High in the Northwest Vietnam Bike Tour

  • The mighty rivers and spectacular karst mountain ranges become the focus of the trip as we skirt the edges of the two watery snakes for a long time. Once you are done with the trip, you will miss them.
  • Admire the unmatched limestone topography.

Northern Vietnam is home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests. The rolling terrain combined with gradual long climbs from low-lying riverside valleys to highlands are just perfect – a cyclist’s delight. Here you get to ride along the beautiful rivers and through spectacular karst mountain ranges and the lush valleys. This is an excellent way to experience life in the highlands of Vietnam.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    12 days / 11 nights

  • Start

    Hanoi

  • Finish

    Hanoi

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

  • Average Distance Cycled

    50km or 30mi

  • Total Distance Cycled

    ~ 500km or 300mi

  • Bicycle

    Included

  • Support Vehicle

    Included

  • Group Size

    Min 2, Max 12

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceHotelDuration~ Cycling Distance
1HanoiSilk Path Boutique Hotel1
2Hanoi-Lao CaiOvernight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai1
3Lao Cai to SapaEden Boutique130km / 18mi
4Lai ChauMuong Thanh170km / 42mi
5 – 6Sin HoThanh Binh Hotel260km / 36mi
7Muong LayLan Anh 1160km / 36mi
8Dien Bien PhuHim Lam170km / 42mi*
9Son LaHa Noi160km / 42mi
10 – 11Mai ChauMai Chau Lodge280km / 50mi*
30km / 18mi
12Hanoi Departure50km / 30mi

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi and enjoy the day at leisure.

Day 2: Overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai

Our guide meets you at your hotel around 13:00hrs.

Today, walk the busy streets of Hanoi visiting some of the cultural and historical highlights of Hanoi. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, which was constructed nearly a millennium ago, and is delicately elevated in a pond. Also visit the Temple of Literature, dating back close to a thousand years, is a wonderfully preserved piece of ancient Vietnamese architecture and stands to honour the scholarly achievements of the country’s academics and philosophers. Continue exploring the area around Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake, old quarter including Ngoc Son Temple, which sits perched on a little island in the lake.

We break for bike fit and later convene over dinner tonight.

Later take an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. The train journey is included in your tour price and the tickets will be emailed prior to your journey.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Lao Cai to Sapa (1600m)

Meet your tour guide at Lao Cai railway station and get transferred to Sapa. This morning, take a short hike around and visit some of the ethnic villages. After lunch, we go for a short bike ride, giving a glimpse of spectacular karst scenery and what is to come in next few days.

Sapa is a spectacular hill station and home to region’s largest ethnic groups, H’mong and Dao people.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 30km / 18mi
Shuttle: 1.5hrs

Day 4: Lai Chau (700m)

A classic ride today. Starting from your hotel at Sapa, we make a gradual climb up to Tram Ton Pass (2000m), Vietnam’s highest mountain pass on the northern side of Fansipan and 15km from Sapa. The climb is rewarded with enchanting views of terraced rice fields, tea plantations and innumerable streams. Enjoy a sheer drop to 750m in about 25km to the Lai Chao side. We stop here for lunch at roadside restaurant and continue cycling to Lai Chau. Scenery is spectacular throughout the day and gives opportunity for plenty of landscape photos. The region is mainly inhabited by white Thai and White H’mong people.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 70km / 42mi

Day 5: Sin Ho (1600m)

Sin Ho is regarded as a sleeping beauty. You’ll be surprised that hardly anybody comes here and yet it boasts some of the best mountain scenery in this region. Another amazing day on a bike as we ride the old highway and reach Sin Ho. A tough day on a bike today, rewarded with amazing views all around.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 36mi

Day 6: Sin Ho District

Today you can plan your own day. Hike into the clouds or take some rest at this sleeping beauty in Northwest mountains. Discover some untreaded trails here.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Muong Lay

Go for another hike in nearby area and discover the local life at close quarters. In the late morning, get ready to bike towards Muong Lay. Another good day on bike as we make way past amazing topography to Muong Lay. Mostly a downhill ride today.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 36mi

Day 8: Dien Bien Phu

Today is a long riding day. We cross few not-so-high passes along the way before arriving at Dien Bien Phu. The river plays a big part of today’s cycling journey as we ride largely along Nam Na river flanked by bananas and bamboo plantations, and past lush paddy fields.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 75-100km / 45-60mi*

Day 9: Son La

We take a good 2-2.5hrs transfer in the morning to Tuan Giao in preparation for riding towards Son La. Start the ride with a gradual climb and reach the peak (1,450m). From here it’s a sheer drop to about 600m. The last leg is undulating.

The region is dotted with fields of corn, rice and plum trees with occasional Karst mountains and picturesque gorges. The area is mainly inhabited by White H’mong and is one of the most unvisited parts of Vietnam.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 42mi

Day 10: Mai Chau

It’s a long day interspersed with transfers and rides. Cycle past spectacular mountain range with karst cliffs, terraced rice fields, and a typical agricultural landscape, ending at beautiful valleys of Mai Chau. The experience is truly unique as we get to experience good change in landscape.

Mai Chau is a collection of villages and offers a true rural cycling experience.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 80km / 50mi*

Day 11: Mai Chau

Today enjoy a thrilling loop around the gorgeous valley and experience Mai Chau village life at close quarters. It’s an off-beat trail and some sections are over gravel road.  We pass by many bucolic villages where children come to greet us and through tumbling steams. The region is mainly inhabited by White Thai people.

Do enjoy the evening walking around the valley and admiring simple rural life amidst spectacular scenery.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 30km / 18mi*

Day 12: Departure to Hanoi

The initial stretch has a bit of climb and then it delves down to the foothills of mountains. The topography is adorned with timber and fern trees. We ride towards Hoa Binh and then take a shuttle transfer to Hanoi.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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High in the Northwest Bike Tour
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