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Cycling Vietnam

14 days
from
$2,779
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
MOV
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
5–18
Min age:
16

Experience the real Vietnam by bike

We ride from vibrant Saigon in the south to the thrilling capital of Hanoi in the north on this two week cycling tour, travelling on tarmac roads through colourful fishing villages, folding rice terraces and mountains cloaked in jungle. The vast shoreline of white sandy beaches is ours to discover along the way, with time to swim in the sea on a tropical island retreat. Stopping off at the ancient trading port of Hoi An, home to temples and wooden merchant houses, we delve into the peacefulness of rural Vietnam before ascending the Hai Van Pass, riding along twisting coastal roads that lead to remarkable views of the misty forest below.

Highlights

  • Take a cycling holiday through Vietnam’s most scenic landscapes
  • Savour mouth-watering cuisine
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels
  • Relax in charming Hoi An
  • Cruise among the limestone formations of Halong Bay
  • Overnight on a tropical island

Key information

  • 11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat, 1 night sleeper train
  • 9 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with 90% vehicle support
  • Roads nearly all good tarmac
  • The route is generally flat with some undulation and the exception of Dalat and the Hai Van Pass
  • Group normally 5 to 18, plus local leaders
  • Countries visited: Vietnam

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - hotel nights only)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

8

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 100% tarmac

Day by day breakdown
Day 230.0km/18.0miles
Day 350.0km/31.0miles
Day 460.0km/37.0miles
Day 5100.0km/62.0miles
Day 790.0km/55.0miles
Day 850.0km/31.0miles
Day 1080.0km/49.0miles
Day 1125.0km/15.0miles

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

We spend the nights in locally owned accommodations that employ local staff and use local produce whenever possible. This ensures that our visit is directly contributing to the local community. Cycling trips have very little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support.

During the free afternoon in Hoi An, clients can plan a visit to ‘Reaching out’, a social enterprise that provides opportunities for people with disability to learn skills as artisans and gain employment so that they will be able to fully integrate with their communities and lead independent lives. Purchasing handmade gifts from them is a form of support to local production and its worthy cause.

When in Hanoi, we strongly encourage groups to have a communal meal at KOTO, which is an NGO that provides a two year course in hospitality, English and life skills training to 16-22 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the graduates have gone on to continue developing their careers at KOTO restaurants or have gained employment elsewhere with their training making it a great initiative to support.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Saigon
to
Hanoi
  • Day 1

    Start Saigon

    Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly known as Saigon, is an exciting and absorbing city where bicycles battle with lorries and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, Saigon is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. The Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral are within easy walking distance and are highly recommended.

    This evening there will be a welcome briefing with you leader followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    Huong sen Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Transfer out of the city; cycle to the Cu Chi tunnels

    This morning we drive out of the city, before riding to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This offers a great introduction to cycling in Vietnam and a chance to fine-tune the bikes. The tunnels were Viet Cong sanctuaries, used by the guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes. The network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Some parts have been widened for tourists, but the tunnels were originally very narrow and it is still necessary to crawl on hands and knees. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine!

    If you prefer not to visit the tunnels you can have an unguided free day in Saigon. Places of interest include: the Emperor of Jade and Giac Lam pagodas, the former Presidential Palace (now the Reunification Hall), Ben Thanh market and the War Remnants Museum. 
    Huong sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Cycle towards the coast and drive to Mui Ne

    After an early breakfast we head out of Saigon by bus and then start cycling towards the coast. We hit the backroads and head through tropical fruit and rubber plantations also passing some small fishing villages as we make our way closer to the coast finishing our ride in time for lunch. We then transfer approx. 3 hours to Mui Ne, a tranquil white sand beach where we can witness our first sunset over the Eastern Sea. We spend approx. 4-5 hours on the bus today. 

    Sea Links Beach Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Cycle to Dalat in the Central Highlands

    We cycle towards Dalat; the route is undulating with occasional climbs. Along the way we pass coffee and tea plantations as well as flower gardens and pine forests as we reach higher altitude. We rejoin the bus before the road climbs steeply to the mountain town of Dalat. We spend approx 3.5 hours on the bus today.

