Cycling Vietnam

16 days
from
£2,129
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Trip code: 
MOV
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–18

Experience the real Vietnam by bike

We ride from vibrant Saigon in the south to the chaotic capital of Hanoi in the north on this two week cycling tour, travelling on tarmac roads through colourful fishing villages, folding rice terraces and mountains cloaked in jungle. The vast shoreline of white sandy beaches is ours to discover along the way, with time to swim in the sea on a tropical island retreat. Stopping off at the ancient trading port of Hoi An, home to temples and wooden merchant houses, we delve into the peacefulness of rural Vietnam before ascending the Hai Van Pass, riding along twisting coastal roads that lead to remarkable views of the misty forest below.

Highlights

  • Take a cycling holiday through Vietnam’s most scenic landscapes
  • Savour mouth-watering cuisine
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels
  • Relax in charming Hoi An
  • Cruise among the limestone formations of Halong Bay
  • Overnight on a tropical island

Key information

  • 11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat, 1 night sleeper train
  • 9 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with 90% vehicle support
  • Roads nearly all good tarmac
  • The route is flat with the exception of Dalat and the Hai Van Pass
  • Group normally 5 to 18, plus local leaders

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 10 lunches, 1 dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - hotel nights only)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

8

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 100% tarmac

Day by day breakdown
Day 330.0km/18.0miles
Day 450.0km/31.0miles
Day 560.0km/37.0miles
Day 6100.0km/62.0miles
Day 890.0km/55.0miles
Day 950.0km/31.0miles
Day 1180.0km/49.0miles
Day 1225.0km/15.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Saigon
to
Hanoi
  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Saigon.

    Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly known as Saigon, is an exciting and absorbing city where bicycles battle with lorries and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, Saigon is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. The Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral are within easy walking distance from our hotel and are highly recommended.
    Huong sen Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    Transfer out of the city; cycle to the Cu Chi tunnels

    This morning we drive out of the city, before riding to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This offers a great introduction to cycling in Vietnam and a chance to fine-tune the bikes. The tunnels were Viet Cong sanctuaries, used by the guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes. The network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Some parts have been widened for tourists, but the tunnels were originally very narrow and it is still necessary to crawl on hands and knees. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! If you prefer not to visit the tunnels you can have an unguided free day in Saigon. Places of interest include: the Emperor of Jade and Giac Lam pagodas, the former Presidential Palace (now the Reunification Hall), Ben Thanh market and the War Remnants Museum. Cycle approx. 30km
    Huong sen Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Cycle towards the coast and drive to Mui Ne

    After an early breakfast we head out of Saigon by bus and then start cycling towards the coast. We hit the backroads and head through tropical fruit and rubber plantations also passing some small fishing villages as we make our way closer to the coast finishing our ride in time for lunch. We then transfer approx. 3 hours to Mui Ne, a tranquil white sand beach where we can witness our first sunset over the South China Sea. We spend approx. 4-5 hours on the bus today. Cycle approx. 50km.

    Sea Links Beach Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Cycle to Dalat in the Central Highlands.

    We cycle towards Dalat; the route is undulating with occasional climbs. Along the way we pass coffee and tea plantations as well as flower gardens and pine forests as we reach higher altitude. We rejoin the bus before the road climbs steeply to the mountain town of Dalat. We spend approx 3.5 hours on the bus today. Dalat is a pleasant hill station, formerly known as Le Petit Paris, and has been described as the most beautiful town in Vietnam. It was favoured by the French for its climate, and is now a popular honeymoon resort for the Vietnamese. Cycle approx. 60km.
    Sammy Hotel Dalat or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Cycle through Bidoup N.P.; to the coast and boat transfer to Whale Island.

