There is no experience quite like grabbing a motorbike and hitting the open road on your own. While we at Conbeo encourage you to try our selection of tours, sometimes solo motorbike travel is where it’s at. If you have a few extra days to spare in Hanoi and want to get out of the city, then rent a motorbike and follow this guide to explore the red river region. This motorbike day trip will take you from the action of Hanoi to the rural countryside of the Red River and passing through some authentic Vietnamese cities.
Red River Loop Day Trip
Approximately 135 kms, this ride will take you the better part of a day. The first destination from Hanoi will be Son Tay. You can easily get to Son Tay in under an hour by taking the motorway, but what’s the fun in that? Instead we suggest taking the mountain roads all along the Red River. This will add significant time to your journey but it is definitely worth it. Along the dirt roads you’ll pass by plenty of villages and we promise you won’t see a single tourist along the way. You’ll ride by countless cottage industries specializing in logging and textiles.
Son Tay Citadel
One of the main attractions is the Son Tay Citadel. This ancient military outpost served as a strategic outpost for hundreds of years. With its proximity to the Red River, invasions from the north could be quickly detected. Today it serves as a park for the locals from Son Tay to enjoy some recreation. On weekends you’ll find many locals doing Tai Chi or going for brisk walks along the grounds.
After checking out the citadel it’s time to head south into the main town. Son Tay is known for its infantry training schools so you’ll notice a lot of military installations. Aside from the military presence, Son Tay has the typical provisions of any Vietnamese city. You’ll find a huge market, public squares and plenty of mobile phone shops such. There is some interesting architecture to see here too including several old citadels around the town.
Duong Lam Ancient Village
Just north of Son Tay is the popular attraction Duong Lam Ancient Village. The houses here have been preserved for over hundreds of years and a walk through the village will take you back in time. In addition, it is also notable as the birthplace of Phung Hung, an 8th century king and Ngo Quyen who ruled from 939 to 944. Temples that have been built in their honor can be found in the village.
There are many sights to be seein in Duong Lam, Mia Pagoda is one of the ten oldest Pagodas in Vietnam and is home to 287 Buddha statues. The buildings aren’t the only things that are old here. The Ruoi tree has been recognized a national heritage to Vietnam. The oldest Ruoi tree here is thought to be over 1200 years old.
Heading north of the Red River you’ll cross the main bridge serving Son Tay and their northern neighbors. Once you’re over the bridge you will no longer be in Hanoi province but in Vinh Phuc. Along the river here are countless farms. The nutrients from the Red River provide very fertile land for farming and agriculture. Taking the motorway you’ll pass through a couple of cities including Vinh Yen, the capital of Vinh Phuc. There are a couple of sights here. The most famous attraction is the Hà Tiên Pagoda. Ho Chi Minh himself visited Ha Tien Pagoda in 1963.
As you make your way closer and closer to Hanoi you’ll start to notice more and more planes overhead indicating your close to the airport. The last 15 km before crossing the Nhat Tan Bridge back into Hanoi will take you through acres of herb fields. Countless fluorescent light bulbs illuminate these fields to encourage plant growth at all hours of the day. An eerie sight to behold when riding past late at night. Cross the Red River back into the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and you’ll start to appreciate the journey you just took. Vietnam is a country rich in diversity and a simple one day journey will take you through a range of different villages, nature, and sights that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home from your trip.