    Dalat is a pleasant hill station, formerly known as Le Petit Paris, and has been described as the most beautiful town in Vietnam. It was favoured by the French for its climate, and is now a popular honeymoon resort for the Vietnamese. 
    Sammy Hotel Dalat or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Cycle through Bidoup N.P.; to the coast and boat transfer to Whale Island

    Today's ride is predominantly undulating and approximately 30km downhill through pine forests and paddy fields as we descend nearly 1,500m travelling through the Bidoup Ba National Park. This area is home to rare pine forests as well as small villages inhabited by the ethnic minority people of the central highlands. Once we arrive at the coast, we head by bus (approx. 1.5 hours) to the coast near Nha Trang before boarding a boat to our tropical island retreat of Whale Island for the next two nights. Today you can cycle up to 100km according to preference.
    Whale Island Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Cruise around islands with seafood lunch and snorkelling

    Having a rest from the bikes today we get the opportunity to really relax and unwind. We will join a boat trip in the morning for a spot of snorkelling and swimming in the turquoise sea before a seafood lunch is served. In the afternoon there is the option to visit a local fishing village, see the Whale temple or walk around the island to the viewpoint for a 360 degree view of the stunning mountainous coastline and the surrounding coves and white sand beaches.
    Whale Island Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Drive to beautiful Dai Lanh Beach; coastal ride to Quy Nhon

    We set off early in the morning and ride to the beautiful fishing village of Dai Lanh. A short transfer out of town past the Po Nagar Cham towers brings us to a high point and from here today's ride is predominantly flat. The beautiful beach at Dai Lanh is a perfect place to stop for a swim (if road conditions and time permit) and lunch before continuing by bus around the spectacular coastal cliff road towards the town of Tuy Hoa and on to Quy Nhon. (Approx. 4 hours in the bus today). 
    Seagull Quy Nhon Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Further coastal ride stopping en route at sand dunes; then transfer to Hoi An

    Leaving Quy Nhon we travel through a new economic zone over the Thi Nai Peninsula and Nhon Hoi Bridge, the longest sea bridge in Vietnam. Getting off our bikes we will visit a market, where its not unusual to be pulled aside for a photo as this part of the country does not see many western tourists. The coast line features secluded bays, sand dunes and beaches with colourful fishing boats bobbing on the Eastern Sea. We will cycle until we arrive at Phu Ly and then drive to Hoi An. If time permits, we will cycle the last 12km once we turn off Highway 1 into Hoi An.

    Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-sixteenth Century is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market. We spend two nights in Hoi An which is also a fantastic place to buy local art or have some clothes tailor-made for you. Its best to bring a picture or a sample of what you want made. Approx. 6 hours in the bus today. Cycle approx. 50km.
    Hoian River Green Boutique or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Sightseeing in Hoi An; free afternoon

    This morning we take a guided walking tour of Hoi An to explore some of the structures of historical significance in the Old Town, including bridges, temples, wells and houses. Those less interested in architecture can cycle the 5km to the lovely Cua Dai beach or cycle to the Marble Mountains, which are 19km from town. These five marble hills, formerly islands, contain many caves, some of which were used as Buddhist (and Viet Cong) sanctuaries.

    Also nearby is My Khe beach, a famous US R & R spot in the war, and Da Nang, where there is a Cham Museum, which despite being in poor condition, is very interesting. It is also possible to visit My Son, one of the most important Cham temple sites in Vietnam where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries.
    Hoian River Green Boutique or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Ride over the spectacular Hai Van Pass; cycle and drive on to Hue

    Today we turn north again for the drive/cycle to Hue. The route traverses over the spectacular Hai Van Pass - the 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds'. The views are stunning though those who prefer to avoid the 580m climb can always take a lift in the support vehicle. Once at the top it will all seem worth it as you plummet back to the ocean, then continue through small villages and timeless rural scenes to the outskirts of Hue, from where we transfer to our city centre hotel. Approx 2.5 hours in the bus today. Cycle approx. 80km.
    Park View Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Explore Hue and surroundings by bike and boat; overnight train to Hanoi

