Vietnam ‘s landscape is sublime: The Red River Delta is in the north, the Mekong Delta is placed in the south, and there are brilliant green rice paddies in between the two. Long, sandy beaches grace the coastline, while inland there are these soaring mountains and lust forests. It is a country of traditional charm and rare beauty. There are whole lot of options to explore during a cycling tour in Vietnam. The people are friendly, hardworking and love their food. And in the last couple of decades Vietnam has opened up to the outside world making it an ideal destination for a bike holiday. Our definitive guide on cycling in Vietnam will offer you a snapshot on how to plan your cycling holidays and what to expect in Vietnam.
For simplicity we have divided this cycling guide into four sections
SECTION I( KNOWING VIETNAM)
The Essential Bucket List( not to be missed)
Grabbing a bicycle and taking the ride of your life through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
Taking a boat and floating along the Mekong.
Selecting an outfit from the latest fashion catalogues and having it tailor made in the delightful city of Hoi An.
Visit the 36 streets of the old quarter in Hanoi.
What you may find
Conical hats: Traffic: Silk Shops; Rice paddies: Buffalos: Landscapes: Lot of two wheelers.
Through the notes
Some references that will help understand Vietnam better
- a) Read- Writings by Vietnamese writer Bao Ninh.
- b) Listen- to US based Khanh Ly, a contemporary pop music icon
- c) Eat – the staple pho( noodle soup) or Ga Tan( stewed chicken with medicinal herbs,dates and grilled baguettes)
- d) Watch – The Quiet American, based on Graham Greene ‘s 1954 novel and starring Michael Caine.
- e) Drink- the cheap and widely available bia hoi( draught beer) , Ca phe( coffee) served with condensed milk.
No. of UNESCO World Heritage Sites sites in Vietnam: 8
Currency: Vietnamese Dong(VND)
1 USD is approx 23,000 VND
Both VND and USD can be used within the country. It is best to keep an option of both.
Time Zone: Time zone in Vietnam is GMT+7
Religion– Vietnam is officially an atheist state. As per polls a majority of the population don’t believe in a God. The others however practise Buddhism or are Christians.
Language: Vietnamese is the official language. A few helpful key words and phrases that may be helpful during your trip to Vietnam
||tam bee it
|how are you ?
||bạn khỏe không
||ban co kew khome
|I want to go to
||tôi muốn đi đến
||toy mua dean
||cảm ơn bạn
SECTION II (PLANNING YOUR BIKE TRIP)
Best Time to Visit
From a cycling point of view, we can divide the country into four main sub-regions: Northern Mountains, North, Central & South Vietnam with distinct weather conditions. The Central and South Vietnam features Tropical climate.
Northern Mountains – Sapa, Ha Giang: best months for cycling in Northwest mountains are between Late August & Early December, and from Late February to May. It can get a bit cold in December & January with light showers.
North Vietnam – Hanoi & Halong Bay: has a distinct winter and summer season. The cool but mostly dry winter runs from November to April. May to October is a bit hot and humid and the region experiences its highest rainfall with July to September being the wettest. Oct to May is a good season to go here with coldest months being Dec-Jan.
Central Vietnam – Hue to Nha Trang: features Tropical monsoon climate and is at its wettest from September to December. Traditionally this period sees monsoon rains and occasional typhoons which can cause flooding in the area. Whilst this is rarely of such a level as to seriously affect an itinerary, we do advise people travelling during this period that there may be last minute changes to itineraries to accommodate for the weather conditions. Good season runs from January to September for warm water beaches, with an average temperature of around 30°C.
South Vietnam – Saigon & Mekong Delta: features Tropical climate and is an almost year-round cycling destination. April and May are touted as the hottest months. During the remaining time of year, the temperature hovers around 30°C and the days are sunny & a bit humid. Though it may be a bit warm, South Vietnam is still a good destination for biking as the countryside is amazingly green with many water bodies. From May to early November, it rains moderately for a short period and then settles down which makes the condition much cooler and perfect for biking. November to February is the best time of year for biking – warm days with light breeze and clear skies.
TERRAIN AND CONDITIONING TIPS
To ride safely along the narrow and sometimes trafficked roads, it is important to ride single file and to develop good balance on your bike. Balance can only be developed by riding on the road. We recognize that not everyone lives in an area conducive to outdoor riding, but please keep in mind that while running, riding a stationary bike, spinning and other aerobic exercise will help improve your strength, endurance and cardiovascular health, these activities will not help with balance.
What to pack for cycling tour
Some not to be missed essentials which can be carried
Clothing: Cycling Shoes, Rain Jacket, Dry bag, Sunglasses,
Personal: Toiletries, Chargers, Emergency Cash, Medication,
Gear: You are welcome to bring your own gear, such as pedals, seat, helmet, toe clips and cyclometer, to use with a bicycle. However, please inform us in advance if you choose to bring any of your own things.
Note: Although we provide helmets, we encourage you to bring your cycling water bottles, bike gloves, and helmets as they are more of personal items. Also, your own saddle is good to bring along as we change bikes while moving from one country to another.
Miscellaneous: Small towel, Waterproof cover, Plastic Bags, Hydration Kit, Journal, Notebook, Camera
SECTION III (FAQs pertaining to bike tours in Vietnam)
Our most common asked queries regarding cycling tours in Vietnam.
Will traffic be an issue for cycling in Vietnam?
