Tour Details
The Ho Chi Minh Trail
Road Bicycling with Full Support
13 Days/ 12 Nights
Advanced Cycling
95% Good Condition Paved Roads
Basic, Local Accommodation
Arrive Hanoi, Depart Saigon

** Visa Required before entry **

Tour Dates:
February 14 to 27, 2011 (Full)

Vietnam Cycling Slideshow

         

Feb 14
53 km

Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam


Arrive decades-old Noi Bai Airport, where ancient Russian MIG fighters still take to the air. The cultural and political capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has slumbered largely unchanged since the sixties. Step back in time on the French-built, tree-lined boulevards and old quarter, which has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years (Hanoi celebrates it's millennial anniversary in october, 2010).

On arrival in Hanoi we will be met at the airport by our guide and transferred to the city center. After lunch, massage and herbal bath. Afternoon bike building before heading out for a spin around the central lake, mixing in with local traffic. No extended karaoke tonight, off to bed after dinner for our early start in the morning.

Note: visa required in advance of arrival (please check pre-tour packet for forms and detailed instructions)


Airline
See [Client Page] for arrival information
SOS International, 31 Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (84-4) 934 0666 (Emergency evacuation provided for all travelers)

         

Feb 15
80 km

Hanoi to Cuc Phuong National Park

If you're up really early, it's a good time pack up then spend time before breakfast strolling around nearby Hoan Kiem Lake where Hanioans gather at dawn for tai chi, badminton, weight lifting and aerobics.

After breakfast, we depart by van to Luong Son (about 1.5) where the roads are quitet and the scenery splendid. From here, we start biking 25 kilometers on a side country road to Bai Chao. This is a quiet road, through rice fields and karst mountain scenery. Continue 13 km to Kim Boi, pausing to check out the mineral water springs, then head up the road covering another 33 km of country road to Lac Son. Our van will take us a further (about 1 hour or ~ 50km) to into the jungles of Cuc Phuong National Park for the evening. Before dinner, visiting the adjacent Primate Rescue center. Accommodation in park cabins. Total cycling about 80 km today, mostly flat with gentle hills.

         

Feb 16
158 km

Cuc Phuong to Ben Sung
Lan Song
Wake up early for a jog around the park, or just listen to birds and gibbons at the nearby Primate rescue center. A long, hard ride today, starting off on broken road for 10 km (optional van shuttle if you are flat-adverse). After, downhill to Kim Tan town, cycling a small route that connects to Cam Thuy. From here, a fast, smooth road along the HCM Highway to Ngoc Lac and onto Lamson and Yen Cat. Today has rolling hills, but not much climbing. At Yen Cat, we turn off the highway for a last 20 km to Ben En, our town for the night.
         

Feb 17
197 km

Ben Sung to Vu Quang

Today we can ride up to 200 kilometers, spread over four stages. We will see the sunrise from our saddles with an early 5.00 AM start. We transfer by van to Yen Cat, before starting the first stage to Nghia Dan before stopping for breakfast and coffee. We'll slow down around Tan Ky, the starting point of the historical Ho Chi Minh trail during the war. Here was what used to be the main junction of the supply line to the south during the war and was heavily bombarded throughout the war [See Map of Ho Chi Minh Trail]. Many supplies were moved by "Iron Horse," or bicycle, although not much pedaling was done -- see photo.

We continue on to Tri Le and start the longer stage of our ride today, heading towards Huong Khe and breaking for lunch en route. Hours later after arrival, enjoy a warm sauna and massage before dinner. Overnight in Vu Quang at simple guesthouse.

         
     
 
         

Feb 18
161 km

Biking to Dong Hoi
Vu Quang to Dong Hoi
From breakfast, we travel in the van, uphill for approximately one hour to the junction near the famous intersection of the HCM trail and Road No. 12, where east and west connect with the Truong Son Mountain range. Khe Ve, Ca Tang, Khe Nung, which were fiercely bombed by US air forces from 1965 to 1973. The Front Command of Truong Son Troop Headquarters were located at Hoa Tien commune in 1965, 3 km south of Khe Ve. This was also a starting point of the petroleum pipe line, communication line and liaison line during the war. From here, a faster 25 km to Pheo, followed by 20 km to the Da Deo mountain pass, and finally crossing over the Truong Son mountain range, we have a wicked descent into Khe Gat (a former airbase) where we'll have a picnic lunch. During the afternoon we cycle to Xuan Son bridge also a heavily bombed target. From here, onto Dong Hoi town for massage, dinner and overnight.

         

Feb 19
211 km

Dong Hoi to DMZ/Hue


A flat to undulating ride, with a quiet start inland on country roads for 24 km through a scenic pine forest and eucalyptus plantation planted after the war. After lunch, a fast ride along a smooth surface for 11 km to Ben Tat bridge (the old Ben Tat suspension bridge over Ben Hai river, at the 17th parrallel), passing by the Truong Son National Cemetery, (the cemetery for over 10,300 martyrs, mostly soldiers of Viet Minh Corps 559). Another section of fast road for 20 km to Cam Lo and from here, then we turn to Highway Nine for 15 km to Dong Ha. Our van will then pick us up for the final transfer to Hue, the former Imperial Capital (1.5 hours).

Massage and spa in Hue or sightseeing before dinner along the Perfume River.

         

Feb 20
160 km

Hue to Hoi An

Following an early breakfast, pedaling over the river through the Imperial Citadel — memorable to most Americans from the intense, month-long fighting that took place here during the 1968 Tet offensive. Continued riding along one of the most beautiful coastal settings in the world, passing emerald green rice fields fronting blue lagoons and over the Hai Van Pass ("Pass of the High Clouds") affording dramatic views of the sweeping bay around Danang.

