Cycling from Siem Reap to Saigon Tour 16Days
Itinerary: SIEM REAP, ANGKOR WOT SURROUNDS, TONLE SAP LAKE, BENG MELEA, KAMPONG THOM to KAMPONG CHAM, OUDONG MOUNTAIN, PHNOM PENH, KEP, PHU QUOC ISLAND EXPLORATION, CHAU DOC to LONG XUYEN, CAN THO to SAIGON
Few trips contain as much variety as this one. Ancient temples, friendly villages, two rapidly modernising cities emerging from a difficult past, the last frontier of Indochina’s beaches, Phu Quoc, and the food bowl of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, are all waiting to be explored. Cycling from Siem Reap to Saigon. This is a relatively easy tour with hardly even a hill in sight, but enough variety in scenery and surface to keep the ride interesting. A ride punctuated by some great rest time on the lovely island of Phu Quoc where you can lounge by the beach, go snorkeling or explore the islands wild interior. If you want to get far away from the daily grind and immerse yourself in Indochina, this is the ride for you.
What to expect:
The essential discovery trip of Cambodia bike tours and the Mekong Delta cycling tours. This dynamic region which was once entirely ruled by the Angkor Kings and which now comprises Vietnam’s most fertile food producing land and the majority of the modern Cambodia. A trip full of contrasts and contradictions.
For the budding historian, a relative goldmine of material. For the cyclist, variety of riding from single lane bike trails to remote back roads through the Cambodian countryside, something to satisfy all riders appetites. For the gourmet traveler, some real treats of cuisine on both sides of the border with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, fish and seafood, but with all tastes catered for.
For those who wish to connect with village life in Asia, there could not be abetter trip, it really has something for everyone.
Cycle and experience both Vietnam and Cambodia
Gourmet treats of cuisine on both sides of the border
Triple towers of Angkor Wat at Dawn
Iconic Angkor temples and hidden treasures of the Angkor area
Tonle Sap Lake – the largest in South East Asia
Beng Melea Temple – peaceful and less visited
Rest Day in Phnom Penh
3 nights and Rest Day in Phu Quoc – the last frontier of Indochina’s beaches
The maze of waterways that is the Mekong Delta, crossing numerous canals by bridge and boat
Tour of Saigon city
This is as much a food adventure as it is a bike one. Whilst Cambodian cuisine may not be as famous as Vietnamese, it offers some subtle, understated flavors. There is a strong emphasis on fish and fresh vegetables in the traditional diet, but contemporary Cambodian cuisine offers a wide range of options and surely has something for everyone. Vietnamese food is now known around the world, but what may not be so well known is that there is a great deal of variety within the national menu. In the southern area where we will be, a lot of seafood is available and also freshwater fish. In reality though, the Delta produces such a mind boggling amount of food that the range of choice may endanger any hopes you had of losing weight on this bike tour. Our local guides are experts at introducing you to the finest food on both sides of the border.
Organic energy bars and electrolyte drinks as well as delicious local snacks and mountains of fresh fruit are provided to keep your energy up for the riding.
Merida hard-tail (front suspension only) mountain bikes in a full range of sizes with hybrid tires fitted for touring and special gearing ratios to suit the flat terrain. Lockable suspension forks for the smoother surfaces. A comfortable saddle with a women’s specific version available. A handlebar bag to keep your goodies in and no requirement to change bikes at the border.
13 nights are in supremely comfortable and well run hotels with a touch of class and character, tastefully designed in place with their surroundings. 2 nights are in more simple properties, but still perfectly comfortable and clean with private bathrooms, air-conditioning and comfortable beds.
TWO TO TEN
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 2 travelers. And we limit the group size to only 10 travelers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
Two charming, experienced English speaking tour leaders will host you on this experience. These two leaders overlap for three days before your entry to Vietnam, thereby allowing the second leader to learn your ways before the first departs. Local tour leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour with their passion for their country and ability to talk on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. The leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country and will help you to connect with the villagers you meet along the way.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available for tired riders and to carry your luggage.
Travel by any means results in some impact to the countries, communities and environments we travel. On this tour, we aim to make a positive impact through our Book Donation Program and we seek to minimise our environmental impact through running our Cambodian support vehicles on 100% Bio-Diesel from Naga Biofuels. This is not a crop based product, the fuel made entirely from recycled cooking oil.
Duration : 16 days, 15 nights.
11 actual ride days.
2 rest days.