It is a right hand drive in Vietnam. Whoever has the largest vehicle usually dictates the road. Congestion is common around major attractions and shopping malls in cities, particularly Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
It’s not really going to rain, is it?
As much as we don’t like to think about it, rain is possible no matter where you travel. Your best bet for staying comfortable during a shower is to wear quality rain gear that is both waterproof and breathable. A jacket and pants made of Gore-Tex will keep you dry even in the fiercest downpour.
What kind of bikes and equipment are provided for me on my trip?
A well-maintained hybrid/mountain bike and helmet is included. You can feel free to bring your own saddle, cleats/pedals and helmet. Our guides will be happy to fit them on your bike for you.
How much on an average will I be cycling during a day?
The average distance is directly proportional to the terrain that we will be riding. In most trips, on average, we bike about 50-60km a day. Please have a look at your trip details to know the average biking distance specific to the trip that you’re doing.
What about medical emergencies?
Our support vehicle always follows you throughout the tour and comes handy for transfer to any nearby hospital during an accident. Our emergency protocol is to provide you basic first aid and then transfer as soon as possible to nearby hospital for further action. Our guide will also notify our central team and we connect with your insurance provider as well.
Do I need a Visa to travel to Vietnam?
According to updated Vietnam Immigration Law (effective from 01 Jan 2015) to use the visa exemption right, the time distance between two continuous entries must be at least 30 days so as to enjoy visa free for both two entries. If the time distance is less than 30 days, they must apply for a visa for the second entry.
- Citizens of the United Kingdom, France, German, Spain, Italy and Belarus are allowed to stay in Vietnam within 15 days without visa. It is effective from 01 Jul 2015.
- Citizens of Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and Finland are allowed to stay within 15 days without visa.
- Citizens of Brunei and Myanmar are allowed to stay in Vietnam within 14 days without visa.
- Citizens of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos are allowed to stay in Vietnam within 30 days without visa.
- Citizens of the Philippines are allowed to stay in Vietnam within 21 days without visa.
It is recommended to always check the latest regulations before your travel at Vietnam’s Government Website.
Is your query not mentioned here. Drop us a note at email@example.com and we shall help you in planning your cycling tour in Vietnam.
Do I need any insurance?
It is a mandatory requirement to purchase adequate travel insurance in order to participate in our tours, and to protect yourself from unforeseen events.
Since Art of Bicycle Trips adheres strictly to our cancellation policy, we recommend to note below:
- Art of Bicycle Trips highly recommends purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen events. There are inherent risks involved in cycling and mountain biking and we will not be liable for your medical expenses or evacuation in case of an accident. We recommend using World Nomads for travel insurance and claim. Travel insurance is non-refundable but is strongly advised to protect you in the unfortunate event that you have to cancel or leave your trip.
- Please note that we do not sell insurance and does not assist in any buying and claim process. World Nomads is only a recommendation and Art of Bicycle Trips can not be held responsible for any dispute with them. All dispute shall be dealt directly with your travel insurance provider and under no circumstances Art of Bicycle Trips is liable for that.
- We recommend that you purchase adequate travel insurance which also covers trip cancellation. Cancellation insurance will pay out if your trip is cancelled or cut short due to any of the reasons specified in your policy. It’s one of the key elements of your travel insurance, and can be a lifesaver if the worst happens and you have to cancel your trip.
Can you store my luggage for me?
Please limit your luggage to one soft-sided medium-sized suitcase and one carry-on bag. Mark your luggage with your name, address and phone number.
A Van follows the group of riders throughout the trip and carries all belongings. If at any point riding seems a little hard, the van takes you for as long or as little as you wish it to. It also provides you refreshments along the way and sometimes a chilled beer.
Please Note Art of Bicycle Trips recommends that you not bring valuable personal electronics including, but not limited to, IPAD, laptop computers and expensive cameras. While we will transport them from place to place during the trip as a convenience, we do not assume responsibility for any damage, loss or loss of function to the devices. This policy also applies to other items such as expensive jewelry, fur coats and fragile and delicate accessories, whether purchased on the trip or otherwise.
Is tipping compulsory in Vietnam?
Tipping is not necessary, but is always appreciated.
What types of pre and post tour services are provided for cycling tour in Vietnam?
Your ABT Travel Coordinator will be happy to help you with recommendations on all pre and post travel arrangements, such as hotels, flight and rail tickets. We can extend the tour arrival/departure hotel as pre or post tour hotel. If the same is not available, we can recommend you few hotels which you can directly book online using hotel platforms such as booking.com We book mainly internal flights which are part of your tour. We can recommend you arrival/departure flights. Once you have reserved your bike trip, call or email us to discuss all your pre- and post-tour plans.
Tours guidelines post CORONA
Please find the health and safety guidelines as prescribed by ATTA for adventure tourism.
VFS Global in partnership with the Embassy of Vietnam in India, has launched the first-ever online portal for eVisa on arrival for travellers to the southeast Asian country. Travellers can apply for an eVisa before departure to Vietnam. There’s a more expensive option of special priority services for approval on the same day or the next day.
Offers from Art of Bicycle Trips
We realised everyone is waiting for things to clear up in order to lead a normal life. And travel as well. Hence, though travelling at the moment is not feasible, planning and booking one’s travel plan is fine. To make travel plans easier we have launched booking offers for as low as $1. You can now book without any advance deposit and remain flexible.
You can find all our cycling tours in Vietnam here