Ha Noi to Luang Prabang Cycling Expedition Tour 18 days
18 Day – Hanoi – Luang Prabang Mountain bikes tours offers the opportunity to experience two stunning countries; Vietnam and Laos. In both countries, communities who have had very little contact with the western world will give you a warm respectful welcome. Our cycling tour starts in Hanoi, Vietnam’s beautiful capital. Vietnam has the richest and most complex ethnic make-up in the whole of South-East Asia. We set our way to North East Vietnam, cycling through breathtaking scenery in Ba Be Lake forward to untouched and remoted region of Hagiang province. We mountain bike through villages of H’mong, Tay, Dao and Xa Pho minorities, whose markets and festivals add such colour and character to the cycle tour. Our bicycle holiday includes challenging cycling and a wonderful opportunity to experience the traditional and varied lifestyles in Vietnam and Laos. We travel through a landscape of amazing karstic rock formations, cycling past stilted houses with thatched roofs and mountains nestled between limestone outcrops. We cross into North Eastern Laos at Tay Trang, the least populated area of the country, from here we will bicycle on through tranquil scenery meeting very few fellow cyclists. Laos is a mountainous land-locked country, of outstanding beauty, and is known for the warmth and friendliness of the Laotian people. Our Vietnam & Laos cycling holiday includes a visit to Luang Prabang, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. This ancient royal city, full of exquisite Buddhist Temples, where time seems to stand still, is a magical place to explore and relax.
DAY 1: HANOI – CUC PHUONG
After hearty breakfast in hotel. Our cycling guide and shuttle bus will pick you up at 7:30 a.m in hotel. Leaving the hustle and bustle of city behind. The shuttle bus transfer us to Xuan Mai, southwest of Hanoi. Upon arriving in Cycling point. We learn how to control the bike and gear, the rule on the road and safety ride in this trip. We commence riding on tarmac road, passing many peaceful villages, local market, temples and pagodas, vast green rice paddies. Arriving in Duc Khe, Stop for lunch meal and take some awesome pictures of Huong Son scenic beauty. After lunch meal. We continue riding back road cross the bridge and cycle on paved road , passing rice paddy and countryside village to Van Long Wet land Nature Reserve. Admire magnificent limestone mountains and quaint villages in afternoon. Transfer the rest of distance to Cuc Phuong National Park. Have dinner and stay overnight in Cuc Phuong Resort.
DAY 2: CUC PHUONG – PHU LUONG
This morning you will have the opportunity to explore Vietnam’s first national park and hopefully sight one of the 97 species of mammals said to inhabit the park. After breakfast, we transfer to the park’s centre, then start pedaling on the beautiful concrete lanes passing the jungle to the park’s headquarters. Visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center where a wide variety of native monkeys and gibbons, including critically endangered langurs were saved from wildlife smugglers and are being rehabilitated to return to the wild. After the visit we continue cycling out of the park. The scenic ride past peaceful lakes, authentic villages and rice paddies . have lunch on Hochiminh highway. After lunch , we start to explore the magnificent scenic beauty of Phu Luong Nature Reserve as ride through sugar farms and lush green forest. Stop on the way to admire water wheels, meet and talk with local people. Arriving in Eco homestay, we enjoy primitive scenery amongst eco village, have dinner and join in traditional music performance.
DAY 3: PHU LUONG – MAI CHAU
Wake up early morning to enjoy pristine nature and fresh air in the core of Phu Luong Nature Reserve. You can wander around Thai Village to observe the daily life of local people and interact with them to further understanding their longstanding culture. Have local style breakfast with host and say good bye them. We commence new cycling day from Homestay on paved road through fabulous rice terrace paddy and picturesque Thai villages to Mai Chau. On the way you will admire the hidden charm of Phu Luong and Mai Chau scenic area. Have lunch en route. After lunch we will continue to ride on legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail to Mai Chau. Upon arriving Sol bungalow, do check in and have relax by your own. Have dinner and enjoy live music performance with local homestay.
DAY 4: MAI CHAU – MOC CHAU
After breakfast, we say goode bye Mai Chau, our drive bring us out of the town, upon arrivals of Bai Sang, we start warming up by riding off road along Da river, today is hard day with long climb and potholes road , whereas we are rewarded by spectacular scenic beauty and friend people live in both side, surpringly, we ride on the formal National way No6 uesd to supplying logistic and ammunition for DienBien Phu Campaign. Stop enroute for refeshment and picnic lunch, after lunch, we keep riding to Moc Chau plateau. Moc Chau is one of the most pristine beautiful plateaus in the North mountainous region that brings the amazing attraction for all classes of people even for hard-to-pleasure tourists.Upon arrival Hotel, we do check in and relax by your own.Accommodation: Sen Xanh Hotel 3 stars.
