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Riding bicycle in the rice field

Cycling the Red River Delta

2024 Small Group Departure - Example 9 Day Tour
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Join this unforgettable 9-day small group cycling expedition through the enchanting landscapes of the Red River Delta and see the natural beauty, culture, and history of Vietnam. Start your journey in the bustling streets of Hanoi and pedal through scenic countryside, vibrant rice paddies, and charming rural villages. From Hanoi, your cycling adventure takes you to the serene landscapes of Mai Chau, where lush green valleys and towering limestone cliffs await. Continue to explore the historic province of Thanh Hoa, home to ancient temples and traditional villages. Next, venture to Ninh Binh, known as the "Halong Bay on Land," where towering limestone emerges from emerald-green rice paddies. Finally, conclude your adventure by cruising the iconic Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its emerald waters and towering limestone islands
Group cycling in VietnamBiking along the fieldsCrossing in the remote village in VietnamLocal vendor in the streetLocal resting in Hoan Kiem LakeLocal village in VietnamHa Long BayBoat tour in Ha Long BayFishing village in Ha Long BayRiding bicycle in the rice field
Highlights
  • Explore Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter and its rich culture and history
  • Cycle through Vietnam’s lush green valleys and spectacular karst mountains
  • Visit the serene Pu Luong Nature Reserve and Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Experience authentic local way of life in Northern Vietnam
  • Venture into the tranquil Van Long Nature Reserve, the ‘Halong Bay on Land’
  • Enjoy cruising on the world-renowned Halong Bay
Places Visited
Activity Level: Challenging
Requires high-intensity physical efforts that push the limits of one's fitness. May include tours with multiple days in a row of strenuous physical activity or single requiring more than 7 hours of activity. Recommended for travelers maintaining a demanding fitness level.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

The guide will meet your group at the hotel in the late afternoon. You will spend most of the evening exploring the city by walking around Vietnam’s capital, visiting the charm of the colonial era, and exploring the surroundings of Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of the capital city around which all aspects of life in Hanoi revolve.

Hoan Kiem Lake is also a place that is associated with a fascinating legend: One day, the heavens entrusted to the Emperor, Le Thai To, a magic sword to chase the invading Chinese out of Vietnam. The name "Lake of the Returned Sword" comes from the fact that, after completing the task and strolling around the lake, a gigantic tortoise emerged from the waters, took the sword, and gave it back to its divine owners. After the walk, you will go to dinner at a local restaurant. 

Note: Rooms will be at guests' disposal from 14:00. Recommended flight time should arrive before 15:00 p.m. Alternative airport pick-up can be provided as a supplement for travelers arriving on a different flight.

Day 2: Hanoi

Today, the highlights of Hanoi, the Temple of Literature (Vietnam’s first and thousand-year-old university), and the Old Quarter await you, featuring a unique mix of artisans and traders scattered among the thirty-six streets, each named for the crafts that Vietnam (and perhaps even that street) boasts.

In the afternoon, you will not only choose your bike for the ride tomorrow, but the guide will also give you some helpful tips on how to ride Vietnam’s trails and roads and an overview of your incredible journey ahead.

Day 3: Hoa Binh | Mai Chau

In the morning, you will leave Hanoi and take the highway for a transfer to the cycling starting point in Hoa Binh. There, you will start your cycling journey by exploring the hidden village roads running through many plantations of sugar cane, oranges, and corn. On the way, you will be passing by many villages inhabited by the Muong and White Thai ethnic groups located in My Hoa and Phu Vinh Communes. You will walk up the main road for the lunch break to eat at a nearby restaurant.

Proceed with your cycling tour towards Nam Cuong and Ba Khan after lunch. From here, the ride will be on the road winding through the sharp and karstic mountains. Enjoy the breathtaking views over Hoa Binh Lake as you make your way to the waterfall, which is located 15 kilometers below the main road. Note that access to this point may be more difficult on rainy days. Once you reach the waterfall, you can take a refreshing swim before heading to the pick-up point for the transfer to the beautiful green valley of Mai Chau.

