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Trails of Vietnam

On foot, in the saddle, with paddle – active the length of Vietnam



At a glance

* 7 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night standard hotel, 1 night boat with
twin share cabins, 1 night standard homestay guesthouse, all en suite. 2
nights basic house/longhouse with dormitory/shared bath, 1 night sleeper
train, soft-bed berths
* Travel by bus, boat, sleeper train and internal flight
* Reasonable fitness required
* Remote and city locations visited

On foot, in the saddle, with paddle – active the length of Vietnam

Whether it’s kayaking beneath towering cliffs in the South China Sea, cycling
by vibrant green paddy fields in the Mekong Delta or trekking amongst
colourful hilltribes, this dynamic trip allows us to interact with the local
people and environment in a way we couldn’t by vehicle alone. We get a great
insight into everyday life as well as seeing all the major sights. Of course
all this activity needs fuelling, which gives us the perfect excuse for
sampling the superb Vietnamese cuisine.

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Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival & departure transfers

Food:
12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners are included.

Thanks to it’s 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 South East Asia and you can generally avoid spicy dishes if
you wish. Western food is available almost anywhere. With dishes ranging from
fresh seafood to exotic curries, Vietnam offers incredible cuisine, often
sold in animated and colourful markets.

Start destination: Hanoi

End destination: Saigon

Cycling profile

Day 1

Begin your adventure in Hanoi, a city where an unstoppable energy thrives
alongside traditional Vietnamese culture and a colonial charm permeates the
broad tree-lines boulevards, most noticeably from the faded French
architecture. The leader will of course be on hand to point the group in all
the right directions, so whether you’re buying baguettes and inexpensive
coffee from the grand doorways of a past era, drifting alongside Hoan Kiem
Lake or roaming the animated streets, Hanoi offers a delicious first taste of
Vietnamese culture. Even crossing one of many manic roads serves as a
memorable experience! In the evening, we offer a welcome briefing and an
optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 2

Transfer to Hoa Binh Province (4 hrs). Travelling up and over the Truong Son
Mountain Range affords lush green views, serving as the perfect precursor of
the scenery for the following days. We journey to the peaceful Sung Village,
the home of approximately 70 Dzao Tien ethnic minority/hill-tribe families.
Upon arrival, we will be served lunch cooked by a local family before heading
off on an afternoon trek where we will learn about traditional agriculture
and also visit a limestone cave and an ancient tea plantation. We will spend
the night staying with a family and have the chance learn more about rural
life in this beautiful part of the country. 

*Homestay*

Day 3

By now the beeping and bustling of Hanoi will be a faint memory, and the day
is spent delving deeper into this slice of rural paradise. After an early
breakfast, we start our trek. Walking for approximately 5 hours we will pass
through a picturesque valley made of quilt-like rice terraces, palms and
small villages. We’re also rewarded with fantastic views of the Da
Reservoir and its turquoise waters. We will arrive in the village of Da Bia
in time for lunch served by a Muong family that we will be staying with.
There will be some time near the end of the day free for those who might like
to swim in the reservoir or choose to hire a kayak and explore a little
further. 

*Homestay*

Day 4

A short walk this morning will take us to the reservoir where we will board a
private boat for our journey to Thung Nai harbour. We’ll stop for lunch and
have the option of visiting the Muong ethnic minority museum to learn a
little more about one the main ethnic groups of the area. On return, our city
tour of Hanoi introduces the many layers of Vietnamese culture and history.
Sites include Hoa Lo, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter, the
centuries-old soul of Hanoi. Stepping into this commercial labyrinth is not
as confusing as it first may seem, but only once you realise that it’s
‘36 streets’ indicate the type of products sold. So why not take a turn
down Silk Street, Souvenir Street or even Gold Street? The afternoon is free,
perhaps to enjoy the view from a lakeside café. If you wish to opt for an
optional activity, your tour leader can arrange a viewing of the famous Water
puppets, an art form dating back to the 11th century where folktale and
legends are playfully recounted among the sounds of wooden bells, bamboo
flutes and cymbals.