DAY 5: MOC CHAU – PHU YEN
Following to breakfast, check the gear, start riding from Hotel to Phu Yen, we are rewarded by verdant tea ,plantation and unspoited nature in morning, crossing the Van Yen Ferry to admire awsome rice terraces of Phu Yen. stop for refreshment and photo moment, our trip continue through vast goldern rice paddies. We have lunch enroute ..After lunch times, we continue down hill to Phu Yen. Stay over night in Hoang Gia Hotel 3 stars.
DAY 6: PHU YEN – NGHIA LO
Following to hearty breakfast, we start pedaling from hotel to conquere one of incredible pass,we will be rewarded by extraordinary scenery With lush forests, tea plantations, rice terraces and gum trees, the picturesque valleys are stunning. The area is home to Thai, Nung, H’mong, La Ha and Ma ethnic minority peoples. Filling up enegy for another hill ahead.when you cycle through vast rice terrace paddies of hill tribes.
DAY 7: NGHIA LO – TU LE
This day starts with a visit to the local market in Nghia Lo Town, a chance to explore and shop for local handicrafts.market is meeting point of ethnic minorities in the North Vietnam, visiting and taking pictures is great impressive experiences, then we start riding from hotel to Tu Le, today is leisure day with 45 km cycling on undulating road, through picturesque valley, fascinating rice paddies, stop for lunch en route before riding ascent 8 km to slope to take view magnificient Tu Le town and breaktaking scenery, Rolling down to Town, take relax by swimming and bathing in hot spring stream water with local people. Have dinner and over night in guesthouse in Tu Le.
DAY 8: TU LE – MU CANG CHAI – THAN UYEN
Today is fantastic day with all highlights in our trip, start cycling with incredible long climb pass (Khau Pa pass 25 km long), then through three villages with extraordinary stunning rice terraces which are listed as National Rice Terraces Heritages of Vietnam, and undulating road along river lead to Thanh Uyen.Start cycling from Hotel after light breakfast, we take warming up by ascending 25 km long Khau Pha – One of fifth longest and challenging pass in the North Vietnam, along the pass , we are rewarded by the outstanding features of the landscape, fresh air in the morning, we reach on summit, coffee,tea, snack are available for you before descending to Mu Cang Chai, Mu Cang Chai is a poor district of Yen Bai Province with 85% population, is H’Mong people who are the Host of National Rice Terrace Beauty. We stop for lunch in Mu Cang Chai Town, after lunch, we commence around the town, explore market, continue riding to Than Uyen, upon arrival in Than Uyen, Check in and relax for dinner time.
Stay overnight in Phuong Nhung Hotel.
DAY 9: THAN UYEN – TAM DUONG – SAPA
The most challenging today is the longest pass with 46 km , separated between Lai Chau and Lao Cai province,on the Tram Ton Summit 2200 m compare sea level, we will be captivated by picturesque limestone Mountain and Indochina Roof Fansipang( 3143m).before descending to Sapa town for staying.We start riding from Hotel through stunning scenic beauty, picturesque limestone mountain of Fansipang,Is home of H’mong, Dao, Day,Tay,Nung.. Dao Pho ethnic tribe living together for hundred years.we aslo admire the verdant rice terraces in bothsite.We reach to Binh Lu T junction stop for lunch. After lunch, we start conquering the Pass, arriving Tram Ton Summit, regoup for photo moment, before riding down to Sapa town.Upon arriving in Sapa, we take relax by doing herbal medicinal massage.
Having dinner at Grill Nature Bar restaurant, stay over night in Sunny Hotel 3 stars.
DAY 10: SAPA – LAI CHAU
Today is another great day for adventerous cyclist who want to conquere the elavation in the North Vietnam. This is one of fifth incredible stiff pass in our cycling trip with 1979 m compare sea level. You will test your fit, challlenge and will again. You will be rewarded by extraordinary scenery, magnificient rice terrace, meeting friendly hill tribes on the way.
