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Cycling Vietnam

Enjoy the best of Vietnam on two wheels



At a glance

* 11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat, 1 night sleeper train
* 9 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with 90% vehicle support
* Roads nearly all good tarmac
* The route is flat with the exception of Dalat and the Hai Van Pass
* Group normally 5 to 18, plus local leaders

Enjoy the best of Vietnam on two wheels

We ride from vibrant Saigon in the south to the chaotic capital of Hanoi in
the north on this two week cycling tour, travelling on tarmac roads through
colourful fishing villages, folding rice terraces and mountains cloaked in
jungle. The vast shoreline of white sandy beaches is ours to discover along
the way, with time to swim in the sea on a tropical island retreat. Stopping
off at the ancient trading port of Hoi An, home to temples and wooden
merchant houses, we delve into the peacefulness of rural Vietnam before
ascending the Hai Van Pass, riding along twisting coastal roads that lead to
remarkable views of the misty forest below.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/mov.jpg?t=1DhVBt

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts, 10 lunches, 1 dinner
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival & departure transfers
* Local bike hire

Food:
All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 1 dinner are included.

 Thanks to Vietnams tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range
of mountain, Vietnam is blessed with numerous varieties of culinary offerings
and consequently maintains its reputation as one of the healthiest cuisines
in the world that still packs a punch with delicious fresh and fiery
flavours. Vietnamese food relies on fresh fish, vegetables, rice and a whole
myriad of verdant herbs and spices; lemongrass, ginger, basil and lime all
play an important role in the cuisine. The Chinese and French influence is
felt throughout the country where you are just as likely to be offered a Banh
Mi (stuffed baguette) as you are a hot steaming bowl of Pho (noodle soup).
Each dish is prepared with the Asian principle of Wu Xing in mind (the five
elements) meaning that the perfect combination of spicy, sour, bitter, salty
and sweet is the ultimate aim. Be sure to also seek out the national
beverages; Vietnamese coffee is served iced and sweet with condensed milk, a
real sugar and caffeine hit, and beer hoi (local beer, brewed daily) is
served on most street corners in the North out of large plastic jugs that are
perfect for sharing.

Food is cheap in Vietnam and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you
wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere. Vegetarians are
well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary
requests. Please note that in SE Asia the availability of certain specialised
products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or
non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary
items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some ‘cycling snacks’
with you from home if you have high energy bars or gels that you like to use
during a ride. For those who wish to contribute a kitty is normally arranged
(see extra expenses) – fresh fruit, nuts, biscuits and local snacks are all
provided from the snacking kitty along with soft drinks and even homemade
lemonade if the season is right!

Start destination: Saigon

End destination: Hanoi

Cycling profile

Day 1

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly known as Saigon, is an exciting and
absorbing city where bicycles battle with lorries and temples stand defiantly
alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, Saigon is now a
bustling free market city where anything goes. The Ben Thanh Market and Notre
Dame Cathedral are within easy walking distance from our hotel and are highly
recommended.
*Huong sen Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 2

This morning we drive out of the city, before riding to the Cu Chi Tunnels.
This offers a great introduction to cycling in Vietnam and a chance to
fine-tune the bikes. The tunnels were Viet Cong sanctuaries, used by the
guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes. The network covers 3 levels
and approximately 240km of tunnels. Some parts have been widened for
tourists, but the tunnels were originally very narrow and it is still
necessary to crawl on hands and knees. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay
outside in the sunshine! If you prefer not to visit the tunnels you can have
an unguided free day in Saigon. Places of interest include: the Emperor of
Jade and Giac Lam pagodas, the former Presidential Palace (now the
Reunification Hall), Ben Thanh market and the War Remnants Museum. Cycle
approx. 30km
* Huong sen Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 3

After an early breakfast we head out of Saigon by bus and then start cycling
towards the coast. We hit the backroads and head through tropical fruit and
rubber plantations also passing some small fishing villages as we make our
way closer to the coast finishing our ride in time for lunch. We then
transfer approx. 3 hours to Mui Ne, a tranquil white sand beach where we can
witness our first sunset over the South China Sea. We spend approx. 4-5 hours
on the bus today. Cycle approx. 50km.

