan is so big that it dominates the scenery all the way to Lai Chau. Tram Ton Pass winds down through more pristine alpine scenery to Tam Duong town. Continue northwest on Road 4D for 40km to Lai Chau.
If you’re visiting during September or October look out for some absurdly pretty valleys of terraced rice fields, about 10km before descending into Lai Chau. This is the kind of scenery that brochures promise Sapa will offer, but in reality you have to travel a little further afield to find sights like this.
From Lai Chau continue northwest on Road 4D toward the town of Phong Tho. After Phong Tho the road turns back on itself, heading south along the Da River valley. The road is in good condition but deteriorates when it becomes Road 12. The last 30km to Nam Cay/Chan Nua it’s a quiet stretch through a majestic river valley. At the junction turn left on Road 128 for the impossibly scenic and steep ride to Sin Ho. In good weather this route is exceptional. Cutting a path in the mountainside, the single lane road zig-zags up for 40km to the isolated mountaintop town of Sin Ho. The views over ridges, farmland, ethnic minority villages and clear rivers are superb.
Like Sapa, Sin Ho is often engulfed in mist and drizzling rain. The town is scruffy, run-down and feels very remote. Built on a small plateau at an altitude of over 1,000m (3,300ft) Sin Ho is very cool, especially in the evenings. Ringed by limestone pinnacles and surrounded by minority villages scattered over the mountainside.
Try to time your visit to catch the Sunday market. Busiest between 8-10am Sin Ho market receives hundreds of minority women dressed in their various colourful clothing. They make the journey by foot – sometimes starting before dawn – to the market in order to buy (not sell) supplies for the week ahead. Unlike Sapa market, where minority people are more likely to be seen selling to foreign and Vietnamese tourists, Sin Ho market is the real deal. This means there’s no hassling to buy trinkets and garments; most of what’s for sale is fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and practical equipment for use in the villages.
Day 2: Sin Ho - Lai chau city - Binh Lu Juntion - Sapa town - 135km
The 60km descent on Road 128 from Sin Ho back down to Lai Chau is just as beautiful as the drive up. A vast landscape of endless mountains stretches into the distance, dotted with stilt-home villages clustered around clear streams.
In the meantime you can take a back-road (turn left 30km north of Sin Ho) which cuts out the last 30km of the descent and rejoins Road 4D just south of Phong Tho, from where you turn right (due north) and take the road back to Lai Chau.
Once in Lai Chau retrace your route on Road 4D back to Sapa.
Automatic or Manual Motorcycle(s), spare parts and all fuel.
All the meals(Vietnamese Food).
Hotel or Homestay.
All entrance fee + permits + tickets.
Sapa Motorbike Tours provides support.
Motorbiking protective pants, jacket, gloves, helmet, rain gear and other safety equipment at favourable rental rate.