    Today's ride is predominantly downhill through pine forests and paddy fields as we descend nearly 1,500m travelling through the Bidoup Ba National Park. This area is home to rare pine forests as well as small villages inhabited by the ethnic minority people of the central highlands. Once we arrive at the coast, we head by bus (approx. 1.5 hours) to the coast near Nha Trang before boarding a boat to our tropical island retreat of Whale Island for the next two nights. Cycle up to 100km according to preference.
    Whale Island Resort or similar, Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Cruise around islands with seafood lunch and snorkelling.

    Having a rest from the bikes today we get the opportunity to really relax and unwind. We will join a boat trip in the morning for a spot of snorkelling and swimming in the turquoise sea before a seafood lunch is served. In the afternoon there is the option to visit a local fishing village, see the Whale temple or walk around the island to the viewpoint for a 360 degree view of the stunning mountainous coastline and the surrounding coves and white sand beaches.
    Whale Island Resort or similar, Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Drive to beautiful Dai Lanh Beach; coastal ride to Quy Nhon

    We set off early in the morning and ride to the beautiful fishing village of Dai Lanh. A short transfer out of town past the Po Nagar Cham towers brings us to a high point and from here today's ride is predominantly flat. The beautiful beach at Dai Lanh is a perfect place to stop for a swim (if road conditions and time permit) and lunch before continuing by bus around the spectacular coastal cliff road towards the town of Tuy Hoa and on to Quy Nhon. (Approx. 4 hours in the bus today). Cycle up to 90km. according to preference.
    Seagull Quy Nhon Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Further coastal ride stopping en route at sand dunes; then transfer to Hoi An

    Leaving Quy Nhon we travel through a new economic zone over the Thi Nai Peninsula and Nhon Hoi Bridge, the longest sea bridge in Vietnam. Getting off our bikes we will visit a market, where its not unusual to be pulled aside for a photo as this part of the country does not see many western tourists. The coast line features secluded bays, sand dunes and beaches with colourful fishing boats bobbing on the South China Sea. We will cycle until we arrive at Phu Ly and then drive to Hoi An. If time permits, we will cycle the last 12km once we turn off Highway 1 into Hoi An.

    Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-sixteenth Century is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market. We spend two nights in Hoi An which is also a fantastic place to buy local art or have some clothes tailor-made for you. Its best to bring a picture or a sample of what you want made. Approx. 6 hours in the bus today. Cycle approx. 50km.
    Hoian River Green Boutique or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Sightseeing in Hoi An; free afternoon.

    This morning we take a guided walking tour of Hoi An to explore some of the structures of historical significance in the Old Town, including bridges, temples, wells and houses. Those less interested in architecture can cycle the 5km to the lovely Cua Dai beach or cycle to the Marble Mountains, which are 19km from town. These five marble hills, formerly islands, contain many caves, some of which were used as Buddhist (and Vietcong) sanctuaries. Also nearby is China beach, a famous US R & R spot in the war, and Danang where there is a Cham Museum, which despite being in poor condition, is very interesting. It is also possible to visit My Son, one of the most important Cham temple sites in Vietnam where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries.
    Hoian River Green Boutique or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Ride over the spectacular Hai Van Pass; cycle and drive on to Hue

    Today we turn north again for the drive/cycle to Hue. The route traverses over the spectacular Hai Van Pass - the 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds'. The views are stunning though those who prefer to avoid the 580m climb can always take a lift in the support vehicle. Once at the top it will all seem worth it as you plummet back to the ocean, then continue through small villages and timeless rural scenes to the outskirts of Hue, from where we transfer to our city centre hotel. Approx 2.5 hours in the bus today. Cycle approx. 80km.
    Cherish Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Explore Hue and surroundings by bike and boat; overnight train to Hanoi

    Hue is often claimed to be the cultural and historic centre of Vietnam and there is plenty to see. We take a guided tour of the city and surrounding tombs. The most memorable site is the citadel, with walls six miles in length: inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor and his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. Then we take a boat along the Perfume River to the elaborate tombs of the Nguyen emperors, who ruled Vietnam from Hue. Tu Duc's Tomb is very elaborate and set in beautiful gardens. Along the way we will visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960s and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself as a protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. In the afternoon we will board the Reunification Express for the overnight ride to Hanoi, 600km to the north. Cycle approx. 25km.
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Arrive Hanoi; drive to Halong Bay; board boat and cruise/kayak among spectacular limestone formations

