Bicycle From Saigon To Angkor Wat Tour 10Days
Highlights: The Saigon to Angkor Wat Bike Ride takes you through 500 kilometres of history, culture, and fantastic scenery. Ride past plantations, across waterways, and through villages in the lush Mekong Delta and cross to the countryside and ancient temples of Cambodia. Set out from bustling Ho Chi Minh City and travel south to where the Mekong River branches over the flat planes in to thousands of small waterways. The terrain is flat, the roads are relatively quiet, and the scenery is spectacular! For the first half of the journey, pedal from My Tho down to Chau Doc, which sits near the Cambodia border. There are endless miles of quiet backwaters and tiny roads, ancient temples and countless colourful pagodas, havens of calm and tranquillity, bustling markets and busy, bargaining vendors. The countryside is vibrant – beneath the calmness there harbours a hive of activity and work that seems unique to Vietnamese people. Travel by boat along the Mekong in to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, a charming city with a tragic past. Venture out of the current capital along country roads to the ancient capital of Oudong, passing ox carts and villages on the way. Continue to the floating villages of Kampong Chhnang, a small town that is typical of rural Cambodia, before reaching Battambang in the far west of the country. The last leg of your journey takes you across the massive Tonle Sap Lake in to Siem Reap, home to the temples of Angkor. There is no better way to explore the hundreds of temples than by bike. Spend the afternoon pedalling amongst the ruins stopping as you wish to explore the intricate details of the imposing buildings. As you reflect back on your trip, we think you’ll agree: Exploring this region on two wheels is the best way to delve deep in to the culture and lifestyle of the South Vietnamese and Cambodian people.
Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City
On arrival we transfer to our hotel and have a trip briefing before getting a good night’s sleep, ready for the start of our challenge! Night hotel.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City – Tra Vinh
Drive approx. 1.5 & 2.5 hours; cycle approx. 48km
After an early breakfast we drive (approx. 1.5 hours) out of the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. A sanctuary for the Vietcong at the height of the Vietnam War, they give us a good insight into the country’s relatively recent history. We then drive south towards the Mekong Delta (approx. 2.5 hours). We stop near Ben Tre, the gateway to the Mekong Delta, and after lunch and ensuring our bikes are comfortable, we set off! It’s a wonderful place to start our ride. We cycle on narrow lanes and tracks through the heart of this rural area, passing banana plantations, sugar cane fields and the lush rural landscape of the Delta. We have a short ferry crossing before reaching Tra Vinh. Night hotel.
Day 3: Tra Vinh – Cau Ke – Can Tho
Cycle approx. 90km
Our first full day’s cycle takes us along quiet backroads to Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta, known for its picturesque canals full of scenes of everyday life. En route we pass numerous Khmer temples and pagodas, and cross several waterways – some by footbridges, some on ferry crossings. We will start to get a great feel for the friendly Vietnamese culture, and the traditional rural scenes we see are fascinating. We ride today on a mix of roads and tracks; most of it is very quiet, but the last section gets busier as we approach Can Tho. Night hotel.
Day 4: Can Tho – Long Xuyen
Cycle approx. 75km
After an early breakfast we set off by boat through the Can Tho floating market, seeing a multitude of boats trading livestock, fruits, rice and fish. We then get back on our bikes and cycle along the banks of the busy river continuing towards Sa Dec. After lunch we cycle upstream alongside the river towards Long Xuyen. This is a beautiful day, with some wonderful photo opportunities. We end our ride at a bird sanctuary, home to thousands of storks – we can have a quick visit to see them before loading up into the vehicles for a short transfer (approx. 45 mins) into Long Xuyen. Night hotel.
Day 5: Long Xuyen – Tri Tron – Chau Doc
Cycle approx. 95km
This is our last day of cycling in Vietnam! We have a short transfer (30 mins) out of town to avoid the traffic, and then set off. Our route starts to undulate a little as we near the hills near Chau Doc; although these climbs are fairly gentle, our leg muscles have become used to flat terrain so they often feel harder than they really are! The heat, moreover, makes them feel tougher. We cycle via the Killing Fields at Ba Chuc, where Pol Pot’s regime massacred over 3000 Vietnamese people in 1978; harrowing history. We continue our ride to the busy town of Chau Doc. Night hotel (near border).