    Hue is often claimed to be the cultural and historic centre of Vietnam and there is plenty to see. We take a guided tour of the city and surrounding tombs. The most memorable site is the citadel, with walls six miles in length: inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor and his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. We then take a boat along the Perfume River to the elaborate tombs of the Nguyen emperors, who ruled Vietnam from Hue. Tu Duc's Tomb is very elaborate and set in beautiful gardens. Along the way we will visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protests in the early 1960s and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself in protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. In the afternoon we will board the Reunification Express for the overnight ride to Hanoi, 688km to the north. 
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Arrive Hanoi; drive to Halong Bay; board boat and cruise/kayak among spectacular limestone formations

    We usually arrive in Hanoi in the early morning and stop for a local breakfast and a stretch of the legs, before we are met by our bus for an approximate 4 hour drive to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with around 3000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to kayak in the sea allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting) and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.
    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Further cruising in Halong Bay; return to Hanoi

    Visit Me Cung cave and enjoy further time to cruise the many islands of Halong Bay. We then return to Hanoi late afternoon. This charming city contains many beautiful old buildings and the atmosphere is completely different from that in Saigon in the south, mainly due to the much more conservative nature of the North Vietnamese. Also, unlike its industrial counterpart, the centre of Hanoi has a faded charm with broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period as well as some attractive lakes and pagodas. In the evening there is the option to enjoy a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets.

    Lenid Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Hanoi

    For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Hanoi after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Angkor Wat Extension (from Siem Reap)

Code: XOV

'Discovered' enmeshed in the Cambodian jungle in 1860, Angkor, the ancient capital of the powerful Khmer empire, is one of the finest archaeological sites in the world, and not one to be missed. Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, the wonderfully preserved sprawling complex of temples and palaces is on a par with any great monument of the world with magnificent towers, sculptures and bas‐reliefs. During this four-night extension you will also see all the key sites of Phnom Penh, a fascinating city undergoing a huge amount of change. You will travel between the sites in a private car or minibus, depending on how many people take part in the extension, accompanied by an English‐speaking local guide. In the evenings, you will be free to enjoy the town. This trip extension is offered before the start of the MOV trip so you can do it at the beginning and then fly to Vietnam to start the cycling trip. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

 

Essential Info

Visas

Vietnam

A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2021. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure.

For further information please check the FCO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'. If you have any questions about whether you need a visa for your trip please contact the Customer Operations department.

Vaccinations

Vietnam

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 1 dinner are included.

Thanks to the tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range of mountains, Vietnam is blessed with numerous varieties of culinary offerings and consequently maintains its reputation as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world that still packs a punch with delicious, fresh and fiery flavours.

Vietnamese food relies on fresh fish, vegetables, rice and a whole myriad of verdant herbs and spices; lemongrass, ginger, basil and lime all play an important role in the cuisine. The Chinese and French influence is felt throughout the country where you are just as likely to be offered a Banh Mi (stuffed baguette) as you are a hot steaming bowl of Pho (noodle soup).

Each dish is prepared with the Asian principle of Wu Xing in mind (the five elements); meaning that the perfect combination of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet is the ultimate aim. Be sure to also seek out the national beverages; Vietnamese coffee is served iced and sweet with condensed milk, a real sugar and caffeine hit, and beer hoi (local beer, brewed daily) is served on most street corners in the North out of large plastic jugs that are perfect for sharing.

Food is cheap in Vietnam and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Please note that in SE Asia the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home.

You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home if you have high energy bars or gels that you like to use during a ride.

For those who wish to contribute, a kitty is normally arranged - fresh fruit, nuts, biscuits and local snacks are all provided from the snacking kitty along with even homemade lemonade if the season is right!

Weather

The weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day usually between 28ºC and 34ºC. It is only a little cooler at nights.

There is quite a range of seasons between the north and the south: the south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and then a rainy season from May to November when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between. Hanoi is cool in autumn, and even gets chilly between November and February (with a drizzly rain).

There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; it is quite pleasant at any time of year, though due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will ever be perfect for the entire duration of any trip.

Please be aware that the boat trip on Halong Bay can be subject to short notice change if certain adverse weather conditions develop during your trip. These could occur all year round, but especially in monsoon season (from October to April). Boat trips on Halong Bay are governed by the local authorities who are authorised to make such appropriate safety decisions. If your Halong Bay trip is affected by adverse weather, this could either result in a reduced excursion on Halong Bay for your group, or less likely, the need to re-arrange the itinerary if it is not possible at all to go out on Halong Bay. Whilst this is not a frequent occurrence, our local team and leaders are well equipped to handle such situations and have long offered appropriate options to groups in the instances where this may occur.

