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Holidays

Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure

Vietnam, Halong Bay
1 review
Available Departures: Mar, Apr, Aug, Sep, Nov

12 days from

US$2,535

without flights
Cycle
Guided Group
MODERATE MODERATE

A stunning cycle ride amongst the dramatic peaks, terraced rice fields and hill tribe villages of North Vietnam

Trip Code: HAMB
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure

Highlights
  • Challenge yourself on this amazing cycle tour through a distinctive corner of SE Asia
  • Meet the colourful people of the Dao, Tay, Hmong, Lolo and Nung hill tribes
  • Enjoy an overnight cruise on Bai Tu Long, a pristine part of world-renowned Halong Bay
  • Experience the 'real' Northern Vietnam with 3 nights' traditional homestay accommodation
  • From Hanoi’s Old Quarter to the stunning  Ma Pi Leng Pass and tranquil Ba Be Lake

At a Glance
  • Group Size 6 to 12
  • 8 days biking
  • 390 kilometres
  • 90% surfaced road - 95% vehicle supported
  • Max altitude - 1500 metres
  • Join In Hanoi

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 4 nights Hotel
  • 3 nights Homestay
  • 2 nights Guesthouse
  • 1 nights Lodge
  • 1 nights Junk
Overview

This unforgettable cycling expedition shows off the best of Northern Vietnam. Starting from Hanoi and the fertile Red River Delta, the cradle of Vietnamese heritage, we have chosen to include an achievable blend of transfers and cycling as we head northwards to the highlands on the border with China. Our bespoke route completes a loop through a magical landscape of endless limestone peaks, rushing rivers and spectacularly terraced farmland where the local hill tribe people grow their rice and maize.


En route, we’ll get to meet many different ethnic people and by making use of homestay accommodation on three nights we’ll learn a lot more about the Tay, the White Hmong and the Nung. In this remote part of Vietnam we’ll find these hill tribes still living in much the same way as they always have, far from the modern world. Beyong Thac Ba Lake, we’ll cycle on distinctly undulating roads through the UNESCO listed Dong Van Karst Plateau and onwards into the Thong Nong range where the scenery becomes even more mountainous. We’ll see dramatic waterfalls, visit a hill tribe Saturday market at Ma Le and spend time beside the picturesque, jungle-shrouded Ba Be Lake. On the completion of our quite challenging 8-day loop ride, we’ll head out to the Gulf of Tonkin and enjoy an overnight cruise in a comfortable, traditional junk on beautiful Bai Tu Long, adjacent to Halong Bay - the perfect way to sign off on one of the best cycling adventures in Vietnam.

ADVENTURE CYCLING. Riding on a combination of quiet and mostly surfaced roads through a remote and rarely-visited highland region, this is a classic KE loop ride. It is also a reasonably challenging trip that we have moderated by including vehicle transfers to overcome some of the hilliest terrain. The tour will suit regular weekend cyclists. A couple of quite level rides to Tuyen Quang and Tan Yen will get us into the swing of things and then it becomes rather more hilly as we head further north with several more testing days of up to 55 kilometres cycling with 1500 metres of accumulated ascent. It is important to remember that you can opt out of any of the day rides at any time. Ride as much as you want and use the ever-present support vehicle to make each day work as you want it to. Trek mountain bikes with front suspension, disc brakes and fast-rolling all-round tyres are provided locally within the trip price.

Why KE?

The Best Cycling Holidays

With more than 25 years experience of cycling in SE Asia, there is no-one does it better. Offering an unbeatable blend of cultural and natural highlights, along with a 8 rewarding days of cycling, this is the very best of Northern Vietnam.

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Itinerary

Meet at the group hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. A group transfer from Hanoi Airport is provided. We will aim to do the bike fitting before lunch and then, in the afternoon, we will head out with our guide on a walking tour of the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter, a maze of 35 streets, is essentially the original pre-20th century Hanoi. The names of the streets tell a fascinating story about the history of the city, prior to the modern age each street was named for the particular trade for which it was (and sometimes still is) known; look out for Hang Gai (Silk Street) and Hang Bac (Silver Street). We'll also make a stop at Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword), the epicentre of old Hanoi. We will also stop at a shop where we can learn about traditional medicine and at an authentic Hanoian house, where we can enjoy a cup of local tea. Afterwards we head to a local restaurant where we can enjoy a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of our holiday. Our first chance to sample the deliciously fragrant Vietnamese cuisine and test out our chopstick skills!