    We usually arrive in Hanoi in the early morning and stop for a local breakfast and a stretch of the legs, before we are met by our bus for an approximately 4 hour drive to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with around 3000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to kayak in the sea allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting) and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. There may even be the chance to try a spot of fishing from the boat too.  
    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Further cruising in Halong Bay; return to Hanoi

    Visit Me Cung cave and enjoy further time to cruise the many islands of Halong Bay. Return to Hanoi late afternoon. This charming city contains many beautiful old buildings and the atmosphere is completely different from that in Saigon in the south, mainly due to the much more conservative nature of the North Vietnamese. Also, unlike its industrial counterpart, the centre of Hanoi has a faded charm with broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period as well as some attractive lakes and pagodas. In the evening there is the option to enjoy a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets.

    May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Angkor Wat Extension (from Siem Reap)

Code: XOV
Price per person: £749.00
Mandatory Single Supplement: £315.00

'Discovered' enmeshed in the Cambodian jungle in 1860, Angkor, the ancient capital of the powerful Khmer empire, is one of the finest archaeological sites in the world, and not one to be missed. Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, the wonderfully preserved sprawling complex of temples and palaces is on a par with any great monument of the world with magnificent towers, sculptures and bas‐reliefs. During this four-night extension you will also see all the key sites of Phnom Penh, a fascinating city undergoing a huge amount of change. You will travel between the sites in a private car or minibus, depending on how many people take part in the extension, accompanied by an English‐speaking local guide. In the evenings, you will be free to enjoy the town. This trip extension is offered before the start of the MOV trip so you can do it at the beginning and then fly to Vietnam to start the cycling trip. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

 

Essential Info

Visas

Vietnam

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 see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Vietnam.pdf or the FCO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'.

Vaccinations

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. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 1 dinner are included.

 Thanks to Vietnams tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range of mountain, Vietnam is blessed with numerous varieties of culinary offerings and consequently maintains its reputation as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world that still packs a punch with delicious fresh and fiery flavours. Vietnamese food relies on fresh fish, vegetables, rice and a whole myriad of verdant herbs and spices; lemongrass, ginger, basil and lime all play an important role in the cuisine. The Chinese and French influence is felt throughout the country where you are just as likely to be offered a Banh Mi (stuffed baguette) as you are a hot steaming bowl of Pho (noodle soup). Each dish is prepared with the Asian principle of Wu Xing in mind (the five elements) meaning that the perfect combination of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet is the ultimate aim. Be sure to also seek out the national beverages; Vietnamese coffee is served iced and sweet with condensed milk, a real sugar and caffeine hit, and beer hoi (local beer, brewed daily) is served on most street corners in the North out of large plastic jugs that are perfect for sharing.

Food is cheap in Vietnam and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in SE Asia the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home if you have high energy bars or gels that you like to use during a ride. For those who wish to contribute a kitty is normally arranged (see extra expenses) - fresh fruit, nuts, biscuits and local snacks are all provided from the snacking kitty along with soft drinks and even homemade lemonade if the season is right!

Weather

There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; it is quite pleasant at any time of year, though due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will ever be perfect for the entire duration of any trip.

The weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day usually between 28ºC and 34ºC. It is only a little cooler at night throughout most of the country.

There is quite a range of seasons between the north and the south: the south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and then a rainy season from May to November when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between.

Hanoi is cool in Autumn, and even gets chilly between November and February (with potential for drizzly rain).