If you go to Cambodia for the Angkor Wat extension, the weather will be hot and humid all year round. The dry season is late October to May and the monsoon is normally between May and October; though there is an obvious transitional time between those settled periods.

The dry season is as it sounds, with hot days and generally clear skies, though you can expect the odd shower. The monsoon is characterised by short, sharp bursts of rain and is generally overcast all day though this does not detract from the enjoyment of the place; you just need to take an umbrella or buy a cheap local poncho!

Hanoi

Saigon

Is this trip for you?

This trip is rated Activity Level 3- Moderate and classified Road.

9 days cycling (including 1 optional ride), average 70km/day (43 miles), 90% vehicle support.

Terrain and Route:
Road surfaces are mostly on good tarmac. The route is generally flat with some undulation and the exception of Dalat and the Hai Van Pass Vietnam can be hot and humid, but rests and water are readily available. You should be comfortable riding in traffic on occasions. This is a busy trip but anyone not wanting to cycle all day can use the support vehicle.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Boat & Sleeper Train

11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths.

The accommodation on this trip is mostly in good quality hotels (mostly 3-4 star), and all nights are en-suite except the train.

During this trip we spend one night on the sleeper train, this being the best way to travel long distances with the locals. The journey between Hue and Hanoi is quite comfortable although despite being first class, it is still quite basic. You will be in a 4 man cabin, (occasionally 6 depending on season) and bedding is provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local people who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage but people generally stock up on snacks before the journey.

On the boat in Halong Bay, we stay in en-suite twin cabins.

Our overnight spot on Whale Island is regarded as an absolute highlight for many, however, it is basic. You will stay in bamboo thatched bungalows each with mosquito nets, fans and en-suite bathrooms. The simplicity of island life and this overnight spot really makes it idyllic but you should be prepared for it to be a bit different to the hotels used for the rest of the trip. 

Please be advised that the accommodation listed in each location on the day to day itinerary are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

 Single supplements are available (on request) and only available for nights spent in hotels during the trip. Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailor made trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2019
    Chrissie Carey

    Vietnam

    The trip was great and our leader, Lam, was exceptional. With the assistance of his exceptional team he made the trip a very special one. His attention to detail and safety is without fault. A ***** Star experience on wheels! Thank you Exodus and Lam & his team for making this a lasting memory!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling to the top of the pass and Hulong Bay

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam is an absolute asset to Exodus. I have never met anyone with such dedication. He was always smiling and no request was too much. I felt safe and cared for at all times. What an amazing man. Even arranged a birthday cake for a group member's birthday......now that is what I call dedication!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of sunscreen and keep on taking in liquids!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lam and his team is AMAZING!!!!!!🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Laurene Tubb

    Another exciting adventure with Exodus

    Another exciting adventure with Exodus. Our trip was at the end of April/beginning of May and it was very hot !!!! I'm told June/July is even hotter. Phew !!!! Despite this I loved every minute of it. It was a very busy trip but extremely well organised. I very much liked the additional drink stops as it was so very hot. Home made chilled lime was just the thing. I also very much liked Lam pre-booking the meals and us all going together. He found some wonderful places and we had delicious fresh food. There just isn't time to find somewhere yourself. This really worked well. We were lucky to be with a super group of people. Everyone happy and smiling and enjoying every moment..................well................except a few of the group who did get a bit sore. Please do get yourself some chamois butter and padded pants. It works a treat. It worked well having all the cycling in the beginning. The train was much better than I had expected and I slept like a log !!! Whale Island and Halong Bay were real treats and I would have loved more time there. But, overall, the trip was perfect for timing as it kept us within the 15 day Visa limit and we saw and did so much. Despite being informed in writing by Exodus that our big holdalls/suitcase stays with us all the time......this was not the case. You do need to have a rucksack or flat pack bag big enough for the one and two night stays (Whale Island and Halong Bay). In fact......it works very well to just take small luggage. Much easier to do once you get your head around it. I found the cycling easy compared with other trips I've done but I do feel it is right to be called a Level 3. Everyone cycles slightly differently and there is always a bit of a mix of abilities........which makes for a good group cycle I think.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved feeling at one with the rural landscape and the villages............although it was exciting to see the hustle and bustle of the cities too.........especially with all their motor scooters. I love their driving system and felt very comfortable when cycling amidst it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam. Well......what can I say.......such a lovely young man and always happy and smiling. He is the most organised leader I have come across but at no time did you feel you were being organised. He and his crew looked after us extremely well. He anticipated everything and made us feel special. Not always easy to do when you have one group after another after another. I do hope he wins Leader of the Year. He deserves it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do go. It's such fun..............and what an experience !!
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Alison Bourne

