Hanoi to Laos Mountain Bike Epic
Vietnam, Bike - Semi Slick, 14 days - from £1,675 (land only) - from €1,995 (land only) - from $2,765 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Hanoi. A single airport transfer is provided from Hanoi Airport. The afternoon is free to rest and relax after a long journey. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner and a briefing at the group hotel in the evening.
Day 2: We have a guided city tour in Hanoi today, before going to the train station to catch the overnight sleeper (the King Express) to Lao Cai, near Sapa. The train is a very civilized affair with compartments sleeping 4 and a refreshment carriage serving food and drink.
Day 3: On arrival in Lao Cai we unload the bikes, meet our support vehicle and make the short transfer to the former hill station of Sapa. After checking in at our hotel and having lunch, we will have a short ride in the afternoon to kick start the legs! Overnight at a hotel in Sapa. Ride distance 40 km (25 miles).
Day 4: Today, we have a great loop ride that takes in many of the minority villages in the Sapa area. We traverse forested hillsides with some sections that we support by motor bike. We have a second night in Sapa. Ride distance 35 km (22 miles) with approx 730 metres of ascent and descent.
Day 5: Leaving Sapa behind, we tackle the 16 kilometre road climb over the Tram Ton Pass (2000m) followed by a long descent into a beautiful valley. We stop in several minority villages en route to our hotel in Tam Duong. Ride distance 65 km (41 miles) with 1520 metres of ascent and 2345 metres of descent.
Day 6: An early breakfast before our challenging and hilly ride today. Beyond Pa-So, we follow the Na River on an undulating road, at times through a picturesque gorge. We visit more tribal villages en route to Muong Lay and our hotel. Ride distance 95 km (59 miles) with 2172 metres of ascent and 2856 metres of descent.
Day 7: Another day of hill backroads cycling, with some rough sections of road and fantastic scenery. Arriving at Dien Bien Phu through the rice paddies we'll be accompanied by local cyclists on their Chinese-made bikes. Ride distance 85 km (52 miles) with 2024 metres of ascent and 1749 metres of descent.
Day 8: After many hilly kilometres in the legs we have a well earned rest day in this historically important city. The war museum is a great place to visit, featuring the Indochina War between the French and the Viet Minh revolutionary forces. We spend a second night in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 9: We have just a short warm-up, before the road starts to snake upwards for 24 kilometres to arrive the Laos border. After the immigration formalities and swapping crews, we begin our Laos adventure with a great ride through remote ethnic tribal villages to Muang Khoua. Ride distance 104 km (65 miles) with close to 3000 metres of ascent and descent.
Day 10: Riding through jungle and rice paddies on an undulating road, we share the route with all manner of colourful vehicles and livestock - a glimpse of real rural life in a region with 23 ethnic groups. Overnight in Udom Xai. Ride distance 96 km (60 miles) with 1209 metres of ascent and 928 metres of descent.
Day 11: Now firmly in the central highlands of Laos, we have spectacular views across the rugged mountain landscape, as we climb to visit Hmong villages in a region that few people ever visit. We end our day at a comfortable guest house overlooking the river in Nong Kiau. Ride distance 105 km (66 miles) with 2039 metres of ascent and 2337 metres of descent.
Day 12: Our final day of riding takes us westwards alongside the Nam Ou River and through interesting villages. After another long day, we arrive at our final destination, the beautiful and historic city of Luang Prabang. Ride distance 115 km (72 miles) with 1834 metres of ascent and 1916 metres descent.
Day 13: After breakfast, we transfer to Luang Prabang Airport and catch a flight to Bangkok. Here, we are met at the airport and taken to a hotel in downtown Bangkok.
Day 14: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. A single airport transfer is provided.