*Sea Links Beach Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 4

We cycle towards Dalat; the route is undulating with occasional climbs. Along
the way we pass coffee and tea plantations as well as flower gardens and pine
forests as we reach higher altitude. We rejoin the bus before the road climbs
steeply to the mountain town of Dalat. We spend approx 3.5 hours on the bus
today. Dalat is a pleasant hill station, formerly known as Le Petit Paris,
and has been described as the most beautiful town in Vietnam. It was favoured
by the French for its climate, and is now a popular honeymoon resort for the
Vietnamese. Cycle approx. 60km.
*Sammy Hotel Dalat or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 5

Today’s ride is predominantly downhill through pine forests and paddy fields
as we descend nearly 1,500m travelling through the Bidoup Ba National Park.
This area is home to rare pine forests as well as small villages inhabited by
the ethnic minority people of the central highlands. Once we arrive at the
coast, we head by bus (approx. 1.5 hours) to the coast near Nha Trang before
boarding a boat to our tropical island retreat of Whale Island for the next
two nights. Cycle up to 100km according to preference.
*Whale Island Resort or similar, Basic Hotel*

Day 6

Having a rest from the bikes today we get the opportunity to really relax and
unwind. We will join a boat trip in the morning for a spot of snorkelling and
swimming in the turquoise sea before a seafood lunch is served. In the
afternoon there is the option to visit a local fishing village, see the Whale
temple or walk around the island to the viewpoint for a 360 degree view of
the stunning mountainous coastline and the surrounding coves and white sand
beaches.
*Whale Island Resort or similar, Basic Hotel*

Day 7

We set off early in the morning and ride to the beautiful fishing village of
Dai Lanh. A short transfer out of town past the Po Nagar Cham towers brings
us to a high point and from here today’s ride is predominantly flat. The
beautiful beach at Dai Lanh is a perfect place to stop for a swim (if road
conditions and time permit) and lunch before continuing by bus around the
spectacular coastal cliff road towards the town of Tuy Hoa and on to Quy
Nhon. (Approx. 4 hours in the bus today). Cycle up to 90km. according to
preference.
*Seagull Quy Nhon Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 8

Leaving Quy Nhon we travel through a new economic zone over the Thi Nai
Peninsula and Nhon Hoi Bridge, the longest sea bridge in Vietnam. Getting off
our bikes we will visit a market, where its not unusual to be pulled aside
for a photo as this part of the country does not see many western tourists.
The coast line features secluded bays, sand dunes and beaches with colourful
fishing boats bobbing on the South China Sea. We will cycle until we arrive
at Phu Ly and then drive to Hoi An. If time permits, we will cycle the last
12km once we turn off Highway 1 into Hoi An.
Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the
mid-sixteenth Century is now a living museum, with attractive wooden
merchant’s houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese
and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to
wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market. We spend two nights in
Hoi An which is also a fantastic place to buy local art or have some clothes
tailor-made for you. Its best to bring a picture or a sample of what you want
made. Approx. 6 hours in the bus today. Cycle approx. 50km.
*Hoian River Green Boutique or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 9

This morning we take a guided walking tour of Hoi An to explore some of the
structures of historical significance in the Old Town, including bridges,
temples, wells and houses. Those less interested in architecture can cycle
the 5km to the lovely Cua Dai beach or cycle to the Marble Mountains, which
are 19km from town. These five marble hills, formerly islands, contain many
caves, some of which were used as Buddhist (and Vietcong) sanctuaries. Also
nearby is China beach, a famous US R & R spot in the war, and Danang where
there is a Cham Museum, which despite being in poor condition, is very
interesting. It is also possible to visit My Son, one of the most important
Cham temple sites in Vietnam where Cham kings were buried as early as the
fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site,
there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries.
*Hoian River Green Boutique or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 10

Today we turn north again for the drive/cycle to Hue. The route traverses
over the spectacular Hai Van Pass – the ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. The views
are stunning though those who prefer to avoid the 580m climb can always take
a lift in the support vehicle. Once at the top it will all seem worth it as
you plummet back to the ocean, then continue through small villages and
timeless rural scenes to the outskirts of Hue, from where we transfer to our
city centre hotel. Approx 2.5 hours in the bus today. Cycle approx. 80km.
*Cherish Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 11

