Best 6 Day Northwest Vietnam Cycling Tour

The 6 days Vietnam Cycling Tour starts from Hanoi, takes you to the North West Vietnam. Enjoy mountain biking through hilltribe villages, terraced paddy fields, and history attractions in Son La

Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary

The 6 days Vietnam Cycling Tour starts from Hanoi, takes you to the North West Vietnam. Enjoy mountain biking through hilltribe villages, terraced paddy fields, and history attractions in Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau before you finishes the tour in Lao Cai and take the overnight train to get back to Hanoi.

Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: HANOI -> SON LA

8:00: You will be met up with Lotussia Travel team and transferred to Son La. The drive will take you through different minority villages as we climb onto a higher plateau. We pass through coffee and tea plantations before arriving Son La in the late afternoon. Son La was once the site of a French penal colony where radicals and revolutionaries were incarcerated during French rule. The prison was destroyed by American war planes during the Vietnam War (or as the Vietnamese sensibly call it the American war) except for a lone peach tree planted by an inmate in the 1940s. Since then the prison has partially rebuilt and a museum opened. Check in hotel for overnight.

DAY 2: SON LA -> TUAN GIAO

The bicycle tour begins with a 5km riding up to the beautiful surrounding countryside. We bike through a patchwork of rice fields and plum orchards. The scenery makes up for the hard work as the rolling land erupts into stunning karst rock outcrops bristling with trees. The land is home to the Black Thai. The women can be glimpsed working the fields in brightly colored dresses and hats, the children riding water buffalo and the men speeding along on noisy motor cycles. We finish the day with a thrilling 11km decent before we reach the town of Tuan Giao.

DAY 3: TUAN GIAO -> LAI CHAU

Once out of Tuan Giao the road deteriorates as we take a spectacular back road to Lai Chau. We cycle past rice fields and bananas plantations as we pass through small minority villages of Red Hmong and Kho Mu. There are two hard climbs today the first starts after 50km with a 5km ascent but the second, and most challenging comes at the end of this stunning day, with an 8km strength-sapping climb. All this hard work is easily forgotten as we finish the day with a stunning descend of 18km on a winding road into this lush valley of Lai Chau.

DAY 4: LAI CHAU -> TAM DUONG

After we leave Lai Chau we cross the Hang Tom suspension bridge and follow the Na River passing through spectacular gorges and Black Dao villages. The Dao worship spirits and ritually sacrifice pigs and chickens. The women clothes are covered with intricate weaving and silver colored beads and coins. It is said the wealth a women can be judged by the weight of the coins she carries. We finish this long day with a 15km ascent followed by a gentle 10km ride down to Tam Duong.

DAY 5: TAM DUONG -> SAPA

Today we cycle up to the Tram Ton Pass (1,900m; 6,230 ft) the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, on our way to Sa Pa. We start with a relatively easy 7km ride before we hit the first of two major climbs. A 8km tough ride sets us up for the 26km monster climb later in the day. As we start the second climb we slowly start to witness the beauty of Mt. Fan Si Pan, South East Asia’s highest peak. Often hidden with a veil of moving mist and fog, we will hopefully get a glimpse of its lofty peaks. Sa Pa is an old French hill station perched in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains near the Chinese border. Its position gives it some of the best vantage points to savour the surrounding mountain peaks.

DAY 6: SAPA -> LAO CAI -> HANOI

Enjoy a half day walking to visit hill tribe villages before you take the night train trip to travel back to Hanoi. You will commence your short journey by driving south toward Muong Hoa valley. You will then start your walk by descending into the valley, which is the largest rice paddy terraced among Sapa area. The guide can provide you interesting information about rice. If you visit the valley sometime in between May and October, you will be able to observe and experience how the local do planting and harvesting, one of the most important activities in the daily life. The walk takes you from Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority to Ta Van village of Giay minority including a visit to the local Catholic Church. After visiting Ta Van the car will return you to Sapa. Have quick shower in a mini/standard hotel before taking the overnight train to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.

Additional Information

Primary Activity

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Tour Starts

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Tour Ends

Lao Cai

Adventure Level

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Inclusions

Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind LOTUSSIA Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.

  • Car transfers.
  • Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
  • Local porter(s).
  • Accommodation.
  • Meals.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Bottled water.

Exclusions

Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.

  • Visa
  • Flight/Train tickets.
  • Accommodation pre/post trip.
  • International travel insurance.
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.

Tour Guide

Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.

Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

Trip Routes

Principally, LOTUSSIA Travel requires all the trip associates to know the destinations well by any means of traveling or enquiry to the local suppliers to figure out all the relative details of any trip. For adventure tours such as jungle trekking, mountain hiking, sea kayaking, river rafting or biking, cycling tours, LOTUSSIA Travel will never add any new routes into available schedule until survey or pre-view it.

Accommodation

LOTUSSIA Travel carefully choose all the hotels, guest-houses or homestays based on service quality, location, and characteristics, doing best to make the accommodations in the remote small places as comfortable as possible. Please bear in mind that hotels in Vietnam might not be in the same standard in other country. Generally hotels in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian, Hue…are much better than hotels and guest-houses in mountainous areas.

Meals

LOTUSSIA Travel take dinning as an indispensable experience to clients since it is an important part in Vietnamese culture. Therefore, LOTUSSIA Travel will not intend take clients to the most expensive restaurants but non-touristy local ones which offer delicious, local food, with nice or interesting atmosphere. The restaurants might be simple in the country but LOTUSSIA Travel guarantee is sanitary and cleanliness. Or even on our trek, we encourage our cook offer client food with new tastes from day to day. During adventure itineraries to mountainous or remote areas, there is sometimes no choice for hotel and restaurants. We will try our best to bring you the best taste of local food.

Drinks

As the tap water in Vietnam is undrinkable, LOTUSSIA Travel recommend clients to drink bottled water throughout your trip, or boiled water on treks. LOTUSSIA Travel offers bottle water all the day, and soft drinks like Cola, Sprite or Vietnamese Tea or if possible juice in restaurants (if mentionned in itinerary). This is not automatically included in the packages. In simple restaurant or on camping, LOTUSSIA Travel offers boiled water, instant coffee or juice, wrapped milk (Details are confirmed in bottom of your itinerary).

Vehicle

In most destinations of Vietnam, all the roads are well paved though the traffic is quite messed up like in Hanoi, Hai Phong… We use proper vehicles, car, minibus or coach in good condition based on the size of the groups. We use 4WD only on the rough road where the other vehicles could not pass through or based on clients requirement on overland journeys or treks. For cycling itineraries, we usually use our support minibus or minibus with support truck. For sea kayaking, river rafting trips, diving packages we use standard boat as support. Detailed information is provided on our service proposal.

We use drivers who are native or local of each travel destination and maintain good safety records for all trips. Most of our drivers can speak English but a little bit. This is just enough to understand basic words such as “time of departure”, “stop”, “restaurants”, “hotels”…If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture and information about sightseeing sites, booking a tour guide is highly recommended.

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