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Exercise the body and the mind with a leg pumping, eye-opening cycling tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Enjoy a different perspective as you bike through the limestone cliffs of north Vietnam, along rock-face hugging passes down the stunning coast and on to buzzing Ho Chi Minh City. Take dusty roads through rural villages in Cambodia, exploring nature-strewn ruins and spending time with locals, before finishing up in frenetic Bangkok. Work up an appetite and reward yourself with the delicious dishes the overflow in the streets - the pho in Vietnam, the fish curry in Cambodia and pad thai in Bangkok. Shift your adventure into a higher gear with a journey that takes you to the highlights of Southeast Asia.
Day 1: Hanoi
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure officially begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Before the meeting you need to assemble your bicycle to check for any damage in transit (if you have brought your own bike)If you arrive with some time to spare then work your legs with a walk around Hanoi’s charming shaded boulevards and a squat on a short street-corner stools for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) in the Old Quarter.Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception or your travel agent in advance. Riding distance: none
Day 2: Hanoi
This morning you’ll get the chance to explore the Vietnamese capital by bike on a guided ride through the city (approx. 25kms). Hanoi is made for exploration by bike, so this is the perfect place to get to grips with Vietnamese street life and traffic. You’ll ride through parks, around lakes, and down tree-lined boulevards and visit iconic sights such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, which includes the Buddhist temple One Pillar Pagoda and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. There’s also time to explore the vibrant Old Quarter, an architectural museum where blocks of ochre buildings give off the air of a 1930s provincial French town. In these ancient ’36 Streets’ discover an amazing selection of shops that sell everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, jewellery, beautifully embroidered tablecloths, wood carvings and lacquerware - it's a bargain hunter's paradise. You’ll have some free time this afternoon. Perhaps take a walk around the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, with the reflection of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and the tangle of ancient streets in its still surface, or maybe dive into culture at the Vietnam Fine Art Museum or The Vietnamese Women’s Museum. Top off the day with a steaming bowl of fresh Pho from a hole-the-wall eatery – the street food in Hanoi is not to be missed!Riding distance: approx. 25 kms
Day 3: Mai Chau
Saddle up this morning as your cycling adventure kicks into first gear. Leave Hanoi behind and travel by bus to Hoa Binh (approximately 2 hours). When you arrive you’ll jump on your bike and cycle 40 kilometres to Cao Phong, through small ethnic Thai villages, enjoying the tranquility of the paddy fields and interacting with the local people. Limestone peaks climb in the background and banks of green line the road, and you’ll take regular stops to admire the view across the lush valleys. After arriving you’ll take a short 30-minute bus ride for the next section, stopping for lunch at Man Duc. After you fuel up, the bus will take you to the Da River Reservoir. Stretch your legs again cycling along the Da River, passing spectacular karst cliffs, through paddy fields, and admiring the lush panorama of the Mai Chau valley on the way (approximately 20 kilometres). The peaceful town of Mai Chau is situated in a stunningly beautiful valley surrounded by verdant green mountains and is famed for its breathtaking scenery and friendly hilltribe peoples. Tonight you’ll enjoy local hospitality in a simple stilt-house homestay in the village of Poom Coong. Your amicable hosts will cook up a fabulous home-cooked meal, and there may even be a chance to sample some of the local rice wine produced in the region.Riding distance: approx. 40kms & approx. 20kms
Day 4: Ninh Binh
This morning you farewell your homestay hosts and cycle from Mai Chau to Mai Hai, and then on to Co Luong (approx 50kms). You’ll ride through more paddy fields and test you riding skills (or suspension) with the shallow potholes that can be found on the road. Pass farmers riding atop their load drawn by lumbering water buffalo, ride through small towns and wave to friendly locals on your way through picture-perfect Vietnam – lush green fields, towering limestone mountains, tranquil waterways and charming historic sites. A bus trip then takes you along the Ho Chi Minh Road with a lunch stop before Ninh Binh. If you arrive in Ninh Binh with time (and energy) to spare you can take a 35 km cycle around the surrounding area. This is a wonderful chance to see everyday rural life in action as well as take in the beautiful countryside.Riding distance: approx. 50 kms & approx. 35kms
Day 5: Ninh Binh - Overnight train