Hue is often claimed to be the cultural and historic centre of Vietnam and
there is plenty to see. We take a guided tour of the city and surrounding
tombs. The most memorable site is the citadel, with walls six miles in
length: inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of
the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor and his eunuchs and
concubines were allowed. Then we take a boat along the Perfume River to the
elaborate tombs of the Nguyen emperors, who ruled Vietnam from Hue. Tu Duc’s
Tomb is very elaborate and set in beautiful gardens. Along the way we will
visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government
protest in the early 1960s and it houses the Austin car that transported a
monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself as a protest
against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in
newspapers all around the world. In the afternoon we will board the
Reunification Express for the overnight ride to Hanoi, 600km to the north.
Cycle approx. 25km.
*Overnight Train*

Day 12

We usually arrive in Hanoi in the early morning and stop for a local
breakfast and a stretch of the legs, before we are met by our bus for an
approximately 4 hour drive to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly
beautiful sights in South East Asia with around 3000 limestone peaks rising
directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst
scenery, stopping to kayak in the sea allowing us to get to places
inaccessible by boat (weather permitting) and enjoy a seafood lunch on
board. There may even be the chance to try a spot of fishing from the boat
too.  
* Overnight Boat*

Day 13

Visit Me Cung cave and enjoy further time to cruise the many islands of
Halong Bay. Return to Hanoi late afternoon. This charming city contains many
beautiful old buildings and the atmosphere is completely different from that
in Saigon in the south, mainly due to the much more conservative nature of
the North Vietnamese. Also, unlike its industrial counterpart,
the centre of Hanoi has a faded charm with broad tree-lined avenues dating
from the French period as well as some attractive lakes and pagodas. In the
evening there is the option to enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famous water
puppets.

*May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*

Day 14

**

Prices & Dates

Date: 2018-09-092018-09-22

Trip code: MOV180909

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Customer Feedback

Fantastic trip to Vietnam

Summary:
Excellent trip

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling on the small roads and of the beaten path

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Fantastic could not have done a better job.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Expect the unexpected. Just enjoy the journey

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Train journey is not a luxy

Read full review

Cycling Vietnam

Summary:
Cycling Vietnam was an amazing and fun trip from start to finish. Beautiful
scenery and varied landscapes with a good mix of urban and rural cycling.
Delicious food at every point. The Vietnamese could not have been more
welcoming – especially the excited kids that cheered us along the country
roads.

The tour was well organised with team leader (Lok) and support team (Xiu,
Nhan and Truong) providing outstanding service throughout.

The tour covers a huge distance from south to north (with bus and train
support!) and along the way we had the chance to soak up Vietnamese culture
and history – paddi fields, cashew nuts, traditional fishing methods as well
as the legacy of colonialism and war. The city stops varied from
chocoloate-box-perfect Hoi An to cosmopolitan Hanoi and everything in between
(including a few hair raising roundabouts!).

The cycling was a joy throughout. A great way to visit a great country!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
See above.

Read full review

Vietnam Cycling Enthusiast

Summary:
This was my first trip to Vietnam and cycling the country was an amazing
experience. Traveling with our local guide Son, a terrific leader who
managed 16 cyclists of various abilities with good humor and patience. We
stuck together through the maze of traffic, construction, honking in the
midst of bustling cities and quiet and tranquil villages. The tour provided
so many wonderful experiences and a very compelling story of Vietnamese
culture and traditions.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
I found the people to be most inspiring – they work so very hard and are
accepting and welcoming.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader Son was top notch – very organized – he made sure everyone
was safe on the ride as well as provided insights into the culture, the
towns/cities that we visited. His team did everything to insure that our
holiday would be memorable. Loved the fresh fruit and lemonade provided on
our stops. A must to prevent dehydration. Our bus driver, van driver and
mechanic….kudos to them for working 24/7 keeping up with all of our
activities and making sure we were comfortable and our bikes in good shape.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
For anyone who has not been to Asia, Vietnam is so very special. It is
perhaps not the 5 star beauty of Bali or the majesty of Angkor Wat or have
the many awesome temples of Thailand, but it’s own special charm grows on you
as you travel through the country. Ha Long Bay!!! Whale Island …two
special places for me. The cycling was harder than expected mostly due to
the heat and humidity. Also the traffic and noise in the busy cities may
make it more difficult for some cyclists. I would definitely recommend
training as we had some time constraints to finish each day’s ride so that we
could make it to our final day’s destination.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
As many others have said…just do it… this tour is designed to experience
Vietnam with such a local level and feel. The tour only uses local
Vietnamese companies and I found that to be so valuable to have our tourist
dollars go to the local people.