Distance : 695km
Ave. Daily : 64km
Bike Type : Mountain bike (included)
Terrain : Mostly flat. Single lane bike trails to remote backroads
Accomm : Supremely comfortable well-run hotels
Meals : 15 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners
Note: Meal and accommodation inclusions noted as B, L, D, A (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accommodation)
• All sightseeing tour and transfer services as detailed in the above itinerary
• All accommodation as detailed
• Air conditioned support vehicle
• English speaking local cycle guide / mechanic
• All entrance fees for attractions included in the above itinerary
• Boat trip as mentioned in the program
• Daily drinking water, cool face towels & snacks whilst cycling
• All meals as detailed in the above itinerary (B = Breakfast – L = Lunch – D = Dinner)
• Services not detailed in the above itinerary
• International flights to Vietnam and from Cambodia
• Vietnam and Cambodian visa fees
• Bicycle rental
• Drinks with included meals
• Expenditure of a personal nature
• Discretionary tips
• Travel insurance
• Any payment / money transfer charges
Day 01: Siem Reap arrive (D)
As you arrive at Siem Reap airport our TLV Bike Tours driver will be waiting for you with a beaming smile. After a short drive to the hotel, you will have some time to relax before the group meeting at 5pm. Your tour leader will conduct a briefing at this time, after which you can try out your bike for size and add any items you may have brought. After this an authentic culinary journey awaits to introduce you to Cambodia.
Day 02: Siem Reap, Angkor Wat Surrounds to Siem Reap, 30km [B, L, D]
Cycle the Angkor Sunrise Discovery.
As first light dawns and the roosters begin to crow you will be at the most important religious monument in the country, looking at the triple towers of Angkor Wat across a reflecting pool. After the sun hopefully rises as a giant orange ball behind the towers, the crowds will thin out as most people return to bed or a hotel breakfast.
For us however, we will make use of the cool temperatures and soft morning light to explore Angkor Wat. Monkeys and a handful of other travellers are the only others you will see. A delicious breakfast spread awaits us just a short pedal away, after which we continue to explore the iconic Angkor temples and some hidden treasures of the Angkor area.
We ride some lovely back trails and even ride atop the wall of Angkor Thom, overlooking the moat. Lunch is had by a small lake before we cycle back to town.
Day 03: Siem Reap, Tonle Sap Lake to Siem Reap, 45km [B, L, D]
Cycle Tonle Sap Lake.
The Tonle Sap Lake is the largest in South East Asia and is not even closely rivaled in this position by anything else. A huge expanse of water in the middle of Cambodia, connected to the Mekong River by the Tonle Sap, resulting in a natural phenomenon that must be seen to be believed.
We take a ride on tracks and trails today to reach the lake. Along the way we ride next to the Baray, a huge reservoir used by the Khmer kings for irrigation of the surrounding area. Upon arriving at the edge of the Tonle Sap, we take a boat to explore the floating communities that call this area home.
These are a less visited collection of villages due to their relative remoteness. We extend our boat ride (time permitting) to see the birdlife of this area before returning to our bikes and to town by a different route.
Day 04: Siem Reap to Beng Melea (TRANSFER KAMPONG THOM), 70km [B, L, D]
Cycle to Beng Melea, Transfer to Kampong Thom.
The ride starts in earnest today as we leave Siem Reap and ride to the north east. We pass through some lovely countryside today and as we go, the villages become more and more remote and simpler. We spend most of the ride on packed dirt roads and trails, but the last section is on black top as we approach the temple of Beng Melea.
This is a peaceful and less visited temple, only opened to the public relatively recently, covered in moss and shady trees. It is a treat to explore this ruined temple with your guide who can explain the significance of the design and tell you a little of the history. After lunch we take a drive to reach the provincial capital of Kampong Thom.
Day 05: KAMPONG THOM to KAMPONG CHAM, 80km [B, L, D]
Transfer & Cycle to Kampong Cham.
Given our location this morning on a busy highway, we will take a drive to get us to the ideal starting point for our ride. Then it’s onto the bikes for a ride through plantation country. Here cassava, corn and rubber make up the agricultural produce. The early part of our ride is on paved, secondary road, the latter part is back on the dirt roads through the villages with minimal traffic. We roll into Kampong Cham in the late afternoon. Tonight’s hotel is located on the banks of the Mekong River, a body of water which is hard to take one’s eyes off as it slides by on its journey from the Tibetan Plateau to the Mekong Delta and the South China Sea.
Day6: OUDONG MOUNTAIN (TRANSFER) to PHNOM PENH, 55km [B, L, D]
Transfer & Cycle to Phnom Penh.
Again a drive is necessary to set us up for a great ride. We have a lazy morning due to timings and after a drive of about two hours, we find ourselves at Oudong Mountain. Surprisingly, this was once the capital of Cambodia, although that time was not a long one. Today it is a hilltop temple with views over the surrounding flatlands. We enjoy a Cambodian style picnic here and then take an afternoon ride on lovely village roads and trails, mostly unpaved. We zig zag our way through farmland where rice is the main product and we pass Oudong’s smaller brother, Basset Mountain. As the ride bears on, we cross the train tracks of the recently refurbished, but as yet un-operational railway line. From here the scenery changes rapidly and for those comfortable riding in traffic you can ride right up to the hotel door. For those that are not game, the support vehicle awaits. Dinner tonight marks the end of the first third of our epic journey and will be had by the Tonle Sap River, not far from where the three main rivers of Cambodia converge, which was the main reason for Phnom Penh’s placement.