This morning you’ll cycle from Ninh Binh to Tam Coc, when you’ll really have the opportunity to soak up one of Vietnam’s most spectacular views – limestone karst peaks thrusting out of serene rice paddies, the sounds and views of the river, which winds through the fields and has boats parading up and down its length. You will also cycle to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam under the 10th-century Dinh Dynasty, the remains of which can be seen in the lasting beautiful archways and temples. Here you’ll take a lunch break at the Dinh or the Le Temple. Today’s cycling is approximately 50 kilometres. Then it’s back on the bus to return to your hotel, where you can use the day room to take a shower and freshen up. After an early dinner you’ll transfer to Nam Dinh for an overnight train to Hue.Notes: On the overnight train to Hue (approximately 12 hours) conditions are basic, but it is a true Intrepid experience and the best way to travel long distances like a local. Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations and group configuration), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.Riding distance: approx. 50 kms
Day 6: Hue
Arrive in Hue and hop back in the saddle to begin your exploration of the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Today you will ride (approximately 25 kilometres) through the fields to visit many of Hue's remarkable sites, including temples, bunkers, tombs, ruins, pagodas and spectacular scenery. On your cycle you will visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. The itinerary is flexible and you have ample time for stops along the way to admire the sites. Later, kick back in a cafe or restaurant. Hue’s cuisine is considered by many Vietnamese as the best in the country, and is influenced both by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) as well as its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants in the region. The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a wealth of goods and foods to see and snack on. It's a good place to try some of the local specialities that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the ‘banh khoai’, Hue's answer to the pancake.Riding distance: approx. 25 kms
Day 7: Hoi An
Today will be big on riding and big on spectacular views. Leaving Hue, you will do some mountainous riding (approximately 80 kilometres in total) as you conquer the Hai Van (Ocean Cloud) Pass on the way to the tropical south and the laidback town of Hoi An. The pass is a stunning stretch of highway the winds through the Truong Son mountain range for about 20 kilometres (10 kilometres each way), with views across the Bay of Denang to the south. It is 500 metres about sea level and the up/down slope ranges from 5-10%, and there will be plenty of well-earned breaks along the way to take in the views, snap some photos, and rehydrate. After the rewarding vistas on the cycle in, you’ll also be spoiled with the town of Hoi An – with lantern-lit streets, vibrant markets, skilled tailors, artisan shops, ancient houses, colourful temples and beautiful smiles, it’s a Vietnamese wonderland. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved, with parts of the town looking exactly like they did more than a century ago. This makes its streets of low tiled buildings perfect for strolling. Take the evening to soak up the atmosphere, or just rest your legs at a local restaurant after a day’s riding.Riding distance: approx. 80 kms
Day 8: Hoi An
This morning you leader with take you on a walking tour of the town, which used to be a busy port for the Cham people before the river silted up. There’s also a strong Chinese influence, and you’ll see it as you walk past the pagodas and assembly halls. On your tour you’ll take in a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. The afternoon is free for you to do whatever takes your fancy. For those who love to shop then Hoi An is a mecca, with much to browse and buy. There are original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. If you want to get some new threads then the town is also famous for its tailoring – pick a fabric and a design and it’ll be ready the same day. If you feel like keeping active then there are the options to take a 15-20 kilometre ride into the surrounding countryside, to cycle to nearby Cua Dai Beach, or to take a stroll through fields of rice, sesame, banana and peanuts.Riding distance: none
Day 9: Quy Nhon
Continue south, down scenic Highway One on the road to Quy Nhom, one of the routes that is less visited by travellers. Cycle from Hoi An to Ha Lam past paddy fields, wheat drying for Beer Hoi, and locals playing chess. Then jump in the bus to drive to Phu, before climbing back on the bikes to cycle to the coastal city of Quy Nhom (total cycling today is approximately 60 kilometres). The city is filled with long stretches of beach and relaxed boulevards, and as it’s pretty undiscovered by visitors, is a great place to get an authentic slice of coastal life.Riding distance: approx. 60 kms
Day 10: Nha Trang
Today’s cycle is approximately 90 kilometres, but it is one of the most breathtaking stretches of road you’ll ride – the highway hugs huge granite cliffs and looks out across the deep blue sea. Following parts of the Reunification railway, you’ll enjoy scenery of islands, lagoons and sand dunes. Join the scooter riders on the waterfront promenade as you arrive in the idyllic coastal town of Nha Trang, once referred to as the 'Cannes of the Orient', and whose sandy palm-lined beach and island-dotted bay still make a pretty idyllic picture. Here there’s consistently good weather, a vibrant nightlife and excellent diving.Riding distance: approx. 90 kms
Day 11: Nha Trang
Today you’ll swap your bike for a boat as you head out to explore the nearby islands. This excursion is often the highlight of the trip for many travellers, as you’ll get to know some of the locals and indulge in the beauty of the place. Starting on the main boat, you’ll then take a small basket boat to shore and visit a fishing village, snorkel in the turquoise waters and feast on a fresh seafood buffet for lunch. You can enjoy this rest day by lazing in a deck chair, going for another swim or perhaps taking a mud baths to soothe away sore muscles.