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. These could occur all year round, but especially in monsoon season (from October to April). Boat trips on Halong bay are governed by the local authorities who are authorised to make such appropriate safety decisions. If your Halong bay trip is affected by adverse weather, this could either result in a reduced excursion on Halong bay for your group, or less likely, the need to re-arrange the itinerary if it is not possible at all to go out on Halong bay. Whilst this is not a frequent occurrence, our local team and leaders are well equipped to handle such situations and have long offered appropriate options to groups in the instances where this may occur.

If you go to Cambodia for the Angkor Wat extension, the weather will be hot and humid all year round. The dry season is late October to May and the monsoon is normally between May and October; though there is an obvious transitional time between those settled periods. The dry season is as it sounds, with hot days and generally clear skies, though you can expect the odd shower.

The monsoon is characterised by short, sharp bursts of rain and is generally overcast all day though this does not detract from the enjoyment of the place; you just need to take an umbrella or buy a cheap local poncho!

Hanoi

Saigon

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
9 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) average 70km/day (43 miles), 90% vehicle support.

Terrain and Route:
Road surfaces are mostly on good tarmac. The route is flat with the exception of Dalat and the Hai Van Pass. Vietnam can be hot and humid, but rests and water are readily available. You should be comfortable riding in traffic on occasions. This is a busy trip but anyone not wanting to cycle all day can use the support vehicle.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Boat & Sleeper Train

11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths. The accommodation on this trip is mostly in good quality hotels (mostly 3-4 star), and all nights are en-suite except the train.
During this trip we spend one night on the sleeper train this being the best way to travel long distances with the locals; the journey between Hue and Hanoi is quite comfortable although despite being first class, it is still quite basic. You will be in a 4 man cabin, (occasionally 6 depending on season) and bedding is 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 people who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage but people generally stock up on snacks before the journey.
On the boat in Halong Bay, we stay in en-suite twin cabins.

Our overnight spot on Whale Island is regarded as an absolute highlight for many however it is basic. You will stay in bamboo thatched bungalows each with mosquito nets, fans and en-suite bathrooms. The simplicity of island life and this overnight spot really makes it idyllic but you should be prepared for it to be a bit different to the hotels used for the rest of the trip. 

Tet Holiday Period (Vietnamese New Year)
During the Tet holiday period, (14-20 February 2018 and 4- 9 February 2019) and two weeks either side of Tet our itinerary is subject to minor change as despite booking hotels and trains in advance, rooms and seats are difficult to obtain during this busy festive period whenpeople are travelling home to celebrate with their families. It is unlikely that changes will occur and if they do it is likely we will just need to use alternative accommodation.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed June 2018
    A Woods

    Cycling Vietnam

    Cycling Vietnam was an amazing and fun trip from start to finish. Beautiful scenery and varied landscapes with a good mix of urban and rural cycling. Delicious food at every point. The Vietnamese could not have been more welcoming - especially the excited kids that cheered us along the country roads. The tour was well organised with team leader (Lok) and support team (Xiu, Nhan and Truong) providing outstanding service throughout. The tour covers a huge distance from south to north (with bus and train support!) and along the way we had the chance to soak up Vietnamese culture and history - paddi fields, cashew nuts, traditional fishing methods as well as the legacy of colonialism and war. The city stops varied from chocoloate-box-perfect Hoi An to cosmopolitan Hanoi and everything in between (including a few hair raising roundabouts!). The cycling was a joy throughout. A great way to visit a great country!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Helena Stage