Day7: PHNOM PENH (Rest Day) [B]
Rest Day in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh has had a turbulent history. When the French colonialists arrived, it was little more than a collection of wooden shacks by the river, but they soon changed that and in doing so created what was once considered a very beautiful city. When the Khmer Rouge evacuated the city in 1975, they started it on its way to decay and decline, a theme that had carried through until only fairly recently when the country’s economic development accelerated rapidly. Your guide can dispense a great deal of advice on how the city can be explored and will offer a late afternoon walk to introduce you to some of the lesser known aspects of this eccentric city.
Day8: PHNOM PENH (TRANSFER) to KEP, 80km [B, L, D]
Transfer and Cycle to Kep.
After a drive to exit the traffic of Phnom Penh, we hit the bikes and find ourselves in picturesque countryside where limestone cliffs loom in the distance and coconut and palm trees line the roads. Our cycling route today is on well made dirt roads with hardly a car in sight. In the late afternoon as we near Kep, we pass through pepper plantations, a product for which this area is well known. We arrive into the seaside town as the sun gets low on the horizon and after some time to relax we walk to the famous crab market where our fresh seafood dinner awaits.
Day9: KEP to PHU QUOC, 50km [B, L, D]
Cycle to Phu Quoc.
Breakfast overlooking the Gulf of Thailand is a nice way to start out last morning in Cambodia. Our ride today passes the salt flats along the coast and then before you know it, we are at the sleepy Ha Tien border point. After completing formalities, bidding farewell to the Cambodian team and entering Vietnam, it is only a short distance further to the boat pier where we take an express boat to Phu Quoc Island. One last ride for the day brings us from the pier to our comfortable hotel that will be your home for three nights.
Day10: PHU QUOC (Rest Day) [B]
Rest Day in Phu Quoc.
Phu Quoc is in a geographically curious place for a Vietnamese island. It sits just off the coast of Cambodia but somehow manages to be a part of Vietnam. The culture here is completely Vietnamese, so this is something of a contrast to the areas you have ridden through so far. There are a great many activities that you may opt for on the island, from snorkeling to kayaking, island hopping by boat or maybe some light trekking in the forested interior. For those who feel they have expended enough energy so far, the beach or pool beckons.
Day11: PHU QUOC ISLAND EXPLORATION to PHU QUOC, 75km [B, L]
Cycle Phu Quoc.
Whilst the focus of the last few years has been development on Phu Quoc, there are still many charming corners where fishing villages sit between fruit farms and forest reserves. We take a ride to explore these areas and in doing so encounter some small hills. Any rise in ground is compensated for by a few coasting downhills. The ride will take up most of the morning and the afternoon will be free time.
Day12: PHU QUOC (TRANSFER) to CHAU DOC, 50km [B, L, D]
Transfer & Cycle to Chau Doc.
It’s time to bid this island farewell and return to Ha Tien on the mainland. We arrive at the pier in the late morning, then take a drive to lunch before we ride onto Chau Doc. The scenery now changes a little, the most noticeable is the amount of irrigation, enabling the farmers to plant more than one crop of rice per year as they do in Cambodia. After a pleasant ride on back roads, we visit a bird sanctuary, a project of the local community. After a boat ride to meet the waders and other water birds, we pedal on to Chau Doc, an important regional trading town particularly known for its pungent and tasty fish sauce.
Day13: CHAU DOC to LONG XUYEN, 75km [B, L, D]
Cycle to Long Xuyen.
The Delta adventure starts in earnest today. The first of many short ferry rides comes after about 15km and the rest of the day will involve crossing numerous canals by bridge and boat and following a path through the maze of waterways that is the Delta. You will likely be struck today by the fertility of the land as every square inch is cultivated for food production and each human in sight works hard to grow, harvest, process or transport these products. The riding is predominantly on small, paved canal paths with only motor scooters as other traffic. We roll into the substantial town of Long Xuyen in the late afternoon.
Day14: LONG XUYEN to CAN THO, 85km [B, L, D]
Cycle and Boat to Can Tho.
Our final ride of the trip today has a fitting route. The canal paths continue this morning and become even more interesting as we go. The countryside is just as scenic as yesterday, but with an even higher concentration of canals, the farm produce now includes large fruit such as jackfruit hanging from trees by the paths. We encounter mat weaving and wooden boat building today as well as yet another amazing lunch. We finish up with a boat ride and arrive into the pleasant, bustling town of Can Tho in the late afternoon.
Day15: CAN THO to SAIGON (TRANSFER) [B, L, D]
Transfer to Saigon.
An early morning visit to the floating markets is on offer today. It’s an impressive site with a collection of boats of varying sizes and their crews tossing all manner of fruit and vegetables from boat to boat as the families of the Delta trade. Some produce remains in the Delta but the bulk will go to feed the densely populated city of Saigon. After breakfast, we pack up and board the van for a three hour drive into Saigon. In the mid afternoon as the day cools down just a little, we take to the streets to discover the capital of the former South Vietnam state and the commercial center of the current Republic of Vietnam. After exploring the french quarter and Ben Than Market, we head out for a final meal together.
Day16: SAIGON DEPARTURE [B]
Tour Concludes in Saigon.
The tour concludes after breakfast. Your guide can assist you in making any transport arrangements. Should you wish to book additional nights or any other activities, ask us at the time of booking for more information.
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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