Edits: Bun Cha & Biking in Vietnam Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Vietnam
Programmes:
Exodus Edits
Trip Code:
EMV
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

10 Days Flight Inclusive
10 Days Land only
Ages: 30s and 40s

Trip Overview

Take to two wheels and explore northern and central Vietnam by bike. This ten-day cycling trip guides you around some of Vietnam’s celebrated locations, including the well-known centres of Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An. You’ll kayak around the limestone karsts of Halong Bay and row through the sublime scenery of Trang An. But you’ll get away from the tourist trails too, with the chance to cycle through rural Vietnam and its picturesque rice terraces and verdant landscape. And for good measure, you’ll return home knowing how to rustle up a fragrant Vietnamese meal.

Edits trips are for those in their 30s and 40s. We also have a range of trips for everyone, including our similar trip Cycling Vietnam, or you can view our full range of Edits trips.

At a Glance

  • Eight nights in comfortable resorts and boutique hotels
  • One night afloat in twin-share cabins (limited single cabins available)
  • Travel by bike and some private air-conditioned mini-bus transfers plus one domestic flight

Trip Highlights

  • Discover lesser-explored corners of Hanoi and Hoi An and venture to the more remote locations of Ninh Binh and Trang An
  • Roll up your sleeves for hands-on experiences, including learning to cook
  • A carefully curated blend of cycling, activities, tours and downtime

Is This Trip for You?

  • This is a busy itinerary that includes some moderate cycling, so experience of biking and moderate fitness is required

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

EMV Map

Land Only

Start City:
Hanoi
End City:
Hoi An

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Welcome dinner in Hanoi

    You’ll arrive in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. We love this busy and full-on place, where scooters precariously weave their way through narrow streets to a continual soundtrack of honking horns.

    Tonight, you’ll get to know your group at KOTO (Know One, Teach One). This training restaurant for disadvantaged youths serves excellent food and you’ll have the opportunity to try some local flavours as well as dishes from wider south-east Asia.

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Cycle around glorious West Lake

    At dawn, you’ll head to Hoan Kiem Lake for a Tai Chi and Laughing Yoga session. Feeling revitalised, you’ll feast on pho, a Vietnamese soup, for breakfast. Next, there’s a walk around the labyrinth streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, stopping to sample egg coffee. There’s bun cha for lunch, a local dish of noodles, broth and meat served alongside some greens.

    After lunch, you’ll pick up bikes before cycling to Ho Tay, the city’s largest lake, to bike 15 miles around its circumference.  The ride provides a glimpse into modern and traditional Vietnamese life as fishermen wait for a catch and luxury rooftop restaurants compete for space. You’ll stop at one of the many cafes to sip on delicious Vietnamese coffee and enjoy the lakeside views.

    Dinner tonight is at Tam Vi, a restaurant serving traditional northern cuisine. Then it’s on to a popular cocktail bar, Mojito Bar & Lounge, to try their legendary pho cocktail.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 3

    Bike it to Ninh Binh

    Today you’ll leave Hanoi behind, heading an hour-or-so outside of the city to Cho Tia railway station. You’ll cycle through pagoda and temple-filled villages, then join the riverside path beside the Chau Giang River and Day River, one of the four longest rivers in North Vietnam. Today’s 43-mile ride finishes at Thanh Nghi, where a bus transfers you to the hotel in Ninh Binh.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Boating and biking

    After breakfast, you’ll cycle from the hotel to Trang An in Ninh Binh province for a boating adventure. You’ll spend over two hours journeying through the spectacular scenery along the Sao Khe River, exploring the intriguing limestone caves (and understanding why this area has been granted UNESCO Heritage status).

    Afterwards, it’s back in the saddle to cycle along the Day River, following its banks to Hai Hau in Nam Dinh. There’s a stop along the way to visit the covered bridge, Pham Phao Church, and a locally celebrated chap who makes beautiful brass instruments.

