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Cycling The Famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, Hanoi to Hoian

13 Days / 12 Night
, Vietnam

Overview

Delve into Vietnam’s past with a Ho Chi Minh Trail biking adventure. Follow the historic roads as they wind from coastal plains to lush highlands, vibrant towns to sleepy villages. Hop off the bikes to see remarkable Phong Nha cave, meet ethnic hilltribes and enjoy the beauty of rural Vietnam.

Trip Highlights

Cycling The Famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, Hanoi to Hoian

Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Bike from Hanoi to Hoi An along the infamous supply route of Vietnamese soldiers, learning about history on the way.

Encounter local lifestyles

Pedalling provides plenty of opportunities to see authentic scenes of Vietnam and to meet ethnic hilltribes in rural areas.

Be amazed by Phong Nha Cave

Head underground to discover the 65-kilometres of tunnels and rivers that form the 250-million-year-old Phong Nha Cave.

Itinerary

1

Arrive Hanoi

Transfer from Noi Bai international airport to hotel in Hanoi: 1.5 hours

Upon arrival to Noi Bai International Aiport, our local guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel. After checking in to the hotel and freshening up, a trip briefing will follow to prepare for the ensuing journey.

Overnight in Hanoi.

2

Hanoi – Mai Chau – Pu Luong

Transfer: 3.5hrsCycling distance up to: 50kmDifficulty: Medium

Leave the capital early this morning for a drive through rural countryside to Mai Chau, arriving in time to enjoy lunch at a local Thai village house. Hop on the bike for a ride through the spectacular, undulating valley of the Song Ma River on the way to Hoi Xuan. This route was used to carry supplies and ammunition during the war and linked to the main part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Depending on personal preference, continue by bike or travel by car to the finish point. The accommodation tonight is in a traditional Thai village house located on the edge of Pu Luong Nature Reserve- part of an eco-tourism community project set up by Flora and Fauna International in 2003. This is a great way to experience the unique culture and lifestyle of these hill tribe people.

Overnight in a Thai Village Homestay.

3

Pu Luong – Ngoc Lac

Transfer: 45 minutesCycling distance up to: 70kmDifficulty: Medium

After breakfast, transfer by road (about 45 minutes) to the start of the day’s ride. The route heads away from the river, riding through a range of mountains which stretch from Mai Chau to Cuc Phuong National Park and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. During the cycle, the scenery gradually unfolds to beautiful limestone cliffs and lush vegetation. The route is challenging with several hills to ascend, but a support vehicle is always nearby.

Arrive in the town of Ngoc Lac late this afternoon for the overnight stay

Overnight in Ngoc Lac

4

Ngoc Lac - Kim Lien – Vinh

Transfer from Kim Lien to Vinh: 1 hourCycling distance up to: 80kmDifficulty: Medium

Pedal along the newly-built Ho Chi Minh highway for today’s journey. The tarmac makes for smooth, fast riding and there are very few cars or vehicles on the road. A parallel dirt and gravel highway runs alongside which a challenging option is for those who wish!

Along the way to Vinh, stops will be made to visit Ly Thai To Pagoda which was built in honour of the first king of the Ly dynasty. Follow up with a stop at Kim Lien village, the birthplace of Ho Chi Minh to visit his house and a museum dedicated to him. After the visit, transfer by road out of the mountains to the city of Vinh, arriving late this afternoon.

Overnight in Vinh.

5

Vinh - Huong Khe

Transfer from Vinh to Pho Chau: 1 hourCycling distance up to: 70kmDifficulty: Medium

Following breakfast, transfer 40 kilometers by bus to the town of Pho Chau; the starting point of today’s ride is on the Ho Chi Minh’s Highway. The journey winds through lush jungle and beautiful villages nestled under the Truong Son mountain range. During the ride, admire the stunning scenery and intricate karst formations along the way.

After a long day of pedalling, arrive at the remote town of Huong Khe. Located in the Ha Tinh province, this small town is a quiet place to rest up for another busy day of riding.

Overnight in Huong Khe.

6

Huong Khe - Phong Nha

Transfer: 1hrCycling distance up to: 80kmDifficulty: Medium

Continue along the Ho Chi Minh Highway today to Phong Nha. The route is still a dream to ride on with smooth tarmac and undulating mountains rising up and down along the hillsides.

After cycling around 80km, trade in the bike for a restful 1 hour bus journey to Phong Nha National Park. The park contains one of the most spectacular caves in Vietnam - a true natural wonder with 65 kilometres of tunnels and underground rivers. Formed approximately 250 million years ago Phong Nha was used as a hospital and ammunition depot during the war, and the entrance still shows evidence of attacks from fighter aircraft. There are also community projects underway with Flora and Fauna International; it may be possible to visit village initiatives and learn more about the forests of the national park before the end of the day.