    An amazing trip

    We have just returned from the Cycle Vietnam holiday and had a wonderful time. We were slightly apprehensive having never done a group holiday or cycling holiday before, and I was worried that we might not be able to keep up. However, the tour was so well planned and organised that we were fine. The tour is graded a 3, and that felt right to us. It was challenging at times to us as recreational, 50 something cyclists, but not impossible. Our group consisted of 12 people - two couples, 4 lone men and 4 lone women, and that worked really well. We all got on and had a great time together. Our tour leader, Son, was incredible. He ensured we all had a good time and kept reminding us that we were on holiday and there to enjoy ourselves. He also arranged stops for us in little out-of-the-way places, which we would never have seen otherwise. The heat was gruelling - high 30s but with humidity it felt like low 40s. Someone in our group was from Puerto Rico and he found it too hot, so it wasn't just us Brits! The support truck and bus were there is you needed it - some people chose to only cycle in the morning and get on the bus for the afternoons, and that was fine. The only time I had to give up was on a 10km climb where the heat got to me after 8kms. I was picked up by the support truck which was always there if needed. Also, although the bus usually met us every 20kms with water and fresh lemon juice, on very hot uphills the stops were 10kms apart and at one point 5kms. Cycling through the small hill villages is incredible, all the children shout out to you and some of them want to touch you. Everyone was amazingly friendly. Our only regret is that it was often quite difficult to stop to take photos. As well as the cycling itself, we got to go snorkelling on Whale Island which was lovely. There is no air conditioning in Whale Island so be prepared for hot nights there. However it was stunning. Snorkels and flippers are provided but my husband took his own snorkel and mask. The trip to Halong Bay was also incredible, staying out on the boat overnight under a full moon took some beating. Our group had the boat to ourselves, and the staff on board couldn't have been more helpful. They also made great cocktails! I hadn't realised before we got there that you're not allowed to swim there, which I was a bit disappointed about until I saw the size of the jellyfish and then was relieved! We kayaked in the bay which was really good fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was all amazing but for me, the ability to cycle in areas we would never have gone to on a bus or car trip was so special, coupled with the friendliness of the people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son was incredible, as were the support team. He spent time encouraging us, telling us the history of Vietnam, negotiating for us with local people, and showing us the hidden side of Vietnam. He was also brilliant about sorting out things like getting our laundry done locally rather than using the hotel laundry, and arranging for us to order pizza delivered to the train for the overnight journey

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the humidity. It hadn't occurred to me that on non-cycling days we might get through 3 changes of clothes in a few hours! Don't eat the food on the overnight train. As well as it not looking very appetising you have to go to the dining car which is the only place on the train where smoking is allowed. It's not pleasant!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would thoroughly recommend this trip if you are a competent cyclist, you don't have to be amazing but you probably do need to have a fair level of fitness.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Sharon Burton