Day 12: Dalat
Head up through the Bidoup-Nui Ba Pass into the cooler climes of the South Central Highlands (approximately 65 kilometres), where some of the country's best fruits, flowers and coffee beans are grown. The road is winding and steep but if you're fit and ready for a challenge, you may want to conquer the whole mountain on your bike. If you're not so physically inclined, take it easy and flag a lift from the bus. Whichever way you choose to get to the top, you'll still be treated to magnificent views once you reach the summit. After a short photo stop here, you will descend to Dalat. One of Vietnam's most delightful cities, Dalat is a perfect base to explore this pleasant region. With an appealing Swiss-French feel, along with pleasant lakes, palaces, pine tree-covered hills, flower gardens and pagodas, Dalat is often called the 'city of eternal spring' for its temperate climate.Riding distance: approx. 65 kms
Day 13: Phan Thiet
This morning you’ll take a city tour of Dalat, making the journey to Bao Dai's striking regal summer palace. He was the final emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, and the last to rule Vietnam until 1945. You’ll then discover the wacky and weird architecture of Hang Nga Crazy House. Echoing Gaudi's unconventional designs, and described as a 'fairytale house', explore the twisted tree roots, cave shaped hallways and animal themed rooms of this surreal guesthouse. Drop by the train station and the central market before continuing to Di Linh, where tea is the main industry and there are large plantations in the surrounding hills. After lunch, pedal down the forest-lined Gia Bac Pass, then cycle along from Malam to Phan Thiet and it's beautiful beaches.Riding distance: approx. 60 kms
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City
Before heading for the big city, take in the views along the beach from your resort in Bau Mai to Lang Long. After a picnic lunch, keep cycling (approximately 60 kilometres) to Cu Bi. From there it’s goodbye to your two-wheeled friend for a few days as you take the support bus on the final leg to Ho Chi Minh City. Here daily life plays out on the streets and the dynamic atmosphere is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. Maybe the evening exploring the food stalls at Cho Ben Thanh market or cheers to yourself and your new friends with a few glasses of street-side beer hoi.Riding distance: approx. 60 kms
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City
Your adventure continues with a welcome meeting for new cyclists at 6 pm today - there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. Ho Chi Minh City has a dynamic atmosphere and a French influence. Perhaps head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to see the local open-aired market, visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda or one of the amusements parks.Riding distance: none
Day 16: Mekong Delta
Take a three-hour bus ride to the Mekong Delta. Known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Vietnam’, the fertile delta is famous for its harvest of tropical fruit, flowers and rice, as well as the views over the canals. When you arrive in the region, get on your bike for the first full day of cycling. Ride along quiet backroads, past farms and villages and make a stop for lunch. You’ll also get to visit orchards and some local cottage industries. You'll cycle for around 45 kilometres in total today. Around sunset, make your way up one of the canals by boat and reach your homestay. Stay with a family for the night and enjoy a wonderful meal of local specialties. Notes: At your homestay, you’ll be sleeping on simple camp beds in a dorm-style arrangement. You’ll share a toilet and bathroom facilities with cold water only. Bedding and mosquito nets will be provided.Riding distance: approx. 45kms/28 miles, flat with approx. 70m/230ft of elevation gain.
Day 17: Chau Doc
Start the day early by boat then bus to riverside Sadec where you start today’s ride, shaking out your sea legs with a cycle (approx. 48 kms) through the bustling settlements along the river. Here you’ll see more of local life dependent on this vital and beautiful river, including lunch at a local community. Cycle on (approx. 27 kms) and then take a ferry and bus to Chau Doc which is right next to the Cambodian border. Head out in search of the city’s famous hot noodles and cold beer, then stay the night in your hotel.Riding distance: approx. 75kms/47 miles, flat with approx. 120m/395ft of elevation gain.
Day 18: Phnom Penh
Cycle to your last destination within Vietnam, the border town of Tinh Bien (about 32 kilometres) and stop for lunch. You’ll then go through visa formalities and cross into Phnom Den, Cambodia. Meet your new support team and hop on your bike again on your way to Phnom Penh (about 33 kilometres). You’ll be cycling along dusty and bumpy roads for a while, and then along a paved highway which leads to Cambodia’s capital. Once you arrive, you’ll have a free evening to enjoy your first delicious Cambodian meal for the trip. Phnom Penh is quickly becoming a hot destination among foodies, so load up on grilled seafood, fish curry and green mango salad.Riding distance:Ride 1 - Tinh Bien ride – approx. 32kms/20 miles, mostly flat with approx. 115m/380ft of elevation gain.Ride 2 – Cambodian border ride – approx. 33kms/20 miles, flat with approx. 30m/100ft of elevation gain.
