Cycling Backroads of Vietnam 14 Days

Day 1: Arrival at Hanoi (D, GP)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. After a short rest, you will finish the day by a cyclo ride around the bustling Old Quarter – a magnet for visitors – it’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction. The Old Quarter is a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture – traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices.
In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and an interesting, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture).
After the show, you’ll have time to relax after your journey before a welcome dinner at a good restaurant in a colonial building. Your overnight stay will be in Hanoi.

Day 2: Exploring villages around Hanoi (B, L, G)
In the morning, you’ll be picked up to drive to Bat Trang. On arrival, you’ll be able to stroll in the small alleys of this old village to watch local people producing their fine products. If you wish, you can try your hands in making your own ceramic products. You’ll then pick up your bicycles and ride along the riverside dike, through some more of the many villages surrounding Hanoi.
You will continue riding on the village roads Kieu Ky village, a traditional village making golden leaf to decorate for pagodas and temples. The next ride will lead you to Dau Keo and But Thap Pagoda. You will finally ride to Dong Ho village – famous for its traditional paintings where your car is waiting and take you back to Hanoi. The rest of the day will be free at leisure. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Cycling distance: approx. 30 Km

Day 3: Hanoi/Ha Long Kayaking (B, L, D, G)
After an early breakfast, you’ll leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you’ll board your boat, a wooden junk built from the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure, that will take you first to the busy World Heritage area and then to some of the less well-known grottoes and caves. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to swim, fish, climb a hill (not a mountain!) for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape, or venture into some of the sea level caves in a small sampan. All your meals will be provided on board, usually based on fresh seafood, and you’ll sleep in a twin cabin with an en suite toilet and shower.

Day 4: Ha Long/Hanoi/Hue (Brunch, GP)
You’ll spend the morning cruising Ha Long Bay, followed by lunch just before docking around noon and leaving for Hanoi thence to the Noi Bai airport for a late afternoon flight to Hue. When you arrive, you’ll be met by our guide and driven to your hotel for check-in. You’ll spend the night in Hue.

Day 5: Cycling to get closer to Hue’s life (B, L, D, G)
In the morning, you will get on your bicycles and ride through Hue’s rural villages towards the Thanh Toan Bridge (roofed in Chinese style). Nearby, a local market will provide you with views of daily life and local products. You’ll then return to Hue’s city centre with en-route visit the Ngoc Son Princess ‘garden house’. It has an attractive family altar and the owner is an expert on Hue’s culture and history – he will be pleased to explain the geomantic principles underpinning the building and garden’s construction.
After lunch, your route will take you past the Imperial Citadel to visit some of the garden houses in Phu Mong Kim Long village, followed by a visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda. From there, you’ll cross the river by boat to ride along a country lane to one of the handicraft villages in Hue’s hinterland that specialises in a single product range of ‘Huong Tram’ (incense sticks) village before looping back to your hotel.
In the evening, you’ll sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. The owner will prepare and serve a traditional meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. You’ll spend the night in Hue.
Cycling distance: approx. 40 Km

Day 6: Exploring Phuoc Tich Ancient Village (B, L, G)
After breakfast at hotel, you will get on your bike and head north to the outskirts of Hue to visit the Phuoc Tich Village, about 50km away from Hue’s city centre. The village is situated beside the O Lau River, one of the biggest rivers in Hue, it’s known for its ancient houses built more than a century ago.
Upon arrival, your guide will show you around the first few different ancient houses which reflect the architectural and cultural characteristics of the region. You’ll then cycle along the river to experience the rural scenery and daily life of the villagers. You’ll also have chance to witness some relics of the Champa Kingdom that have been left around the village. In the afternoon, you will cycle back to your hotel where you will spend the night.
Cycling distance: approx. 50 Km

Day 7: Hue/Lang Co/Hoi An (B, L, G)
A classic cycling trail for people with average fitness – taxing, but not exhausting! You’ll be driven to the coast, about 18km (or 20 minutes) beyond Hue’s city limits. The first 40km is off the beaten track along a picturesque lane shaded by coconut palms running alongside a peninsula from Thuan An beach to Vinh Loc. A pause to explore the hundreds of ancestral tombs scattered across the high sand dunes is a welcome break.
Upon reaching the end of the peninsula, a local ferry will take you across the Perfume River’s estuary and, after reaching dry land, the route takes you a further 11km arrive at Highway 1. At this point you have two options – brave the traffic on Vietnam’s busiest road or be transferred to the start of today’s three hill climbs. Unless you enjoy following heavy juggernauts belching diesel fumes, we recommend the latter!
After the first two moderate climbs, each about 3km, a break to relax, sunbathe, splash in the azure waters of Lang Co beach and seafood lunch, you’ll be ready for the Hai Van Pass. You’ll ignore the tunnel, full of commercial traffic and noxious gasses, in favour of the 11km mountain road. Since the tunnel was built, it’s very quiet – the gradient is manageable and the views breathtaking!
Finally, you’ll then be transferred the rest of the way to Hoi An Ancient Town, a historic old port and trading post where you’ll spend the night.
Cycling distance: approx. 80 Km

