Cycling in Mai Chau, Vietnam

 Ho Chi Minh Trail : Detailed Itinerary

Arrive Hanoi
Arrive at Soviet-era Noi Bai Airport outside of Hanoi where 30-year old MIGs still take off. A thousand year-old city, Hanoi was also the former French capital of Indochina which is reflected in it's dominant architecture along the tree-line boulevards. Now the political and cultural center of Vietnam, Hanoi holds guard of the country's ideals while Saigon rapidly pursues capitalism. Afternoon and evening free to stroll and soak up Hanoi's stoic atmosphere along Hoan Kiem Lake and ancient, yet lively Old Quarter or of course, rest from your overnight flight.

Prayer at the One Pillar Pagoda
Day 1, Hanoi City Tour

Hanoi's Old Quarter Tet Market
City tour of Hanoi with long stop at the imposing Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and serene One Pillar Pagoda followed by lunch at a popular outdoor cafe where your guide will give an informal "survival" Vietnamese lesson. Afternoon stroll through the vibrant Old Quarter with a stop at a family home. Welcome and orientation dinner at Vietnam's most elegant French-Vietnamese restaurant followed by a delightful traditional water puppet performance, unique to Vietnam. Overnight at the Sofitel Metropole located on central Hoan Kiem Lake and built in 1901. (B,L,D)
Day 2, Hanoi to Hue
Morning airline transfer to the ancient Imperial Capital of Vietnam. After arrival we will test our bikes cycling along the Perfume River to two wonderful examples of Imperial architecture, the majestic Khai Dinh and Tu Duc Royal Tombs. After lunch, cycling through the Citadel, familiar from images of the 1968 Tet Offensive, and to the peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda. Dinner free to partake of Hue's local delicacies such as crab soup, ban sao — Vietnamese pancakes, and frozen creme caramel. Accommodation at the Morin on the banks of the Perfume River. (B,L)

Bikers at Tu Duc's Imperial Tomb
Day 3, Hue to Hoi An

Lang Co Lagoon
A full-day cycling one of the most scenic routes in Vietnam. Depart Hue along a unknown coastal road with no traffic to the Hai Van Pass. Our route passes by rural villages and the picturesque Lang Co Lagoon, then ascending the six-mile road over the Hai Van offering stunning views of the coast and a thrilling descent on the backside to the green rice fields and white-sand graveyards around Danang. Continued riding or shuttle in the van the remaining route to avoid traffic near Danang. Eighty two mile later, arrive afternoon Hoi An, typically a favorite stop. Accommodation at the 5-star French Victoria Beach Resort. (B,L,D)
Day 4, Hoi An
City tour of Hoi An, an ancient Japanese port of trade. Much of Hoi An's rare wooden architecture remains in this small, pleasant town. We will explore the elegant pagodas, bustling riverfront marketplace and distinctive cuisine. Cycling to Cua Dai Beach on the South China Sea for beach combing. Late afternoon Vietnamese cooking demonstration in town featuring local specialties by one of Vietnam's most talented chefs, or free time on your own for a boat excursion on the river. (B,L,D)

Matriarch at market
Day 5, Hoi An to Phuoc Son
After breakfast, ride or shuttle outside the busier traffic around Hoi An. Ascending on quiet, country road into the mountains of the central highlands, passing through green hills, jungle forest and sparse villages. Challenging climbs until picnic lunch. After lunch, rolling hills and lush scenery all the way to small, picturesque town of Phuoc Son, set in a mountain valley near a cascading river. The area is also home to many hilltribes. Overnight at local guesthouse. Total mileage 78 miles. (B,L,D)

Day 6, Phuoc Son to Kontum
Full-day riding undulating hills and some of the nicest scenery in Vietnam, passing mountain valleys and thick forests adjacent to national parkland. The route also covers sections of the famed Ho Chi Trail. Hilltribe villages dot the landscape and we'll stop for lunch in one. After lunch, continued riding until sunset and transfer to Kontum City, a small highlands town also well known from the war period. Total mileage 85 miles (longer option over 100+). Accommodation at mini-hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7, Kontum / Pleiku to Ban Me Thout

Morning shuttle to Pleiku (one hour), a large scenic central highlands city. Cycling from over the Ham Rong Pass from Pleiku passing many nearby former military bases, including Plei Me and the Ia Drang Valley. After rolling hills, the route settles down to mostly flat road, passing pine forests, tea and coffee plantations, and Montagnard "hilltribe" villages. Late arrival in Ban Me Thout. Total cycling mileage 80 miles (longer option to 106). Accommodation at mini-hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 8, Ban Me Thout to Dalat

