Cycling the Limestone Mountain Range of Vietnam 8 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/Mai Chau (B, L, D, G)
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.
Cycling distance: approx. 30 Km

Day 4: Mai Chau/Pu Luong Nature Reserve (B, L, D, G)
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.
Cycling distance: approx. 40 Km

Day 5: Pu Luong Nature Reserve/Cuc Phuong National Park (B, L, D, G)
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.
Cycling distance: approx. 20 Km

Day 6: Cuc Phuong National Park/Tam Coc (B, L, D, G)
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.
Cycling distance: approx. 40 Km

Day 7: Tam Coc/Ninh Binh/Hanoi (B, L, G)
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.
Cycling distance: approx. 12 Km

Day 8: Hanoi departure (B, GP)
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.