Read full review

CYCLING HO CHI MIN TO HANOI

Summary:
Cycling Vietnam was an excellent way of seeing the countryside and meeting
the local Vietnamese people who were extremely friendly and always willing to
help.
The cycling involved flat, undulating and hilly sections so there was a good
mix and the road surfaces were all remarkably good. The guide Lam gave you
the opportunity to cycle at your own speed, with plenty of stops for
rehydration and refuelling as it was incredibly hot and humid. At any
junction the bus or the truck was there to point you in the right direction.
It was extremely well organised and everything went like clockwork from start
to finish. We were well looked after and well fed.
The countryside varied from paddy fields to more mountainous areas which were
green and lush, but not as picturesque as I had anticipated.
We had to spend a fair amount of time on the bus, due to the large distances
we had to cover, however, we would never has seen or done so much without
doing so. The bus was comfortable with plenty of room for us to spread out.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Halong Bay was quite amazing and we had a lovely over night trip on a boat,
we went sea kayaking which was great fun. We had a trip out to an island
TITOP ISLAND, and had fantastic views of the bay from the top.
Cycling up the HAI VAN PASS was also a great experience and seeing everyone
completing the ride when it was 33C.
The group was excellent and we had lots of fun and laughs along the way, so
that made the trip for me, along with sights and sounds of Vietnam.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Lam our group leader was just excellent – so organised, pleasant, cheerful,
always smiling and nothing was too much trouble for him. The mechanic Y was
brilliant – the bikes were well maintained and kept clean, if there was a
problem it was sorted immediately. The truck and bus drivers were always
there to lend a hand, giving out drinks and food and always smiling. A great
team.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Be prepared to do some cycling before you go as it is harder when conditions
are hot and humid, especially if you want to climb the HAI VAN PASS – a
challenging 10km climb.
Be prepared for crazy drivers both cars and scooters – there are thousands of
scooters going in any direction and popping out from side roads, riding in
the opposite direction so you have to be very careful on all roads,
especially in busy cities. Not for the faint hearted.
However, it is Asia and anything goes.
If you want to spend time in Hanoi book an extra day, as we didn’t really
have time to explore the city.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Overall the trip was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the cycling.
However, the day we cycled in HUE, a very large populated city with thousands
of scooters and cars going in all directions, I found extremely dangerous and
very unpleasant and was glad when we were off the bike. One of our group had
a very unfortunate accident and came off and fractured her arm.

Our accommodation was excellent, although I wasn’t too impressed with it on
Whale Island due to the amount of ants in the room which was a bit off
putting.
Snorkelling off Whale Island was very disappointing, the water was a bit
murky and we didn’t see many fish – I’ve seen more in a fish tank, plus there
was a lot of litter on the sea bed and at times floating on the water
surface. Also the ladder on the boat was not the safest as the rungs were
not flat for your feet and climbing into the boat proved to be a
challenge!!!! However, the water was warm and it was good fun, and the crew
provided us with a lovely lunch.
It was also disappointing to see so much litter at road sides and in the
water, even at Halong Bay, but perhaps that’s inevitable with the large
number of tourist boats.

Cycling in Vietnam was very interesting and a good experience. I learned a
lot about the Vietnam war, the Vietnamese culture. The CHI CHU tunnels was a
very worthwhile trip. The Vietnamese are very friendly and welcoming.
Eating out was extremely cheap, as were clothes and souvenirs.

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Start to Finish Delight

Summary:
The trip exceeded my expectations due to the fine(Hot!)weather we enjoyed.The
wonderful nature of the Vietnamese folk,the quality and attention to detail
of our support team,plenty of refreshment/regrouping stops.The team leaders
desire to ensure we learned a little of the history,good and bad,of his
homeland and the direction it was heading in these more modern times.
As well as the above,the hotels were great,although had I been arriving at
these establishments solo,in cycling gear and somewhat road weary,I would
have been a degree more self conscious.That said,there was never anything
less than a warm smile and a welcoming cool fruit drink,and even flowers
placed around our necks at one halt.
The rest days were well placed and welcome,all in all adding up to one of the
most memorable trips I have enjoyed.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Getting up and over the pass after leaving Danang,and enjoying the descent
that followed the climb.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Lam was a delightful fellow,very thoughtful and informative with ever a wide
smile.The same could be said of his three assistants.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Be prepared for the heat extremes if you are a northerly hemisphere
resident,but the stops are frequent and refreshing.Commit to enjoying cycling
in the city traffic,as daunting as it at first appears,I felt quite safe as
all the other many road users are aware of one another and considerate.Lam,
the trip leader exerted his presence as leader of a group cyclists,with good
affect.

