Saigon to Hanoi Bike Tour 16 Days is one of our long cycling holidays offering you the chance to travel Vietnam south to north by bicycle, to experience the scenery, the culture and people. From Saigon, the most dynamic city of Vietnam, we then eventually cycle to the central highland city of Da Lat, Buon Me Thuot. The beautiful ride down to the central region on the country including the festive beach town of Nha Trang, Tuy Hoa, Quy Nhon, Quang Ngai, Hoian and Hue. Heading to the north of Vietnam, cycle through Ninh Binh Province and the verdant mountain of Pu Luong Nature Reserve in the north of Vietnam. Experience staying in the traditional house of minority people is one of the highlights of the epic adventure. The tour concludes in Hanoi, the modern capital of Vietnam.
Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
Arrive in Tan Son Nhat airport. Greeted by our guide and driver, then we drive to hotel. Depends on the flight, we will take in a stroll around the city. This is a great chance to visit the biggest market in town – Ben Thanh market. Inside is a tightly organized grid of aisles, arranged according to product. Clothes, shoes and fabric dominate the front, before giving over to kitchenware, cooked food, fresh vegetables and a somewhat alarming display of seafood and meat (some of it still alive). There is plenty for the visitor to buy, but the main attraction is the way in which the bustling market is still very much part of the city’s life and economy. A trip briefing and bike fitting will be carried out by our adventure guide. In the evening, we enjoy a welcome Vietnamese dinner in one of Saigon’s top restaurants. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City – Dalat.
We leave HCMC around 7 a.m after breakfast by bus on Highway 1 to the junction of Highway 20 for a scenic journey through rubber and tea plantations en route to Dalat. The morning transfer takes us to Bao Loc. After having lunch, pick up our bicycle and enjoy warm up loop ride on undulating road passing through pine forested hills, and tea plantation. Enjoy the spectacular view of Lang Bian Mountain’s backdrop. We stop at Elephant Waterfall for a quick break before hop in bus and transfer our weary legs to Dalat.
Day 3: Dalat – Lak Lake – Buon Me Thuot.
We leave Dalat after breakfast, and enjoy our full day in the saddle exploring the regions hilly beauty. The first 17 km is downhill to Tanung, we then continue to ride on flat or rolling hills to Thanh Binh where we hit larger roads and a couple of passes to tackle. The road between Dalat and Lak Lake winds over two mountain passes, the first of which we reach on our second day after leaving Dalat. The riding is quite challenging, but worth the effort. The road may seem almost vertical but the views over the coffee plantations are spectacular. After a slow uphill of less than 10km we reach the peak and coast down the other side. The second Chuoi (Banana) pass begins soon after but seems to consist of mostly downhill. We ride past loads of beautiful wooden houses with piles of coffee beans drying in the sun and as we ride down towards Lak we have a great view of the town and the lake. Take the opportunity to rest and admire the view and then jump into our support van to transfer to Buon Me Thuot.
Day 4: Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang.
Following breakfast, we begin to cycle from our hotel, we head out on road 26 to the coastal town of Nha Trang. The ride is a mixture of ups and downs throughout the day. Along the way, there is some stunning scenery, we will stop regularly to absorb the beauty of coffee plantations, Earkrong Buk River and mountains. A stop for lunch at Ea Knop will give us a quick break before we descend to the coast. We hit HW1 at Ninh Hoa, where the shuttle will take us the last 30km to Nha Trang. Driving this scenic coastal stretch past turquoise waters and scarlet fishing boats, we arrive in the bright lights of Nha Trang with its relaxing holiday options. Overnight in Nha Trang.
Day 5: Nha Trang.
Enjoy a half day, cycling into the countryside on a 30km loop. Starting with a short drive and a boat trip we then cycle through villages on tiny roads and quiet lanes, stopping off at points of interest en route, there’s plenty of sights, sounds and smells to absorb. Lunch will be a picnic and there will be options to sample local restaurant food if your wish. Afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the beaches of Nha Trang. Tonight we sleep in Nha Trang.
Day 6: Nha Trang – Tuy Hoa.
An early start takes us on a wonderfully scenic drive to the beautiful fishing village of Dai Lanh. Relax by the beach before we pick up our bikes and ride along the coastal road to Tuy Hoa. Along the way we ride through picturesque countryside, fish farms and a salt farm. Great photo opportunities of farmers and fisherman working in their fields. Tonight is spent in Tuy Hoa.
Day 7: Tuy Hoa – Quy Nhon.
We start riding along a remote but well surfaced road running alongside the railway. The terrain is gently rolling, with beautiful views of the foothills of the highlands. We pass a mix of tribal and Viet villages. Ubiquitous potbellied pigs and bare foot children trot across your trail. Eventually we loop back to the main highway and transfer up the highway to Quy Nhon. Overnight in Quy Nhon.
Day 8: Quy Nhon – Quang Ngai.
We will cycle on the great backroad through several little villages and a range of scenery. The road is mostly flat with two small climbs. On reaching the highway One we will drive to Quang Ngai, on the way passing the small town of Sa Huynh, a pleasant fishing backwater perched on a broad curve of palm fringed, golden sand. Speckled with blue fishing boats, sleepy Sa Huynh is a convenient and relaxing place to rest en route to points north. Overnight in Quang Ngai. What’s included:
Day 9: Quang Ngai – Hoi An.