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 5

Early start and 4 hour transfer to Halong Bay. A boat awaits us, ready to
cruise along the legendary Halong Bay, otherwise known as ‘where the dragon
descends into the sea’. Legend has it that Halong Bay’s islands were
formed by a dragon’s plunge into the waters. Carving crevasses on its way,
the dragon left what is now roughly 3000 exquisitely eroded limestone peaks
rising from emerald waters. Soak up the enigmatic atmosphere this karst
scenery creates, before kayaking to places inaccessible by boat (weather
permitting). There may even be the chance to try a spot of fishing from the
boat too. A sea food lunch is served on board, and the evening is yours to
unwind upon tranquil waters. The night is spent in twin share cabins with en
suite facilities.
*Overnight Boat*

Day 6

As the boat continues to cruise along the majestic peaks, there will be new
opportunities to immerse ourselves in Halong Bay’s mystical quality. After
returning to port, we will transfer to the train station and board the
Reunification Express for the overnight train ride to Hue.
*Overnight Train*

Day 7

Arrive early morning in the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, Hue.
Brimming with charisma, Hue has impacted several poets in its time and serves
as a reminder of Vietnam’s imperial glories. This morning, we take a bus
transfer to the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda to peep into the life of
Nguyen emperors. With walls six miles in length, the Imperial Citadel is the
most outstanding sight in town. We will explore the palaces, halls of the
Mandarins and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, once only open to the
emperor, his eunuchs, and of course his concubines.

Afterwards, in the afternoon, we will jump on local bikes and cycle around
Emperor Tu Duc’s tomb, which will be the last stop of the day – standing
amidst a lake and a boundless pine forest, this tomb is deemed the most
extravagant mausoleum of the great Nguyen Emperors and one of the most
beautiful pieces of royal architecture in Vietnam. Whilst traffic will be a
bit busier with motorbikes in a city like Hue, your leader is well prepared
to safely manage cycling in a group and will provide clear guidelines.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 8

Take a picturesque cycle-ride past villages and rice paddies to the small
village Thanh Toan and indulge in its legendary market. Travelling as the
locals do, it’s easy to discover the sights, sounds and smells of the
villages surrounding Hue. Following this, a 130km drive to Danang will pass
through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co, situated between the crystal
waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, as well as the awe-inspiring Hai Van
pass, known as the ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. Once in Da Nang, climb the
Marble Mountains and uncover the large caves used by the Viet Cong as a
hospital base during the war. Rewarding views stretching over My Khe beach
and the surrounding countryside will be waiting for you once you reach the
mountain peak, the latter of which makes up our next spot, Hoi An.
Cycle approx. 15km on flat and mostly even terrain
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 9

Embrace the sleepy ambience seeping through Hoi An on our walking tour of Hoi
An, Vietnam’s original European trading port dating back to the
mid-sixteenth century. Often described as a living museum, Hoi An boasts more
than just grace and atmosphere. Wooden merchant houses and pagoda-style
temples line the streets, architecturally reflecting the Japanese, Chinese
and European influences on the town. The afternoon is free to enjoy what many
call their favourite town in Vietnam, and it’s easy to see why. Take a boat
trip on the Thu Bon River, relax by the riverside, meander around the
thriving riverside markets, or indulge in shops famous for their silk and
tailoring of clothing – bring a picture if you’d like anything made!
Alternatively, why not hire a bike and make your way through Hoi An’s
pretty countryside towards Cua Dai beach, past markets, schools and villages
(5km). There is also the option to spend the afternoon kayaking through the
coconut-palm lined canals in Cam Thanh village for those keen. 
(Walking tour approx 3-4 hrs)

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 10

Transfer to Danang airport and fly to Saigon (approx. 70 mins), a city full
of chaotic thrills. A 1.5 hr drive will then take us to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Crawl through the infamous and intricate system of tunnels and experience the
spirit of guerrilla warfare! Used by the Viet Cong during the war for its
escape routes as well as living quarters, the network covers 3 levels and
approximately 240km of tunnels. Although they were traditionally very narrow,
they have now been widened to allow an extensive exploration of the system.
Even so, claustrophobes should feel free to bask outside in the sunshine if
they do not wish to take part!
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 11

Arrive in the small market town of My Tho after a 1.5 hr drive. After hopping
onto our bikes we will follow the Mekong River through quiet back roads
towards Cai Be (approx. 30 km). Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the
Mekong Delta produces the majority of Vietnam’s tropical fruits, some of
which you will have a chance to sample, as well as sugar cane and coconuts.
Transfer back to Can Tho to relax and soak up the atmosphere of this quiet
riverside town, or explore the maze of backstreets and wide boulevards.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 12

