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On this adventurous and active trip we experience Vietnam on two wheels. Along the way we discover Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and the majestic beauty of Halong Bay on an overnight cruise. What better way to fuel your ride than with the delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
Explore Tour Leader
10 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights premium hotel
1 nights comfortable junk
1 nights simple overnight train
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Still unofficially referred to as Saigon, the city is the largest in Vietnam. You will find an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, where pagodas and markets compete alongside the trappings of Vietnam's newly discovered entrepreneurial spirit.
Our Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 4pm for the welcome meeting followed by a walking tour. The tour will take in some of the highlights including the Opera House (formerly South Vietnam National Assembly), Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame Cathedral and the impressive French style edifice that is the GPO building.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), which is 30 minutes from the hotel.
Please note that if you wish to join the afternoon orientation walk today, you must arrive at the hotel by 4pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself 30 minutes to an hour to clear the airport. Therefore the latest your flight can arrive is about 2pm. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information by note left at the front desk.
If arriving earlier we suggest exploring at your leisure, perhaps to visit the Presidential Palace, or the War Crimes Museum, or even just take a walk around this bustling city. In the evening you have the option to see a water puppet show.
Huong Sen Annex Hotel (or similar)
Driving for 1.5hrs away from Saigon's remarkable rush hour traffic to reach the quieter suburbs this morning, we collect our bikes and start our ride for about 30 km to Ben Duoc, the site of the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. Originally started during the French occupation of the country, the tunnels went on to achieve notoriety during the Vietnam War, when they formed an amazing underground command base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops. We will explore the tunnels with a local guide this morning. Be warned though, the tunnels are low and narrow and can be claustrophobic. After lunch we continue cycling for about 20 km towards Ben Nay to further explore the area. We drive 2hrs back to Saigon arriving in the early evening. It is possible to spend a free day in Saigon if you prefer to see more of the city. For the cycle ride today, and on subsequent rides, water is provided and you can top up your water bottle from the support truck.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 45 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 180 meters, total accumulated descent 120 metres).
Today gives us an opportunity to journey down into the Mekong Delta, to explore the fertile hinterland between the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Leaving Saigon, a 2 hour drive takes us into the Mekong Delta to Binh Duc (My Tho), from where we begin cycling through an interesting landscape of waterways, markets, orchards and riverside villages. The first 30km of today's ride are on roads with moderate traffic and the remaining 20km are on narrow pathways and routes that our support bus cannot follow. Here we can see local cottage industries making rice paper or coconut sweets as they have been for generations. After a tasty lunch of local produce we cycle on through Tan Phong and visit a beautifully restored traditional house in Ut Kiet, before finishing our ride at Cai Be's famous market. From here we drive for about 2 or 3 hours, depending on traffic, back into the centre of Saigon arriving in the early evening.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 51 kilometres, flat cycling.
Departing Saigon this morning we head north into the southern Central Highlands towards the mountain town of Dalat (set at 1500 metres elevation). After an initial 2 hour drive we commence today's cycling with a picturesque 30 kilometre ride through the hills of the Langbiang Plateau, negotiating our way along reasonably quiet, gently undulating back roads to the town of Gia Kiem and then Bao Loc. After a relaxing lunch in Bao Loc we board our bus again for a very scenic 2 - 3 hr drive right across the mountains, giving us stunning views over the forested hills and tea and coffee plantations, to finally reach the bustling mountain town of Dalat in the late afternoon. The city has a European feel in its architecture and a cooler climate due to the higher altitude.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 120 metres, total accumulated descent 180 metres).
Park Hotel (or similar)
We leave Dalat this morning by bus and drive for about half an hour to the start of today's ride. The beginning of the ride is on relatively quiet mountain roads with plenty of ascent and descent for the first 20km before we stop for a break. From here the next 30km culminates with an ascent of the Hon Giao Pass (1,700m), a challenging ride that takes us up through forests of pine and across a landscape of dramatic mountain scenery. After celebrating reaching the pass and a chance to rest at the top, the remainder of today's ride is a superb 30km of virtually uninterrupted descent towards the town of Khanh Vinh, where we plan to stop for lunch. We finish the rest of the journey to Nha Trang by bus and it should take us around 1.5 hours.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 80 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 1340 metres, total accumulated descent 2962 metres).
