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22 days Cycling from Chiang Mai to Hanoi
A great tour through ever changing landscapes and lots of cultural as well as historical highlights in all countries. The Thai section of this tour leads over friendly roads along 3 former capital cities of the former Lanna Kingdom. A relaxing 2 days cruise over the Mekong leads to another highlight of the tour, the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang. From here, we enter the remote north-eastern part of Laos with stunning nature. In Vietnam, the multi-cultural diversity is another highlight of this tour. The ride through the first National Park of Vietnam Cuc Phuong will give you lasting impressions. The tour finish in the vibrant capital of Vietnam: Hanoi
|Destination||Thailand , Laos , Vietnam|
Day 1: arrival Chiang Mai
After arrival, you meet the local agent for a briefing about the Thai part of the tour.
Discover the old city with plenty of beautiful temples and visit lively local markets in the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom.
Day: 2: guided round trip around Chiang Mai 30 km
A guided tour along non-touristy places around Chiang Mai
This is the perfect introduction in the daily life of Thai people.
Day 3: Chiang Mai – Mae Taeng 67 km
Following the Ping River in Northern direction, you are passing many florists, rice fields, villages and temples. You are cycling on small lanes and quite roads to the busy market of Mae Taeng. After Mae Taeng, you will continue on dirt roads to your beautiful situated resort along the Ping River.
Day 4: Mae Taeng – Chiang Dao 40/68 km
Just 5 kilometers from the resort, you can visit the first founded Elephant Conservation Camp from Thailand.
A narrow, but never steep pass leads you into the beautiful valley of Chiang Dao. Cycling along the side of the valley, enjoy the stunning views on the 3rd highest mountain of Thailand, the 2240 meters high Doi Luang. Visit the famous caves of Chiang Dao, before heading to your comfortable resort.
Day 5: transfer to Tub Tao Caves and cycling to Thaton 67 km
Starting the day with a short transfer to the unknown but not less interesting Tub Tao Caves, you will discover the interesting valley of Fang, which is well known for their extensive fruit- and vegetable plantations. Another day cycling on quit roads, brings you to the scenic village of Thaton, which is located on the banks of the Kok River. Above Thaton, you can visit a temple with rare architecture and stunning views over the surrounding area.
Day 6: boat ride from Thaton to Ruam Mit and cycling to Chiang Rai 23 km
You will start the day with a 3 hours boat ride by long tail boat on the Kok River along many hill tribe villages.
Before cycling to Chiang Rai, you can visit the Elephant Camp of Ruam Mit. Chiang Rai is another former capital city of the Lanna Kingdom
Beside interesting temples, you can visit the Hill Tribe Museum and the lively night market.
Day 7: Chiang Rai – Chiang Saen 70 km
Leaving Chiang Rai along the bank of the Kok River, you are cycling in north east direction to one of the oldest cities of Thailand, Chiang Saen.
On the way, you can visit a rubber plantation, which is rare in this part of Thailand. Chiang Saen is located on the banks of the Mekong River and is one of the oldest cities of Thailand and also a former capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Interesting place to visit are the National Museum and the viewpoint of the Triangle which is 8 kilometers from Chiang Saen. Here you can also visit the Opium Museum.
Day 8: Chiang Saen – Chiang Khong 68 km
Following the Mekong in Eastern direction, you cycle to the border town of Chiang Khong with great views on the mountain ranges on the Laos side of the Mekong River. On the way, you pass some interesting temples and hill tribe villages with local markets.
Day 9: Cruise over Mekong to Pak Beng
Comfortable boat ride on the Mother of all Asian Rivers: The Mekong.
Enjoy the stunning landscape, free food and beverages on board.
Day 10: Cruise over Mekong to Luang Prabang
Another day to relax your legs and enjoy the landscape that is getting more and more spectatculair. Before entering Luang Prabang, you visit the historical Pak Ou Caves which is packed with thousands of Buddha statues
Day 11: around the valley of Luang Prabang 30 km
Today, a relaxed ride around the valley of Luang Prabang along some interesting non-touristy places.
Day 12: to Kuang Si Waterfalls 60 km
An easy ride to the scenic Kuang Si Waterfalls along ethnic villages such as Hmong a Khmu. Enjoy a swim in the clear water basins of the Kuang Si Waterfalls.
Day 13: Luang Prabang – Nong Khiaw 80 km.
After a one hour transfer, start cycling along the Nam Ou River. The first stage is hilly, but after lunch in Pakmong the road is getting more smooth and more spectaculair.
Day 14: Nong Khiaw – Muang Khua.
Today, enjoy a spectacular boat ride through remote areas over the Nam Ou River. On the way, we will stop in the scenic village Muang Ngoi. Relax and enjoy the views over the lime stone mountains.