    A fantastic journey through Vietnam

    This has to be a trip of a lifetime. Cycling through a country that is unspoilt, dramatic countryside, mountains, lakes, coast, busy, manic towns and cities where the traffic stops for no-one. It is a country like no other and needs to be experienced to be believed. Be prepared to never come up for air. The people are so friendly and helpful and the food so delicious. Our group bonded well which made for the trip and our support team looked after us well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Whale Island and being blown away by its remoteness and uniqueness Cycling up the Hai Van Pass. Cycling 30km down a mountain pass where the temperature ranged from feeling like being in a fridge to feeling like being in a sauna. Finally, Halong Bay Cruise. Cycling through the craziness and mayhem of towns and cities but being expertly guided through safely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tong was good fun, very knowledgeable and knew his stuff. He was also very fit and cracked the whip every day. He was also very motivating and inspirational and kept us on our toes. He also looked after our health and safety implicitly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long days in the saddle, intense heat and to get very sweaty. Please try and get fit before you travel as it would be a shame to miss even 1 hour of cycling. The scenery is so varied, the towns are manically busy so be prepared for some hairy moments but the guides ensure you are safely taken through the craziness of it all. It has to be seen to be believed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will not be disappointed with this trip if you go with eyes wide open. It certainly exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect the cycling to be so difficult and I am a fit person so it helps to even do some cycling before you go. Be prepared to see a lot of rubbish as the country doesn’t seem to have got its head around recycling yet and it’s a shame to see the countryside and coastal areas littered with rubbish. However, that is a minor criticism in what is a beautiful country. My memories will live with me forever from this trip.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Bob Adams

    Cycling Vietnam

    This was a brilliant holiday which exceeded all my expectations. So well looked after by our leader, Toan Dao, this was a chance to see the real Vietnam. There were so many other activities included in the trip as well as the cycling and the accommodation was faultless. Great group of fellow travellers who felt like old friends by the end of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling the Hai Van pass

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it. You won't be disappointed.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Mabel Plesse

    Amazing Adventure!

    This is a great cycling adventure and a wonderful way to visit Vietnam! In addition to cycling through beautiful cities, villages, mountains and ocean landscapes, other memorable experiences included a wonderful relaxing overnight on Whale Island eco-lodge, overnight on a sleeper train, cruise and kayak in scenic Ha long Bay. Our enthusiastic tour leader Tung did an excellent job leading and keeping our group safe. I appreciated all the behind the scene logistics traveling from Saigon to Hanoi and seamless coordination of all activities on the tour. The support team driver Nhan and mechanic Trieu also did a fantastic job keeping us hydrated and fueled with fresh fruits and local snacks. We had a fantastic group of cyclists that made the trip even more enjoyable. The Vietnamese people were very friendly and inviting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling Hoi Van Pass. Visiting the beautiful city of Hoi An. Cruising and kayak on Halong Bay. Island stay at an eco-lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tung was excellent. He kept the group safe and took great care of accommodating everyones need. He prepped us well with the days activities. It was also nice he shared his personal history and experiences with our group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Would totally recommend the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not only did our mechanic Trieu help support the maintenance of our bikes, but he did an excellent job taking care of our refueling needs. His friendliness, helpfulness (wetting our personal towels, filling our water bottles, ...) and pride in supporting our cycling group shined especially in the way he lined up our bikes in the beginning and end of the day as well as the rest stops. Impressive!!!
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Beatrice Chachel

    Want to bike through Vietnam - choose Exodus

    Our experience booking a trip with Exodus was great. From the time of booking the trip to our return flight, after our trip, was working out perfectly. Thanks to a wonderful, amazing tour guide, mechanic, truck- and bus driver we had a well organized trip. Not once did we have to wait for a connection. The hotels were wonderful, the bikes we had, were in perfect shape and the mechanic, on a lay-over day, changed all our chains. Lunches we ate were supporting smaller restaurants in many rural settings. We highly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    While riding along the street, many kids would come out of their houses and call out "hello"! Kids riding their bikes home from school would great us with a friendly "hello".

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chi, our group leader, was amazing, helpful, genuine, caring, organized, engaging, knowledgeable, punctual and many more wonderful characteristics. He was not only a great group leader, but you could see that the support team (mechanic, bus driver and truck driver) respected him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the ride from Saigon to Hanoi. Not the other way around
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Chris Leadbeater

