Last updated on February 1st, 2018 at 02:06 am
Cycling north east Vietnam is arranged in the north eastern Vietnam taking to such travel destinations as Ba Be National park, Bac Kan province, Na Hang, Tuyen Quang province, Bac Me, Cao Bang, Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Meo Vac, Dong Van, Ha Giang province. Begin your cycling adventure with a car transfer from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, driving uphill to Bac Kan province where you will make the first stop in Ba Be National. Start cycling on paved roads leading to the park before checking into a local stilt house for overnight. The next day, cycling is more challenging as you bike up and downhill; You also take off-roads biking trails to visit remote hilltribe villages on the way; Meeting up with local friendly people including the Tay, the Dzao, the Nung offers a real life experience. The other highlights of this 7-day biking tour is the Dong Van and Meo Vac markets. If you arrive in Dong Van or Meo Vac on Saturday, you have the opportunity to visit the local market is only open on Sunday morning. These are the biggest markets in the area. The mountain biking tour is provided with experienced English-speaking tour guide, support vehicle, mountain bikes. The best time to travel this itinerary is the dry season starting from October until April.
DAY 1: HANOI -> BA BE NATIONAL PARK
You will be met up with Vietnam Cycling team at your hotel in Hanoi one day prior to the departure for a short briefing about the trip and cycling in Vietnam. The adventure journey begins as we depart the town and pass through the undulating terrain of tea plantation and the many villages linked to the road which is the main artery of trade between the northeastern region and the capital city. This is our first glimpse of rural Vietnam and sets the tone for the days ahead. Depending on road and traffic conditions our drive will leave us with a mid to late afternoon we start cycle 32km from Pho Thong to Ba Be Lake arrival in Ba Be lakes. After checking into hotel we will have free time to walk around or simply to relax on the lake. Overnight in Ba Be.
DAY 2: BA BE NATIONAL PARK -> BAC ME
Enjoy a morning boat cruise with our bike to the Ba Be waterfalls and then we move 2 km along a narrow track to another boat pier for an hour cruise through a portion of the new reservoir, then we start a cycling adventure along a beautiful paved road to Bac Me. Overnight in Bac Me.
DAY 3: BAC ME -> QUAN BA
We cycle today on good paved road along Gam river and then good road but steep uphill to Quan Ba Heaven Gates. Arrive Ha Giang around late afternoon. Overnight in Ha Giang.
DAY 4: QUAN BA -> YEN MINH
Today, we will soon be enjoying the wonderful sightseeing of this vast limestone mountain range and perpendicular walls of rock, which brings one a feeling of adventure whilst being lost in a magic land, passing the Heaven Gate, meeting some minority people along the way, then onto Quan Ba town for our lunch. In the afternoon, we continue our bicycle ride to Yen Minh. We will be hitting the Heaven – a more beautiful place, here we are surrounded by many rocks of all shapes and sizes, chances to see and even visit the traditional houses of the hill tribes here. Arrival in Yen Minh town. Check in hotel/guest house for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5: YEN MINH -> MEO VAC -> DONG VAN
After breakfast, we leave Yen Minh to Meo Vac. The scenic route climbs over a pass, and then we descend down to Meo Vac valley, a beautiful valley situated very close to Chinese border. Have lunch in Meo Vac then we take time to climb over the Ma Pi Leng Pass where we can enjoy beautiful mountain ranges and the the Nho Que river. We keep hitting the zigzag roads to Dong Van, visiting these remote areas, we will witness how hard the locals struggle with their environment for survival and development. We will stay in town to get the chances to visit the ancient streets with old houses of the H’mong made of clay bricks and tile roofs, built centuries ago. Sleep in Dong Van town.
DAY 6: DONG VAN -> HA GIANG
A leisurely bike from Dong Van along another narrow paved road via Sung La Village, Pho Bang ancient town and then bike back to Yen Minh, this day will make your itinerary a good pace. We will visit the infamous Vuong Palace, a H´mong family of high rank during French colonial rule – this palace attracts keen interest from architecturally minded visitors due to its mixed style of European and Chinese architecture. Transfer from Yen Minh to Ha Giang to Ha Giang for the night.
DAY 7: HA GIANG -> HANOI
Enjoy a full day drive from Ha Giang to Hanoi. You may have the opportunity to have some short cycle on the way before the trip ends in Hanoi.
Last updated on February 1st, 2018 at 02:06 am
Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary prior to travel. If you have any queries, please contact us.
Please note that while we operate successful cycling holidays in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Bargaining is not a strange fact in Vietnam. There are many places in Vietnam where people bargain, especially in open-air markets, street shops and rural areas. Therefore we are not good at bargaining. We don’t like this trick neither. Our time is precious and we appreciate your time as well. We would prefer spending our time on the tour arrangements to the price negotiation. Our price is fixed.
Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind Lotussia Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.
- Vehicle for transfers and support
- Tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
- Bicycle rental
- Sightseeing entrance fees.
- Bottled water.
Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.
- Visa (required)
- Flight/Train tickets.
- Accommodation pre/post trip.
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Visitors are required to have a valid visa to Vietnam. A one month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors, though it is possible to arrange three months or six month – multiple entry visa for regular visitors.
