On bikes and an on foot, we'll witness the rush of modernization in Saigon and life in agrarian villages where little has changed in the last thousand years. Discover ancient wonder in Cham temple ruins, Buddhist pagodas and ancestor worship at the center of Vietnam's spiritual element.
Day 1: Hanoi City Tour
City tour of Hanoi, beginning at the foreboding, Soviet-style Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda followed by lunch at a popular outdoor cafe. Afternoon strolling through the vibrant Old Quarter, stopping to visit at a family in their traditional "tunnel" house. Welcome and orientation dinner at Vietnam's most elegant French-Vietnamese restaurant followed by a delightful traditional water puppet performance, unique to Vietnam. Overnight at the Sofitel Metropole on Hoan Kiem Lake. All meals are included.
Day 2: Hanoi to Hue
Mid-morning airline transfer to the ancient Imperial Capital of Vietnam. After lunch, bicycle testing and orientation "cycling Vietnamese-style" — heading out along the Perfume River through the Imperial Citadel, a familiar site from TV images during the 1968 Tet Offensive, and to the peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda, Vietnam's most important Buddhist temple. Afternoon free for massage at the hotel of exploring tea on the hotel veranda. Dinner free to partake of Hue's local delicacies such as crab soup, banh xeo - Vietnamese crepes, and frozen creme caramel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Hue
Morning cycling through the scenic countryside of Hue to two wonderful examples of Imperial architecture — the majestic Khai Dinh and Tu Duc Royal Tombs. These UNESCO designated ruins are two in series built in the surrounding hills around Hue. Return by Dragon boat to Hue with lunch of Hue specialties prepared onboard by our talented chef along the way, including delicious Ban Xeo. Afternoon exploration of busy Dong Ba Market on the riverfront. Transfer to dinner by traditional, pedal-powered cycle. All meals are included.
Day 4: Hue to Hoi An
A full-day cycling one of the most scenic routes in Vietnam. Depart Hue along a unknown coastal road with no traffic to the Hai Van Pass. Our route passes by rural villages and the picturesque Lang Co Lagoon, then ascending the six-mile road over the Hai Van offering stunning views of the coast and a thrilling descent on the backside to the green rice fields and white-sand graveyards around Danang. Continued riding or shuttle in the van the remaining route to avoid traffic near Danang. Eighty two mile later, arrive afternoon Hoi An, typically a favorite stop. Accommodation at the 5-star French Victoria Beach Resort. All meals are included.
Day 5: Hoi An
New Year's Day. City tour of Hoi An, an ancient Japanese port of trade. Much of Hoi An's rare wooden architecture remains in this small, pleasant town. We will explore the elegant pagodas, bustling riverfront marketplace and distinctive cuisine. After lunch of traditional Cao Lao soup, easy cycling to Cua Dai Beach on the South China Sea for beach combing. Late afternoon Vietnamese cooking demonstration in town featuring local specialties by one of Vietnam's most talented chefs, or free time on your own for a boat excursion on the river. All meals are included.
Day 6: Hoi An to Qui Nhon
Morning departure by bus from Hoi An to Quang Ngai where we'll visit the My Lai Memorial. After lunch, cycling from Sa Huynh Beach to Phu Cat. Rural coastal road past rice villages, scenic ocean views, and rice villages canopied by swaying coconut palms. Arrive at the favorite Life Beach Resort in Qui Nhon. Brief time to enjoy the tranquil waterfront before dinner. Local specialties include lemongrass fish delicately baked in palm leaves. All meals are included.
Day 7: Qui Nhon to Nha Trang
Our ride from Qui Nhon to Nha Trang covers some of Vietnam’s most scenic coastline, featuring deserted blue lagoons and stone promontories overlooking the waters below. Fishing villages dot the coast here, their bays filled with brightly colored boats. Not many travelers here, so lots of attention can be expected. Lunch at scenic Dai Linh Beach. Arrive at the Ana Mandara on the waterfront, one of the finest resort hotels in Asia. Evening free to explore the many seafood restaurants or for "red rhum" cocktails along the waterfront. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8: Nha Trang
Vietnam's finest oceanfront city. Optional half-day boat excursion to nearby islands and a marine reserve. Snorkeling and swimming over the coral reefs in warm, clear water, followed by sunbathing and grilled seafood lunch. Also option of city cycling tour, including Lon Song Pagoda and Po Nagar Cham ruins. Evening free to walk along the beach, have a massage or swim in the warm surf. Arranged dinner featuring shrimp spring rolls, fried squid with pineapples, steamed crab, fresh fish and other seafood delicacies. Accommodation at the acclaimed Ana Mandara Resort. All meals are included.
Day 9: Nha Trang to Dalat
Morning bus shuttle past historic Cam Ranh Bay to Phan Rang - location of a large a Cham ruin, Thap Cham, and most of the remaining Chams, original inhabitants of Vietnam. Cycling from Thap Cham along the flat to the six-mile climb up Ngoan Muc Pass into the beautiful pine forests of the Central Highlands around Dalat. Small villages and strawberry, carrot and other crops line the empty road passing into Dalat. Overnight at the majestic Sofitel Dalat Palace, restored in perfect detail with expansive views of Dalat valley. All meals are included.
Day 10: Dalat
A half-day spin to see Dalat's more interesting sites, including monk Vien Thuc’s Pagoda, Bao Dai Palace and the eccentric Valley of Love. Lunch near the central marketplace. The jewel of Vietnam, Dalat was where the French came for relief from the humid heat of Saigon and hundreds of well-preserved colonial villas dot the hills. It was also a center for exotic game hunting and Teddy Roosevelt visited here. Afternoon and evening free to sight see, rest or partake of the many good restaurants in town or peruse the Palace's menu. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: Dalat to Bao Loc - Saigon
Morning begins with a twisting six-mile descent from Dalat through pine forests to the rolling and gradually descending route passing numerous coffee, tea, banana, and rubber plantations. We'll also pass by the ubiquitous churches in this unique and predominately Catholic area of Vietnam. Just outside of Saigon, the rubber trees originally planted by the French Colonialists are still harvested. Accommodations at Saigon's finest hotel, the Caravelle, near the Saigon River. Saigon from above image. Dinner on your own at one of the many restaurants nearby the hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12: Saigon
Saigon, the most rapidly-changing city in Southeast Asia. Half or full-day city tour of the vibrant Cholon Bin Tay market, nearby pagodas, the Saigon River front and several historical and architectural sites, including Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and French colonial Art Deco post office. Lunchtime coffee tasting on Saigon's central boulevard. Afternoon free for cycle ride or sightseeing and shopping with guide. Farewell dinner near the Saigon River at one of the city's best restaurants. All meals are included.
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Asia Vietnam Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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