Have breakfast in hotel, do check out and kick off your pedal to ascend out of Sapa town, you will ride on tarmac road lead to Silver water Fall . stop to take picture and have coffee break. We continue to conquere stiff pass to Tram Ton summit with elevation at 1979m. Upon arriving on top, we spend the time to enjoy spectacular Fanxipang mountain view – the roof of Indochina 3143m, stunning Hoang lien son national park. Wearing warm jacket to ride long long down hill to Tam Duong T junction where coffee, tea and cake is waiting for you.after making warm up and refeshment. We continue riding to Lai Chau, have lunch enroute. After lunch, we conquere long pass on summit to enjoy incredible mountain view before descending to Lai Chau city where we will stay over night
DAY 11: LAI CHAU – SIN HO – MUONG LAY
Start new amazing cycling day from Hotel to Phong Tho Town then turn off the single track path lead to Sin Ho. We make morning warm up by escending first long pass. On the way, you are rewarded by fresh nature, extraordinary Hoang Lien Son Mountain view . you will meet numerous hill tribal people such as Dao, Hmong, Kho Mu , Mang and San Diu ethnic minorities. Upon arriving in summit, coffee and tea, cake and soft drinks are available for you. We continue to ride down hill and up again to Sin Ho Township for lunch. After lunch, we keep riding escend 7 km long and then down hill to Chan Nua T junction. The rest of distance is transfered by bus to Muong Lay where we stay overnight. have dinner and stay in Lan Anh hotel
DAY 12: MUONG LAY – DIEN BIEN PHU
Start cycling from hotel on historical road lead to Dien Bien Phu . In November 1953, the French, weary of jungle warfare, occupied Dien Bien Phu, a small mountain outpost on the Vietnamese border near Laos. Although the Vietnamese rapidly cut off all roads to the fort, the French were confident that they could be supplied by air. The fort was also out in the open, and the French believed that their superior artillery would keep the position safe. In 1954, the Viet Minh army, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, moved against Dien Bien Phu and in March encircled it with 40,000 Communist troops and heavy artillery.
The first Viet Minh assault against the 13,000 entrenched French troops came on March 12, and despite massive air support, the French held only two square miles by late April. On May 7, after 57 days of siege, the French positions collapsed. Although the defeat brought an end to French colonial efforts in Indochina, the United States soon stepped up to fill the vacuum, increasing military aid to South Vietnam and sending the first U.S. military advisers to the country in 1959.nowdays, cycling on newly paved road . you have opportunity in exploring and admiring stunning scenic beauty, you will have mixed emotion and feeling about the great victory over Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Upon arriving in Hotel, you do check in and stay overnight in Himlam ecotourist.
DAY 13: DIEN BIEN PHU CROSS BORDER TO MUANG KHUA, LAOS
We start early from hotel head to North West Tay Trang Border Gate, we will ride on tarmac road through city, Muong Thanh Rice paddy before escending 15 km long to Border. On the way, you look overview fomer Dien Bien Phu Battle field and have answer for question why French troop defeated.upon arriving in Tay Trang International Border, you will do check point, say good bye Vietnamese team and meet Laos team . do check in and get stamp for Visa in Laos Border. Fix your bike and cycling first down hill . enjoy picturesque nature. Stop for lunch en route. Following lunch time, we continue to ride up hill before rolling down to Nam O river. Cross river to Muang Khua where we stay first night in Laos
DAY 14: MUANG KHUA – UDOMXAI
Following hearty breakfast in hotel, we kick off our pedal head to east direction to Udom xai province. You enjoy fresh nature and purified atmosphere, dreamlike scenery. Meeting with friendly Kho Mu tribe and their families. We ride on undulated tarmac road lead to Udomxai, have picnic lunch enroute. After lunch, we continue to ride in Hotel.
DAY 15: UDOMXAI – PAK MONG
Today is great and amazing day in our cycling trip in laos, we conquere some stiff passes on the Route 13 North. Start riding from Hotel, the road starts to wind upwards and we start the first of series escendings through high mountains, admire incredible scenic beauty on the way, explore Hmong hill tribal people who are known as originally live in high elevation in Northern Laos, informer times, they lived on growing opium. Upon arriving in summit, snack, tea, coffee and soft drinks are available for you. We continue riding and counting the second and the third passes. have picnic lunch on slope while taking overview marvelous nature beauty. After lunch meal, we check our pedal, brake for long long down hill. At the end of descend, we arrive our destination at Pak Mong, a village that marks the junction at where the road turns towards Luang PraBang. Have dinner and stay overnight in Pak Mong
DAY 16: PAK MONG – LUANG PRABANG
Start early in the morning, we ride on the Route 13 North head to Luang Prabang. On the way we expose the hidden charm of landscapes and hill tribal people. Enjoy undulating tarmac road while cycling to Luang Prabang. The last 30 km to Luang Prabang, we turn off the single track and dirt road along Mekong river, pass through numerous hill tribal villages, stop over in Buddha cave. Keep riding to Luang Prabang city for staying overnight.
DAY 17: LUANG PRBANG on wards
Today is free to explore te world heritage town on your own. We recommend toget up early to see morning arms giving, visit local market ( Phosi Market), the former royal temple of Vat Xiangthong, Visoun temple and former royal palace ( museum) and also exploration of the town, meeting with monks inside their temples to disscus the way of life. Share ideas questions about their impressions of your life, beliefs and culture. In the afternoon, visit weaving handicfafts papers villages and climb up Phousi Mount to see panoramic view of town and sunset.
Our driver and guide will meet you again to transfer to Airport to get onwards flight
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