Pause at Lang Co Lagoon for a seafood lunch before an (optional) conquering the six-mile traffic-free pass. After admiring the views from the top, descending to meet up with our van to shuttle the remaining distance into Hoi An, a quaint town that is typically everyone's favorite stop. At dusk, cruising by private boat along the river to the elegant open-air Red Bridge Restaurant. (B,L,D)


Family Medical Practice, 50 Nguyen Van Linh, Danang, Tel: (84-511) 358-2699
Thai Binh Duong (Pacific) Hospital, 06 Phan Dinh Phung, Hoi An (84-510) 392-1888

         

Feb 21
132 km

Hoi An to Qui Nhon

After early breakfast, depart at 7:00 AM sharp from Hoi An by van driving south along Highway One to our starting point (about three hours). After early picnic lunch and refreshments, mount bikes to ride back roads meandering through emerald rice fields and small villages en route to Qui Nhon.

This long day ends with passing through the former American port base, Qui Nhon, and down the coast to our hotel on the beach. If it's early, plenty of time for swimming and massage before our dinner banquet. Optional evening karaoke in largely unvisited Qui Nhon.

Qui Nhon General, 106 Nguyen Hue Street, (84-56) 382-2330, Fax: Tel: (84-56) 382-5455
Qui Nhon is largely unknown to tourists and worth taking a look around as we pass through, the resort is located south of town and this will be our only opportunity to see it, although the resort is well worth hurrying to get to, the nicest hotel of our trip.

         

Feb 22
220 km

Qui Nhon to Nha Trang


Our ride from Qui Nhon to Nha Trang covers some of Vietnam’s most scenic coastline, featuring blue lagoons with stone promontories overlooking the languid waters below. Fishing villages under rows of palms dot the coast here, their bays filled with brightly colored boats. Not many travelers here, so lots of attention can be expected.

Another long day in the saddle, beginning with a ride down the quiet road from the Life Resort to the Highway One turnoff (about one hour). Here, we rejoin traffic on the main road (although this section is one of the least busiest on Highway One) will continue on bikes all the way down to Tuy Hoa, where we will rendezvous for lunch. From Tuy Hau, continued riding to picturesque Dai Linh beach, pausing for a dip in the water and refreshments. In the late afternoon, arrive on the waterfront in picturesque Nha Trang. After dinner of local seafood, evening free for "red rhum" cocktails along the waterfront or enjoy a great massage the town is known for.
Khanh Hoa General Hospital, 19 Yersin Street, Tel: (058) 822-168

         

Feb 23

Nha Trang
Rest day in Vietnam's "Waikiki."

A well-deserved break of beach, massage, and the country's best seafood.

         

Feb 24
138 km

Nha Trang to Dalat
Halong Bay

** NEW ROUTE ** Morning cycling outside of Nha Trang, turning off for a side road up a 30-kilometer / 5,433-foot pass into the Central Highlands [click to view pass profile]. This newly-opened road is lined by forests and many small villages all the way to Dalat, with little traffic - one of the best roads in the country. Picnic lunch en route. On the outskirts of the city, we will regroup to avoid getting lost.

Brief visit to downtown before dinner at Long Hoa, a family restaurant. (B,L,D)

Vietnamese with ear muffs? Catholics, pine forests, strawberry fields, and... cowboys? Dalat is definitely Vietnam's strangest city, but pleasant weather, wide boulevards, scenic lake and interesting market (and of course, good food) make it a another memorable stop on our route.

Nha Trang to Dalat Biking
click to enlarge

         

Feb 25
202 km

Dalat to Mui Ne
Halong Bay
From the cool climate of Dalat, a welcome descent, all the way back to the coast today. After breakfast, we immediately drop down a steep, twisting six-mile descent from Da Lat through pine forests to the rolling and gradual descending road through the towns of Ta Nung, Lam Ha and onto Duc Trong at kilometer 50, passing coffee, tea, banana and rubber plantations planted in the rich, red earth that marks the Central Highlands as the place where Vietnam's finest tea and coffee and other specialty crops are grown. Our van will pick us up at Duc Trong and transfer us about one hour to Di Linh to avoid heavy traffic here or we can ride the 40 kilometers if desired.

After Di Linh, we'll turn off on quieter Highway 20, mounting our bikes again for the last 110 kilometers to Mui Ne, starting with a 10-km climb to the summit of Truong Son mountains, then rolling through tropical forests to Gia Bac, a small hill tribe village, then down hill to sea level at Phan Thiet and Mui Ne Beach on the blue waters where we'll enjoy massages before dinner and spending tonight.

GARMIN

         

Feb 26
30 km

Mui Ne to Tom Coc, Tom Coc to Saigon
Halong Bay
Morning spin along the coast to Binh Chau and Ho Coc Beach, and after arrival dismounting our bikes for the last time and jumping into the warm ocean. After a dip, we'll enjoy lunch on the sand before boarding the van for the last kilometers to Saigon. The country's largest city will be a surprise after the previous two weeks. At one time Saigon was Southeast Asia's largest city and is well on its way to recapturing that crown.

In the evening, after our celebration dinner we'll explore Saigon's vibrant nightlife.

         

Feb 27

Depart Vietnam (or continue on to Angkor)
Transfer to airport for international flight.

  * Short and Long ride options, in kilometers  
     
 

Watch the Videos

Cycling through VIETNAM from andy Vu on Vimeo.

 

 
 
 

 

 


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