Day 8: Hoi An/My Son Sanctuary (B, L, G)
A gentle ride westward to the World Heritage My Son Sanctuary, mostly on quiet level roads following the banks of the Thu Bon River!
Seven kilometres after setting off, you’ll cross the river to visit a fishing village. After remounting and dropping in at a local market, a further 11km takes you to Bara bridge for a break and refreshments. Revitalized, you’ll soon need to push your cycles across a couple of major roads, then it’s more back roads until you reach My Son.
Your guide will show you the remains of the remarkable towers constructed by the Cham builders, many centuries ago – their origins and purpose have yet to be fully explained. In the afternoon, you’ll return to your hotel via your support vehicle rest of the day to do what like.
Cycling distance: approx. 60 Km

Day 9: Hoi An/My Lai (B, L, G)
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll drive along Highway 1 to Quang Ngai and My Tra Hotel, your overnight accommodation. Your bicycles will be waiting for you. The first stage is gentle – quiet country lanes leading to the coast and fishing villages. A short 2km ascent to the top of Thien An Mountain offers striking views of the surrounding countryside with time to visit an ancient Pagoda dating back to 1650 and still an active place of worship. The monks living in the pagoda are always welcoming – have a small donation ready!
The gradient is now downhill towards the site of the infamous My Lai massacre, now a shrine dedicated to the unarmed 550 villagers, mainly women and children, slaughtered by the Americans in March, 1968. Many were raped, beaten, tortured, or maimed before they were killed. A museum and gardens commemorate the event, but the silence broken only by the sighing of the breeze in the trees is its own memorial.
After a guided tour to reflect on the war, the quiet roads take you to the beach for relaxation and perhaps a swim. After a picnic lunch, you can loop round through the fishing villages to return to Quang Ngai or, if you’re tired, take the direct route back to your hotel.
Cycling distance: approx. 47 Km

Day 10: My Lai/Quy Nhon (B, L, G)
Today, the serious cycling begins, hence an early breakfast! A drive takes you to the start point, 99km south of My Lai. The first section meanders alongside the coast from Binh Duong, Tung Giang and Tuy Phuoc on a small provincial road passing many villages, far from the main highway. There’ll be plenty of time to dismount to experience the warmth and friendliness of Vietnamese people. The surface varies from reasonable to rough, so the support vehicle may have to detour to avoid hazards. Eventually, you’ll arrive at Tuy Phuoc, 9km to Quy Nhon City, your destination and accommodation. You can cycle this last stage if you wish, but you may prefer to be driven as this the section of the road is quite busy.
Cycling distance: approx. 73 Km

Day 11: Quy Nhon/Nha Trang (B, L, G)
Another early start and a transfer well away from the main highway! The day’s route mostly follows the lanes and tracks alongside the Reunification Express railway. The first stage will be on an isolated but well-surfaced road. The gently rolling terrain and views of the Highland foothills make a splendid backdrop for the potbellied pigs and barefooted children dashing across your trail as you pass ethnic minority and Vietnamese communities’ en-route. You’ll be quite a spectacle for the villagers, so expect plenty of offers of hospitality.
As your ‘off the beaten track’ route begins to converge with the highway, you’ll transfer to four-wheel transport and head to Nha Trang where you’ll spent the night, stopping at Dai Lanh Beach for a dip and refreshments on the way.
Cycling distance: approx. 67 Km

Day 12: Nha Trang/Mui Ne (B, L, G)
As usual, you’ll drive to the outskirt of the city to avoid the traffic. Once on your cycles, the route continues southward towards Cam Ranh (32 kilometres, about two hours) until you join Highway 1 and dismount. After driving to Ca Na for lunch, you’ll drive to Luong Son, where you re-mount. At 48km, (about one and a half hours) the last stage is the longest. Although the terrain undulates from time to time, the road is good quality so you can make good time. As you near Mui Ne and your hotel, the last section is hilly with high sand dunes and ocean views.
Cycling distance: approx. 80 Km

Day 13: Mui Ne free (B)
Your time will be your own.

Day 14: Mui Ne/Ho Chi Minh City departure (B, DP)
Your time will be your own until your driver arrives to take you to Ho Chi Minh City (approx. 4.5-hour driving) in good time for your departure flight. Tour ends.