After early breakfast, we start with a short steady 2km climb to the top of Thien An Mountain where we enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and visit an ancient working Pagoda. From here we ride to the site of the My Lai massacre, The My Lai site is in a small rural settlement, surrounded by simple thatched huts, quilted rice paddies and farmers with conical hats going about their day to day routines. The mood set by these surroundings is one of peace and tranquility despite the deep scars of the past. After visiting the simple memorial and museum we ride back to our buses and then and after a guided tour around the site and museum. After museum, we continue on quiet roads passing through My Khe Beach, local villages, school and a lively local market. After 35km cycling, we hop in bus at Chau O, and shuttle out of HW 1 to Tam Ky. Having lunch then branch off left at Dan Ha and enjoy cycling along Tam Ky River to Thang Binh, hop in bus and transfer our weary legs to Hoian.
Day 10: Hoian Countryside.
After breakfast, we take our bicycle and cycling through the quiet countryside of Hoian. We ride to Tra Que village, which is a charming little village located on the edge of Hoi An. The village is named after the sweet scented vegetables that spice up the everyday meals of the Hoi An people. Here a new spirit for traditional Hoi An dishes like Cao Lau, Quang noodles, the local ‘Tam huu’ spring roll (made from Tra Que vegetables) and cake with meat (Banh xeo) has been enlivened. Experience a day of living and working with the local people in the village and enjoy a cookery class for lunch with your host. Return to Hoi An after lunch. The rest day is at your leisure. You can relax by Cua Dai Beach or experience shopping in ancient town of Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 11: Hoi An – Hue.
Today we turn north again for the drive/cycle to Hue. In the morning we visit a marble factory and view the exquisite workmanship. We will also visit Da Nang Beach where American servicemen went for their R&R during the Vietnam /American War. Leaving Danang we start cycling on a flat road by the beach before tacking Hai Van Pass. ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. The views are stunning though those who prefer to avoid the 580m climb can always take a lift in the support vehicle. Once at the top it will all seem worth it as you plummet back to the ocean. Lunch break at Lang Co Beach. Then take short transfer out of HW 1, then continue cycling along coastal road passing through small villages and timeless rural scenes to the Thuan An, from where we transfer to our city centre hotel. In the evening, we enjoy the Royal dinner style in An Dinh Cung restaurant. Overnight in Hue.
Day 12: Hue – Nam Dinh .
After a leisurely breakfast, we cycle a back-roads loop of Hue through lush countryside on a mix of footpaths and quiet country lanes. Cycle from the hotel to the Imperial Citadel. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument, ride out through backstreets and out along the banks of the Perfume River to Thien Mu pagoda. Continue to Ming Manh mausoleum and loop back across the perfume river to Hue via the mausoleum of Khai Dinh. Then take the afternoon train for Nam Dinh.
Day 13: Nam Dinh – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu – Cuc Phuong National Park.
Our train arrives in Nam Dinh station in early morning, transfer to Tam Coc. Take day room for resting and showering. Breakfast in Tam Coc. The area around Tam Toc is famed for its spectacular karst scenery. The soaring limestones mountains jut straight out of the paddy fields are wonderful. We begin our day with a peaceful cruise by local sampan to explore the picturesque Tam Coc (dry Halong Bay), the canal running through three caves. Return to hotel for check out and start cycling on quiet country lanes which twist through mountains leading to Hoa Lu. We stop to visit to the ancient city of Hoa Lu since 9th century, where the remarkable remnants are King Dinh and Le Temple. After lunch, we continue on country roads to the National Park at Cuc Phuong where we visit the primate rescue centre. Tonight we will stay in beautiful resort, which is located 3.5 km away from the park.
Day 14: Cuc Phuong National Park – Pu Luong Nature Reserve – Du Village.
After breakfast, we start to ride from Cuc Phuong. Enjoy the undulating road as we ride passing through pineapple plantation, and rice paddies. Enjoy lunch en route, then we continue cycling across La Han bridge. From here the road is a mix of hardpack clay and gravel. The road is a jeep trail – once built by the French over 100 years ago. Cycle to Du village nestled at the base of limestone hills. Overnight in local minority Thai home stay.
Day 15: Du Village – Mai Chau – Hanoi
After breakfast we say our farewells and cycle through the Reserve on the rough jeep track. It is smooth and fast in parts but hard-pack gravel in others with some large stoney sections and some hill climbs. The terrain is undulating, but there are no steep hills over 4km to climb. Rest in Hang village before continuing to the exit of the reserve. Hit road 15A, a newer French road now tarmac. It was once an old supply route to the Ho Chi Minh Trail. There is still virtually no traffic on this section of road and contrasts to the valley ride, as you now cycle alongside the stunning Ma River. End the ride in Pom Coong village. Late lunch will be served and there is the chance to grab a quick shower before the afternoon drive to Hanoi.
Day 16: Departure
At your leisure until transfer to the airport for onward flight home. Trip ends.