    Vietnam Cycling Enthusiast

    This was my first trip to Vietnam and cycling the country was an amazing experience. Traveling with our local guide Son, a terrific leader who managed 16 cyclists of various abilities with good humor and patience. We stuck together through the maze of traffic, construction, honking in the midst of bustling cities and quiet and tranquil villages. The tour provided so many wonderful experiences and a very compelling story of Vietnamese culture and traditions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I found the people to be most inspiring - they work so very hard and are accepting and welcoming.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Son was top notch - very organized - he made sure everyone was safe on the ride as well as provided insights into the culture, the towns/cities that we visited. His team did everything to insure that our holiday would be memorable. Loved the fresh fruit and lemonade provided on our stops. A must to prevent dehydration. Our bus driver, van driver and mechanic....kudos to them for working 24/7 keeping up with all of our activities and making sure we were comfortable and our bikes in good shape.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For anyone who has not been to Asia, Vietnam is so very special. It is perhaps not the 5 star beauty of Bali or the majesty of Angkor Wat or have the many awesome temples of Thailand, but it's own special charm grows on you as you travel through the country. Ha Long Bay!!! Whale Island ...two special places for me. The cycling was harder than expected mostly due to the heat and humidity. Also the traffic and noise in the busy cities may make it more difficult for some cyclists. I would definitely recommend training as we had some time constraints to finish each day's ride so that we could make it to our final day's destination.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As many others have said...just do it... this tour is designed to experience Vietnam with such a local level and feel. The tour only uses local Vietnamese companies and I found that to be so valuable to have our tourist dollars go to the local people.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    LINDA REID

    CYCLING HO CHI MIN TO HANOI

    Cycling Vietnam was an excellent way of seeing the countryside and meeting the local Vietnamese people who were extremely friendly and always willing to help. The cycling involved flat, undulating and hilly sections so there was a good mix and the road surfaces were all remarkably good. The guide Lam gave you the opportunity to cycle at your own speed, with plenty of stops for rehydration and refuelling as it was incredibly hot and humid. At any junction the bus or the truck was there to point you in the right direction. It was extremely well organised and everything went like clockwork from start to finish. We were well looked after and well fed. The countryside varied from paddy fields to more mountainous areas which were green and lush, but not as picturesque as I had anticipated. We had to spend a fair amount of time on the bus, due to the large distances we had to cover, however, we would never has seen or done so much without doing so. The bus was comfortable with plenty of room for us to spread out.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Halong Bay was quite amazing and we had a lovely over night trip on a boat, we went sea kayaking which was great fun. We had a trip out to an island TITOP ISLAND, and had fantastic views of the bay from the top. Cycling up the HAI VAN PASS was also a great experience and seeing everyone completing the ride when it was 33C. The group was excellent and we had lots of fun and laughs along the way, so that made the trip for me, along with sights and sounds of Vietnam.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam our group leader was just excellent - so organised, pleasant, cheerful, always smiling and nothing was too much trouble for him. The mechanic Y was brilliant - the bikes were well maintained and kept clean, if there was a problem it was sorted immediately. The truck and bus drivers were always there to lend a hand, giving out drinks and food and always smiling. A great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to do some cycling before you go as it is harder when conditions are hot and humid, especially if you want to climb the HAI VAN PASS - a challenging 10km climb. Be prepared for crazy drivers both cars and scooters - there are thousands of scooters going in any direction and popping out from side roads, riding in the opposite direction so you have to be very careful on all roads, especially in busy cities. Not for the faint hearted. However, it is Asia and anything goes. If you want to spend time in Hanoi book an extra day, as we didn't really have time to explore the city.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overall the trip was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the cycling. However, the day we cycled in HUE, a very large populated city with thousands of scooters and cars going in all directions, I found extremely dangerous and very unpleasant and was glad when we were off the bike. One of our group had a very unfortunate accident and came off and fractured her arm. Our accommodation was excellent, although I wasn't too impressed with it on Whale Island due to the amount of ants in the room which was a bit off putting. Snorkelling off Whale Island was very disappointing, the water was a bit murky and we didn't see many fish - I've seen more in a fish tank, plus there was a lot of litter on the sea bed and at times floating on the water surface. Also the ladder on the boat was not the safest as the rungs were not flat for your feet and climbing into the boat proved to be a challenge!!!! However, the water was warm and it was good fun, and the crew provided us with a lovely lunch. It was also disappointing to see so much litter at road sides and in the water, even at Halong Bay, but perhaps that's inevitable with the large number of tourist boats. Cycling in Vietnam was very interesting and a good experience. I learned a lot about the Vietnam war, the Vietnamese culture. The CHI CHU tunnels was a very worthwhile trip. The Vietnamese are very friendly and welcoming. Eating out was extremely cheap, as were clothes and souvenirs.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Paul Martin

