As adventurers, you must have heard about BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special. It is a special 75 minute episode of BBC Top Gear motoring program, which was firstly broadcast on 28th December 2008 (Season 12 – Eps 08). If you want to know Top Gear Vietnam route, Top Gear Vietnam route map… then, this article is for you.
The Top Gear Vietnam Special episode
Our three intrepid heroes (Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James May) set off in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where they are given a shoebox full of cash (15,000,000 Vietnam Dong) and told to buy wheels and made their way to Ha Long in 8 days.
Top Gear Vietnam Clarkson, Hammond and May
James May rode a Honda Cub Chaly whereas Richard Hammond used a Russian Minsk and Jeremy Clarkson chose an iconic Vespa.
You can see more at Top Gear season 12, Episode 8 – Vietnam Special
Top Gear Vietnam Route
The hot trend of seeing the REAL Vietnam by motorbikes has really exploded after BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special had been published in 2008. Following BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special, Top Gear Vietnam routes are best roads to ride a motorbike from Ha Noi to Ho Chi Minh city or vice versa. The routes are Ho Chi Minh legendary trail and coastal lines.
So why did BBC Top Gear consider these Top Gear Vietnam route? Would you dream of experience these routes for a motorbike ride? Let Loop Bike Tours show you why choose this 2600km route and how to ride this.
From what we gathered in the program, they did Top Gear Vietnam route like this:
First leg: Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat
First of all, get out of the biggest city in Vietnam around 8.30 am to avoid rush hour. Take a ferry to cross Sai Gon river, which is less traveled. Motorbike around 150km to reach Cat Tien national park. Secondly, take a mountain winding pass through pine tree forest to Da Lat. Da Lat is well known as Land of love where you can experience 4 seasons in a day. Argiculture and tourism are 2 main jobs here. Apart from offroad tracks, there offers bikers river, lakes, waterfalls, farms of fruits and coffee or flowers. In addition, riders can visit some cultural villages of ethnic groups and see how they make wine, clothing, etc. The local here are very gently and friendly. If you plan to spend some days in Da Lat, take jacket with you or you can buy it in Da Lat night market
Second leg: Da Lat to Nha Trang
Da Lat to Nha Trang is a highlight route to ride down steep and winding moutain pass from the plateau. This 150km road offers riders amazing views from height.
Certainly, Nha Trang is well known as the Riviera of the South China Sea. It owns a six-kilometre stretch of fabulous coastline with white sandy beaches, clear waters with an abundance of marine life, verdant mountain ranges, and 19 untouched islets that need a short boat ride away. Providing a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities, this coastal town itself is steeped with breath-taking structures that dates back to Buddhist temples, Champa Kingdom, and gothic-style Catholic churches and salt fields, natural hot springs, and waterfalls. Spending time on islets, beaches and some spots in the city like Po Nagar Cham towers or Vinpearl Amusement park is worthy.
Third leg: Nha Trang to Hoi An
Getting to Hoi An is on another coastal line from Nha Trang via Quy Nhon for around 540km. The sceneries 2 sides of the road with the romantic and tranquil beaches like Ca pass are almost no human. It could be one of the best Loop Bike Tours on Top Gear Vietnam route.
The end destination for this route is the ancient town of Hoi An, World Heritage site. It is most famous for its contribution to trade with South-East Asia, back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
Hoi An offers its specialities like Japanese bridge, Chinese temples, the traditional houses. Further, basket boat trip, the cuisine or beautiful beaches make Hoi An a great attraction. All above, walking along the ancient town with millions of lantern is wonderful. Apart from Hoi An, travelers can see Golden bridge on Ba Na hill, Cu Lao Cham while in Da Nang.
Fourth leg: Hoi An to Hue
Goodbye to Hoi An UNESCO world heritage, ride National Highway 1. Consequently, the ride meets one of the greatest attractions, Hai Van Pass. The mountain pass with scenic beauty will amaze any riders. On the other hands, its twisting roads will challenge our riding skills!
No wonder Hai Van pass has been featured by BBC Top Gear Vietnam Specal in 2008, as one of the best cross roads in the world. The pass remarks Top Gear Vietnam route. During the American war, the U.S army controlled it . After a short coffee break, descend down the mountain and follow the coastal road, which brings bikers to Hue. Hue citadel is another UNESCO world heritage. Besides, Hue city has special architect of tombs and padoda and temples. People also want to visit romantic Perfume river with Trang Tien bridge on and long spread rice paddies.
