Bike tour from Saigon to Hanoi (12 days)

Our bike trip is the best of all these aspects of Vietnam. We take a classic cycling route between the commercial hub of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and the capital of Hanoi. We then Grasshopper-ize it by traveling on the most charming back road and trails to see the real countryside and not just the highway countryside. With very minimal driving and maximum cycling, this is a truly unique cycling trip. We took months to map out our route, so that you can take just twelve days to see the coast of this amazing country.

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With many kilometres of stunning beaches and dramatic coastal roads as well as some of the freshest seafood going this trip is an indulgent experience. We are never far from a beach and stay in comfortable hotels to make this trip one of our most cushy adventure tours

Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival Day in Saigon
We meet in the bustling commercial capital of Vietnam. We’ll head out and explore the culinary side to the city this evening and have a group briefing on the trip ahead. Meals: D

Day 2: Fly to Quy Nhon, Cycle 20km cycling
After a morning flight to Quy Nhon, we spend the afternoon exploring this pleasant seaside town and learning about the work of a dedicated lady who has single handedly established a centre to provide vocational training for young, disabled Vietnamese. Meals: BLD

Day 3: Cycle to Tam Quan 80km
Today we start our cycling journey proper as we leave Quy Nhon on a quiet back road along a sand dune peninsula with great views back over the bay and the mountains. We see lots of coast today as we undulate along the well made road with friendly villagers waving and cheering us on. We take a short drive at the end of the day to get us into the tiny village of Tam Quan. Meals: BLD

Day 4: Cycle to Quang Ngai 95km
A varied and highly enjoyable day lies ahead of us. We spend the morning riding along the coast then head inland to see a great new level of variety. We have some hills today as we cross rivers on small wooden bridges and pass farmers tending to rice fields and water buffalo. Our home for the night is Quang Ngai, a small city of little note, but a comfortable hotel, a pleasant river view and an abundance of cold drinks make up for any lack of notoriety. Meals: BLD

Day 5: Cycle to Tam Ky 98km
We start today with a visit to one of Vietnam’s more sobering sites, the My Lai Massacre Memorial. It was here that the a tragic event occurred, that once exposed, became a turning point in American public opinion to the American-Vietnam war. We continue on along the coast and along the way visit a rice paper maker and a mat weaver. Both are traditional forms of village industry that are becoming less common in cities, but here in the village, the skills are still alive. We enjoy a lunch of the freshest seafood possible and stay this evening in a pleasant small scale hotel. Meals: BLD

Day 6: Cycle & Boat to Hoi An 60km
This is possibly the best days riding on the whole trip. We start with a visit to a fresh market where the fish come straight out of the South China Sea and into the baskets of this small market. As you are interested in their fish, the vendors will be just as interested in you and will be more than happy to pose for a photo, a real novelty in this well off the beaten path location. We ride dirt roads through sleepy fishing villages with friendly faces popping out to say hello. We then take a boat ride to reach Hoi An, a fitting way to enter this ancient port town. Meals: BLD

Day 7: Free Day in Hoi An
Today is a free day for you to enjoy Hoi An. We offer an optional morning ride of the town and the surrounding countryside, but you might prefer a sleep in. Hoi An has a long history dating back as far as the first century, but is known mostly for its role as a trading port for Chinese and Japanese sea merchants during the 17th and 18th centuries. The beauty of the town was miraculously spared the damage that many towns suffered during the American-Vietnam war and today Hoi An is a UNESCO world heritage listed town that cannot be compared to anywhere else in Indochina. It is an intriguing, photogenic old town, located just a short distance from a beautiful beach where you can sit and sip a coconut. Meals: B

Day 8: Cycle to Lang Co 75km
Today is the most scenic day of the ride as we ride through Danang and then climb Hai Van Pass, a 10km long, winding road on a gradient averaging 5.8%. At the top we enjoy some amazing views over the coast before we take the thrilling descent into the charming beachside town of Lang Co. Our resort this evening is right on the long beach with white powder sand. Meals: BLD

Day 9: Cycle to Hue 85km
Cycle through small back roads to the last Imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue. Along the way, we pass many cemeteries as this is considered a suitable place for burial by the ocean with a mountain backdrop. In addition to graves, there are a number of memorials for those who in attempting to flee after the fall of Southern Vietnam, were taken by the ocean. Relatives who resettled in other countries have since returned to construct these memorials. Meals: BLD

Day 10: Hue Day Ride 30km
We explore Hue by bike and aside from the most well known sites of the Forbidden City and Tu Duc’s Tomb, we will take in some lesser known ones, to get a full picture of this much visited, but under explored city. Meals: BL

Day 11: Fly to Hanoi
We take a morning flight to Hanoi. In the afternoon we walk the streets of this buzzing city with its constant clash of new and old and the continuing theme of delicious, plentiful food. We then celebrate the end of our adventure over dinner. Meals: BLD Note: For all tours operating between June and October 2013, we will take a sleeper train on the night of day 10. This is due to the temporary closure of Hue Airport for renovation.

Day 12: Conclusion of Tour in Hanoi
There are no activities planned today and you can depart any time you wish. Should you wish to travel to Halong Bay, please inquire with our staff at the time of booking and we can assist you to arrange this. Meals: B

Tour rate: contact us for quote

Note on Itinerary
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Air Travel
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Single Travelers
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted above. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee, which is one-half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.

Trip Price Includes
Trip price includes all accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; all sightseeing arrangements as noted; one group airport transfer upon arrival and departure (scheduled to coincide with the arrival/departure time of the majority of trip members); bikes and spare parts; bilingual guides; travel permits; support van; boat trip to/from Whale Island; Hanoi water puppet show; drinking water and snacks while cycling.

Halong Bay Extension only: Round-trip transfer Hanoi – Halong Bay; English-speaking guide; 2 nights’ accommodations in private air-conditioned cabin; 1 night hotel in Hanoi; meals as noted on daily itinerary; one group transfer to the Hanoi airport on Day 4.

Not Included
International flights to/from Vietnam, flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat and Da Nang to Hanoi (REI Adventures will reserve these for you), half-day trip to Cu Chi tunnels, optional boat trip to Cham Island, 2 lunches and 3 dinners as noted, bottled water with meals, Vietnamese visa, personal expenses such as medical immunizations, insurance of any kind, excess baggage charges, liquor, and laundry fees, gratuities to local guides.

Halong Bay Extension only: Air transportation to/from Vietnam; 1 dinner; optional guide gratuities; insurance of any kind; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages.

Qualifications
This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Although a support vehicle will be available, participants should be experienced cyclists who enjoy spending much of the day (3-7 hours) on their bikes. Some stretches of road near busy towns can be noisy with lots of cars, exhaust and/or dust. The countryside in Vietnam can be hilly so a regular conditioning program beginning at least three months prior to departure is strongly recommended. Cycling, walking/running and a daily stretching regimen are all great ways to prepare for this adventure. Some of the most important qualifications for any trip without standard tourist facilities are a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude.

Weather
Throughout our trip, morning temperatures are typically in the 60-70°F range, warming to the 80s or low 90s during the afternoon. High humidity can be expected in most of the regions we visit. Rainfall is a possibility during any month of the year making adequate raingear a necessity.

Bikes
Our trip price includes bicycles perfectly designed for the terrain we encounter during our two-wheeled tour of Vietnam: well-maintained and reliable 27-speed Trek 4500 aluminum frame mountain bikes with upright handlebars. Should you wish to bring your own seat and pedals, your guides will gladly mount them on your bike at the beginning of the trip.

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