Early start for a boat trip along the Bassac River towards Cai Rang, the
largest and liveliest floating market in the Delta. Float through a maze of
boats, rife with fruits, vegetables and plants and watch the techniques
locals use to make a living. One includes attaching their produce on to long
poles and hanging them above the boat, enabling them to showcase their items
to buyers from all angles and distances. Since you’ll be witnessing
authentic trading in full swing, there will be countless opportunities for
you to capture traditional scenes on camera. Following breakfast at the
hotel, cycle to Vinh Long through rural villages and scenic landscapes
(approx. 40 km). Reaching the end of the day, we will be transferred by motor
boat to an island in the middle of the Mekong River for overnight at a simple
guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a
small towel are provided.
*Guesthouse*

Day 13

Cruise by boat along the Cai Be Floating Market and stop to visit small
cottage industries manufacturing local products such as popped rice and
popcorn. Recently, Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and
smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being
built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and
the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale.

Return to Saigon, a city once devastated by the Vietnam War, and now a
bustling free market city. A combination of old and new diversifies the city
with temples standing defiantly among zooming scooters and modern
developments. The Reunification Palace is one of the stops on our city tour,
famous for its 1960s architecture and slightly garish appeal as much as its
association with the fall of Saigon in 1975. Another stop is the War Remnants
Museum, housing a vivid collection outlining the horrors of modern history
and warfare and effects on innocent civilians. Be aware that these records of
the Vietnam War are often very graphic. Heading to the romantic Catholic
Notre Dame Cathedral throws yet another light on Saigon.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 14

You are free today to relax or go ahead with individual sightseeing. Either
way, the city is yours to enjoy – sample the street food, bargain your way
through local markets, indulge in modernized shopping malls, or simply
engross yourself in the whizzing motion that is Saigon.
**

Prices & Dates

Date: 2018-07-142018-07-27

Trip code: AOF180714

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Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1455

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Date: 2018-07-212018-08-03

Trip code: AOF180721

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Date: 2018-08-042018-08-17

Trip code: AOF180804

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Date: 2018-08-182018-08-31

Trip code: AOF180818

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Date: 2018-10-062018-10-19

Trip code: AOF181006

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Date: 2018-10-202018-11-02

Trip code: AOF181020

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Date: 2018-10-272018-11-09

Trip code: AOF181027

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Date: 2018-11-032018-11-16

Trip code: AOF181103

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Date: 2018-11-242018-12-07

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Date: 2018-12-082018-12-21

Trip code: AOF181208

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Date: 2018-12-192019-01-01

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Date: 2018-12-222019-01-04

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Date: 2019-01-132019-01-26

Trip code: AOF190113

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Date: 2019-01-262019-02-08

Trip code: AOF190126

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Date: 2019-02-092019-02-22

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Date: 2019-02-232019-03-08

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Date: 2019-03-022019-03-15

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Date: 2019-03-162019-03-29

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Date: 2019-04-062019-04-19

Trip code: AOF190406

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Date: 2019-04-132019-04-26

Trip code: AOF190413

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Date: 2019-07-062019-07-19

Trip code: AOF190706

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Date: 2019-07-132019-07-26

Trip code: AOF190713

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Date: 2019-08-032019-08-16

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Date: 2019-08-172019-08-30

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Date: 2019-10-052019-10-18

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Date: 2019-10-262019-11-08

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Date: 2019-11-022019-11-15

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Date: 2019-11-162019-11-29

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Date: 2019-11-232019-12-06

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Date: 2019-12-142019-12-27

Trip code: AOF191214

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Date: 2019-12-212020-01-03

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Customer Feedback

Trails of Vietnam 1st – 14th April 2018

Summary:
Overall, this was a very enjoyable and active trip which enabled us to get a
good undersanding of the different areas and lifestyles of the people from
the hill-tribe villages in the north down to the islands and floating market
traders in the Mekong Delta.
Unfortunately, we were all disapointed when we were told that we would not be
allowed to stay on our boat in Halong Bay overnight and would not be able to
enjoy the planned kayaking around the islands. We had not made aware that
this could happen.
Following on from this we had a full day in Hue when it rained the whole day,
whilst we did visit the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda (in the rain) it
prevented us cycling to other planned places of interest.
Once we had flown south to Ho Chi Minh City and the weather improved (+35C)
our moral was restored and we enjoyed a very active and varied 2nd half of
the tour.

