Itinerary

(meals key: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner)

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi.

Arriving at Hanoi's international airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel in the bustling Old Quarter. You can either relax after your flight to Vietnam or head out to explore this vibrant and exciting stage where people's lives are played out amidst a maze of streets that wind through the wonderful colours and textures of fading colonial architecture.

This evening we will come together for a meeting with the tour leader, local guide and the rest of the group. Following our briefing, we can get to know our companions for this adventure during our first meal together.

Cycling: 0km

Meals:

Day 2: Hanoi to Bac Ha.

After checking our bikes this morning we will leave the bustle of Hanoi behind us for an afternoon transfer in our support bus to the small town of Bac Ha, the launchpad for our cycling adventure through one of SE Asia's most stunning regions.

Cycling: 0km

Bus: Approx. 4 hours

Meals: BLD

Day 3: Bac Ha to Hoang Su Phi.

When we first explored this section of the tour I found it absolutely stunning and was very eager to share it. Alas by 2013 the unsealed road had become so unpredictable that we decided it was longer practical to use. Fortunately, the Vietnamese road planners were thinking along similar lines and by 2015 a sealed, quiet, rural road was in place allowing us to once again enjoy an absolutely stunning beginning to our Northeast Vietnam adventure. Following the initial 10KMS climb we undulating through mountain scenery that is simply spectacular as we head towards a wonderful downhill before lunch in Xin Man town.

Our afternoon's ride is an altogether different affair as it undulates gently along the valley of the Chay River, before a final three-kilometre climb and descent to our overnight stop in the small town of Hoang Su Phi.

Cycling: 80KMS.

Meals: BLD

Day 4: Hoang Su Phi to Ha Giang.

We set out this morning along a quiet rural road that rises and falls along the Chay Valley. After 16 kilometres we begin the steep climb to the first of three passes that take us through a series of fairytale-like valleys. The dense green forestation of the valley walls is streaked with the silver flashes of waterfalls, whilst in the valley below the colouring varies with season - brown, green, or yellow according to the rice harvest. The textures of nature combined with the man-made rice terraces are breathtaking. The final pass is called Heaven Gate II from where we begin wonderful 17-kilometre descent to lunch. In contrast to the morning's hilly ride, the afternoon is a fast ride on a wider road with gentle undulations as we head for our hotel in the provincial capital town of Ha Giang.

Cycling: 105KMS.

Meals: BLD

Day 5: Ha Giang to Tam Son.

We begin the day with twenty-six kilometres winding through a narrow valley followed by a ten-kilometre climb to Heaven Gate Pass. At times the climb is steep, always the views are stunning. The climb flattens out onto a plateau at around eight hundred metres in altitude where rice grows over areas of flat land rather than on the more usual hillside terraces. The plateau drops away and in the far distance are layers of karst hills. For a few kilometres, we follow the narrow road that crosses the plateau until the final three kilometres climb, our third Heaven Gate Pass in three days - and the views as we descend to the small town of Tam Son are, indeed, heavenly.

Cycling: 50KMS

Meals: BLD

Day 6:  Tam Son to Yen Minh.

We begin today's ride with an unmissable ride north of Tam Son heading towards the Chinese border. Although not necessary to reach today’s destination the landscape here is so stunning it would be a travesty to not explore it. And so for 35 kilometres, we explore a stunning plateau through a remote Middle-Earth like landscape that is sparsely populated by rural minority groups. This ride will lead us neatly back through Tam Son and down to the base of the Nho Que valley where we follow the river gently undulating to our picnic lunch. Leaving the valley we follow a clear mountain stream as we begin a long gentle winding climb to the pass above and onto a lovely ridge-ride dipping in and out of the shade of fragrant pine trees. The views we glimpse through the trees are, as always, beautiful, with the rich textures and colours of rice terraces, cornfields, and woodland in the valleys either side. The day ends following the ridge as is descends for ten kilometres to where the two valleys become one, and the small town of Yen Minh.

Cycling: 85KMS.

Meals: BLD

DAY 7: Yen Minh to Dong Van.

From Yen Minh, a wide fertile valley leads us to today's first climb, seventeen kilometres up and onto Caonguyenda, The Rocky Plateau. Punctuated with jagged limestone and waves of karst hills stretching off into the distance, it is akin to riding into a mythical Chinese painting. Crossing the plateau is a series of small stiff climbs and wonderful downhills with a backdrop so fairytales like that you can well imagine hobbits elves and unicorns wandering the plateau.

Cycling: 50KMS

Meals: BLD

DAY 8: Dong Van - Rest Day.

In the middle of the Rocky Plateau and boasting an old market square with crumbling textured colonial architecture Dong Van is an ideal venue to rest and recharge our batteries. Relaxing at one of the cafés on the square and having an amble around town is an agreeable way to spend your day here, or for those with excess energy the beautiful surrounding countryside offers the opportunity for exploration and exercise

Cycling: 0

Meals: B

DAY 9: Dong Van to Bao Lac.

Leaving Dong Van the morning's ride sees us continue our dramatic traverse of the mystical Rocky Plateau. We climb and decent and have two significant downhills before lunch, the first of 13KMS, and the second of 17KMS during which we lose more than a thousand metres of altitude.

By now we have now left the Rocky Plateau behind us and the ride's character changes for the afternoon. The road remains rural and undulating with but one climb to speak of as we follow a valley where often the floor is cultivated, yet the walls are jungle-covered.

Cycling: 100KMS

Meals: BLD

DAY 10: Bao Lac to Nguyen Binh

Today is a day of following valleys and crossing the small passes between them. We alternate from less than 300metres to over 1000. The valleys are green and fertile, rice is the main crop here and the sides of the valleys are often thick jungle. Towards day's end, we rise to over 1000 metres and are rewarded once again with stunning views before the final ten kilometres descending to our night's accommodation.

Cycling: 85KMS

Meals: BLD

DAY 11: Nguyen Binh to Ba Be.

The day begins with a gentle and rewarding twenty-kilometre climb followed by a most wonderful reward, the longest descent of the journey. For twenty-six kilometres we freewheel gently down into the valley below barely turning the pedals. By the time we are required to put a little effort into our cycling, we will have lost a thousand metres and be back in the tropical warmth. The remainder of the day is all climbing and descending as we make our way to Ba Be where we can celebrate a most memorable adventure with cold beers and cheer.

Cycling: 90KMS.

Meals: BLD

DAY 12: Transfer to Hanoi.

After breakfast, we will board our AC bus for the journey back to Hanoi, hopefully arriving early afternoon in time for a final wander around the wonderful Old Quarter before our last meal together.

Cycling: 0

Meals: B

DAY 13: Finish.

The tour officially finishes this morning. For those flying out we provide a transfer to Hanoi's international airport.

OPTIONAL DAYS 15 & 16: Ha Long Bay.

For many people, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay is a must-do experience. We offer a 2 day 1-night liveaboard cruise as an optional extra, please contact us for details.

Twin occupancy cabin                -   US$250 per person

Single occupancy supplement   -  S$60 per person


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