Another long day with several long passes through pretty valleys, countryside, and grueling passes. After breakfast, shuttle up the road for about an hour and a half to beautiful Lak Lake. From here, riding to Dalat over several passes, through forests and past hilltribe long houses. Late afternoon arrive in the jewel of the highlands. Dalat, a former French hillstation with railway station, cathedral, and hundreds of dilapidated villas. Tonight we return to luxury, staying in magnificent Sofitel Palace, a beautifully-restored French colonial period hotel. Dinner in the city center at Famille Long Hoa. Total cycling mileage 72 miles. (B,L,D)

Day 9, Dalat

View from the Palace Hotel

A half-day spin to see Dalat's more interesting sites, including monk Vien Thuc’s Pagoda, Bao Dai Palace and the eccentric Valley of Love. Lunch near the central marketplace.

The gem of Vietnam, Dalat was where the French came for relief from the heat of Saigon and hundreds of well-preserved colonial villas cover the hills. Also a center for exotic game hunting — even Teddy Roosevelt had a villa here. Afternoon and evening free to sightsee, rest or partake of the many good restaurants in town. (B,L)

Day 10, Dalat to Phan Thiet / Mui Ne

Departing from Dalat by bus or bicycle, most of the day will be spent descending back down to the coastal plain and the famous sand dunes of Mui Ne on the southern coast. Nearby Phan Thiet is famous for Nouc Mam, or industrial-strength fermented fish sauce, coveted by Vietnamese far and wide. Off the shore, hundreds of colorful fishing boats dot the coastline. After afternoon arrival, massage and dip in the ocean or pool. Dinner free to sample one of the many great local seafood restaurants (ask us for recommendations). Overnight at the tranquil Mui Ne Beach Resort. Approximate mileage 67 miles (up to about 106 if cycling from Dalat). (B,L)

Day 11, Mui Ne

Day free in Mui Ne to laze by the pool, snorkel, boat, kite surf or explore the incredible sand dunes along the coast (or get that second massage).

Type A you say? Optional afternoon cycling ten miles to Hon Rom Beach and back. Dinner in Phan Thiet. Overnight at the Mui Ne Beach Resort. (B,D)

Day 12, Mui Ne to Saigon
Rise early for cycling to Binh Chau (about 60 miles), along a small coastal road. Lunch in Binh Chau followed by visit to the hot spring resort for massage, hot springs and shower before three hour bus shuttle to Saigon. Farewell dinner in Saigon. Accommodation at the finest hotel in Saigon, the 5-star Caravelle. (B,L,D)

Saigon City Hall

Depart Saigon

Farewell to guide and transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for return flight home or continue on our tour extension the magnificent temples of Angkor in neighboring Cambodia. (B)
(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

What's Included?

Tour cost based on double sharing, single room at additional cost. Inclusive of domestic airline (international airfare is not inclusive). Single supplement at extra charge.Your tour fees cover almost everything: comprehensive pre-tour package, airport pickup, van support, purified water, snack on the road, mechanical support, all breakfast, lunches and most dinners at our favorite places, internal airline, as well as what we think are the finest, most interesting boutique hotels.


Trek, Raleigh and Specialized 21-speed hybrid bikes mounted with slicks. Most travelers have found these bikes fine for the route, even though they are not road our touring bikes. We have handlebar bags, clips, straps, helmets, water bottles, pumps, tubes and provide full mechanical support. You are also welcome to bring your own pedals and seat which we will mount.


All cycling abilities. You must be skilled with bike handling and comfortable cycling roads typical in a developing country. We would be glad to put you in contact with past travelers, of all abilities, if you would like more feedback.


Cycling guide Lam Van Nguyen has lead VeloAsia tours for over four seasons. City guides are native to the area we are visiting (in Hanoi,for example, your guide would be from there). Guides are critical to the quality of your tour and in Vietnam there are but a handful of capable ones specializing in cycling. Ours have a minimum of five years experience leading cycling tours. We would be happy to put you in contact with past travelers regarding your guide.


Discount pricing through our airline consolidators. Please call for specific pricing. Also click here for Vietnam Airline Travel Information. If you want to use your miles, Cathay is a member of One World Alliance which includes American Airlines.


Vietnam reaches far beyond the historical and scenic sites we offer on this itinerary and we encourage exploration on your own at anytime during the tour. IMPORTANT: Some nights in basic accommodations are a feature of this tour. We constantly modify the itinerary by necessity. Delayed flights, adverse weather, an overall diminished sense of urgency, and other conditions that may prove beyond our control all play havoc with our careful preparations. We respectfully ask you carefully consider in advance if traveling under such conditions would be too adverse for your enjoyment of such a tour.