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What are you waiting for, just book!

Summary:
Beautiful scenery, wonderful people, tremendous food and days packed with
activities and smiles. Traditionally, as an independent solo traveller, I
wasn’t sure about a group trip. But, attracted by the idea of a cycling
holiday and in need of a hassle free adventure in an amazing location, this
seemed like the perfect solution. It absolutely did not disappoint.
From the friendly and efficient booking process, through well organised
travel and transfers, to an immediate and warm welcome upon arrival, the
Exodus arrangements could not be faulted. The cycling built up over the first
few days allowing acclimatisation to sun and saddle, so whether good cyclist
or weekend warrior, this trip is very achievable for those with a general
fitness. Son Nguyen and his team offered superb support throughout the trip,
and facilitated access to local people and experiences that are mostly not
afforded to two-week tourists tied to hotel chains, bus tours or backpacker
haunts. Vietnam has so much history, culture and culinary delight to offer
and being part of a great group of like-minded people, game to try as much as
possible during their adventure, made this trip just perfect. Thanks Son and
crew, for making us so welcome in your country!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
So many moments stand out that it would be unfair to say which was the most
inspirational. Hanoi is a magical city I shall undoubtedly visit again for
its vibrant life, but it might not have been appreciated so much without
having passed through beautiful, tranquil countryside full of colour,
laughing children, and stunning scenery. The camaraderie around achieving the
100km mark and the 10km Hai Van Pass was a highlight too!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Son did a great job at bringing Vietnam to life for us. Patient, organised,
thoughtful and a good leader even when the weather meant changes to the plan
– to us it felt seamless, and there was a smile & laugh for every occasion.
He also did a good job of pricking our environmental consciousness with good
reminders about single use plastics – keep up the good work!

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Vietnam – vitality and variety

Summary:
If you want a non-stop, full-on journey with never a dull moment trip (and
really don’t want a lie-in in the morning) – then cycle from the bottom to
the top of Vietnam! Well to be truthful you don’t actually cycle the whole
distance – but it sounds good! You actually cover 500 k on your good quality
bicycle. The reality is to travel the whole country you have no choice but
to spend a fair amount of time on the minibus, but it wasn’t a problem – just
a fact. Pleasantly surprised by the quality of hotels – hard to fault
anything about them.

The cycling goes from miles of completely flat through villages and
countryside (where you whizz along at 14-16 mph regularly), to pleasantly
undulating, with just two ‘proper’ climbs – one of which is 10k and seriously
steep. One spectacular downhill journey for miles as a sort of pay-back!!
Fabulous food (lots of stopping off at local families along the route for
lunch). A great group of 18 folk of varying ages and levels of fitness
made the holiday fun and fabulous.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
A couple of highlights for me – two nights on Whale Island (what a really
fabulous place), a couple of nights in Hoi An which was great fun if you like
cooking and getting clothes made, and the 14 hour train journey from Hue to
Hanoi was just brilliant.
Getting to grips with the traffic and cycling through some busy towns was
hilarious – bonkers at times, but such good fun. Spotting the most unusual
thing that could be transported on the back of a scooter was an entertaining
hobby for sure.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The whole of our team of four was fantastic. They were superbly led by Son
– who was unflappable, kind, experienced, efficient and funny and worked
really hard to help us understand what Vietnam is all about!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Various reviews say pack light – it’s good advice (although sadly I ignored
it)! There’s lots of packing and unpacking along the way so the less you
take the easier it is. For example – you really do only need one swim suit,
not 3, one or two pairs of sandals, not 4!!! Also there are so many shopping
opportunities you need space to bring those additional essential purchases
home!!!

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Vietnam Cycling

Summary:
What a trip!..18 of us threw ourselves into an adventure for 2 weeks!Thank
you Son ,our trip leader ,.for supporting all 18 of us through all the
“undulations”.The especially selected “Happy Rooms”…- the continual
patience of all the crewĺ.
Carefully paced cycling made it doable for all of us.
Such a shame about the rubbish on the side of the road.
Great food..suppose..always ģç
Highly recomend this trip.Book it now

Anna Greenwood

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The ride over The Hai Van Pass!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
He was brilliant!…fun..knowelagable. ..thoughtful with a wonderful
understanding of our sense of humour!
Very patient!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Some training helps!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Do it before it’s too late!

