Our Highlights tour encompasses just that — the "highlights" of Vietnam, spending quality time in all four UNESCO World Heritage sites, all well as our not so popular places we know you'll like. A variation of our popular Tet tour, which we have organized for over 16 years, this now "classic" trip travels outside the holiday period and stays in more modest boutique rather than luxury hotels. The weather this time of year is wonderful and it is a great time to travel Vietnam as the high season and rush of Tet subsides. We recommened you arrive early for kayaking on Halong Bay (see below). On tour, witness the rush of modernization in Saigon and life in agrarian villages where little has changed in the last thousand years. Discover ancient wonders in Cham temple ruins, Buddhist pagodas and ancestor worship at the center of Vietnam's spiritual element.
Day 1 Arrive Hanoi
Day 2 Hanoi City Tour
Day 3 & 4 Halong Bay kayaking
Day 5 Mai Chau
Day 6 Mai Chau to Hue
Day 7 Hue
Day 8 Hue to Hoi An
Day 9 Hoi An
Day 10 Hoi An to Saigon
Day 11 Saigon City Tour
Day 12 Depart Vietnam
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Everyone on the tour agreed this trip was the most incredible travel experience they have ever had. And it simply wouldn't have been the same without VeloAsia."
Writer Michael Buckley observes "though it's the Vietnam War that lingers with those who know Vietnam through film, television, and personal experience, it's the French presence that strikes those who actually visit. There are stately French-built mansions and tree-shaded boulevards in Hanoi, art galleries in Hanoi and Saigon selling works heavily influenced by French styles, cafés serving French bread and drip filter coffee in Saigon, and French villas dotting the hills of Dalat. The origin of some customs are French, but the interpretation is purely Vietnamese. The people still move at bicycle pace. On the streets, schoolgirls in graceful white ao dais pedal by, and women with conical hats sit on top of loads of produce, being wheeled around in bicycle-powered contraptions."
We will encounter the legacy of French rule in the elegant colonial architecture and hotels, study the ancient Chinese influence on customs and food as well as the profound effect of the American period on Vietnamese culture, for better or worse. Ancient traditions, foreign influences and dynamic society make Vietnam a fascinating destination.
Along the way we will observe the distinct personalities of Vietnam's provinces, spending quality time in the Red River delta, pristine coastal regions and the pastoral countryside where vast stretches of rice paddies meet a jungle foliage that is a hundred shades of green. In addition to stunning landscapes, bicycling will provide access to Vietnam's greatest treasure - its people. Their warm greetings and smiles come naturally and their optimism and enduring spirit are inspiring. The Vietnamese are happy to have visitors again, especially Americans, who are now a novelty, yet historically familiar.
Our route travels the length of Vietnam, from the stoic, socialistic capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, through the unique provinces on the way south to capitalist Saigon. The graceful, tree-lined boulevards of Hanoi recall the days when it was the French capital of Indochine, yet it is where a statue of Lenin makes its last stand. Freshly cooked meals and restful nights in charming colonial hotels will restore tired legs. Swimming, snorkeling, and exploration by foot round out our itinerary. The experience of a lifetime? Many of our past travelers have said so.
Note: If you've come this far, we encourage you not to miss the most incredible site in Southeast Asia, Angkor. The World Heritage Sites and unlike anything we'll encounter on the cycling trip, truly the "Nile Valley" of Southeast Asia.
The non-cycling excursion to the Grand Khmer Temples at Angkor in neighboring Cambodia to visit the greatest Buddhist monument in the world. There is now a convenient, direct one-hour flight from Saigon and accommodations are at the splendid Grand Hotel d'Angkor. The New York Times recently ran an article on this hotel and touring the temples. Click here for more information on our Angkor trip.
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