Day 1: Hanoi Arrival. Arrive at Noi Bai airport, transfer to hotel; freshen up and relax after a long flight, historical orientation walk through the Old Quarter, coffee at a family-style art cafe, guided walk through a restored Old Quarter home, Bach Ma Pagoda (White Horse Temple), hidden away in the back alleys, welcome dinner in one of Hanoi's top restaurants. Includes: (B).
Day 2: Hanoi-Mai Chau. Depart Hanoi early for Mai Chau enjoying spectacular scenery along the way. After checking into the sumptuous Mai Chau Lodge, enjoy a warm up ride to beautiful Thai villages nested in Mai Chau Valley on a mix of good single track paths and undulating rough jeep trails. The views are stunning as the ride passes through many villages and across rice paddies. Pass hot springs, cycle across suspension bridges and follow the contours round beautiful terraced rice fields. Return to lodge for overnight. Bike: 20 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Mai Chau-Phu Yen. After a hearty breakfast we set off on a testing yet spectacular day, the majority of which is uphill! Transfer out of Moc Chau to Tong Dau crossroad, and start riding on the good winding paved roads ascending Mai Chau Pass we head into a region predominantly populated by Black Hmong minority cultures. Before getting to Moc Chau plateau, situated at 1000 m, we pass through plum orchards and corn and tea plantations. Moc Chau is renowned for its banh sua (milk cake) and tea products. Along the way, we can contemplate the delightful countryside of Vietnam mountain region. Overnight in Phu Yen. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Phu Yen-Thu Cuc-Nghia Lo. We will ride south along quiet roads winding through lush jungle and verdant mountain scenery. We will have 2 small passes to tackle before hitting the main junction at Thu Cuc. We rest at this small town for lunch. Following lunch, we continue to cycle the through the charming villages. Along the way, we may stop to visit local ethnic minorities and interact with village life. We arrive at Nghia Lo later in the day. Bike: 290 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Nghia Lo-Tu Le. Today the ride is mixture of ups and downs throughout the days, with some challenging passes to tackle. The trail winds its ways along the mountain ranges. Along the way, we'll be awarded with exceptional views of Chan Hung mountain. The route today offer not only excellent ride but also many points of interest and our guide will stop often at villages to show us the traditional hamlets of ethnic minority people such as La Ha, Hmong and Ma people. Our ride will finish at Tu Le village and from here we shuttle the rest way to Than Uyen. Bike: 84 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Tu Le-Than Uyen. Today's activity is a fantastic bike ride from Than Uyen to Than Thuoc village. The trails take us up and down the hilly mountain. The first legs to Than Thuoc village passes through local hamlet of Tay, Hmong people. Whist cycling, we can admire the stunning view of rugged mountains and terrace rice paddies. Overnight in Sapa. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Than Uyen-Muong Bo-Sapa. Spectacular single trail riding in the morning through small villages. As you get closer to the Hoang Lien Son peak, you will cycle between these 1000-3000 m mountains, to finally reach the highest pass in Vietnam (at 1900m). Then descend to Sapa (at 1600 m). The deeper into the mountains you go, the more hill tribes you will see, who wear amazingly elaborate and colourful costumes - with huge earrings.These are people who have been living in the hills for a thousand years and their ways of life have hardly changed from generation to generation. Overnight in Sapa hotel (3 star). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Sapa Relax. Today we have a chance to relax, stroll to nearby village, get some presents, and soak up the atmosphere of Sapa. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Sapa-Binh Lu (Tam Duong). Transfer uphill to Sapa's famous silver waterfalls. On reaching the small town of Binh Lu, leave the vehicle support behind and take an off road jeep track for 30 km to Tam Duong. There is one steep hill climb of approximative 3 km, which cruises down into a superb valley with Lu villages of Dong Pau 1 and Dong Pau 2 to explore, the Lu women are famous for their black lacquer teeth. The cycling is not technical, and is a mix of hard pack gravel and clay. Enjoy hot soup and sandwiches in one of the local village houses. Cycle a short way up the main road before turning right again onto another jeep trail. This track is the highlight of the ride so far. It is 35 km from here to Pa So and the hotel for overnight. Depending on the weather it may be possible for the jeep to follow the group otherwise there will be motorbike support. Pass though at least 5 or 6 minority villages, the largest being Nhang village. The route is undulating with some short steep sections. It is incredibly beautiful and truly off the beaten path. Bike: 68 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Tam Duong-Lai Chau. Today’s ride is challenging. A punishing all day affair that will test the toughest and kill everyone else. But the scenery is out of this world. There is a huge hill to climb so leave early to get the best of the day (but manageable gradient in granny gear). From Phong Tho cycle 43 km mainly uphill to Sin Ho, one of the highest mountains in the area. Only 12 km of this section is unpaved. Enjoy lunch at the summit before cruising another 38 km downhill on switchbacks via Lang Mo on a mix of gravel and hard pack clay. The views are truly spectacular and there are many minority people to meet along the way. Stop for a rest in Lang Mo before the final descent to the river Nam Na. Once back on the main road there is a further 22 km of pleasant paved downhill to enjoy before arriving at Lai Chau. Bike: 105 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Lai Chau-Dien Bien Phu. The quiet, remote ride, perhaps the hardest of the trip so far and you should only attempt it if you are feeling up for a challenge! It is impossible to count the number of hill climbs and descents! The road is rough all the way and there are few (if any) flat stretches. It is however quite remote and stunningly beautiful. The children are frightened of foreigners, so care must be taken when riding by or approaching children en route. It is advisable to wear riding pants below the knees – bearing skin on this ride is definitely a cultural no no. This is possibly the most outstanding ride of the tour so far, but very very challenging. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu. Bike: 60 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Dien Bien Phu-Hanoi (Flight). Dien Bien Phu is situated almost at the border with Laos on an immense gorge 30 km long and 3 km wide. It is in Dien Bien Phu where Ho Chi Minh led his People's Liberation Army to a bloody but decisive victory over the French colonizers on May 7, 1954 that brought French colonial rule to an end. After packing the bikes ready for the flight to Hanoi, spend the morning exploring the historical sites of Dien Bien Phu, taking in the informative museum and other relics from the French wars with Vietnam. Late morning flight to Hanoi and transfer into town. In the evening, we celebrate our adventure ride at one of Hanoi’s best restaurants. Overnight in Hanoi. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Hanoi-Departure. You are at your leisure, until it is time to transfer to airport for your outbound flight. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Vietnam Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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