    With another 40 miles under your belt today, it’s back to Nam Dinh for a rest.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 5

    Cruising and kayaking

    There’s an exhilarating two-hour ride to start the day, cycling 25 miles from the hotel to Thai Binh before a bus takes you to idyllic Halong Bay. Easily one of the most beautiful sights in south-east Asia, Halong Bay is a captivating place where 3000-odd limestone peaks rise directly from the emerald sea. You’ll cruise amongst this phenomenal karst scenery, stopping to swim and kayak, allowing you to explore places inaccessible by your cruise boat. You’ll sleep onboard overnight in twin-share cabins with en suite facilities.

    Please be aware that the boat trip on Halong Bay can be subject to short notice change if certain adverse weather conditions develop during your trip.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Fly to Hue

    After returning to port, you’ll transfer to Noi Bai airport to board the short flight to Hue. There’ll be time to refresh in the hotel before dinner at a local home where you’ll help prepare the evening meal and chat to your host about Vietnamese life.

    Afterwards, you’ll head back to the centre of Hue to experience its colourful nightlife.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Culture and cuisine

    Often considered the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, there is plenty to see in Hue and a full day of activities lies ahead. You’ll take a morning tour of the city and surrounding tombs, including a visit to the Imperial City of Hue. Although much was lost in the French and American wars, the city is undergoing restoration and reconstruction. It’s a fascinating place to visit and admire the atmospheric emperor’s residence, temples and palaces.

    After, you’ll explore the Perfume River by boat, passing the renowned Thien Mu Pagoda, an imposing Buddhist temple sitting on a hill.  Further on, set among beautiful riverside gardens, lies the Tomb of Tu Doc, an expansive and elaborate royal mausoleum.

    Lunch is served at the Peaceful Bamboo Village, a centre that provides vocational training for young people with disabilities.  Later in the afternoon, you’ll take a cyclo around Hue for a street food experience. You’ll sample an array of food including Banh Beo, water fern cakes, Bun Bo Hue, a spicy broth and noodles, and salty coffee.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 8

    Cycle to sensational Hoi An

    The calories from yesterday’s food fest will serve you well today as you embark on a 52-mile ride. Leaving Hue, you’ll cycle uphill, conquering the Ocean Cloud Pass, a stretch of highway that winds through the Truong Son mountain range with views across the Bay of Da Nang to the south. There will be plenty of breaks along the way to enjoy the scenery before you reach the atmospheric town of Hoi An with its lantern-lit streets, vibrant markets and artisan shops.

    After dinner, you’ll recover from the long cycle by sipping the best craft beer in town at a local small brewery.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 9

    Villages and vegetables

    This morning there’s a guided walking tour of Hoi An to explore the historical sights of the Old Town. Alternatively, you can cycle to Cua Dai beach for some downtime, or bike further afield to the Marble Mountains.

    In the afternoon, you’ll cycle 15 miles to Tra Que Village, famed for its avenues of herbs, so fragrant that you can smell them before you see them. You’ll stop at a Cao Lau noodle maker, a bean sprout grower’s home and the local market. En route you should see water buffaloes and wonderful birdlife. Later, you’ll visit a chef’s house where there’s a cooking demonstration before having a go yourself, learning all about central Vietnamese cuisine, this time.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    Time to rest tired legs

    After breakfast, you’ll part with your faithful bike, ready to return home (and rest your weary legs!). 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

The Q Hotel, Hanoi

A contemporary boutique hotel with stylish guestrooms located in the heart of Hanoi city.

Legend Hotel, Ninh Binh

A modern hotel with 2 swimming pools, spa & fitness centre and spacious rooms

Nam Cuong Hotel, Nam Dinh Hotel

A modern hotel centrally located with swimming pool and fitness centre. Rooms are well appointed with polished wooden floors.

Syrena Cruise, Halong Bay

A 34-cabin ship styled in Vietnamese hardwood. Each cabin has a large, picture window. There’s a restaurant on board and a sundeck that’s a prime spot for sunset.

Thanh Lich Royal Boutique Hotel, Hue

A smart hotel with lovely rooms, ideally positioned for adventures through Hue. You can see the city skyline from the hotel’s pool.

Hoi An Riverside Resort and Spa, Hoi An

Situated on the banks of the Song Do River, this relaxing resort boasts an outdoor pool and spa.

Where a solo room is available, paying for a solo room only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for solo occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a solo room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a solo room.