Cycling Level: 3 - Challenging - For people who practice biking all year long, including over extended distances
Distance: 50 to 60 kilometers or approx. 31-37 miles
Duration of cycling: 5 to 6 hours
Difference in elevation: +420 / -210 meters (1,377 / -689 feet)
Terrain: Paved roads and village roads
Transportation: 100 kilometers (62 miles), 2 hours, full-day vehicle support

Day 4: Mai Chau

Today, you will transfer from Mai Chau to the Loong Luong intersection and leave the busy road behind to start your ride on a back road winding along the imposing mountains.

The tour will begin at the green tea plantations and proceed through the Black Dao and Flower H'Mong ethnic groups' villages. Then, you will descend to Chieng Yen village, where you may have the chance to witness the peaceful scene of children riding on one-gear bicycles coming back from school. Arriving at the Tat Nang Waterfall, take a break to relax and enjoy your picnic lunch here.

After lunch, you will continue your journey by cycling along the hidden road, through stunning mountains, and overlooking the rice terraces. You will return to your hotel in Mai Chau after a trip up to the main road at the end of the day.

Cycling Level: 3 - Challenging - For people who practice biking all year long, including over extended distances
Distance: 60–70 kilometers or approx. 37- 43 miles
Duration of cycling: 5 to 6 hours
Note: it's possible to shorten the cycling tour to 40 Km (24 miles)
Difference in elevation: +400 / -1100 meters (1,312 / -3600 feet)
Terrain: Mainly paved roads
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support
Duration of transfer: from the starting point/return transfer, it will take From 1 to 1 hour and 30 minutes

Day 5: Pu Luong

Today, you will spend the whole morning cycling around the Mai Chau Valley to fully discover and take in its beauty. Along the ride, you will have the chance to see a beautiful picture capturing the distinct and authentic traditional lifestyle of the Northern Vietnamese ethnic minorities populating the area, their stilt houses, the local schools, and the picturesque rice fields.

Passing the villages of Chieng Sai, Mai Ha, Ban Cum, and Mai Hich, you will catch glimpses of the customs, people, and traditions that showcase the intrinsic beauty of this region, aside from its clear natural splendor. Finally, you will reach the village of Buoc and enjoy your lunch break.

After lunch in the village, hop on your bike and cycle to explore other villages in Mai Chau before heading to one of Northern Vietnam’s highlights: the enchanting Pu Luong National Park. Here, the incredible limestone landscapes, quintessential Vietnamese views, and peaceful rural life are your reward for the physical work you have put in!

As you ride through the park, you can also look for birds that are hiding among the flora, which is diverse and includes almost 1000 listed plant species. The route takes you through beautiful villages, rice fields framed by karst mountains, and the ancestral jungle, a region and part of Northern Vietnam untouched by most travelers. The cycling road will lead you directly to your accommodation in Pu Luong, or you may need a pick-up along the way.

Cycling Level: 4 - Extreme - For those that practice biking all year long and regularly participate in endurance sports. Looking for a real challenge
Distance: 60-80 kilometers or approx. 37 - 49 miles
Duration of cycling:  6 to 8 hours
Difference in elevation: +1100 / -250 meters (3,608.92 / -820 feet)
Terrain: Mainly paved roads
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support

Day 6: Ninh Binh

Starting from your accommodation in Pu Luong, you will cycle along the concrete village roads, enjoy the fresh air, and admire the verdant landscaping while passing by the beautiful rice terraces spilling over the area. Along the ride, you will have the opportunity to visit the water wheels and learn about the traditional irrigation system of the area. You will finish your ride today in the late morning and have a transfer to Ninh Binh. On the way, you will stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

Cycling Level: 2 - Difficult - For those who practice sport at least once a week and are in good physical condition
Distance: 40–50 kilometers or approx. 25 - 31 miles
Duration of cycling: 4 hours
Difference in elevation: +200 / -900 meters (656 / -2953 feet)
Terrain: Mainly paved road
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support
Transfer time and duration: 140 kilometers (86.99 miles) to 3 hours