Rating: 4

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

Answer:
Visiting the two hilltribe settlements of Sung Village and Đá Bia village
in Hoa Binh Province. and meeting the Dzau Tien and Muong people. So
welcoming, uncommercial, natural and friendly.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader was Phi Hoang. Very nice guy, very knowledgeable and
passionate about his country and culture.
A minor criticism would be that he could have provided more information on
interesting buildings and points of interest during the many long and tedious
bus journeys we undertook. I suppose to him they are just everyday buildings
but to us tourists they are all very interesting pieces of architecture and
culture.
Also, as I have noticed on my previous trip to Cambodia the guides always
seem to take the tourists to the more upmarket, European, trendy and very
expensive restaurants (by local standards). Personally, I would prefer to try
the more authentic, local cuisine and more “street food”. On one occasion,
our guide wanted to take us to a restaurant by taxi which we could have
walked to faster. When he called taxis to take us back to our hotel after our
meal, we refused and said that we wanted to walk a little after our meal. We
are all grown adults and do not need to be chaperoned.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I would advise potential travellers to try to add a couple of days onto the
start and end of the trip if at all possible as this gives the traveler a
little time to acclimatise and to get over some of the jet lag before
starting a fairly intensive travell programme.
On this particular trip, I would advise travelers to ensure they take
something warm to wear on the overnight train journey with the Reunification
Express from Hanoi down to Hue. The air conditioning is absolutely freezing
and cannot be controlled from the cabins. The four people in our cabin froze
and struggled to get any sleep.

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

Answer:
Unfortunately, after a very good start to our trip we hit a low point on day
5 when we had travelled to Halong Bay for our overnight boat trip in the bay
and Kayaking around the islands. Whilst we did board our boat and enjoyed a
nice lunch sailing in the bay, we were told that the authorities had stated
that “no boats would be allowed to stay on the water during the evening or
night time due to an impending storm”. We and all the other boats had then to
return to shore and we were transferred to a very dated and tired looking
hotel in Halong City for the night’s stay. Many of the group were very
disapointed that they did not get an opportunity for kayaking which was one
of their main attractions when booking this trip.
What made the situation worse was the fact that it was not wet or stormy
during the night, so we could have stayed on board. The poor weather then hit
the shore on the following day when we had travelled to Hue.
Personally, prior to travelling I had thought Halong Bay would be the
highlight of this trip but in reality, it was disapointing and overrated. The
bay and islands are certainly beautiful but the area is far too commercial
with too many tourists and hundreds of tourist boats all following each other
around in circles in a closely controlled area of the bay.

Read full review

Vietnam Adventure

Summary:
My experience if Vietnam was an adventure from start to finish. The highlites
for me was the mountain trekking and staying with local tribes, experiencing
their culture, food and kind hospitality. The homestay on the Mekong Delta
was mind blowing, again the culture and food experience was unforgettable.
Our guide Phi was excellent with his knowledge and aptitude for organising
us, I felt privileged to have been able to learn so much about his wonderful
country.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Definitely the home stays, being amongst tribal cultures and experiencing
their lifestylez

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Phi Gas an outstanding knowledge of his country with a great passion to share
his wonderful country so that the traveller will experience the real Viestnam

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
This was good introduction for me as a first time solo traveller and an
excellent way to experience the culture and history.

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

Answer:
Looking forward to planning my next adventure…

Read full review

Vietnam is outstanding

Summary:
Vietnam is a beautiful country full of friendly people, stunning landscapes,
delicious food and hectic cities, and this trip encompasses it all along with
some activity thrown in the mix!

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
I loved hanging out with the children at the homestay, even if we couldn’t
communicate properly with each other! They were all so sweet. I also loved
weaving through the crazy Hanoi streets and cycling in the Mekong Delta. Hoi
An was also excellent!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Small bags are needed for some of the stops, so maybe pack light! Learn hello
(xin chao) and thank you (cam on) in Vietnamese as it is always nice to say
to the locals. Take a tote bag with you for souvenirs and a reusable plastic
bottle as you can fill it up on the bus. Go with an open mind as things can
sometimes change due to weather.