Tran Vien Dong Hotel (or similar)
Nha Trang's beautiful bays, golden beaches and turquoise waters have seen it quickly grow into a bustling town and popular tourist destination. Weather permitting, this morning we take a cruise out to explore the surrounding seas and islands. We aim to stop near one of the islands where you have the option to have a swim from the boat (possible to hire snorkelling equipment). We move on to another tiny island where we plan to spend a few hours to relax and swim. The island is privately owned and it is possible to rent a sun lounger and parasol. There will also be the option to enjoy drinks, a seafood lunch or snack on the island (at your own expense). Returning to Nha Trang later this afternoon the rest of the day is free.
No cycling today - rest day.
Travelling by bus this morning we continue along the coast to the city of Quy Nhon. We drive north , over the scenic Ca Pass to Bai Tien Song Cau. From here we resume our journey by bike with a 60 km ride to complete the final leg to Quy Nhon and our hotel for the night.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 60 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 640 metres, total accumulated descent 775 metres).
Seagull Hotel (or similar)
Departing Quy Nhon this morning we cycle out across Thi Nai Bridge, the longest sea bridge in Vietnam, which connects the city with the Phuong Mai Peninsula. Once across, we continue by bike along the Quy Nyon lagoon towards Phu My some 50 kilometres away. From Phu My we then travel by bus to Quang Ngai, the scene of the My Lai massacre - one of the most infamous episodes of the Vietnam War. After visiting the site and visitor's centre, we complete the final leg to Hoi An by bus, a journey of some 2 to 3 hours.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 59 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 395 metres, total accumulated descent 390 metres).
Vinh Hung 2 Hotel (or similar)
The historic, merchant town and safe harbour of Hoi An had become one of the busiest international trading ports of Southeast Asia by the 17th and 18th centuries. Colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it still retains its charm today, with many of its old buildings superbly preserved. This morning we take a walk through the historic heart of this World Heritage Site, taking in the city's famous Japanese Bridge and its museum, before wandering amongst its traditional wooden houses and Chinese temples. This afternoon is then free to perhaps take a gentle river cruise, try your hand at Vietnamese cooking or pay a visit to one of Hoi An's renowned tailors' shops, or maybe explore further afield by bike.
No included cycling today - rest day.
Leaving Hoi An after breakfast, we travel by bus up the coast to Danang followed by a twisting drive up to the lofty heights of the Hai Van (Sea Cloud) Pass. This stunningly scenic region once marked the boundary between Vietnam and the Champa Kingdom to the south and, as we reach the summit of the pass, the panoramas before us are simply spectacular. Descending by bus we head next for Lang Co where today's ride starts. We cycle along scenic back roads as we wind our way alongside the Cau Hai Lagoon to end the ride finally at Phu Bai. Meeting our bus in Thuan An, we then drive for about an hour on to Hué on the shores of the Perfume River.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 80 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 300 metres, total accumulated descent 300 metres).
Thanh Lich 2 Hotel (or similar)
Once the capital of Vietnam and an inspiration for poets and artists alike for centuries, Hue is still a thriving and important city. First thing this morning we drive to the impressive Old Citadel that still dominates the left bank of the river. After visiting the citadel we commence our final cycle ride. Our route follows the Perfume River and leads us to the 19th century Nguyen Tomb of Ming Mang. After visiting the mausoleum we return to our hotel to freshen up before the mid- to late-afternoon departure of the overnight train to Hanoi. We plan to stay in 'soft-sleeper' four berth cabins, bunk bed style and bedding is provided. Both Western and Asian style toilets are at the end of each carriage as well as a basin. The Leader will allocate beds keeping people together as far as possible but it may be necessary to share with other travellers.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 20 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 130 metres, total accumulated descent 115 metres).
