With plenty of hairpin turns and rickety bridges, the Sapa Valley road in northern Vietnam is a technical but hugely rewarding challenge. Combine it with a ride along the nearby Nam Na River road, featured in the last issue of ABR, and you’ll experience one of the world’s great motorcycle journeys.
Sitting 2,000m high, Sapa sits just a dozen miles south of the border with China. The town is firmly on the tourist trail, proving popular with visitors who come to see the spectacular sight of rice paddies cascading from above the clouds, down mountainsides, to the valley floor below.
The valley road is made up of 30 miles or so of rough concrete and dirt roads. The riding is slow and technical with photo-stop views around every corner. Drop to the bottom of the valley via first gear dirt hairpins and you can cross the river on one of many narrow rickety bridges. Away from the main road, traffic is almost exclusively made up of scooters and pedestrians who are a mix of tourists and native Hmong people selling tourists trinkets and crafts.
The valley road has an entrance fee but riding along its length certainly worth spending a few thousand dong. The 30 miles of the Sapa Valley can take you half a day and a full camera memory card to complete.
Want to ride this?
The Sapa Valley is just one of the Greatest Roads you can ride with Motorrad Tours. Motorrad Tours is an independent tour operator, which specialises in taking the hassle out of the planning and logistics of riding the world’s greatest motorcycle routes, without taking away your freedom to ride and explore. You can ride the Sapa Valley on Adventure: Vietnam, or as part of the seven-week South East Asia Overland. To find out more visit www.motorrad-tours.com