Vietnam : Vibrant Northern Vietnam Enquire Now
A 12 Day MTB tour through the breathtakingly beautiful regions of northern Vietnam and then relaxing in the tranquil beauty of Halong Bay.
Through lush hillsides and great mountain ranges – the northern Vietnam cycling adventure promises to be a mountain biker’s dream. Experience the cultural diversity as you mountain bike through remote villages interacting with the local tribes as you become absorbed in this magnificent country. This mtb trip into the hills of Northern Vietnam is full of delights – challenging rides, spectacular scenery and finishing off in the tranquil beauty of Halong Bay. This is one opportunity you cannot afford to miss out on... mountain biking bliss.
Most travelers to Vietnam are attracted by the country's wonderful natural beauty. From green rice fields dotted with the conical hats of workers in Vietnam's north stretching to the fascinating bustle of the Mekong Delta in the south. Welcome to a world where the colours are more vivid, where the landscapes are bolder, the coastline more dramatic, where the history is more compelling, where the tastes are more divine, where life in Hanoi is lived in the fast lane. This world is Vietnam, the latest Asian dragon to awake from its..slumber.
Nature has blessed Vietnam with a bountiful harvest of soaring mountains, a killer coastline and radiant rice fields, Vietnam is a cracker. Inland, peasant women in conical hats still tend to their fields, children ride buffaloes along country paths and minority people scratch out a living from impossible gradients.
Our tour focuses on the northern part of Vietnam, off the main beaten track of the general tourist rush where a rider will experience the dramatic natural beauty of this awesome country. Interactions with remote mountain tribes serves to highlight the fabulous cultural experiences each person will absorb in this magnificent country.
|PAX||Price Per Person (Until Dec 2017)|
- Single supplement: US$350 per person
- Bike rental US$22 per day
- Scuba diving: Many people are literally blown away by the sensational SCUBA diving that Vietnam has to offer. Maybe you would like to consider a few days away on Phu Quoc Island experiencing for yourself firsthand the magnificent diving on offer on this magnificent tropical Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Please let us know if this is something for you and we will provide a quote.
- Local English speaking guide as per program
- Private transportation with air-con
- Accommodation in twin/double sharing with daily breakfast as above (or similar)
- Train ticket Lao Cai- Hanoi (soft sleeper- 4 people sharing one cabin)
- Kayaks and gears
- Meals as indicated (B- Breakfast, L- lunch, D- dinner)
- Entrance fees, permits and water puppet tickets
- Joined boat trip in Halong bay with Dragon’s Pearl Junk (Note: Cruising program is subject to change without prior notice due to tidal condition)
- Drinking water and snacks when cycling
- International flights to Hanoi
- Airport taxes
- Travel insurance
- Other meals
- Bike hire
- Single room supplement
- Personal expenses
- Any optional additional tours or activities during free time
- Late check out from the hotels
- Any other things not mentioned in the above list
Day 01: Arrival (D)
On arrival to Hanoi airport and after clearing the Immigration formalities, you are transferred to the city for check-in at your hotel. In the afternoon you will go on a tour of the City including a visit to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi's old quarter. In the evening after dinner, you will be treated to a traditional water puppet show. Overnight in Maison D'Hanoi – ROH room.On arrival at Hanoi airport, after clearing the formalities you are transferred into the bustling city for check-in at your hotel. In the afternoon, a tour of the city with a visit to the Temple of Literature, the fascinating Hanoi old quarter and after dinner, a traditional water puppet show.
Overnight May De Ville Hotel - Premium room
Hanoi- Nghia Lo (B-L-D)
Morning drive to Ba Khe (180km/4hrs+). Warm up cycling to Nghia Lo (84km), getting to see the Thay hill tribe and the beautiful landscape of the northern countryside. Nghia Lo is one of the four famous rice baskets of Northwest Vietnam which, inhabited by the Thai people. On on arrival in Nghia Lo, you will be able to cycle to the surrounding area to visit the Thay villages. Overnight in a simple hotel in Nghia Lo – Mien Tay hotel – Standard room.Morning drive to Khe pass (140km/3hrs+). Warm up riding to Suoi Giang (50 km), passing through Tay and Thai hill minorities and the beautiful landscape of northern Vietnam colored by different shades of rice paddies and tea plantation dotted with palm trees. This area is one of the four famous rice baskets of Northwest Vietnam which is inhabited by the Tay and Thai people. On arrival in the town, you will be able to explore the surrounding minority villages.
