The best way to gauge just how a PaintedRoads tour runs is to listen to those who took part, and to this end, I am eternally grateful when those who joined us on tour return home and take a little time to write with their thoughts.
For this year's Northeast Vietnam tour I am particularly grateful as everyone returning home hit the ground running, as they say, with what I recall as being a relentless run-up to the Yuletide season.
Many thanks to all who wrote, I too had a wonderful time and I look forward to seeing you all again, hopefully before too long.
Pam & Gerry Vaughan - New Zealand
Our first cycle tour with Painted Roads was an amazing experience and one we will cherish forever. The NE Vietnam trip showed us a part of the world that we never thought we would see. We were immersed in the ethnic minority groups and their culture, stunning scenery, delicious food and good accommodation throughout the trip. The organisation was outstanding, David and Phong were caring and considerate, making this trip a delight to be part of, and their ongoing banter added much laughter and fun. And the "undulating rides" something we thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks for the great experience Painted Roads.
Anna Rolando - Italy
Touring in North East Vietnam with Painted Roads was a unique and rewarding experience. Each day was rich and full with new discoveries: rice terraces, incredible jungled pinnacles, deep valleys, breathtaking views, painted-like mountain profiles, hill tribes people dressed in their beautiful traditional costumes attending their daily duties, rural life, busy local markets, remote villages, flocks of children and friendly smiles. After a day standing the challenge of ever ‘undulating’ terrain, the simple, fresh and lovely food cooked in a local restaurant made the perfect ambience for a convivial dinner.
David is an experienced cyclist, a professional tour leader, a passionate traveller and a jolly travel companion. The fact that he supervises the organisation in every aspect and takes part in person in the tours he runs, makes the difference. The local crew – professional, friendly and helpful - is the cherry on the top of the cake. No surprise that so many members of the group were returning customers, and that the new ones – like me – had come across Painted Roads by word of mouth and testimonials of friends and acquaintances from previous journeys.
I strongly recommend David and Painted Road Cycling, and I look forward to joining the next adventure with them.
David Morrison - Aukland
Having just completed the Painted Roads North-East Vietnam cycle trip in December 2016, I would like to thank David and Phong for an incredible cycling adventure. The incomparable scenery, the superb local food and the friendly people we met on the way made this a trip to remember. David ensures that everyone has a great time both on the bicycle with his well-planned route and relaxing with a beer afterwards. The food provided for all meals and the important tea breaks on the journey was excellent. David and Phong ensure that all the little details are well managed and the trip worked like clockwork. This is my second trip with Painted Roads and I will be returning for more cycling adventures with David.
Wally Dumont - Canada
I highly recommend doing the NE Vietnam tour as the scenery is probably some of the most remarkable backdrops one will ever have a chance to see when cycling.
One needs to see it in person to appreciate all its beauty, local culture and culinary cuisine.
What a great experience.
It's always lovely when those who came along take a little time to write afterwards and let me know what they thought of our journey together. And judging by the comments from those who have recently been in touch following the inaugural Tr-Nations tour through Vietnam, Lao and Thailand, we have just had a splendid time.
So here are some thoughts from some of those who recently rode from Vietnam's Hanoi to Thailand's Chiang Rai with me.
Thanks for coming along folks, and I look forward to seeing you all again, hopefully soon.
"The Tri-nations tour exceeded my expectations in all areas. The scenery was spectacular, like something out of a movie. As we moved from country to country through some very remote villages the locals and children all gave us a wave with a smile on their faces. I feel I have seen the country, not just the tourist hotspots".
"What I find his most important asset is that all participants get the impression that David is personally looking out for them and that his bottom line is not foremost in his thoughts, giving the result that accommodation, meals, snacks and hire bikes are probably the best you will find on any Asian tour. I encourage anybody who is thinking about going on a cycling tour where PaintedRoads has a presence to first make contact with David - you will not be disappointed."
"This trip was my first experience cycling mountains and I was apprehensive at first and fully prepared to use the support vehicle. I gave it my best shot and with the encouragement of David and his team I have come away with a sense of achievement, tackling far more mountain passes than I ever expected to on the trip".
"David is an excellent tour leader and uses excellent local guides and drivers who make you feel welcome in their country and help to give an insight to the local culture and cuisine".
"Excellent food, splendid company and awesome riding."
"In the past few years I have taken part in Painted Roads’ tours in Northeast Vietnam, South Vietnam and North Thailand, and with another cycling tour operator, I cycled through Laos. Having enjoyed all of the lands on separate tours the opportunity of combining all three countries into one long tour could not be missed.
To say that I found the Painted Roads Tri-Nations tour the most challenging, but at the same, the most enjoyable and satisfying of all my twelve cycling tours to date is an understatement. I could continue in this testimonial by comparing the routes, scenery, atmosphere and cycling through all three countries, but that would not emphasise what makes a PaintedRoads tour superior to all other tours. That superiority is simply the presence on all tours of David, who by living permanently in Asia is alert to all possible route and accommodation changes and can make alternative arrangements seamlessly".
"The inaugural Tri-Nations tour appealed to me as it traverses three distant lands, combining adventure and mystique. And so for me, it became my third Painted Roads tour. I find David Walker's tours so different in that his personal attention covers all the things you expect whilst also helping you take care of all the little things you forgot to bring".
"This tour gives a taste of it all..from cycling in the high country and magical scenery with buddies from far afield who soon become friends..to super downhills, and snacks by a cool shady stream. The tour has hills, and more hills, but it also has long stretches of flat passing through remote villages where people's lives can be seen and experienced, cooking, working, and even rice whiskey distillation in the back shed".
"The tour is relaxed, but the attention to detail behind the scenes on this tour makes it all work like clockwork, just turn up, cycle, and have a fabulous time - and of course a cold beer always greets a weary traveller come day’s end...the David Walker way, you’ll just love it...I did."