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

Answer:
Visit Vietnam before it becomes too touristy! It is an amazing country with
so much to see and so much variation.

Read full review

Varied and exciting tour of a fascinating country

Summary:
An excellent 2 week trip exploring the culture, nature and history of a
beautiful country which, despite its complicated history with war, was one of
the most friendly and welcomes places I’ve visited.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Inspirational is not quite the right word, but I loved the first hike when we
reached the top of a lookout point where all around you you could see
mountains and lakes. I also loved cycling through rice fields.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Phi was friendly, knowledgable and easy to talk to. He struggled to motivate
the group when the overnight cruise was cancelled due to predicted poor
weather, which never materialised, much to our frustration.

I liked how he recommended local specialities at each restaurant, they were
delicious.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Pack light and make the most of the washing facilities provided, as small
bags are required for a number of stops. Expect wet weather in the
north/centre and very humid sun in the south. Bring a poncho and be aware
that the itinerary may be forced to change due to weather conditions.

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

Answer:
Growing up in England, you are not taught about the Vietnam War (or the
American War as they call it), so learning about it in Vietnam was truly eye
opening and horrifying. This trip combines culture, history and nature in
equal measure and its multi-activity style meant each day was different and
exciting.

Read full review

Trails of vietnam

Summary:
Trip didn’t get off to best start due to industrial action at Air France
but Exodus went the extra mile to sort things, superb service as I’ve come
to expect!!!

Great trip too … put it on your bucket list.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Hoi An, cool city!!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Excellent, attentive & great sense of humour

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Go for it!!

Read full review

Trails of Vietnam–Traveling During the TET Holiday

Summary:
We were a group of 7 representing 5 nationalities. The size of the group
bonded us quickly and kept it that way through out the trip. Couple with an
excellent guide it was and will be remembered as a memorable trip.
Before booking a trip in January or February check to see when the TET
holiday will occur and decide if potential deviations from the standard trip
notes will have an impact on what you want to see and experience.
TET is not a festival, rather a holiday period for the Vietnamese people to
leave the cities and return to the country to spend time with their families.
Millions of people are on the move which starts with the Vietnamese New
Years Eve. All told we experienced the impact from Day 5 through Day 13 of
our trip. Some guide books will advise you not to visit during TET as you
will experience closed businesses and the businesses that remain open often
hike their prices. While the hotels are operating restaurants options are
limited and may only offer a set course meal to serve to tourists. Our guide
was constantly adjusting our schedule to accommodate for TET–substituting a
cycle day for a kayak trip, locating someone to do our laundry while in Hoi
An and of course picking our restaurants. On the plus side there was less
traffic to deal with.

Rating: 4

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

Answer:
Reflecting back now it was clearly the two nights we stayed with the
hill-tribes. Given our small group it was easy to interact with the adults
and especially the children. The music and the dancing on the second night
was as enjoyable for the village as it was for us.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Tuyen Nguyen was everything you would want in a guide–professional, well
organized, capable of dealing with multiple changes in itineraries (think
TET) plus a good sense of humor. He worked his hardest to make sure we
enjoyed our time in his country. Our bus rides were filled with his wisdom
and wit.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Weather in the north can be really cold especially at the homestays–a
sleeping sheet or a light sleeping bag if you chill easily–the bedding
provided is a sheet and a blanket. Ear plugs are essential as the dogs and
roosters are everywhere. Bring the slippers from the Day 1 hotel to use in
the sleeping rooms.
You will be backpacking on Day 3 to your new homestay. It rained on us and
was very slippery and muddy. Your large bag will be stored at a hotel on Day
2, 5, 11 & 12. You can pack more stuff after the homestay but you still have
to carry it between the bus and your night’s stay.
Day 7 is a long day and one needs to have cycle gear readily available–from
the train right to cycling–gel saddle cover and gel cycle shorts really
help.
We didn’t see the sun until Day 7 but the sunscreen came out from then on.
Bugs were not a problem.

