Duration: 15 Days
Starts / Ends: Hanoi / Hanoi
Tour Route: Hanoi – Kim Boi – Perfume Pagoda – Ninh Binh – Hai Phong – Cat Ba – Halong Bay – Sa Pa
Tour level: Moderate
Group size: Private only
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi – City tour
Day 3: Hanoi – Kim Boi
Day 4: Kim Boi – Perfume pagoda
Day 5: Perfume pagoda – Ninh Binh
Day 6: Ninh Binh
Day 7: Ninh Binh – Hai Phong
Day 8: Hai Phong – Cat Ba
Day 9: Cat Ba Island
Day 10: Cat Ba Island – Halong Bay
Day 11: Halong – Hanoi – Sa Pa
Day 12: Lao Cai
Day 13: Sa Pa – Ta Van valley
Day 14: Ta Van valley – Sa Pa
Day 15: Departure
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi (D)
Upon arrival we will are welcomed and transferred to the hotel. Tonight before dinner we have a trip briefing with our Cycling Tour Leader who will give you the necessary information you need before taking the trip then the first dinner will be served in a local restaurant with the opportunity to sample some of the specialty dishes of Hanoi. Afterwards we will see the famous Water Puppet show at The Water Puppet Theater on the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Day 2: Hanoi – City tour (B, L)
Hanoi is sometimes called the Paris of the Orient with its shaded boulevards, verdant parks and ochre buildings that retain an old worldly charm. This morning we will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which has become a popular pilgrimage place for the Vietnamese, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s House on stilts and the One Pillar pagoda. Following this we will visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 and the first Vietnamese University. After lunch we will visit the fine Ethnology Museum followed by an hour’s drive on a Cyclo (a pedal rickshaw) to visit the old quarter of Hanoi.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum opening time: Open from Tuesday to Thursday and weekends from 8am to 11pm. Closed on Mondays and Fridays. The mausoleum is closed for two months of the year, usually October and November, when Ho Chi Minh’s body is maintenance by Russian expert.
Day 3: Hanoi – Kim Boi – (cycling around 60km) (B, L, D)
Today, after breakfast, we drive out of Hanoi then gear up for our first day of riding. We will also meet our additional cycling crew. One vehicle is our bus, which will act as a support vehicle and carry our luggage. The other is a truck for carrying the bikes. We are also introduced to our bicycles, each designated bike then being adjusted and fitted with our own equipment as required. We will receive a briefing on how to ride the bikes and how to handle the traffic in Vietnam. We will then set out for our first ride in Vietnam through the valley of sugarcane and rice fields along Highway 6 until we reach the biggest hydropower station in Vietnam. After lunch we keep riding on Highway 6 and the first challenge is up to the top of Doc Kun. The pass is open to Hoa Binh town and the Black River. Tonight we stay in one of the best resorts in the northwest with its own hot spring.
Day 4: Kim Boi – Perfume pagoda – (cycling around 60km) (B, L, D)
Today’s part – cycle is on an excellent road through many Muong and Viet villages with rice fields and children who will no doubt try to do hi-fives with you. Stay in guesthouse.
Day 5: Perfume pagoda – Ninh Binh – (cycling around 60km) (B, L, D)
Following breakfast we cycle through more superb mountain country en route to Phu Ly. Along the way we pass through several different villages and are able to see at close quarters how people go about their daily lives.
Day 6: Ninh Binh – (cycling around 40km) (B, L)
After early breakfast we transfer to Dong Dao plantation, where we start cycling. Today we cycle about 30 km on the panoramic road to Cuc Phuong National Park. We will go through the pineapple plantations, valleys, villages, and meet friendly locals along the way. We arrive at Cuc Phuong National Park at around noon, and enjoy our packed lunch here. Afterwards, we cycle about 2 hours through the National Park and make a couple of stops to visit the Cave of Ancient Men, and take a walk before heading back to Ninh Binh.
Day 7: Ninh Binh – Hai Phong – (cycling around 80km) (B, L, D)
Leaving Ninh Binh after breakfast, we head northeast by bus and bike through the spectacular villages and landscapes to Hai Phong on Highway 10. Overnight in Hai Phong.
Day 8: Hai Phong – Cat Ba – (cycling around 40km) (B, L, D)
Leaving Hai Phong on bike for the final day’s riding, we board 2 ferries which take about 3 hours to get to Cat Ba island, which looks toward the the largest seaport in North Vietnam. After a picnic lunch at the entrance of the National Park, we will trek through the Park to the top of the mountain, where you can see the excellent view. We continue on biking to Cat Ba town where the view is so beautiful and the road open to the ocean. Overnight stay in Cat Ba.
Day 9: Cat Ba Island (B)
Free day at your leisure
Day 10: Cat Ba – Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Today is a free day during which you can relax completely on the boat to Halong bay. This is the big chance to enjoy the World Natural Heritage site and the seafood dishes served on board. If the weather is nice we will have time to kayak and explore the tranquil Bay with its open caves. Tonight we stay on board and at anchor in the bay.
Day 11: Halong – Hanoi – Lao Cai (B, L)
As the sun rises, another wonderful day starts. After breakfast, we will continue on kayaking or take a bamboo boat to visit a floating village on HaLong bay and see how the people live between a thousand islands and ocean. After one hour we return to our boat to cruise to Bai Tu Long bay, where we will see Turtle islet, Human Head islet, Teapot Islet, Bai Tho Mountain as well as the other side of Halong city. At 11:00AM we have our last lunch on board before taking the bus back to Hanoi. Tonight we go by overnight train to Lao Cai.
Day 12: Lao Cai – Sa Pa (B)
Upon arriving at Lao Cai in the early morning, we will go to the Chinese border gate to see the start of early morning trade between the two countries before driving 35km to the former French hill station of Sapa. In the afternoon we walk to the nearby Cat Cat valley, visiting the waterfall and some H’mong villages along the way. Later we drive the short distance to the Red Dao village of Ta Phin to visit the old French monastery which is nestled in a picturesque valley. We spend tonight in Sapa town.
Day 13: Sa Pa – Ta Van valley (B, L, D)
Today we descend into one of the most picturesque valleys in the region. On the way we can see the terraced rice paddies, rose plantations, streams, schools, and the many minority ethnic groups who live there. We arrive at the small villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van inhabited by the Zay, and H’Mong minorities. Here we will be their guests in a traditional home stay.
Day 14: Ta Van valley – Sa Pa (B)
Bidding farewell to the local home-stay, we continue our trek through the stunning landscapes visiting several ethnic villages along the way. Later we meet up with our support vehicle for the drive back to Sapa and a shower before our overnight train back to Hanoi.
Day 15: Departure (B)
Arrival back to Hanoi, we are free time until we take the flight to home.