Solo supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

  • All breakfast, six lunches and five dinners are included
  • Vegetarian food is widely available, however the offering will be similar in most places
  • There are plenty of opportunities to try Vietnam’s excellent and distinctive food

Joining Instructions

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Exodus Edits offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus Edits start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus Edits customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

We know that the unexpected can happen. Your plane may get delayed, or things just don’t go to plan. If you miss your tour departure, check with the hotel to see if your tour leader has left you a message with details of how to catch up with your group. If not, call our emergency number (you will find it on the final joining instructions) and our team will help you. Don’t forget that you are responsible for any extra travelling expenses incurred if you miss your tour departure.

Flights

Remember, flights aren’t automatically included in your trip. If you’d like the Exodus Edits team to help you find some good options, give us a call on +44 020 8772 3837.

Location start:
Hanoi
Location end:
Hoi An

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Refillable water bottle for a bike
  • Layers for cooler nights
  • Cycling shorts and other cycling wear
  • Hard soled trainers
  • Helmet (compulsory at all times while cycling. You will need to bring your own)
  • Waterproof cycling top

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Practical Information

Passport

Vietnam

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Vietnam

**UPDATE 11.03.2020** The below visa advice is not valid at the current moment in time. If you are booked to travel to Vietnam within the next month, Exodus will contact you with further information when it becomes available.

A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2021. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure.

For further information please check the FCDO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'. If you have any questions about whether you need a visa for your trip please contact the Customer Operations department.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Vietnam

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Exodus Edits

Local Time

Vietnam's Timezone:
Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh +07 (GMT +07:00)

Electricity

Vietnam's Electricity:

220 volts AC, 50 Hz. In Vietnam all sockets are generally dual US (2-pin plug) /Euro (2-pin type) compatible but it is worth having both adapters with you.

Money

Vietnam's Currency

The national currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (September 2021) of approximately 31,000 to the GBP, 22,800 to the USD, 17,900 to the CAD, 26,800 to the EUR, 16,700 to the AUD and 16,100 to the NZD.

You can obtain Vietnamese Dong before travel or by using an ATM or changing money upon arrival.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

To cover any additional costs, including meals not covered in the itinerary, we recommend a spending budget of GBP 150/ USD 205/ AUD 280

Tipping

  • Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. However, if you wish to tip your drivers and hotel staff etc (but excluding restaurants), we recommend a group kitty of GBP 49/ USD 68/ AUD 94 per person
  • To show appreciation for your tour leader, we recommend a tip of around GBP 20- 30/ USD 27- 42/ AUD 37- 56 per person

Responsible Tourism

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • In Hanoi, the group will have a dinner at KOTO (Know One, Teach One), which is an NGO that provides a two year course in hospitality, English and life skills training to groups of 16-22 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students also receive accommodation, food, medical check-ups and treatment whilst they are being trained. Many of the 400+ graduates have gone on to continue developing their careers at KOTO restaurants or have gained employment elsewhere with their training so this is a great initiative to support.
  • Whilst in Hue, groups will visit the Peaceful Bamboo Family, an uplifting community for children with learning disabilities. Groups will have lunch in their biodynamic garden, see their lacquer painting workshop, and have the chance to buy handmade incense and jams.
  • In Hoi An, we also stop by a shop called ‘Reaching Out’, which sells gifts handmade by artisans with disabilities – helping them to develop their talent and independence.
  • Also whilst in Hoi An, groups will cycle to Tra Que Village, famed for its avenues of herbs. The visit includes stops at a Cao Lau noodle maker, a bean sprout grower’s home and the local market. 

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment. For example, part of the itinerary spends time in more remote locations of Ninh Binh and Trang An where groups explore by bike and boat.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • We provide clients with a re-usable tote bag at the start of the tour (locally made in Hanoi), offering an alternative to single-use plastic bags and a souvenir to take home!

 Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Please remember that you will be expected to cover your legs and arms (to the elbow) during visits to temples and sacred sites so packing a sarong or other suitable clothing is recommended. Also remember to remove hats when visiting a sacred site.
    • Do not rest your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice as this symbolises the burning of incense (which is usually reserved for times of mourning).
    • One should not show the soles of their feet or touch someone’s head, both are considered disrespectful.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.