Overnight in a simple hotel in Suoi Giang – Suoi Giang hotel – Standard room
Note: Mixture of tar road, dirt road and single track (about 30 km single trail/ tar road up to ability but could be 30 km) Difficulty level: 6-7 out of 10
Day 03: Nghia Lo- Than Uyen, 60 km to 80 km (B-L-D)
Single trails for 2hrs. Drive onto Mu Cang Chai for lunch. Cycle to Than Uyen (90km). This is a great day out with full view of mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, jungle, and tiered paddy fields rising and falling as far as the eye can see. Today you will see the HMong, Dzao and Tay hill tribes. Overnight in a simple hotel in Than Uyen – Hoan Quan hotel – Standard room.After breakfast, we hop on the bikes and start the day with single track for about 2 hours. Then take a drive onto Mu Cang Chai, which is famous for rice terraces. After lunch we ride to Than Uyen (80km) through mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, jungle and tiered rice paddies rising and falling as far as the eye can see. This is a fantastic day of mountain biking through HMong, Dzao and Tay villages.
Overnight in a simple hotel in Than Uyen – Hoan Quan hotel – Standard room.
Note: Mixture of tar, dirt road and 20km single trail with some tough climbs. Difficulty level: 7-8 out of 10
Day 04: High road to Sapa, 80km (B-L-D)
Single track ride around Than Uyen, then drive a to Than Thuoc for lunch. Drive to T-junction for the BIG climb to the Tram Ton pass (highest pass in Vietnam of 1900m). You will be travelling between 1000m-3000m high mountains, ending up on the great descend to Sapa (1600m). The deeper in you$ go, the more hill tribes you see - wearing amazingly elaborate and colourful costumes - with huge earrings. These are people who have been living in the hills for over a thousand years and their ways of life have changed very little from generation to generation. Overnight in Bamboo hotel in Sapa – Superior room.After breakfast we ride the exciting single trails around Than Uyen and then on to Than Thuoc for lunch. Enjoy an exciting stretch of road which climbs over the mountains passing H'mong, La Ha and Dzao hill tribe communities. The road follows the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and winds through tea plantations and rice terraces as it hugs the Nam Ma River. BIG climb up the Tram Ton pass (highest pass in Vietnam of 1900mand then and awesome descent to Sapa (1600m). The more remote we get, the more hill minorities wearing amazingly elaborate and colourful costumes with huge earrings. These are people who have been living in the hills for a thousand year and their way of life hasn’t changed much from generation to generation.
Overnight in Bamboo hotel in Sapa – Superior room.
Note: Mixture of tar, dirt road and 20-30 km single trail. Big climb with over the highest pass in Vietnam before Sapa. Difficulty level: 7-8 out of 10
Day 05: Sapa- Ban Ho valley- Sapa, 50km (B-L)
This is a day trip with a mixture of dirt road, single trails, trekking with the bike and steep down hills. You will be walking and cycling from one village to another, sometimes the trails ending up running through a local house's backyard. (Don't worry, those guys do not mind). If you are the first rider into a village, their jaws literally drop to the ground in amazement - but by the time the last rider goes through, everyone has come out of theirhouses and are jumping up and down with excitement. A really great chance to interact more with the locals. Overnight in Bamboo hotel in Sapa – Superior room.Day 5: Sapa- Ban Ho valley- Sapa, ~ 50 km (B-L)
Mixture of dirt road, single trails, trekking with the bikes and steep descents. You will be walking and cycling from one village to another, sometimes the trails running through a local backyard where you will be greeted with surprise and then smiles especially if you are the first one into the village. By the time the last rider rides through everyone has come out of there houses to see the mad mountain bikers. You will meet HMong, and Tay hill tribes.
Overnight in Bamboo hotel in Sapa – Superior room.
Note: Mixture of tar road, dirt road and 20km single trail Difficulty level: 6- 7
Day 06: Sapa - Ban Khoang - Bac HaSapa – Ma Tra – Ta Phin - Sapa, ~ 60 km (B-L-D)
Today we drive the first part of the journey for about 20km before you get out of the vehicle and start to ride the hidden high country road along the Chinese border with just deep blue skies and fluffy white clouds, winding your way up higher and higher into the mountains. You will be cycling at high altitudes for half the day between 1400-1600m then descending to Lao Cai to take a drive to Bac Ha. Overnight in Bac Ha – Cong Fu hotel – Deluxe room.AM: Departing at 8am we descend towards Ma Tra valley. We cross bridges and at times we will have to get off and lift the bike over small streams. The scenery gets more and more stunning, and we will have plenty of time to stop and enjoy the view. There will also be time to visit the Black H'mong ethnic minority village of Ma Tra, a very small village hidden away from the rest of civilization
PM: In the afternoon, after a picnic lunch, we continue cycling to Ta Phin village on the back roads. You will experience the Black Hmong and Dao minorities way of life before riding through the village to the main road, and then to Sapa.