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

Answer:
The trip covers a lot of ground. You will experience considerable time on
the bus and periods of inactivity especially at the front end of the trip.
This isn’t a cultural trip nor is it an activity trip. As a group we only
kayaked on Day 5. Cycling often seemed to have no purpose other than to keep
us busy. What was billed as trekking was really just walking.
A pleasant surprise was the overall quality of most of the hotels. The
guesthouse on Day 12 was a very nice end to the trip.
The trip is just an overview of Vietnam. I arrived a week before the group
and booked my own trip to Siem Reap. In Hanoi I spent several days walking
the city and going to the various museums. That week will always be my
personal highlight.

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Trails of Vietnam 20th January 2018

Summary:
Just returned from this trip The Trails of Vietnam and we have had the time
of our lives. It’s the first time as a couple we have attended a group
holiday and we were a little nervous about how we would mix with the 12 other
participants. We need not worry as our group were all of a similar age group
(50 plus) and we all got on very well indeed. The group leader was called
Thanh Vo although he preferred to be called ‘Ten’. Ten was a absolute
legend and made the whole trip so enjoyable and he was professional and
knowledgable throughout.
The balance of activities is perfect and the organisation was impeccable. We
stayed in homestays with families in the Vietnam countryside and in some
rather nice hotels in the towns and cities. What struck me is we never had to
spend time waiting for anything. When we’d arrive at a hotel we didn’t
have to all queue to check in. Instead we would immediately be given our room
keys and sometimes our bags would already be waiting for us in our rooms.
There are times when you need to pack for just 2 nights and leave your big
suitcases at the hotel so take a rucksack too. The whole transportation of
our baggage was very well organised throughout.
The overnight train is also great fun and its surprising how well we all
slept on this journey. In some of the home-stays you are all in the same room
(although you do have privacy) and the odd snorer in the group may keep you
awake so take some earplugs!
The cycling was a reasonable length of time but do take gel cycling shorts to
prevent a sore bottom. There is absolutely NO need to take a saddle or helmet
as the equipment provided is of a high quality.
The walks/hikes were not too taxing and were very scenic and done at a
leisurely pace.
There are plentiful times to do shopping to buy ‘original copies’
shirts/bags/trainers etc.
The bus journeys are done a very comfortable bus with plenty of room and WiFi
onboard with suitably spaced out refreshment/toilets stops. We chose to relax
and conserve our energy on the bus journeys and they were also some of the
funniest parts of the trip too.
This really is a wonderful holiday experience. Go for it!

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
The boat trip to Halong Bay and the kayaking were great days/nights and the
overnight train. Walking through the towns and taking in the history of this
amazing country. Too many highlights!!!!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
I think his name was Thanh Vo although we all called him ‘Ten’
We cannot put into words how brilliant this man is at his job and he made the
whole experience for us so special. A true professional who really cared
about the group and his enthusiasm for his country was infectious. His
organisation was top class and we all felt lucky to have him as our guide.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Don’t take a saddle ( a saddle over cover or gel shorts is adequate) No
need to bring your own cycle helmets as the equipment provided including the
cycles themselves are of a very high quality.
Along with you big suitcase bring a decent size rucksack to hold 2 days
clothes and toiletries.
Don’t pack to many clothes as the laundry services (they’re everywhere)
are of a good quality and are usually 1USD for 1KG washed dried and ironed
within 24 hours absolute BARGAIN!!!
The many markets sell t shirts, shorts, sandals, trainers etc for next to
nothing so leave plenty of room in your cases.
You can go your own way in an evening if you wish, or stay with the group for
dinner. The guide Thanh always pointed us in the right direction as he knew
all the best eateries and we found our group amazingly great company. Usually
the group are all of the same mindset after all we’ve all booked the same
holiday! We expected the group to be younger but were pleased to see we were
all within 10 years of each other around the 50 year old mark.

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

Answer:
You cannot fail if you book this. It’s a great balance of activities and
you really feel you know what Vietnam is about. You dont have to be a fitness
freak to take part either. An amazing country with amazing people.