    What a fantastic experience - absolutely world class from Exodus

    Other reviewers say it all, but i would add the following. What a great group we had, 10 Brits and 8 kiwis - as one of our number said, we quickly became like family. Our tour leader, Linh Vo was outstanding and was always working hard to keep us safe, fed and entertained, but it was his willingness to go above and beyond to help members of our group that had some serious challenges to deal with that marks him out as an exceptional tour leader. we were blessed with a superb support team (Y, Vu and Tanag - we salute you) and all four guys worked seamlessly to deliver a unique and truly memorable experience. Vietnam is wonderful - the people, the food, the scenery and the traffic in Saigon !! But it was made 100# better because of what we learned and where Linh selected for us to eat some truly wonderful grub. We cant recommend this highly enough - quite simply the best holiday we have ever had and a list or fabulous memories too long to list here. Thanks to our wonderful group, to Linh and his team and to Exodus for creating life long memories

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    30k downhill from Dalat and then 10k up the Hai Van pass a couple, of days later. Oh yes, and whale Island of course - fabulous

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exceptional - a truly superb ambassador for his country

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it - live the moment, live every single experience, savour the food, meet the friendly, warm and welcoming people and remember - the safest way to cross the road in Saigon is to just walk slowly across and keeping your fingers crossed and your eyes closed :-)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you - we want to do it all again
  • Reviewed March 2019
    John Wynsma

    Fantastic Cycling Trip

    This was a fantastic cycling holiday and excellent way to see a good part of Vietnam and experience its culture from the bustling cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, to historical cities such as Hoi An and Hue, as well as local villages and varying countryside. The trip is well balanced between biking (8 of 14 days), other activities (i.e. exploring the Cu Chi tunnels, caving, snorkeling, touring historic sites, shopping, etc.) and rest days at some idyllic locations (Whale Island, Ha Long Bay). The biking is rated as moderate and geared for biking enthusiasts or generally fit people as its mostly flat, some undulating sections, some "upulating" sections as our guide liked to characterize the predominantly uphill sections, a few tough climbs and a couple of super fun descents! The first few days on cycling is outside Ho Chi Minh, a bit busy and not too interesting (although the destinations were great). Thereafter the cycling becomes much more interesting and really fun! The trip is extremely well organized - I can't say enough good things about our guide Son and the rest of the team. Our group of 17 was diverse but bonded quickly, were very supportive of one another (even to those who spread the Canadian cold around...) and enjoyed a lot of laughs and Tiger beer together, and even some singalongs with "Kennaoke" and his ukulele! The food and accommodation exceeded our expectations, and the Vietnamese people are extremely friendly and hospitable. Fantastic trip, don't hesitate to do this one!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Biking, its a toss up between the joy of the 5000 foot descent from Dalat and the 2000 foot climb of the Hai Van Pass (wasn't smiling nearing as much but great sense of accomplishment). Culturally, riding through the countryside with its lush rice paddies, water buffalo, hard working locals and many friendly children saying "hello" as you passed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Son, was awesome. Well organized, very informative on Vietnamese history, culture and the environment (kudos here), communication skills were excellent (more understandable than most Brits...yikes, going to be in trouble for that comment!), very safety conscious, enthusiastic and encouraging, and able to keep the group focused and on schedule. Son and his family hosted dinner on the final evening of the trip, everyone from our group attended, and it was a magical evening, amazing food, lots of shared memories, laughs and hugs! The entire team supporting Son was also excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Do some training beforehand, you'll enjoy the rides more and you'll want to experience the satisfaction of climbing the Hai Van pass. 2. Try all the food, its mostly great, just beware of the little red chilies! 3. Be prepared to barter in the markets and recognize you are getting fake products (make good gifts!) 4. Don't drink the water, stick to beer! Tiger is "go to" beer but the rest are good too, and inexpensive! 5. Buy some tailor made clothing in Hoi An at Yaly's or another reputable place. Its great quality, good value. I bought a number of Egyptian cotton dress shirts (and promptly threw out my older off the shelf ones when I got home) and my wife bought a few jumpsuits that she is eagerly waiting to display once the snow melts!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    First trip with Exodus, very impressed, highly highly recommended!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    John Grant

    Cycling Vietnam

    A great trip really well organised from start to finish, fantastic to see so many places in one holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without a doubt the people of Vietnam, fantastic people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An excellent group leader who kept everything together and on time. Great knowledge of Vietnam and its history a really interesting man with a good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some practice in and take Cycling padded pants. Get your drinks before you get on the overnight train as they ran out of beer very quickly.

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