Day 15: Muang Khua – Dien Bien Phu 60 km and transfer
Today, you challenge a mostly up hill off road ride through hill tribe villages and jungle to the border of Vietnam. You pass the village Muang Mai, the former capital of Phongsaly Province and well known about the high quality weaving and his wooden bridges. After passing the border with Vietnam, a short transfer will bring us in the valley of Dien Bien Phu. The city is well known through out the world as a battle field in the first Indochina War and the French found here their Waterloo. The city is located in Muong Thanh Valley famous for its tasty rice and Thai minority traditional dance.
Day 16: Dien Bien Phu – Tuan Giao 80 km
Cycling from Dien Bien Phu to Tuan Giao.
After breakfast, we have an easy ride 80 km through many Thai villages to Tuan Giao (one climb mt. pass 15 km outside Dien Bien Phu). O/N in People Committee GH in Tuan Giao (alt. +590m).
Day 17: Tuan Giao – Son La 90 km
Cycling from Tuan Giao to Son La.
Challengeing 20 km winding climb up to the Pha Din pass (heaven and earth pass) to summit of 1450 m and 15 km down hill. Nice landscape of green rice fields and karst valley. Light traffic, wandering water buffaloes, Thai and Hmong kids.
Day 18: Son La – Moc Chau 80 km
After a short transfer, a less hilly day in store, but no less spectacular as we head off gradually downhill, our roads overshadowed by karst cliffs.
After lunch, continuing through lush, terraced rice paddies against the jagged cliff backdrop.
Day 19: Moc Chau – Mai Chau 67 km
After a hearty breakfast we set off on a testing yet spectacular day, the majority of which is uphill! Cycling on a narrow, quiet back road we head in to a region predominantly populated by Black Thai minority cultures.
As we near Mai Chau, situated at 1000 m, we pass through plum orchards and corn and tea plantations.
Day 20: Mai Chau – Cuc Phuong 80 km
After a early morning transfer, start cycling on country lanes and backroads to Cuc Phuong National Park. The scenery is timeless, and photo opportunities bountiful as you pedal through a working landscape of people and crops. Cuc Phuong is one of Vietnam’s most important nature reserves and contains the country’s largest area of primary forest. Visit the Primate Rescue Centre and learn about the plight of endangered species such as the Cat Ba Langur.
Day 21: Cuc Phuong – Hanoi 20 km
Cycling from Phuong NP to Ninh Binh and transfer to Hanoi.
Morning visit the Primate Rescue center where you could have much joy with funny languor species and admire the eco-loved scientists working here. We then ride 20 km through Cuc Phuong forest to the park center, tea break then transfer out of Cuc Phuong to Hanoi in the afternoon.
Set dinner in a nice restaurant near the hotel.
Day 22: Departure
End of programme
– English speaking guide
– Back up Car with drinks and support
– Luggage Transport or non riding guest transfer
– 21 nights in hotel, resort and guesthouse
– Meals as described in itinerary
– boat rides as mentioned in the itinerary
– Bike rent: Trek Mountain bike, 24 speed
Remark: Depending on weather and road conditions, this itinerary is subject to changes
Bikes: we use the new 4300/4500 trek and Cannondale Trail 5, Tango 5 Mountain bikes for all most cycling trip with different size from
13.5’’ – 23, 5’’.We generally use 2012 /2013 models of TREK mountain bikes because they are high quality, durable pieces of equipment. Besides,
We like the versatility and durability of the mountain bike as it has been designed to cope with different types of terrain and riding. Our trips can be on asphalt and can often be broken or potholed, and there are usually unsurfaced sections included, so mountain bikes are the most suitable. They also have the range of gears to cope with the hills.
Each bike comes with a single water bottle cage, if you prefer more you are welcome to bring your own. Bikes also have gel seat cover slips if you prefer a softer ride. If you have your own saddle that you are comfortable with seat, you are welcome to bring it and we’ll fit it. On long tours women specific seats are recommended and we have some available, but we cannot guarantee we will available for every tour. These bikes also are available for rent in case you want to go it alone or just need a bike for a day.
Bikes repairs: basic spares and tools kid are generally carried by guide and on the support vehicle, although we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kids, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carring a basic tool kids, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
Safety: wearing a helmet is compulsory on all our biking adventures. Your tour guide are trained in first aid and emergency rescure, tour guide often carry first aid box with their bikes while riding
Support: we often used mini bus and bus with air condition for transfer and back up as itineraries
We use van Support bikes and cyclist
( 1 – 4 pax) we use Van to support and carry out bikes)
( 5 – 8 pax) we use one Van and one truck to supports
Accommodation: When cycling we stay in friendly hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail.In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels or resort. Please do not expect the same standard as you would your home.