Overnight Train from Hue to Hanoi
Simple Overnight Train
Arriving in the Vietnamese capital early this morning we drive to the hotel in time for breakfast. Later this morning we then drive (2.5hrs) to the Gulf of Tonkin and the breathtaking scenery of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visually impressive landscapes in South East Asia. Boarding the boat in time for lunch we set sail and visit Sung Sot Cave, spending this evening aboard the junk in twin-share, en suite cabins. Please note - the boat is not exclusive to us and we may be sharing with other tourists. You have the option to leave the majority of your luggage in the hotel in Hanoi and take only an overnight bag. If you prefer to take your main luggage it is fine but please note that the cabins are inevitably small.
No cycling, rest day.
Halong Bay Junk (or similar)
This morning we continue cruising through this wonderfully scenic landscape, enjoying the serenity of its limestone islands and visiting some of the caves (the optional cave visits can involve climbing some slippery steps). Returning to shore mid-morning we then drive back to Hanoi, a 2.5 hour journey that gets us into the capital in time to enjoy a short tour of the city. Our late afternoon walking tour includes a visit to the Ba Dinh Square and the Temple of Literature, as well as a chance to explore a little something of the city's fascinating Old Quarter.
Flower Garden Hotel (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Hanoi.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Hanoi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to depart from Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), which is around 45 minutes from the hotel.
Total distance : 263 miles
As Vietnam is a long, narrow country from north to south climate conditions vary considerably. The climate can be divided into three distinct patterns between the north, central and south regions. The climate in the north is generally humid and subtropical, although the winter months from November to March can be colder with temperatures from 10 - 15 degrees. Summer months, May to September can be quite hot with temperatures from 30 - 35 degrees. Meanwhile south Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with little variation throughout the year (around 27 - 32 degrees), however May to November is the rainy season when short, heavy downpours are quite frequent. Central Vietnam lies somewhere in between. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter from April to October while November to March is wetter and cooler. A light rain jacket and small umbrella are recommended year round.
2 Pin Round
Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism
Fruit kitty - the TL may organise a fruit kitty for those interested - 8 USD per person. Hanoi - Water Puppets from USD 11. Cyclo ride around Old quarter USD 10 Hoi An - Cookery class from USD 32, Vegetable Village visit USD 8 Both cash and card accepted but cash is preferred The prices stated are based on a minimum number of participants (usually 5-6). Please be aware that the optional excursions can run with fewer people but the price may be higher. Likewise, a slightly reduced price may be applicable where the participation greater. The prices listed are generally only entrance fees and do not include the price of transport to and from the excursion, Your Explore Leader will quote this when you are on tour, as the price for transport will depend on the number of participants. These excursions are generally run via our agent in the country. Local companies may offer similar excursions at a cheaper price. Should you want to use these companies please be aware that a lower price may mean that not all costs are included (entrance fees etc.) or services will not operate at the same safety and quality standards.
Bring cycle shorts, quick drying cycle tops and gloves. From December through to February warmer clothing is needed for the North and the highlands. Days are hot and humid. Lightweight rainwear essential at all times.The northern region and highlands are cold at night during the winter.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to trips that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Even though clean bed linen is provided on the train journey, you may want to bring a cotton sleeping sheet (it can be purchased in Hoi An) and a small travel towel. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Bus, Bicycle, Boat, Train
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities. The overnight Junk has twin share, en-suite cabins. It is not exclusive to Explore travellers. Single Room Option is available. Simple - The overnight train has soft-sleeper four berth cabins, bunk bed style and bedding is provided. Both Western and Asian style toilets are at the end of each carriage and a basin. Single Room Option is not available.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Vietnam: 'British Citizen' passport holders can visit Vietnam for up to 45 days without a visa. A visa will be required if you wish to re-enter within 30 days of your departure. Visas are required for citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and can be obtained in the form of an eVisas via: \ul \ulnone Please note that it is a pre-requisite for entry into Vietnam that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months from your date of entry All visa related issues including information for other nationalities should be confirmed with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See \ul www.travcour.com \ulnone to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on \ul 0208 5431846 \ulnone . It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Malaria and Zika Virus. Although not compulsory travellers may also wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.