Overnight in Bamboo hotel in Sapa – Superior room
Note: Mixture of km dirt road, 20 km single trail and the rest is tar road. Difficulty level:
Day 07: Bac Ha – Bac Ha Market ~ 50 km (B-L-D)
Sunday market !! A great chance to have a good look at local life style, rich in colour and traditional arts and crafts. At 10am, you depart on a 4 hrs trail through villages with stunning scenery of mountain and vegetation. People will suddenly appear from the hills. Most of the tribes you will see are the Flower HMong, the most colourful tribe in Vietnam. Overnight in Bac Ha – Cong Fu hotel – Deluxe room.
Day 08: Bac Ha. Night train to Hanoi (B-L-D)
Three hours of single track on the west side of Bac Ha. Lunch at the hotel then you head out on an a spectacular ride of 20km+ down to the Chay river. Transfer to Lao Cai for dinner then catch the night train back to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.
Day 09: Hanoi – Halong (B-L-D)
Upon arrival in Hanoi, you'll transferred to the Tamarind café for a light breakfast and refreshments before leaving Hanoi for Ha Long city through the Red River Delta stopping along on the way. You arrive at Halong City at about 12h30 and then will start cruising towards Bai Tu Long Bay while you check into your cabin. A fresh local seafood lunch will be served on board (vegetarians catered for) while you embark on a cruise into the Holy bay to see the incredible karst formations. After learning the basic paddle strokes and information about your paddling route, it's time to start exploring the amazing limestone karst formations. Fresh seafood dinner is served on board and then its an overnight experience aboard the boat.Upon arrival in Hanoi, you’ll be transferred to Tamarind café for a light breakfast and short refreshment before leaving Hanoi for Ha Long city through the Red River Delta with a stop on the way. We arrive at Halong City at about 12h30 and start cruising towards Bai Tu Long Bay while you check into your cabin. A fresh local seafood lunch will be served on board (vegetarians catered for) while you embark on a cruise into the Holy bay to see the incredible karst formations. After learning the basic paddle strokes and information about your paddling route, it’s time to start exploring the amazing limestone karst formations. Fresh seafood dinner then overnight on board.
Day 10: Kayaking (B-L-D)
The whole day is spent paddling and exploring the Bay at your leisure. Have a closer look at the amazing karsts. There are plenty of deserted beaches out there just for you. Cruise to overnight spot for one more night in Halong bay.
Day 11: Halong- Hanoi (B-L-D)
Early risers can have a swim or enjoy a morning view of the Bay's landscape with a cup of tea or coffee, fresh fruits and cake. Sitting on the upper deck, you can enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear water of the Bay, then explore Sung Sot (Amazing) cave, swimming and relaxing at Soi Sim beach. As the junk cruises back to Ha Long City, brunch will be served. Check out is at 11:35 with the boat arriving back at the harbour by 12:00. Drive back to Hanoi, arriving around 4pm. Overnight in Maison D'Hanoi – Premium roomEarly risers can have a swim or enjoy a morning view of the Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee, fresh fruits and cake. Sitting on the upper deck, you can enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the limestone islands rising from the crystal-clear water of the Bay, then explore Sung Sot (Amazing) cave, swim and relax at Soi Sim beach. As the junk cruises back to Ha Long City, brunch will be served. Check out is at 11:35 with the boat arriving back at the harbour by 12:00. Drive back to Hanoi, arriving around 4pm. Overnight May De Ville hotel - Premium room
Day 12: Departure (B)
Breakfast, then take the bus to the airport to catch the flight home. Please be informed that check-out time is by 12.00.
CHECKLIST - VIETNAM
VISA PAPERS (+ TWO PHOTOS)
MONEY BELT (not essential)
CAMERA + CAMERA CHARGER
CELL PHONE + CELL PHONE CHARGER
CYCLE SHORTS x3
CYCLE SHIRTS x3
CYCLE SOCKS x3
ARM WARMERS ?
