This short 8 days cycling tour will lead you through a variety of terrains, introducing you to the countryside of Vietnam with visits to a Nature Reserve and a National Park, and is also highly suited to inclusion as an element within a longer holiday.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pick up )
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Much of the city was transformed by the French when it became a French protectorate in the 1880s and there are wide boulevards and large colonial buildings which are now home to government departments and foreign embassies. You will have time to relax before having tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry, an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture. In the evening, you’ll have a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in a restored French colonial building. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, ranks amongst the world's most attractive and interesting cities. It was first the capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010, and though the nation's capital moved to Hue under the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the city continued to flourish after the French took control in 1888. In 1954, after the French departed, Hanoi was declared Vietnam's capital once again. The remnants of over 1,000 years of history are still visible here, with that of the past few hundred years wonderfully preserved.
Day 2: Cycling and exploring villages around Hanoi – 30km (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
In the morning, you’ll be picked up to drive to Bat Trang. On arrival, you’ll pick up your bicycles and ride around the village. You will be able to continue with your bicycles or stroll in the small alleys of this old village to watch local people producing their fine products and visit some of the houses used as workshops and showrooms.
You’ll then drive to Dong Ho village - famous for its traditional paintings. After a picnic lunch, your vehicle will take to Tam Tao village to enjoy its traditional Quan Ho music performed by villagers in the commune house. The singers have been officially designated as part of Vietnam’s ‘living heritage’ by UNESCO. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi for your overnight accommodation.
Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau – 30km (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, you’ll be driven through mountainous landscape to Mai Chau, where you’ll ‘check in’ to a stilt house in Pom Coong village, the home of a Thai ethnic minority group. In the afternoon, you’ll pick up your bike for a ride following a mountain stream along a single-track trail to the Thai village of Buoc, nestled in a deep valley surrounded by rocky limestone outcrops.
You’ll cycle across a rickety suspension bridge; stop to visit a small kindergarten, passing through villages and countryside. During your ride you’ll never be more than a couple of hundred metres from the motorbike support so you’ll always be within easy reach of assistance. You’ll spend the night in a local Thai minority village.
Day 4: Mai Chau - Pu Luong Nature Reserve – 40 Km (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, you’ll continue your ride along the valley through country lanes and riding alongside the Ma River until arrive Co Luong. From there, you’ll hop on a boat travelling downstream, until you encounter the gateway of Pu Luong Nature reserve. The views along the river are lovely and you will be able to stop en-route to visit local villages on the riverbank, if you wish.
After the one hour recuperating boat ride, you’ll continue with your bike to ride into the Nature Reserve along vehicle tracks and single-track trails. There are two stream crossings to negotiate, and hidden villages to contour around 8km into the reserve, we will stop for lunch at Hang Village. Afterwards, you’ll cycle on the main jeep trail (a mix of hard packed gravel and clay) to Kho Muong village, nestled at the base of limestone hills. There are some steepish climbs and although the terrain is more remote, one is never far from a villager tending fields or walking back from early morning market. Upon arrival at the village, you’ll settle into a local stilt-house where you’ll stay overnight.
Day 5: Pu Luong Nature Reserve - Cuc Phuong National Park – 20 km (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
Today there are two options for riding available. Cycle a challenging but glorious downhill single-track trail to the Nature Reserve’s only market. This ride is 12km in length, with some technical sections – a 3km steep downhill, some short sharp ascents and stream crossings) Alternatively, take the jeep trail to visit the market (Market day is Thursday and Sunday only). You’ll be able to stop at a local café for noodle soup, before riding to the end of the reserve at La Han Ferry. You’ll continue by crossing the Ma River over the newly built bridge, and cycle to the small town of Canh Nang for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll be driven to Cuc Phuong National Park where you’ll visit the Primate Rescue Centre. Your overnight stay will be in a guesthouse in the Park.
Day 6: Cuc Phuong National Park - Tam Coc – 40 Km (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
In the morning, you’ll drive to the starting point of today’s 7 km hike through subtropical forest, rich in flora and fauna with thousand-year-old trees and dripping vines. On the return drive to headquarters, you’ll visit a cave where prehistoric graves and relics have been found. Your lunch will be at the Park’s canteen. In the afternoon, you’ll ride the quiet roads through the Dong Giao Farm, arriving at Tam Coc in the late afternoon, where you will have the rest of the day free to relax or wander around the village. You’ll spend the night in a mini-hotel in Tam Coc.
Day 7: Tam Coc - Ninh Binh – Hanoi – 12 Km (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
In the morning, you’ll visit Tam Coc (“three caves”), a peaceful valley among limestone ‘karst’ hills. And be rowed along a gentle river between paddy fields and through the caves. On the way back, you’ll disembark for a pleasant stroll of about 2km through the rural scenery to Thai Vi temple.
After lunch, you’ll cycle along the single lane road passing villages towards Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam. On arrival, you’ll visit two temples, one dedicated to Emperor Dinh and the other in memory of Emperor Le, followed by a brief visit to the remains of the old Palace. From there, you’ll be driven in your support vehicle to Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi departure (Breakfast, Driver Pickup)
Your time will be your own until your driver arrives to take you to Noi Bai airport in good time for your departure flight. Tour ends.
- Free Vietnam Visa Invitation Letter
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above. For description, see below
- Boat cruise as programme.
- Road travel in an appropriate private vehicle for transfer and back up when cycling as itinerary (supplement luggage van to carry bike and baggage)
- The services of experienced English-speaking guide as indicated in the itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners, as specified, in the best local restaurants, picnics where suitable restaurants are not available.
- Good quality touring cycles for all cycling days in the programme
- Motorbike support for cycling mountain track in Mai Chau as itinerary
- Drinking water for cycling days as itinerary
- Snack, soft drink and local fruits for cycling days
- Simple first aid kit.
- VAT and other taxes
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Surcharges for peak season (if any)