Fifth leg: Hue to Phong Nha
Next, continuing Top Gear Vietnam route by riding along the historical road No 9 along the Dakrong river. The motorbike ride is straight to the eastern side of Vietnam along the 17th parallel to visit Hien Luong bridge – a symbol for the border between the north Vietnam and south Vietnam, Vinh Moc tunnels and where bikers can have short motorbike ride on coastal roads which offers different view from the ride on Ho Chi Minh trail days after.
Then, leaving Cua Tung coastal line behind in Hue and take on Western Ho Chi Minh trail to Phong Nha, which’s another highlight on these Top Gear Vietnam route. Being known as the hidden trail the US army did never know and bomb, the western Ho Chi Minh trail offers the wonderful motorbike ride. This over 200km trail is almost under the Phong Nha Ke Bang national park where the traffic is completely empty. In the late afternoon, get out of national park to pay an interest on boat trip to see Phong Nha longest river cave in the world.
This is the third UNESCO world heritage on this Top Gear Vietnam route. Besides, travelers can take another trip to discover Paradise cave, Tien Son cave, etc, when spending time in Quang Binh province. Similarity, Son Doong is the longest dry cave in the world but it takes adventurers around a week to walk through. Moreover, Dong Hoi, Quang Binh is final rest of Vo Nguyen Giap general learder of Vietnamese army. Being a very smart and gently person, the army general leader devoted all his life for Wars in Vietnam.
Sixth leg: Phong Nha to Ha Noi
After Phong Nha, the Top Gear Vietnam route tour will head to Tan Ky, Nghe An on smooth Ho Chi Minh trail. Out of Tan Ky is the end of Ho Chi Minh trail. The ride will be on road 15C to get to Pu Luong nature reserve via Ngoc Lac town. Pu Luong in Thanh Hoa is off- beaten- track area for the wonderful view of terraced rice fields and hill tribal villages living along the valleys. Stop in Don village down to the valley and up to hills for the great views of the region. After that, ride on small road to turn at Kim Boi, Hoa Binh and head to Ha Noi.
Final leg: Hanoi to Ha Long
Continue the last route of Top Gear Vietnam route is to ride from Ha Noi to Ha Long city on a distance of 180km. On half way, Ha Long motorbikers have a short break around 20 minutes at Hai Duong city where you can experience our hand-made Vietnamese handicraft products such as lacquer wares, paintings, sculptures, embroideries, clothing etc, made by Hai Duong inhabitants and children war victims. After that, we go straight to Ha Long city. Here travelers can spend some days to discover Ha Long Bay.
This is the gilt edged chance to fancy visitors’ memorable cruise. It is against the gorgeous backdrop of Halong Bay by motorbike like no others did. Halong translated as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and legend claims the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon from the mountains. Located in northeast Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is famous for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islands. The region draws scuba divers, rock climbers and hikers, the latter favoring mountainous Cat Ba National Park.
Top Gear Vietnam Route Map
Top Gear Destinations: Ho Chi Minh – Da Lat – Nha Trang – Hoi An – Hue – Phong Nha – Hanoi – Ha Long
Tripline map Top Gear Vietnam route by Loop Bike Tours
Tips for motorbiking in Vietnam
In the BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special program, the 3 guys used the same old motorcycles to travel across Vietnam. In fact, they had a support team behind.
If you want to experience in traveling across Vietnam by motorbike, a fully guided motorbike tour is probably a good idea. You should choose a reputable company like Loop Bike Tours.
If you are looking for an exotic experience where you can dump traditional transportation and enjoy the freedom and excitement offered by bike riding, Vietnam should be on your list.
Would you want to re-create the same journey as the Top Gear Vietnam route?
Top Gear Vietnam route following BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special are on Ho Chi Minh trail and coastal lines. The not much traffic routes offer lots of fabulous views and destinations and various culture. If you are much interested in exact Top Gear Vietnam route like BBC Top Gear program in Vietnam, please let us know. Loop Bike Tours’s pleasure is to accompany you to see REAL VIETNAM on motorbikes.
Take our Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh Top Gear motorbike tour following from the BBC Top Gear Vietnam route. Book and more info at Top Gear Vietnam Motorbike Tour 14 days
We hope that the article Top Gear Vietnam Route is useful to you, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.