    Start to Finish Delight

    The trip exceeded my expectations due to the fine(Hot!)weather we enjoyed.The wonderful nature of the Vietnamese folk,the quality and attention to detail of our support team,plenty of refreshment/regrouping stops.The team leaders desire to ensure we learned a little of the history,good and bad,of his homeland and the direction it was heading in these more modern times. As well as the above,the hotels were great,although had I been arriving at these establishments solo,in cycling gear and somewhat road weary,I would have been a degree more self conscious.That said,there was never anything less than a warm smile and a welcoming cool fruit drink,and even flowers placed around our necks at one halt. The rest days were well placed and welcome,all in all adding up to one of the most memorable trips I have enjoyed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up and over the pass after leaving Danang,and enjoying the descent that followed the climb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam was a delightful fellow,very thoughtful and informative with ever a wide smile.The same could be said of his three assistants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the heat extremes if you are a northerly hemisphere resident,but the stops are frequent and refreshing.Commit to enjoying cycling in the city traffic,as daunting as it at first appears,I felt quite safe as all the other many road users are aware of one another and considerate.Lam, the trip leader exerted his presence as leader of a group cyclists,with good affect.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Cerian Mellor

    What are you waiting for, just book!

    Beautiful scenery, wonderful people, tremendous food and days packed with activities and smiles. Traditionally, as an independent solo traveller, I wasn't sure about a group trip. But, attracted by the idea of a cycling holiday and in need of a hassle free adventure in an amazing location, this seemed like the perfect solution. It absolutely did not disappoint. From the friendly and efficient booking process, through well organised travel and transfers, to an immediate and warm welcome upon arrival, the Exodus arrangements could not be faulted. The cycling built up over the first few days allowing acclimatisation to sun and saddle, so whether good cyclist or weekend warrior, this trip is very achievable for those with a general fitness. Son Nguyen and his team offered superb support throughout the trip, and facilitated access to local people and experiences that are mostly not afforded to two-week tourists tied to hotel chains, bus tours or backpacker haunts. Vietnam has so much history, culture and culinary delight to offer and being part of a great group of like-minded people, game to try as much as possible during their adventure, made this trip just perfect. Thanks Son and crew, for making us so welcome in your country!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many moments stand out that it would be unfair to say which was the most inspirational. Hanoi is a magical city I shall undoubtedly visit again for its vibrant life, but it might not have been appreciated so much without having passed through beautiful, tranquil countryside full of colour, laughing children, and stunning scenery. The camaraderie around achieving the 100km mark and the 10km Hai Van Pass was a highlight too!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son did a great job at bringing Vietnam to life for us. Patient, organised, thoughtful and a good leader even when the weather meant changes to the plan - to us it felt seamless, and there was a smile & laugh for every occasion. He also did a good job of pricking our environmental consciousness with good reminders about single use plastics - keep up the good work!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Elaine Smith

