Is driving a bike to Bac Yen a good idea?
Driving a bike all the way there has its disadvantages, namely: getting out of Hanoi, the distance, and the weather. If you only plan on visiting Ta Xua and returning to Hanoi, you can consider renting a bike in Bac Yen rather than Hanoi.
However, there is a downside being that there is little choice of bike and the quality is not as good as companies like RentABike. Also, there is only one rental company in Bac Yen and they are hard to find. VietNomad is here to help.
For those who don’t fancy that or are not the most confident drivers, motorbike rental in Bac Yen is easier than you may think. It is also a valid option in some cases.
If you would like to visit Ta Xua then you will have to go though Bac Yen, first. This means a motorbike, bus or car trip of some 200km. There are several choices of route and some are quite scenic so driving a bike can be a great choice. However, it is a long journey and extreme heat or cold and rain may make this option a miserable one.
Where can you rent a motorbike in Bac Yen?
Add: Thi Tran Bac Yen, Huyen Bac Yen, Tinh Son La
Tel: 0914 900 138, Dung
You can go to their mechanic shop directly and take a bike. This is a Yamaha Dealership and it is on the main road of Bac Yen. It is slightly South of the junction where the QL37 turns into the DT112. You will see the Agribank on the right and that is where you turn left. It is on the left. They are marked roughly on the map above. Take a Look at to get a better idea.
What kind of bike is available?
You will only be able to rent a standard semi automatic bike in Bac Yen. This is a small bike, say 100 to 110cc, that has gears but no clutch. They are easy bikes to drive but this is NOT THE PLACE TO LEARN, especially if you plan to ride the Dinosaur’s Spine.
The bikes available in Bac Yen are not well maintained and they have been used well by local drivers. They have many km on the clock, and as such are not in the best condition. This is a consideration as you will be driving on small winding roads at best. If you are unlucky or adventurous there will be potholes, cloud, sharp corners and steep inclines to deal with. A good bike that works well increases safety a great deal.
What is the rental fee?
You will need to hand over some ID to leave as deposit when you take a bike and the rental fee should be 200K for 01 day or 150k per day if you take the bike for more than 01 day. There will be no contract to sign but you will be expected to look after the bike and return it in the same condition. Note that there will be very little petrol in the tank so you will need to go directly to the nearest filling station (shown on map above).
Do I have to leave my passport?
If you do not want to leave a passport, you could leave a driving license. Another alternative is to stay in the Sao Mai Hotel (directly opposite the petrol station, see map) and have them guarantee the bike for you. Just tell the reception staff that you want to rent a bike from Anh Dung and they will call and have the bike delivered. You will then have to leave your passport at reception, however, this is pretty standard practice anyway.
Where can I stay in Bac Yen?
Rooms in the Sao Mai Hotel start at 250k per night and have a large double bed with TV, Aircon, and Hot/Cold water. The hotel is clean and spacious with plenty of parking for cars and a secure area for motorbikes.
You can stay here and the journey up to Ta Xua is about 14km. It doesn’t take too long and you will not notice because you will be stopping to take photos and admire the views out over the valley. In winter, it means that you can stay at a lower altitude and it will be slightly warmer and drier due to there being no cloud.
There are several other places to stay in Bac Yen, such as the Phu Hoa Hotel and the Nhat Vuong Hotel. These are listed on the map but I don’t think they offer as good value as the Sao Mai.
Where can I eat in Bac Yen?
There are plenty of eateries dotted around Bac Yen and you can find out more in here. You can have noodles in the morning and standard rice, meat and veg in the evening. I have marked some notable restaurants on the map. Ta Xua Quan, where you can get reasonable Vietnamese food for a good price. Nha Hang Nha San Quan, where you can get local specialties but is more expensive. I have also noted one or two other spots and these are more where there are groups of restaurants and you can choose the one that looks the friendliest.
Bac Yen is worth a visit
Overall, Bac Yen is a good option for a place to stay if you plan to visit Ta Xua. Motorbike rental in Bac Yen is possible and is a good idea in some cases. You can rent a bike, eat and sleep there and it is not too far away from Ta Xua. It is also warmer and less cloudy if you need it to be.