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MOV180211

Summary:
My trip to Cycling Vietnam was very good. Son Nguyen was very good, we were
18 in the
group, occasionally we needed more information about the next day so we could
get ourself
prepared better (ex. sleeping on train and boat).

I wish we had more time in Hanoi, we were flying home the next day getting on
transfer bus
for 10.30am. Coming away from Halong Bay going to Hanoi, after several hours
on bus we
visited the Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. I think it would
have been better
if we were given the choice to see those two sights because we were near our
hotel when we
went to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum (only a few people were interested).

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Everything was magical especially with the celebration of New Year (Hoi An)
Ha Long Bay kayak/sleeping on boat.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Son Nguyen was very good.

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A grand tour by bike through Vietnam.

Summary:
This is a full on tour, with so much to see, and some great cycling.
Highlights were the unexpected two nights on Whale Island, and the 34km –
thirty four – continuous downhill from Dalat, through jungle on winding
roads. This tour is classified in difficulty the same as Indochina &
Angkor, but this is wrong. It is without doubt more difficult cycling, with
a lot more elevation, and if done in the dry season fairly continuous
headwinds. (We did the two tours back to back). However bus support is
excellent. The temperatures in the south are the same as the Indochina tour
– early thirties – but we obviously cooler at Dalat due to altitude, and as
we got further north, particularly after the Hai Van pass. There is overall
less to see in terms of temples etc, but much more in terms of scenery, and
the cycling in general is a bit more interesting. Hanoi and Saigon are
really interesting cities for anyone with any interest in recent history, but
Hoi An is a gem of a city, relatively unknown to most people.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The people. So friendly, almost without exception.
(I dropped money in a wallet in Hanoi without realising, and was pursued by a
young mother out with her children calling after me, to give it back. The
thing is that whilst incredibly grateful, I didn’t feel at all surprised at
this)

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader was Nguyen Tan Danh or Danh, also known to all as the ‘Happy
Buddha’ He was simply wonderful. He is so organised, and always willing to
go the extra mile to make things better, always volunteering extras. For
example, having watched a large group from another country arrive in our
Hanoi Hotel whilst we were there, tired and confused from their flights and
all wanting the attention of a rather harassed looking leader – we compared
it to how Danh almost without exception had organised all our rooms prior to
arrival at hotels so we just walked in and picked up keys. He’d also got all
our passport details and did all this in advance or on the road too! Five
star service plus! He was also a font of knowledge on the history and
geography of Vietnam and always a pleasure to talk to. As for food and
coffee, he always found interesting out of the way places to visit, we will
never forget the tiny cafe up a back stairwell and the ‘special ‘Hanoi’
coffee – with eggs’ which sounds dubious, but is actually completely
delicious (think coffee flavoured meringue). We were very lucky to have
Danh as our group leader.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you are not a regular cyclists, do get saddle fit. We are not cyclists,
but did three months on and off prior to going. Do take your own
pedals/saddle if you want, they are no problem to fit for the bike team, and
you’ll most likely find them more comfortable than the ones on the bikes.
You will want to carry a camera; the bikes are mountain bikes with disc
brakes – the handlebars are quite thick and many front panniers (like ours)
didn’t fit. Some folk had bought relatively cheap ones from Decathlon with
long velcro straps which fitted fine. I ended up using a small rucksack,
this causes a pretty sweaty back. Don’t worry about malaria, but you will
need DEET as mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases such as Dengue are.
Consider buying a knock down fly spray for use where there are mosquitoes in
the rooms, such as Whale Island and to spray under your mosquito net. We
would also take plug in mosquito coils and tablets for the same reason.
Consider staying extra nights at the start/finish if you want to see Saigon
and Hanoi, otherwise there is very little time, and there is plenty to see
for a couple of days in each.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
More for Exodus, just two points; It would be worth differentiating between
the Cycle Indochina and Cycle Vietnam in terms of difficulty. Whilst it is
generally hotter in the latter, Vietnam is much more hilly and the cycling is
harder overall. If Indochina is easy/mod then Vietnam is moderate. Also
there was one leg which by common consent was pretty unenjoyable, we did 22km
along a dead straight main road north of Whale Island. Whilst there are
clearly issues about loading/unloading bikes, this might have been a better
option than the cycle.

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Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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