    Vietnam - vitality and variety

    If you want a non-stop, full-on journey with never a dull moment trip (and really don't want a lie-in in the morning) - then cycle from the bottom to the top of Vietnam! Well to be truthful you don't actually cycle the whole distance - but it sounds good! You actually cover 500 k on your good quality bicycle. The reality is to travel the whole country you have no choice but to spend a fair amount of time on the minibus, but it wasn't a problem - just a fact. Pleasantly surprised by the quality of hotels - hard to fault anything about them. The cycling goes from miles of completely flat through villages and countryside (where you whizz along at 14-16 mph regularly), to pleasantly undulating, with just two 'proper' climbs - one of which is 10k and seriously steep. One spectacular downhill journey for miles as a sort of pay-back!! Fabulous food (lots of stopping off at local families along the route for lunch). A great group of 18 folk of varying ages and levels of fitness made the holiday fun and fabulous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A couple of highlights for me - two nights on Whale Island (what a really fabulous place), a couple of nights in Hoi An which was great fun if you like cooking and getting clothes made, and the 14 hour train journey from Hue to Hanoi was just brilliant. Getting to grips with the traffic and cycling through some busy towns was hilarious - bonkers at times, but such good fun. Spotting the most unusual thing that could be transported on the back of a scooter was an entertaining hobby for sure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole of our team of four was fantastic. They were superbly led by Son - who was unflappable, kind, experienced, efficient and funny and worked really hard to help us understand what Vietnam is all about!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Various reviews say pack light - it's good advice (although sadly I ignored it)! There's lots of packing and unpacking along the way so the less you take the easier it is. For example - you really do only need one swim suit, not 3, one or two pairs of sandals, not 4!!! Also there are so many shopping opportunities you need space to bring those additional essential purchases home!!!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Anna Greenwood

    Vietnam Cycling

    What a trip!..18 of us threw ourselves into an adventure for 2 weeks!Thank you Son ,our trip leader ,.for supporting all 18 of us through all the "undulations".The especially selected "Happy Rooms"...- the continual patience of all the crewĺ. Carefully paced cycling made it doable for all of us. Such a shame about the rubbish on the side of the road. Great food..suppose..always ģç Highly recomend this trip.Book it now Anna Greenwood

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ride over The Hai Van Pass!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was brilliant!...fun..knowelagable. ..thoughtful with a wonderful understanding of our sense of humour! Very patient!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some training helps!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it before it's too late!
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Eliane Lamotte

    MOV180211

    My trip to Cycling Vietnam was very good. Son Nguyen was very good, we were 18 in the group, occasionally we needed more information about the next day so we could get ourself prepared better (ex. sleeping on train and boat). I wish we had more time in Hanoi, we were flying home the next day getting on transfer bus for 10.30am. Coming away from Halong Bay going to Hanoi, after several hours on bus we visited the Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. I think it would have been better if we were given the choice to see those two sights because we were near our hotel when we went to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum (only a few people were interested).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everything was magical especially with the celebration of New Year (Hoi An) Ha Long Bay kayak/sleeping on boat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son Nguyen was very good.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Allistair Stark

    A grand tour by bike through Vietnam.

