Northwest Vietnam Cycling Challenge 10 Days

Day 1: Hanoi arrival (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/Sleeper train to Lao Cai (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.
In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi and have refreshment at your hotel before your car comes back to take you to Hanoi Railway Station to board the overnight train to Lao Cai (Late check out until 9 PM is included). You will spend the night on the train.
Cycling distance: app 30 Km

Day 3: Lao Cai/Cycling in Sapa (B, L, G)
Arriving in Lao Cai station in early morning, you’ll be met and driven to Sapa. After breakfast and a shower, you’ll bike to explore Sapa valley. You’ll cycle downhill on a winding road which runs along Muong Hoa valley, home to Black Hmong, Giay and Red Dao minorities. From the road you’ll have many opportunities to enjoy scenery of mountains and rice paddy terraces as far as the eyes can see. After a short break in Su Pan, you’ll bike to Ban Ho on a good asphalted road. The approach to Ban Ho will be a steep downhill – the village is on the foot of the mountains.
After lunch in Ban Ho, you’ll be able to take a walk up to Red Dao village of Nam Toong. Here you have time to visit the local school and a Red Dao house. After exploring Nam Toong you’ll walk back to Ban Ho where your car is waiting to take you back to Sapa for your overnight stay.
Cycling distance: app 30 Km

Day 4: Sapa/Heaven’s Gate/Binh Lu/Tam Duong (B, L, D, G)
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll bike for 20 kilometres on a bumpy uphill road to ‘Heaven’s Gate’, Vietnam’s highest pass. A break at the top of the pass allows an opportunity to enjoy the view of the Sapa valley and the long snaking road ahead. A further 20 kilometres leads to Binh Lu through mountainous landscape via a winding downhill road, passing several ethnic villages, mostly small Black Dao and Giay communities, on the way. The final section is an easy ride downhill all the way to Tam Duong where you’ll spend the night.
Cycling distance: app 40 Km

Day 5: Tam Duong/Paso (B, L, D, G)
Assuming you’re able to arrange your dates to coincide with the Tam Duong weekly market that takes place every Thursday, you’ll be able to mingle with several different ethnic minority groups. They will include White H’mong, Flower H’mong, Nhang and Pu Na people dressed in their colourful costumes.
Leaving Tam Duong, a lift on the support vehicle will take you to the top of the Hong Thu Meo pass between Tam Duong and Paso. From there, you’ll cycle 21 kilometres downhill towards Paso passing a Thai ethnic minority group and banana plantation en-route. After lunch at your hotel in Paso, you’ll be driven for 10 kilometres to Phong Tho, situated beside a picturesque tributary of the Na River. From there, you’ll pick up your bikes to ride along an undulating quiet road for about 8 kilometres through ethnic minority villages and acres of lush banana plantation alongside a river. When you arrive at a small bridge, it’s time to board the escort vehicle to drive to the Vietnam-China border for a brief visit. Returning to the bridge and after a visit a Thai village, 7 kilometres on a scenic route takes you back your hotel in Paso, where you’ll spend the night.
Cycling distance: app 35 Km

Day 6: Paso/Lai Chau (B, L, D, G)
Today, the road meanders through the picturesque Na river valley past many small Red and White Hmong, Kho Mu and White Thai ethnic minority villages – the sound of the running river water follows you all the way. You’ll reach Muong Lay in the early afternoon with time to wander around the small town, hike in the nearby mountains, cruise on a boat downstream or just relax. Your overnight stay will be in Muong Lay.
Cycling distance: app 90 Km

Day 7: Lai Chau/Dien Bien Phu (B, L, G)
Today is the end destination of your four-day biking adventure. You will be driven in the support vehicle for the first 30 km before cycling to Dien Bien Phu, passing more White Thai, Red and White Hmong and Kho Mu ethnic minority villages on the way. In the afternoon you will reach Dien Bien Phu for your overnight stay.
Cycling distance: app 72 Km

Day 8: Dien Bien Phu (B, L, G)
After breakfast, you will have a car to drive you (and the bikes) uphill to Muong Phang village to see the beautiful scenery. You will then take your bike and cycle downhill to see some ethnic villages of Black Tay, Black Man, Muong people (around 50 km). You will spend the night in Dien Bien Phu.
Cycling distance: app 50 Km

Day 9: Dien Bien Phu/Hanoi (B, G)
After breakfast, you have an easy bicycle trip around the town to visit Dien Bien Phu’s famous historical sites including the Museum, Glory Statue, A1 Hill and the De Castrerie Tunnel. After that, you’ll be free until your driver arrives to take you to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi, you will be met and driven to your hotel where you will spend the night.
Cycling distance: app 20 Km

Day 10: Hanoi Departure (B, GP)
Your time will be your own until your private car and driver arrives to take you to Noi Bai airport in good time for your departure flight. Tour ends.