Day 7: Ninh Binh | Cuc Phuong National Park

During today's ride, you will be surrounded by stunning karst formations and beautiful rice paddy fields, which are often referred to as "Halong Bay on Land." Along the way, you can stop and visit the Dinh and Le Temples. Then, continue cycling through the beautiful landscapes of Trang An before heading to a peaceful place and an ideal destination for people looking to immerse themselves in nature, the Cuc Phuong National Park. You can experience the sights and sounds of a tropical rainforest by riding on the one road that runs through the park.

End your cycling trip for the day by getting a transfer back to the hotel.

Cycling Level: 3 - Challenging - For people who practice biking all year long, including over extended distances
Distance: 60–70 kilometers or approx. 37 - 43 miles
Duration of cycling: 6 hours
Difference in elevation: +218 / -225 meters (715.22 / -738 feet)
Terrain: Mainly flat roads, easy to ride
Transportation: Full-day vehicle support

Day 8: Ninh Binh | Ha Long Bay

In the morning, you will head towards the famous Halong Bay. You will arrive in Halong at around noon and embark on a cruise around the bay. This world-famous bay has one of the most beautiful landscapes in Vietnam, with giant rock islets covered in lush vegetation overlooking the waters. Halong Bay includes some 1,900 islands and islets of rocky peaks, often uninhabited and untouched by humans. These scenes create a spectacular marine landscape, which earned it UNESCO World Heritage status in 1994. 

Savor mouthwatering, freshly caught seafood from the bay for lunch and dinner while onboard cruising around Ha Long Bay. Do not miss the sunset on the upper deck for stunning photo opportunities. At the end of the day, you will also have the chance to participate in an evening boat fishing excursion.

Distance: 180 kilometers (111.84 miles), 3 hours

Day 9: Ha Long Bay | Hanoi | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Early in the morning (the time depends on the season), wake up to enjoy the stunning sunrise over the aquamarine waters of the bay. Enjoy a morning cruise around the bay until you disembark and return to Hanoi on a road lined with rice fields typical of the Red River Delta. 

Arrive in Hanoi at about mid-afternoon and transfer to Noi Bai airport for your onward flight.

Note: Please book your flight to depart from Hanoi after 19:00 PM.

Accommodations

Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Boutique Hotel & Spa

Reception area
Hotel lounge
Hotel restaurant

Sol Bungalows Mai Chau

Sol Bungalows Mai Chau
Hotel cottages
Sol Bungalows Mai Chau

Puluong Valley Home

Puluong Valley Home
Puluong Valley Home
Swimming pool

Ninh Binh Legend Hotel

Ninh Binh Legend Hotel
Swimming pool area
Indoor swimming pool

Calypso Cruises

Calypso Cruises
Reception area
Deck swimming pool area

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$1,975 2-3 travelers

Notes

Select a Date
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • 7 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gear Rental: Bikes & Safety Gear (helmet, first aid kit, snack & bottle of water)
  • All sightseeing, guiding and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • All local boat rentals, as mentioned in the program
  • Transportation by private vehicle with A/C + On cycling days in Vietnam: 1–3 persons, a 15-seater van
  • English-speaking cycling guide, as mentioned and in the following arrangement: Group 1 to 3 people: 1 cycling guide
  • Transportation by private vehicle with A/C + On cycling days in Vietnam: 4–7 persons, a 15-seater van and a truck
  • Transportation by private vehicle with A/C + On cycling days in Vietnam: 8–12 persons, a 30-seater van and a truck
  • English-speaking cycling guide, as mentioned and in the following arrangement: Group 4 to 15 people: 1 cycling guide + 1 mechanic
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • International flight tickets and airport taxes. All internal and regional flight tickets in economy class
  • Visa fees upon arrival in Vietnam
  • Meals and drinks which are not mentioned in the program

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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