    This is a full on tour, with so much to see, and some great cycling. Highlights were the unexpected two nights on Whale Island, and the 34km - thirty four - continuous downhill from Dalat, through jungle on winding roads. This tour is classified in difficulty the same as Indochina & Angkor, but this is wrong. It is without doubt more difficult cycling, with a lot more elevation, and if done in the dry season fairly continuous headwinds. (We did the two tours back to back). However bus support is excellent. The temperatures in the south are the same as the Indochina tour - early thirties - but we obviously cooler at Dalat due to altitude, and as we got further north, particularly after the Hai Van pass. There is overall less to see in terms of temples etc, but much more in terms of scenery, and the cycling in general is a bit more interesting. Hanoi and Saigon are really interesting cities for anyone with any interest in recent history, but Hoi An is a gem of a city, relatively unknown to most people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people. So friendly, almost without exception. (I dropped money in a wallet in Hanoi without realising, and was pursued by a young mother out with her children calling after me, to give it back. The thing is that whilst incredibly grateful, I didn't feel at all surprised at this)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Nguyen Tan Danh or Danh, also known to all as the 'Happy Buddha' He was simply wonderful. He is so organised, and always willing to go the extra mile to make things better, always volunteering extras. For example, having watched a large group from another country arrive in our Hanoi Hotel whilst we were there, tired and confused from their flights and all wanting the attention of a rather harassed looking leader - we compared it to how Danh almost without exception had organised all our rooms prior to arrival at hotels so we just walked in and picked up keys. He'd also got all our passport details and did all this in advance or on the road too! Five star service plus! He was also a font of knowledge on the history and geography of Vietnam and always a pleasure to talk to. As for food and coffee, he always found interesting out of the way places to visit, we will never forget the tiny cafe up a back stairwell and the 'special 'Hanoi' coffee - with eggs' which sounds dubious, but is actually completely delicious (think coffee flavoured meringue). We were very lucky to have Danh as our group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are not a regular cyclists, do get saddle fit. We are not cyclists, but did three months on and off prior to going. Do take your own pedals/saddle if you want, they are no problem to fit for the bike team, and you'll most likely find them more comfortable than the ones on the bikes. You will want to carry a camera; the bikes are mountain bikes with disc brakes - the handlebars are quite thick and many front panniers (like ours) didn't fit. Some folk had bought relatively cheap ones from Decathlon with long velcro straps which fitted fine. I ended up using a small rucksack, this causes a pretty sweaty back. Don't worry about malaria, but you will need DEET as mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases such as Dengue are. Consider buying a knock down fly spray for use where there are mosquitoes in the rooms, such as Whale Island and to spray under your mosquito net. We would also take plug in mosquito coils and tablets for the same reason. Consider staying extra nights at the start/finish if you want to see Saigon and Hanoi, otherwise there is very little time, and there is plenty to see for a couple of days in each.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    More for Exodus, just two points; It would be worth differentiating between the Cycle Indochina and Cycle Vietnam in terms of difficulty. Whilst it is generally hotter in the latter, Vietnam is much more hilly and the cycling is harder overall. If Indochina is easy/mod then Vietnam is moderate. Also there was one leg which by common consent was pretty unenjoyable, we did 22km along a dead straight main road north of Whale Island. Whilst there are clearly issues about loading/unloading bikes, this might have been a better option than the cycle.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    John Dingley

    Great trip, great guides, read the trip notes carefully

    I loved the trip - some magical moments and great rides - great company, wonderful food, superb team....Everybody else's reviews i totally aree with, it was wonderful. But not enough reviews on here tell the full story, so here as some things to be aware of Too long spent in the bus transferring from place to place - that was a real downer. The transfer to some hotels took hours, and when we arrived their didnt seem any reason why that location was chosen, especially in the early part of the trip in the south. The days are really full-on, dont expect any time for site seeing and lazing around. Very early starts every day. A couple of days had rides that were almost boring - long main roads just nocking out the KM's. I think exodus could plan these a little better. I'd have preferred more backroads, even if that meant lower quality hotels at the end of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The downhill descent from Dalat was great fun and lifted the whole group. The cocktail party on the overnight train helped pass the time. But the kids running out to try and get a hi5 or a simple hello really made it.... and oh yes, helping a lady upright her overladen moped that had gone off the side of the road was a moment i'll never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Happy Buddha was probably the hardest working guide we have had. His attention to detail was faultless - checking into hotels - and out - was a breeze because he booked rooms ahead and arranged all of the passport copies - and that can gain you 30 mins a day so priceless on such a hectic trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    the coach to Ha Long bay and back was 4 hours each way, which is a bit of a drag. We learned afterwards that there was a seaplane that cost $175, took 45 mins. We really wished that we'd pre-booked that for a flight back to Hanoi - it would have been unforgettable ! Also, you wont need half as many clothes as you think. Dont overpack, lots of opportunities for very cheap laundry. However, take a washing line so that you can dry stuff that youve hand washed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We did back to back trips - Indochina and then Vietnam. It was quite easily do-able for the cycling part, but living out of a suitcase for 4 weeks was a bit tiresome. Personally, if you are trying to decide which to do, i think the indochine trip was far better - Cambodia stole our hearts and Ankor Wat was simply breathtaking. You get to sample 3 very different countries on that trip.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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