Tour Details
Road Bicycling with Support
3-12 Days/Nights
Intermediate Cycling
90% Good Condition Paved Roads
Maximum Group Size: Private Tour
Bikes: Trek Hybrid or Mountain

Hotels: Local & Luxury

Tour Dates:
Custom Tour

Vietnam Cycling Slideshow

  Day 1  

Arrive Hanoi
Hanoi Old QuarterWe can't recommend enough that you arrive early before our actual trip begins. Hanoi is one of Asia's most fascinating cities and certainly it's most walk able.

Like Paris, every street presents new activity, interesting shops and sights. If you arrive a with a couple of days to spare, kayaking on Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an unforgettable experience.


Day 2

Hanoi to Lao Cai
Culinary Tour of HanoiHanoi, the cultural and political capital of Vietnam has slumbered unchanged since the sixties. Step back in time on the French-built, tree-lined boulevards and old quarter, continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years.

Hanoi's cuisine is heavily marked by Chinese influence and tradition more than other regions and we'll delve straight into the heart of it, rising before dawn to explore the local markets with Neal Fraser and Hanoi culinary expert, the charming Ms. Diep To, shopping for ingredients to create a uniquely northern dinner banquet. Between shopping and preparing dinner, we'll sightsee at Hanoi's more interesting landmarks, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where Uncle Ho lies in state and enjoy a delicious lunch of Cha Ca, a 5th generation fish specialty, at Cha Ca Va Long. Also stopping to visit "le chef" Didi Corlou at his French-Vietnamese restaurant La Verticale, touring the kitchen, sample dishes and hearing about chef Didi's interesting take on Vietnamese spices. At 9:30 PM, board overnight train to Lao Cai on the Chinese border. (B)


Day 03

Lao Cai to Sapa
Khai Dinh Tomb, HueArrive Lao Cai 6:00 AM. Group photo at on the forbidding Chinese border crossing 4 km north of the train station (one has never seen so much barbed wire). Saddle up for Lao Cai to Sapa grueling ride 22 miles straight uphill from the train station, gaining over 4,000 feet to Sapa town on a winding road past terraced rice fields. We'll suffer on this our first day, but the abrupt elevation gain will provide some nice down hills on subsequent days. Let's hope for sunshine otherwise Sapa will be chilly, perhaps wet.

Groggy arrival at sunrise in Lao Cai, but after breakfast of warm omelettes, soup and a strong jolt of Vietnamese coffee, we'll be ready to mount our bikes for the ride from Lao Cai into the "Tonkinese Alps" to Sapa. The climb, although only 19 miles, gains over four thousand feet and not everyone is expected to ride the distance — there will be a support van along to hop into when the legs have had enough. The views are magnificent the higher we climb. Looking back over the border into China, seven different mountain ranges can be seen. And on the left of the road, a deep valley has been carved over centuries with terraces for cultivating rice. We'll also see our first hilltribes - mostly Hmong - dressed in traditional, Indigo-dyed clothing. Upon arrival in Sapa, lunch at a local restaurant before ride to the Victoria Resort, which overlooks the breadth of Sapa's mountain range, including Fansipan - Vietnam's highest mountain. Dinner and overnight in Sapa. (B,L,D)


Day 04

Cycling VietnamAfter a sumptuous breakfast breakfast, riding to Silver Falls and Dinh Deo Pass, which at five thousand feet is Vietnam's highest paved road, and to the source of Sapa's morning fog - Qui Ho Lake. Cycle back to Sapa for lunch. In the afternoon, continue riding another 10km before we start a hike to Ta'van hill tribe's village approximately four miles away in a wide, serene valley. We'll meet and observe the Ta'van in their day-to-day activities. Along the way we will see the few remaining French colonial buildings, including a large church, that were severely damaged during the Chinese invasion in 1979. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the Victoria. (B,L,D)


Day 05

Sapa to Tam Duong
41 miles today (73 kilometers), starting with a group photo in front of the Victoria before leaving the other tourists behind. We begin with moderate six-mile climb out of town over the highest paved pass in Vietnam (below Fansipan), passing small villages, waterfalls and cliffs before enjoying a splendid 15-mile descent.

After rollers and another six mile climb into Tam Duong. This section of road is one of Vietnam's most beautiful, with lush scenery and the added mix of colorful hilltribes who we'll frequently stop to visit.

Dinner in town. Accommodation at the basic Phuong Thanh hotel.


Day 06

Tam Duong to Lai Chau
To Quinhon62 miles, with a wonderful 10-mile descent. Rolling hills and dirt road. The route to Lai Chau is spectacular mountain and river valley scenery.

Black Thai villages are numerous in this area and we may see Black Dao and H'mong, especially nearing the Tam Duong market. Overnight at Lan Anh hotel.


Day 07

Lai Chau to Dien Bien Phu
Biking Vietnam Tour60 miles, about 10 miles in climbs, flat to rolling over "highway" 12. Long dirt sections, lush scenery of ferns, banana trees, and jungle foliage. White Thai, Red and White Hmong villages dot the lush landscape. Arrive in famous Dien Bien Phu where the French faced their final defeat. Overnight Muong Thanh hotel.


Day 08

Dien Bien Phu to Son La
Bun Rieu54 miles and Pha Din Pass legs permitting. After breaking in Tuan Giao, we'll conquer the 16-odd miles of Pha Din Pass over highways 279 and national route 6 to Tuan Giao, bicycling up the switchbacks on this long Alpine-style climb. 

A beautiful ride with little traffic, through gorges lined with steep cliffs part of the way. Showers and food in Son La. Late afternoon bus transfer to Son La (2 hours). Son La is a remote post and administrative center. Few if any tourists here but loads of bureaucrats eager to meet and take photos with us.


Day 09

Son La to Mai Chau
Cycling to Dalat, VietnamA fast, mostly downhill ride down a newly improved 4-lane road. Passing along the Ma River, karst scenery passing by as we ride through the countryside, small farms and villages en route to Mai Chau, a fertile river valley, the most beautiful one we've seen the entire trip.

After a refreshing dip in the hotel pool, we'll stroll to a nearby hilltribe village for a traditional dance show and dinner.


Day 10

Mai Chau to Hanoi
Split Bike RentalToday, a leisurely morning followed by our last ride out of Mai Chau (a steep but short climb), then rolling countryside and towns. We'll pause to visit a local school, meeting with the children who will be eager to test out our bicycles.

Reaching Lam Song, we'll pack up our bikes for the two hour drive back to Hanoi, arriving in time to freshen up before venturing into the Old Quarter for a delicious farewell dinner.


* Short and Long ride options, in kilometers


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