Day 6: Chau Doc – Takeo – Phnom Penh
Cycle approx. 70km
Today we set off early, heading north towards Phnom Penh. After around 20km we reach the border with Cambodia and meet our new guides who will be waiting for us. We then head off through the lovely rural landscapes of Cambodia. At the small town of Takeo we load up into the buses, which take us the remaining distance to Phnom Penh, stopping en route to visit the infamous Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleung Museum, a former school which was turned into the notorious Khmer Rouge interrogation camp during the Pol Pot regime. Although it tells a tragic story, it is a fascinating place to visit and essential to understanding present-day Cambodia. We then arrive at our hotel in Phnom Penh; once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient and which, despite its turbulent recent history, retains a colonial charm. Night hotel.
Day 7: Phnom Penh – Kampong Chhnang
Cycle approx. 90km
We leave Phnom Penh by bus (approx. 45 mins) to avoid the city traffic before we start our ride. As we head to Udong we see the rice paddies stretching out for miles, busy with workers in the fields. The roads in the region tend to be a rich red which is very striking against the dazzling green paddy-fields – be prepared to take lots of photos! We ride through Udong, once the ancient capital, and pass by a hill temple with stunning views of the fertile region and many of the old Royal Palaces. Continuing on, we cycle towards Kampong Chhang and the enormous Tonlé Sap Lake. Night hotel.
Day 8: Kampong Chhnang – Siem Reap – Beng Mealea
Boat ride approx. 3.5 hours; cycle approx. 35km
A beautiful boat ride awaits us this morning, as we cross the immense Tonlé Sap. The largest freshwater lake in South-East Asia, it features an incredible biodiversity and has UNESCO biosphere status. We enjoy a rest from our bikes as we soak up the views of fishing communities and calm waters. Reaching Siem Reap, we pass the floating village of Chhong Kneas, an unforgettable insight into life on the lake. On arrival, we load up and drive for approx. 45 minutes, then cycle the rest of the way to the incredible temple of Beng Mealea. Frequently dubbed the ‘Indiana Jones temple,’ it dates from the early 12th Century and lies unrestored, swathed in jungle canopy. Incredible tree roots break through walls and stone carvings, and exploring it is truly atmospheric. Our ride to it is no less exciting, as small roads and bumpy rural tracks take us through thick forest and small settlements. Many people refer to this as the best ride of the whole trip; it’s a real highlight. After plenty of time to explore Beng Mealea, we return by bus (approx. 1 hour) to Siem Reap. Night hotel.
Day 9: Angkor Wat Cycle
Cycle approx. 30km
Today we ride to the famous World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. The area is dotted with many ancient buildings and temples amidst dense forest; the sheer scale of the complex will astound you. We ride a circuit around some of the temples, including Ta Prohm, the best-known of the temples overgrown by trees and reminiscent of scenes from Tomb Raider. Our ride also takes in the Bayon in Angkor Thom, the old city central to the area. It is a fascinating ruin, featuring many mysterious giant carved faces and some incredible wall carvings, and is one of the most remarkable sights in the area. Our ride ends at Angkor Wat itself, one of the most impressive and best-preserved temples of the complex. If there’s time, it is worth climbing the remarkably steep and narrow steps of the central spire for the view over the whole temple surrounded by jungle. It’s a wonderful place to finish our challenge after more than 500 hot kilometres across two countries! After the obligatory group photos we transfer back to our hotel (approx. 30 mins) and should have some free time this afternoon to spend as you wish – relax at the hotel, or explore Siem Reap’s markets for last-minute shopping opportunities, or visit more of the temples. We meet again in the evening to celebrate our achievements. Night hotel. (Dinner not included)
Day 10: Free time; flight departs
We will have some time free for further exploration of the incredible temples and ruins that make up the Angkor complex; or simply relax or haggle in the markets if you prefer. How much time we have free depends on our flight schedules. We meet again at the hotel, say a fond farewell to Cambodia and transfer to the airport for our flight. (Lunch not included).
Distances vary from 30 – 95km per day. Our route is mainly on tarmac roads of varying quality with some that are more like dirt tracks; terrain is generally flat with a few gentle hills. There are several waterways we cross by small boat. Traffic is usually light and we will cycle at our own pace, but when we pass through a large town we go through as a group, or load up for a short transfer. We will always take safety into consideration and reserve the right to change the itinerary on that basis. We will be using 24-speed mountain bikes fitted with semi slick tyres.
We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
We can tailor make a tour that will best match your budget – the guide below serves as a reference point for you to decide how much to spend on this trip.
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