Day 1: Ha Noi. You are met at Noi Bai airport for your first night in Ha Noi. This bustling city will enchant you with its fusion of European, Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. After you check into hotel, we stroll across the road to the "Au Lac" cafe for late night refreshments in the courtyard. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 2: Ha Noi - Son La. Morning coach departure to transport you to Son La, your starting point for seven days of cycling adventure. The scenery along the way will whet your appetite for what's in store. Plenty of stops are scheduled along the way and a great opportunity to get to know your fellow cyclists. Overnight in Son La. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Son La - Tuan Giao. Cycle Son La to Tuan Giao (90 km). A stunning day of cycling through a region populated by the Black Thai mountain people. An early climb in wild rugged terrain gradually transforms into a meander through cultivated crops and friendly villages. A late afternoon climb will reward you with mountain vistas that go on forever and a final exhilarating descent to Tuan Giao. Overnight in Tuan Giao. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Tuan Giao - Dien Bien Phu. Cycle Tuan Giao to Dien Bien Phu (81 km). Just when you thought the cycling couldn't get better it does. We cycle through picturesque gorges, lush forest and farming communities with plenty of chances to greet the locals. One word of warning though, is wary of a challenge to "drag race". This is where the barefooted young boys and girls on their rickety single speed bikes put us to shame. However their cheeky grins will remain a treasured memory long after the pain of defeat has subsided. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Dien Bien Phu - Lai Chau. Cycle Dien Bien Phu to Lai Chau (100 km). In 1954 Vietnamese nationalists overran the French Garrison stationed here and effectively drove the French out of Vietnam. An early morning excursion to the war museum is definitely recommended, especially when the tour is given from the personal perspective of our guide, Tran. Day after day of fabulous cycling continues with a late arrival into Lai Chau. Dinner and drinks are served at local hotel. Overnight in Lai Chau. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Lai Chau - Tam Duong. Cycle Lai Chau to Tam Duong (106 km). Today's ride has some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam as you follow the Nam Na River. A great day to get lost in your thoughts and the rhythm of cycling. We spend the night at the simple Phuong Thanh Hotel with some of the most charming and friendly staff we have been lucky to meet in Vietnam. Overnight in Tam Duong. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Tam Duong - Sa Pa. Cycle Tam Duong to Sa Pa (73 km). An amazing day of touring is in front of you, with sections that have been voted the "best downhill" and the "toughest climb" on tour. The final climb is breathtaking in its grandeur, length and sense of remoteness. It will take you over the highest pass in South East Asia with glorious views of Mount Fansipan, the tallest mountain in Vietnam. At the top we take a short break and as you gaze into the distant valley below you will be filled with a sense of achievement that does not come often or easily. Overnight in Sa Pa. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Sa Pa. Rest day in Sa Pa, truly unique and it would be unforgivable to not spend a full day here. A former French hill station, you will marvel at the towering mist covered hills, terraced rice paddies and alpine streams. Combine this with the hill tribe people, particularly the delightful H'mong girls selling handmade silver jewelery, and bustling markets, and you will understand why it is our favorite destination in Vietnam. Explore, laze around the indoor pool or hike to one of the minority villages, the choice is yours. Overnight in Sa Pa. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Sa Pa - Lao Cai. Sa Pa to Lao Cai (35 km). After all the mountains you have climbed, this day of complete downhill will almost (but not quite) make you feel guilty. Once in Lao Cai we travel to the border crossing with China where in 1979 the Chinese invaded Vietnam before being driven out. We have dinner in town before traveling overnight on the train back to Ha Noi. Stay up late in the dining car sipping on Sa Pa wine and swapping stories and experiences with you new best friends. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Ha Noi. Saddle up for a cycle tour of Ha Noi (20 km) exploring many of the small back streets and merchants of the Old Quarter. Prepare to be swept up in the sea of riders and motorcycles circling Hoan Kiem Lake in the center of Ha Noi, and cycle respectfully past Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. This night a celebratory dinner is held at "Indochine" one of Ha Noi's finest Vietnamese restaurants. Overnight in Ha Noi. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Halong Bay (Sea Kayaking). We depart at 8:30am this morning, driving 2 hours to the seaport of Hai Phong. We'll stop for breakfast along the way, then board the express boat to Cat Ba Island. From here we board a small boat for a 20 minute ride to our private base camp. We'll settle into our beach huts, take a refreshing dip in the sea, or a walk along the white sand beach while our guides prepare a delicious spread of fresh local seafood and vegetable dishes. Afterward he'll give a discussion on gear and safety, demonstrate the basic paddle strokes and outline our paddling route. Now it's time to slip into our sleek kayaks and set out for an afternoon of paddling. We'll return to base camp for a fresh water shower and a great dinner before retiring to our cozy huts for the night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Halong Bay (Sea Kayaking). Today is a full day of paddling, exploring the bay at a leisurely pace, with time to take a closer look at the amazing karsts. We'll explore the labyrinth of caves that lead to stunning lagoons, paddle to floating villages to see this unique way of life, and stop to chill out at one of the many beaches here. We'll be met by a support boat, which we'll board for lunch, then return to the sea and spend the remainder of the afternoon paddling. The support boat will pick us up late afternoon to motor us back to the base camp for dinner. Overnight at our cozy base camp. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Halong Bay - Hanoi (Sea Kayaking). Early risers can revitalize with a morning dip in the ocean before breakfast. We can enjoy a last paddle of the bay or merely hang on the beach and chill in a hammock with a good book. The paddlers return to base camp in time for lunch, then we all cruise back to Cat Ba Island, passing floating villages and markets along the way. We take the express boat back to Hai Phong then bus back to Hanoi, arriving in Hanoi at 7.30 pm. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 14: Ha Noi. Departure. Free time for shopping or at leisure until your flight home. Includes: (B).
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Asia Vietnam Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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