(meals key: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner; S = snacks)
Day 1: Saigon
If arriving by air you will be met at Saigon's international airport and transferred to our hotel in the heart of the city. A tour briefing will be followed by our first evening meal together when we can get to know each other and discuss the adventure ahead.
Day 2: My Tho
This morning we board or AC support vehicle and head out of the hustle and bustle of city traffic to the tranquillity of the countryside. After lunch, we mount or steads for our first experience of cycling in The Delta region. Rice grows as do spices and fruit, whilst laid-back tropical folk swinging lazily in hammocks wave as we cycle through this beautiful scene to our first of many small ferry crossings.
This evening we have a beautiful riverside setting for both sleeping and alfresco dining, A splendid end to our first day on the road.
Day 3: Tra Vinh.
Leaving town on a bigger road this morning we cross a mammoth suspension bridge spanning nearly three kilometres of tropical inland water.
Before long we leave the bigger road behind as we return to rural Vietnam and trace a route through beautiful countryside along narrow lanes sometimes just a few feet wide. These lanes that at times are surfaced with compact red earth take us past provincial homesteads and lead us to ferries across two of the nine mighty rivers of the Delta Region.
Day 4: Soc Trang.
Leaving Tra Vinh the road is rural though a little busier for the first half an hour until we turn off to explore more of the narrow lanes that navigate a route through fields or rice and groves of coconut and banana. The people here are unused to foreigners passing along their narrow trails; their greetings are sometimes shy and sometimes excited, smiles and friendly waves are never far away.
Our two river crossings today are broken by Cu Lao Dung Island where the main highway traversing the length of the island is for the main part only wide enough for two motorbikes to pass, rural for sure
Day 5: Bac Lieu.
Leaving Soc Trang we soon find ourselves in a Pastoral scene. Once again the roads are more akin to bicycle paths than highways meaning little chance of meeting cars. We cross small waterways and observe rural life passing by as we pedal south towards the coast.
The tone of the day changes in the afternoon as we exchange agriculture for fishing. Out of view of the sea but within easy reach via the many little waterways we cross over we now witness a Chinese influence in the first sea fairing folk of our journey.
We end the day 10KMS north of the coast in the bustling town of Bac Lieu
Day 6: Ca Mau
We head out of Bac Lieu on narrow and quiet riverside paths that lead us to a short stint on Highway 1 before lunch in the small town of Ho Phong. The afternoon’s ride is an altogether smoother affair on wider roads with little traffic as we head for the regional centre of Ca Mau.
Day 7: Rach Gia.
The essence of today is the Trem River. After a relaxed 11KMS riding away from Ca Mau, we reach this fascinating river and for the next sixty kilometres we follow the narrow riverside lanes that give us a unique glimpse at the communities that live both on the shore and on the river. Like so much of our route through the Mekong Delta, the only forms of transport connecting these communities with the outside world are supported by feet, 2 wheels or water. Larger than many of the waterways we have followed the Trem River carries more and larger vessels, but being much smaller than the mighty rivers we crossed earlier in our tour nothing is so far away that we cannot fully appreciate how life is lived along this river; a fascinating day.
The final stretch of today’s journey will be via our support vehicle as we transfer to our rest day hotel in the coastal town of Rack Gia
Day 8: Rach Gia - Rest Day
Nestled between two rivers and the sea the neighbourhood in which we spend our rest day is a quiet and prosperous area in which to relax. Whether you spend your day reading in the hotel, strolling the streets or relaxing in a riverside café a day in Rach Gia is a pleasant way to recharge your battery ready for the journey ahead.
Day 9. Ha Tien
We cycle out of Rach Gia via narrow lanes winding past shop fronts and houses and through small local markets. Soon we are out of the city and following trails that at some points become no more than a narrow footpath passing vegetable plots, duck farms, and extensive fields of rice. Single lane roads take us through rural villages and fishing communities where colourful fishing boats are moored up at where canals enter the ocean. Our destination for tonight is the riverside town of Ha Tien, a pleasant place with a strong Khmer influence.
Due to the long and tedious nature of the final stretch of road, we will transfer the final 45KMS aboard our AC minibus.
Day 10: Chau Doc
Leaving Ha Tien we are soon crossing open expanses of marshland with views to the mountains of Cambodia to our left. Heading northeast the vista soon changes as we begin following a canal that tracks very close to the Cambodian border. With three rice harvests a year there are often huge swathes of brilliant green leading the eye to the Khmer hills and temples. Nearer by is canal life where we observe how Vietnamese canal barges very closely resemble those of Europe.
Day 11: Long Xuyen.
The day begins with a short ferry ride across the Hau Giang, or Lower Mekong River to one if Vietnam's few Muslim neighbourhoods. Here we resume our exploration of the small lanes through the Mekong Delta's wonderful waterway as again we follow tracks and trails, sometimes gravel, sometimes concrete and sometimes bitumen. In this region there are some splendid examples of colonial houses along the way, add in friendly locals and a few river crossings and we have a wonderful final day of bicycle exploration in Southern Vietnam.
Day 12: Saigon.
Having spent two weeks observing the waterways of The Mekong Delta region from the riverside paths, it is now time to take the opposite view as we board a boat for a memorable river trip along the Hau River, the largest branch of The Mekong. We will arrive at the vibrant riverside town of Can Tho, the capital of the Mekong Delta Region, in time for a lunch of either local cuisine or, for a change, Western fare.
Following lunch, our mode of transport will change to land-based as we board our minibus and head for Saigon and our final evening together.
Day 13: Departure.
For those flying out today, we will provide transport to Saigon's International airport. For those wishing to spend more time in Vietnam, we are able to offer advice and assistance for further travel in the region.
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