The official national currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), but the US dollar is widely accepted in Vietnam. However, small towns and the villages the VND is preferred, ATM are available in all major cities and towns, tourist destinations, Vietcombank, Agriculture banks are the two largest networks with a limit a single withdraw limit of 2,000,000 d (95 USD). Most major currrencies can be exchanged in Vietnam, but the USD is the most preferred. The exchange rate 1 USD = 22.400 VND (Nov. 2016)
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate. Broadly speaking, the weather in Vietnam is dictated by two seasons – the southwest monsoon from April to September and the Northeast monsoon from October to late march or early April.
Due to regional climate differences, there are no right or wrong seasons to visit Vietnam. The north Vietnam is cool, damp in winters between November and December and February with temperature in Hanoi falling to around 15oC. The summer months from April to October are hot and dry. The best time visit Vietnam is spring (February – April) or Autumn (late September – December) when it is not so humid. The weather turns quite cold and wet in January and this continues to march. The humidity can prove oppressive from May to the early September.
Wearing a helmet is compulsory on all our biking adventures. Our tour guide often carry first aid kit while riding. Please follow your guide while biking, and much attention is required while you cross streets.
To assist you visualize how our bike trip is difficult, we have graded our Vietnam cycling tours into three categories, easy, moderate, and challenging. We group many factors into consideration into this grading, including distant covered, terrain, altitude, and vehicle support.
Involves cycling for up to two to three hours a day at easy pace and usually, less than 3 days in duration. The cycling distances is around 15 – 30 km per day. There are likely to be no steep and sustained descents as well as demand for technical riding. We will normally ride on flat roads. Suitable for bikers who enjoy occasional weekend riding on trails at home. Push bikes are sometimes used for these itineraries.
Involves biking for up to six hours a day at a steady pace and are usually between three to five days in duration. The cycling distance is about 35 – 55 km per day. Sometimes it can be long flat rides or medium ride with fews up and downhill climbs. The support vehicle will not always be available. We will need a good level of fitness. We use either mountain bikes or road bikes for these itineraries.
Involves biking in mountainous areas with big climbs for up to seven or eight hours a day and usually more than a week in duration. Cycling distance is about 60 – 80 km per day. There will be steep and sustained ascents and descents. The support vehicle will not always be available. These trips will provide a real sustained workout even for fit and experienced mountain bikers.
When cycling we mostly stay in small hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail. In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels. Camping is not available on cycling tours in Vietnam unless it is required and this should be booked months in advance. Please see the details on the quote.
Most of our tour guides speak English. Some other speak French. Few speak other language such as German, Russian, Spanish. All our guides have great knowledge of history, local culture, and religions of the area where you are cycling. Our guides have been trained in this field and is fully licensed in tour guiding.
We arrange a mechanic, with extra charge only for big groups or when it is required. When there is no mechanic, our guide will take care of problem which may occur during the bike ride.
Depending on the nature of the tour, our cycle journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections. We often use mini bus or bus for transfer and back up (guided tours).
- 1 – 4 people: we use minivan to support and carry bikes. Sometimes we use car with support truck.
- 5 – 8 people: we use one van and one truck to support
- 9 people – over: we use one bus and truck to support
We only provide bike rental and truck to support for self-guided bike tours.
Basic spares and tools kit are generally carried by our guide or mechanic or on the support vehicle, although we can not guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem.
Food and drinks
All the meals which, are mentioned in itinerary (B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner), are included in the tour price. Most of meals are Vietnamese local food. Vegetarians are certainly welcome and are always accommodated, please let us know of any dietary concerns at time of booking. Beverage and alcoholic drink are not included at mealtime or in restaurants.
Snacks and water
When we transfer, ride by minibus (no cycling day), our bottled waters are always available for you in the car/van. When we have cycling days, we will offer cold water (summer) plus fresh tropical fruits, soft drinks. Please find out what is included in our service proposal.
Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings such as pagoda, temple and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
What you take will naturally depend upon where you are travelling and the style of journey you are undertaking, and it can often be difficult to decide what to pack. Nevertheless, the following should act as a useful checklist of essential items worth thinking about taking.
- 2 pairs of riding shorts
- 2 riding jerseys (quick-dry)
- 2 pairs of quick dry socks for cycling
- Comfortable shoes for biking and walking
- Riding gloves
- 2-3 t-shirts or casual shirts
- Trousers or jeans
- 1-2 pairs of casual socks for non-cycling activities
- 3-5 sets of underwear (quick-dry)
- Cool-weather jacket or rain jacket
- Extra layers and gloves for cooler season or climate (thin, thermal, water-wicking)
- Bathing suit
- Tooth brush and tooth paste
- Hair brush
- Hand sanitizer
- Passport, wallet and ID
- Health insurance card
- Travel insurance card
- Cash and/or credit cards
- Camera (with spare battery)
- Plastic bags (for dirty laundry, wet clothes)
- Electronic chargers (for camera, e-reader, cell phone)
- Adaptors or convertors
Tipping for good services is always appreciated. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of the tour. Hotels and station porters should also be tipped a small amount for.
Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.
Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, motor-taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future.