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A truly life enhancing experience

Summary:
This was an intensive two weeks of exploration, adventure, learning and
physical challenge. As the holiday approached, I had begun to feel some
apprehension as to whether I (aged 65 )was fit enough for all the
activities, especially the longer cycle rides. From the first day, on arrival
in Hanoi, we fell in love with Vietnam. The expertise, knowledge and support
of our fantastic guide, Bac, helped us to meet all the challenges, including
the 40+ km cycle ride on tracks along the Mekong Delta. All the members of
our group ‘gelled’ very quickly. This was fortunate as the day after arrival
we were off to our first home-stay with hill-tribe families where we all
shared sleeping quarters and limited washing/toilet facilities in a
traditional long house!

This was supposed to be the dry season. We expected it to be a little cool in
the North but it was really quite cold and damp with unseasonable amounts of
rain. In the south it was warm but also wet. Nevertheless, we found the
sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Vietnam to be thoroughly alluring even
if the more distant mountain views on our hill treks were shrouded in mist –
still very atmospheric!

Don’t expect to have much time for relaxation – the schedule is pretty tight.
This tour gives you a really good taste of the country, from North to South
and also perhaps, a desire to return to spend more time exploring in greater
depth and at greater leisure!

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
I think the opportunity to meet with the hill-tribe families and get to know
a little about their lives was a great privilege and education. We also took
an optional morning’s cycle tour on the island Cam Kim near Hoi An where we
met local villagers in their homes doing their work such as weaving sleeping
mats from reeds, making rice wine and making rice noodles. We had the
privilege of being able to try our hand at reed weaving and at making rice
noodles. We spent time with Mr Do, the rice wine maker and learnt about his
struggles to build a new life after he had lost his leg to a landmine during
the war with Cambodia. He was truly inspirational!
Everywhere we went, especially in the rural areas, we were greeted with great
enthusiasm and the children, particularly, would run out shouting, ‘Hallo!’
and waving. The warmth and friendliness of the people was a joy.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We were so lucky to have had Bac as our group leader. he worked 24/7 to make
our experience very special, including recommending and organising group
meals in local restaurants and also in a family home. He managed to keep us
all, more or less to schedule, organised to have our laundry done by local
workers etc etc. He was an extremely knowledgeable and effective tour guide
both during our visits to historic sites and our treks and other pursuits. He
never seemed to get tired or lose his enthusiasm for what he was doing. No
request was too much trouble for him. He is a true asset to the company.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you are not already a moderately experienced cyclist, I would recommend
some regular practice prior to the holiday. I was very pleased that I had
spent time building up a bit of stamina before the holiday as I had not been
on a bike for 12 years and would never have referred to myself as a cyclist!
We found our silk sleeping bag liners extremely useful for the home-stays
and overnight sleeper train. Padded cycling shorts are to be highly
recommended! Even with them we couldn’t avoid getting somewhat saddle-sore!
Don’t be put off though because the experience is really so worth-while and
ample compensation for a temporally sore bottom!
This is a full-on experience , not a relaxing holiday. At times you may feel
you would like to spend longer in certain places, but that will have to be on
another trip!

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

Answer:
There were 16 of us in our group – my husband and I were probably the oldest
at 70 and 65, but not by far. Most were between 50 and 65 with a 22 year old
and a 30 -40 year old. Regardless of age though, Exodus recommends you should
be moderately fit and I would say that is definitely so and possibly a little
bit under-estimated, especially for our age group.

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Great trip

Summary:
Great trip but a lot of time traveling. Which if you can sleep on buses is
great as gives you a chance to catch up.

It really is a on the go all times trip. But the locations and different
cities is worth it.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Loved the kayaking especially in the rain.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader Lam was great. Good sense of humour, and the patience of a
saint.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I think this trip is accessible to all.

I would recommend taking an umbrella. Buying a waterproof case/pouch for
phone for the kayaking. Pack of cards. Small hold-all for all the home stays.
Most of us just had backpack which we needed to use for walking so ended up
with stuff in platic bags.

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

Answer:
Well worth doing. I got to see all of Vietnam in a short time.

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Wow!

Summary:
This trip is non stop.. you see and do so much with a fun, knowledgeable
guide. There is nothing we were not happy with…brilliant experience

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Not sure I could chose one but probably the war tunnels ..

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Such fun from start to finish and worked tirelessly to ensure everything was
good..so knowledgeable and passionate too…

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Just do It! .. ideal for single travellers too

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

Answer:
2nd exodus trip and both have been amazing ..

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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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