Overnight in Phong Nha.

7

Phong Nha - Cam Lo - Khe Sanh

Transfer: 1 hourCycling distance up to: 80kmDifficulty: Medium

After an early morning exploration of Phong Nha Cave, transfer 1.5 hours by road to the Ho Chi Minh Trail to resume the ride. Pedal across the DMZ (also known as the 17th Parallel) to Cam Lo. Stop en route to visit Truong Son cemetery, a memorial to the tens of thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers who were killed in the Truong Son Mountains.

From there it’s only 14 kilometres further to the town of Cam Lo. It is here that the trail heads across the country into Laos. Finish today with a short transfer to Khe Sanh, a former US marine base and site of the infamous 1968 battle of Khe Sanh.

Overnight in Khe Sanh.

8

Khe Sanh - A Luoi

Cycling distance up to: 65 kmDifficulty: Medium

Start this morning with a visit to the Khe Sanh combat base where relics of the war are exhibited. There is also an airstrip in the area. Then ride through spectacular scenery, mainly downhill, from the Laos border to the Dakrong River. Cross the river by bridge and ride along the waterway to what was once considered the southern part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Again, enjoy a traffic-free road with rolling terrain, a nice contrast to the flat plains of the previous day’s ride.

Overnight in A Luoi

9

A Luoi - Hue

Cycling distance up to: 70kmDifficulty: Medium

Due to the bad roads in the south of A Luoi, venture off the Ho Chi Minh Trail and head across the country to Hue. The 60km ride through the middle of Vietnam is on back roads before hitting Highway 1, just a few kilometres south of Hue. Here there is the option of transferring by road or continuing by bike to the center of Hue.

Overnight in Hue.

10

Hue

Cycling distance up to: 30kmDifficulty: Easy

After breakfast, enjoy a relatively easy ride on the back roads of Hue through lush countryside on a mix of footpaths and quiet country lanes. The day begins with a visit to the Imperial Citadel to explore the ruins of this grand monument to the emperors. Then, ride along backstreets following the banks of the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda. Continue through the quiet roads of Hue’s countryside to visit the royal tomb of Ming Manh, a former Nguyen emperor, and loop back across the river to Hue via the funerary monument to Khai Dinh.

Return to central Hue early this afternoon for time at leisure to relax or explore more independently.

Overnight in Hue.

11

Hue - Hoi An

Transfer from Lang Co beach to Hoi An: 1 hourCycling distance up to: 100kmDifficulty: Hard

Today is an epic ride with two small hills to conquer before the intense 11 km climb uphill to the top of Hai Van Pass. Upon reaching the summit of the pass, cyclists are rewarded with the region’s most stunning views of the coastline. (Thanks to a recently opened tunnel through the mountain, there is now very little traffic on this uphill road.)

Cruise down the pass to Lang Co beach for a swim and lunch. Then transfer the final 35 kilometres by car to Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rest of this afternoon and evening is at leisure to explore the narrow streets and lanes of this charming town. 

Overnight in Hoi An.

12

Hoi An - My Son - Hoi An

Transfer: 1 hourCycling distance up to: 60kmDifficulty: Medium

The last day of the journey is an easy ride to My Son, the ancient spiritual centre of the Cham kingdom. Transfer a bit out of town to avoid the busy highway before cycling along scenic country back roads, beyond rice paddy fields, through a eucalyptus forest, and many picturesque villages. The meandering road eventually leads us to My Son, once Champa’s greatest spiritual city and now an impressive archaeological site. Enjoy lunch near the temples and spend an afternoon touring around the crumbling temples before transferring back to Hoi An by bus. 

Overnight in Hoi An.

13

Hoi An - Departure

Enjoy the final day at leisure until transport (provided) to Danang International Airport for the departing flight.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and back up as itinerary.
  • Bike, helmet, 1 biking water bottle per person
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day when cycling
  • Snacks and local fruits
  • 1 Exo Adventure Certified English Speaking Guide
  • 1 assistant guide for 11-15 cyclist, 2 assistant guides for 16+ cyclists
  • 1 first aid kit per guide
  • Each guide will have a full set of travel bike tools
  • Main support vehicle will have spare parts
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets where mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangement
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Soft drinks, or beverages beyond water – we can add this into costs at agents request
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Tips
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (Laundry, telephone)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion.
  • Other language speaking guides

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