Our guides: the tour will be led by one of English – speaking guides. All our guides have great knowledge of history, local culture, and religions of the area where you are cycling and introduce that experiences for you. Our guides have been trained in this field and is fully licensed in tour guiding by Vietnam National Tourism. Our guides are also medically skilled in first Aid by SOS and they know how to deal with hard situations.\
Grading definition: To assist you visualize how our trip is difficult, we have graded our adventure tours into three categories, easy, moderate, and challenging, we group many factors into consideration into this grading, including distant covered, terrain, altitude, weather conditions and vehicle support
Easy: suitable for most people in good health. These trips generally include short days, on good paths and at low attitudes
Moderate: A reasonable level of fitness is required, as these trips can require sustained endurance levels, hill longer days and altitude. All of our moderate trips have a support vehicle following closely, and weary travellers can hitch a ride and take a rest for a while.
Challenging: these trips are physically demanding and best suited for fit people with high endurance level. Day can be longer, often at altitude, in remoted regions and sometimes without supports vehicle nearby.. travellers may be required to carry a backpacks.
Terrain: Distances on full cycling days average around 50 – 80km. Our route is mainly on tarmac roads of varying quality with are some more like hard – packed dirt, Terrain is generally flat or undulating with a few notable climbs.
Distance for second days and half of third day is around 60- 80 km. Our routes are mainly on single track, dirt road and trail, we cycle around villages and villages, through rice paddy terraces.
Food: All the meals which, are mentioned in itinerary, are included in the price of this tour. Most of meals are Vietnamese local food in Homestays. While in towns, we will enjoy Vietnamese cuisine in delicious restaurants
Meals consist of a variety of balanced dishes and aim for universal appeal, we avoid highly spiced foods.
Vegetarians are certainly welcome and are always accommodated, please let us know of any dietary concerns at time of booking.
Beverage and alcoholic drink are not included at mealtime or in restaurants
Snack/ Water: when we transfer, ride by minibus ( no cycling day), our bottled waters are always available for you ( two little for one day for person with wet tissue)
When we have cycling days, we will offer cold water and wet tissue in box plus fresh tropical fruits, soft – drink, energy – drinking, ( five little water for cycling day/ person).
Beer is freely available everywhere in Vietnam, but not include in our trip.
The Homestays: Homestay in the villages is simple interm of bedding condition and amenities. We will sleep on beds or floor with mattress, clean sheet, pillow and mosquito nets. Toilet is usually western style.
Weather: Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate. Broadly speaking, the weather in Vietnam is dictated by two seasons – the southwest monsoon from April to September and the Northeast monsoon from October to late march or early April.
Due to regional climate differences, there are no right or wrong seasons to visit Vietnam. The North Vietnam is cool, damp in winters between November and December and February with temperature in Hanoi falling to around 15oC. The summer months from April to October are hot and dry.the best time visit Vietnam is spring (February – April) or Autumn ( late September – December) when it is not so humid. The weather turns quite cold and wet in January and this continues to march. The humidity can prove oppressive from May to the early September.
Money: the official national currency is the Vietnamese Dong ( VND), but the US dollar is widely accepted in almost tourist centers. However, small towns and the villages the VND is preferred, ATM are available in all major cities and towns, tourist destinations, Vietcombank, Agriculture banks are the best networks with a limit a single withdraw limit of 2000,000 d ( 95 USD). Most major currencies can be exchanged in leading in Vietnam, but th USD is preferred away from the tourist centers. Changing 100 USD wil make you to be a millionaire. You cannot legally take the dong out of Vietnam but you can reconvert reasonable amounts of it into USD on departure,.
Clothing: comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as it is in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evening against biting insects. A light weight raincoat or rain cape is a good ideal in the raining season. For on the bike you will need to bring a couple of pairs of cycling shorts and short leeve jerseys, a pairs of cycling glove and if you use them, your clip in cycling shoes/ sandals.. when travel in the North Vietnam during winter months ( late November – March) warm clothe is needed. Visitors to Buddhist countries should not to wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious centers and shoes should be removed before entering private homes.
Passport and visa: All visitors are required to have a valid visa to enter Vietnam. A one month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors, though it is possible to arrange three months or six month – multiple entry visa for regular visitors. The Travelo Vietnam company is authorized to issue visa on arrival at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Danang International Airport in Danang, and Tan San Nhat in Ho chi Minh city.The same authorization procedure and a minimum mof 5 days working notice is required. In emergency case they can arrange a visa o arrival if notice of 2 working days is given
Tipping: Tipping for good services is always appreciated in these developing countries. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of the tour. Hotels and station porters should also be tipped a small amount for . We recommend 5 US Dollar / person/per day for cycling tour guides.. 2 USD/ person/ day for driver and 1 USD/ person/ day for doorbell when checking in and out.
Responsible tourism: we strongly believe that Responsible Tourism can support to local communities: proving incomes, positive cultural exchanges and an incentive to protect natural environment. We recognize that there is always space for improvement. We continually strive to narrow the gap between principle and practice.
Environment: we have been turning environmentally responsible tourism into practices to minimize tourist impact upon the local habitat. From biodegradable soaps to re – usable water containers, we provide clients with the best information and mean to help them identify and implement effective ways to positive protect local nature and communities. It is a vital criteria that can be passed on and abided by all, long after the trip ended.
Community: Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.
Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, moto taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future