Day 19: Phnom Penh
Spend the day enjoying a leisurely ride around Mekong Island. Visit local artisans selling quality silks, and cycle past temples and pagodas. Stop for a refreshing drink at a roadside food stall.Riding distance: approx. 27kms/17 miles, flat with approx. 35m/115ft of elevation gain.
Day 20: Phnom Penh
Today you’ll confront Cambodia’s tragic past with visits to several historical sites. First stop is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. You’ll take a guided tour of the museum where over 20,000 people were once incarcerated and tortured. Next you’ll visit the Choeung Ek Memorial, where a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was where the prisoners of Tuol Sleng were executed and nearly 9,000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. Finally, learn about a brighter period in Cambodian history with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.Riding distance: none
Day 21: Siem Reap
Settle in for a long day of driving as we travel to Siem Reap. The bus ride will take about seven hours but will be full of stunning rural views of tiny towns, and it also gives you the chance to catch up on some shut-eye.Riding distance: none
Day 22: Siem Reap
The name Angkor always captures the imagination, conjuring up images of soaring temples set in deep jungle hidden from the world for generations, and there is simply no better way to experience the allure of Cambodia's legendary Angkor temple complex than by bicycle. Faster than walking yet able to go places that the big tour buses just can't go, cycling at your own pace along quiet, secluded small roads and jungle trails gives you the feeling that you are the first person to discover Angkor as you visit many small temples hidden from everyday view.That’s not to say you miss out on the icons, with visits to Angkor Wat, the greatest Buddhist temple in the world, as well as guided visits to the iconic jungle-covered ‘Tomb Raider’ favourite Ta Prohm, and the sheer majesty of Angkor Thom all included.Seeing this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site in such an environmentally friendly way, with no pollution or strain on the environment also helps to preserve this magnificent icon for future generations.Riding distance: approx. 29kms/18 miles, flat with approx. 65m/215ft of elevation gain.
Day 23: Siem Reap
Today you’ll cover around 70 kilometres by bicycle on your visit to Banteay Srei, the 10th century temple dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. The temple was rediscovered in 1914 and has some of the most intricate carvings in the world. It was restored shortly after discovery using traditional techniques and materials.Riding distance: approx. 70kms/43 miles, gentle uphill with approx. 220m/720ft of elevation gain.
Day 24: Sa Kaew
Leave from Siem Reap early in the morning and head for the border. Our crossing at Poipet/Aranyaprathet should take around 4 hours including the driving and processing time. From the border we transfer to the Tha Kabark Dam. We can have a quick swim and lunch before our next cycling leg - approx 40km to Sa Kaew where we will stay for the night.Riding distance: approx. 40kms/25 miles, mostly flat with approx. 155 m/510ft of elevation gain.
Day 25: Kabinburi
Wake up at sunrise and make your way to the local market. Here you’ll see the Buddhist monks from nearby temples who come to receive food from the villagers in exchange for blessings. Perhaps offer the monks some alms before continuing on your way. Spend the rest of the day cycling along mostly flat terrain towards the small district of Kabinburi. You’ll pass rubber tree and tapioca plantations as well as lush rice fields. Riding distance: approx. 70kms/43 miles, undulating with approx. 300m/985ft of elevation gain.
Day 26: Bangkok
Make your way to Khun Dan Dam, Thailand’s largest dam, for your last full day of cycling. You’ll ride past small villages, paddy fields, farms and shops. Stop for lunch along the way, then enjoy a quick swim. After cycling for around 50 kilometres, pack up the bikes before transferring to Bangkok, your final destination.Riding distance: approx. 50kms/31 miles, undulating with small uphill, approx. 400m/1315ft of elevation gain.
Day 27: Bangkok
There are no activities planned for today and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time. However, as we don’t spend much time in Bangkok, why not stay a few days extra to make the most of your time here? We’ll be happy to assist with booking accommodation. Perhaps take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road or pay a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha. Explore the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or travel by long tail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore Bangkok’s famous khlongs (canals). Consider doing one of our day tours of Bangkok, see urbanadventures.com for more information.Want more cycling in Thailand - check out our Cycle Southern Thailand (TTXB) trip at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/thailand/cycle-southern-thailand-100031Riding distance: none
- Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum
- Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
- Mai Chau - Pom Coong Village visit & traditional lunch
- Hoa Lu - Dinh and Le King Temple
- Hue - Imperial City Full Day Tour Urban Adventure
- Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
- Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
- Nha Trang - Po Nagar Cham Tower
- Hon Mun Island - Snorkelling
- Nha Trang - Basket boat ride
- Nha Trang - Boat trip
- Dalat - Hang Nga Crazy House
- Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) & Choeung Ek
- Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
- Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
- Angkor - Full day temple cycling tour
- Kabinburi - Alms giving at morning market
23 Breakfast(s) Included
12 Lunch(es) Included
3 Dinner(s) Included
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Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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