LIGHT RUNNING SHORTS / SARONG
PUMP (wrap some DUCT TAPE around pump)
TUBE / GATORS
CHAIN QUICK LINKS (probably 9 spd)
ZIP LOCK BAGS (for CELL PHONE + MONEY)
NEWSPAPERS (in Nam)
SUN TAN LOTION
SAVLON / GREMANLINE
PLASTIC CHOPSTICKS (OR KNIFE & FORKS)
Back a week and already in the normal hectic rat race. Great to be home but sad to have left one of the most spectacular places in the world - a hidden gem. Spectacular in terms of the scenery, the cultures, the food, the history and above all the people - kind, hospitable, humble, friendly and hard-working. And incredibly reasonable cost wise - food, hotels, transport etc. Steve put together an incredible trip - a blend of cycling in the country, kayaking in Halong Bay from a 5 star live aboard, and visiting most of the major attractions in the two major cities Hanoi and Saigon
Got to get back there again!!!!!
Anybody who is looking for a fresh experience riding a bike would do well going to Vietnam.
After discussing various options we selected Vietnam mainly because I wanted to ride the Ho Chi Min trail! Any way we didn’t get to ride the trail but had a wonderful 7 days right up in the far north, close to the Chinese border. Our guide Thia was a gem. Always pleasant, most helpful and ever willing to please he guided us out of Hanoi by bus and after a short drive we got the bikes out and set off.
The riding was over a variety of surfaces: gravel paths, quiet tar roads, steep mountain passes and some excellent downhill track. The Vietnamese walk a lot and the others ride small mopeds, even on the gravel trails, so there is ample selection to ride. A typical day for us was about 80km that took from 8am till mid afternoon. This might have included a tar transition in the following bus but with ample time to stop, look and eat.
We travelled a loop via SaPa, very special and a must, past Loa Cai up to Bac Ha and back to Loa Cai for the train back to Hanoi. On the last day we rode some of Hanoi city in the very early morning. This was a great way to see the city and with the volume of moped traffic I wouldn’t do it in rush hour.
The boat trip in Halong Bay was fantastic and must be included.
Our wives spent 4 days shopping and having fun in Hoi An, near Danang and were very happy. Initially they felt that they might be missing out but were more than happy with their clothes buying, cooking etc.
I would really recommend this as a riding holiday. The Vietnamese are very friendly, it’s still cheap and there are great options to keep everybody happy.
Ride Away Tours created a great trip that easily exceeded our expectations and the service was faultless.
Exploring Vietnam by bicycle assaults your senses in every way: the unusual smells, exotic tastes, inspiring scenery and warm friendly people make it an amazing journey that enables you to interact first hand and absorb the culture of this intriguing destination.
Our trip was diversified in every sense:
Cycling the highlands of Northern Vietnam enabled us to meet and interact with the ethnic hill tribe people and enjoy some steep climbs as we rode through the mountainous terrain of rice paddies and tea plantations (undoubtedly one of my highlights because we went so far off the beaten track, and it was an incredibly ‘real’ experience).
Central Vietnam yielded historically important tombs and citadels which gave you a wonderful insight into the Vietnamese culture and past (oh yes, and did I mention the food...?). The ride from Hue to Hoi An was legendry, we rode through the very eerie but intriguing ‘Valley of Ghosts’ - kilometers of tombs and graveyards, past mushroom farms and up (and up) ‘cloud pass’ as we headed for the beaches of Hoi An. Our long ride was rewarded with an old trading town steeped in history, with a magical feeling, as the streets and trees are filled with lanterns and a there’s a silk tailor on every doorstep.
The rivers of the Mekong Delta gave us the chance to ‘put our feet up’ and drift along the bussling waterways and through floating markets, but when we got back on our bikes the fun really began as we cycled through the rich fertile lands of the delta on tiny back roads (1m wide at biggest, and a bridge every few meters!) Always an adventure to be had, I narrowly missed a collision with something when an old man threw a coconut at a chicken, the coconut narrowly missed me, then the shocked chicken narrowly missed me, then the oncoming motorbike carrying 3 pigs swerved when he saw the ensuing chaos and narrowly missed me too! Unbelievable, and definitely worth a beer.
After plenty of good laughs, lots of ‘bottoms up’ with the rice wine and a boiled chickens claw thrown in for good measure we rounded of a perfect trip with an idyllic few days on the breathtaking beaches of Phu Quock, where we had massages every evening at sunset (3$!!!!), plenty of cocktails and the best seafood barbeques I think I’ve every tasted.
Thank you Steve for organizing the trip of a lifetime.