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

D

After breakfast, we will board the support vehicle for the drive out of the city, heading north. We will drive for two hours and then we'll pull over and unload the bikes for the start of our cycling adventure on quiet roads. This first day of cycling will take us across the alluvial plain of the Red River Delta with distant views of the Tam Dao chain of limestone mountains that are such a distinctive feature of northern Vietnam. The landscape soon starts to become more impressive, with lowland rice fields bordered here and there by banana trees, palm trees and cassava and tea plantations. We will stop off for lunch en-route and arrive in the regional capital of Tuyen Quang in the late afternoon. Free time at our hotel before going out to a local restaurant for dinner.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

150 M

Descent

150 M

Time

4 hrs cycling

Distance

60 KM

In the morning, we have a relatively short drive to Phuc An beside Thac Ba Lake, the largest body of freshwater in North Vietnam. In this area, the local Dao people make their living by farming and fishing and we will see many of their hamlets, the houses built on stilts and with thatched roofs. Our ride starts at the waterfall of Thac O Do and takes us on a variety of surfaced and unsurfaced roads and tracks amongst a patchwork of rice fields, bamboo groves, small ethnic villages, maize plantations and undulating streams, all surrounded by lush jungles. After a leisurely 3-hour ride we arrive in Tan Yen where we take lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we board the support vehicle and enjoy a scenic drive (2.5 hrs) to Ha Giang. Here, we will saddle up for a further hour's cycle out to the picturesque hamlet of Ha Thanh at the foot of the Tay Con Linh Mountain where we will stay as guests of the Tay people in a traditional wooden house on stilts.

Accommodation

Homestay

Meals

B L D

Ascent

300 M

Descent

230 M

Time

4 hrs cycling

Distance

55 KM

Before setting off this morning we can take a walk around the village with its vegetable gardens, and small ponds devoted to fish and duck breeding. Then, after a short transfer to the small village of Banh Cuom, we set off on our bikes into the UNESCO-listed Dong Van Geopark with views across to the border with China. Our route at first undulates beneath Phu Ta Ca (Three Fairies) Mountain (2276m) the highest peak of Du Gia limestone massif. In the Tung Ba Valley, we meet the Tay and Flower Hmong people who seem to live a timeless existence in small hamlets shaded by groves of lataniers and dominated by forest-clad limestone crags. The landscape becomes even more dramatic as we enter the Song Mien Gorge on the northern side of Phu Ta Ca Mountain and stop for lunch beside an impressive waterfall. After lunch, we get back into the support vehicle and drive to Seo Lung, a White Hmong village. (There is the option to cycle the steep 5-kilometre, concrete road climb up to the village). Tonight we will be welcome guests in the home of Mr So, who is the former chief of the village. In the evening, he will join us and we can learn about the history of the village and White Hmong traditions.

Accommodation

Homestay

Meals

B L D

Ascent

930 M

Descent

630 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs cycling

Distance

43 KM

After another early start, we set out on a minor road, traversing a valley lined with maize fields and Hmong hamlets. We will have the opportunity for a quick visit to the colourful produce market at Duong Thuong which takes place every Friday. Our route turns north at the ruins of an old French colonial period fort and we'll have time to check this out before continuing towards Mau Due Village with a breathtaking panoramic view over the northern slopes of the Can Ty Massif, featuring rice terraces and Dao hamlets, with the southern foothills of the Dong Van Geopark in the background. There's a lot of up and down on today's ride as we continue northwards through this dramatic limestone massif to the small village of Lung Phin which is famous for its very traditional hill tribe market. The market is held every 6 days on the lunar calendar and attracts Hmong and Dzao villagers from throughout the region. This is a suitable place for us to stop cycling and board our transport for the onward drive to Dong Van. Notable for its central square known as the 'French Quarter', a well-preserved collection of 100-year old colonial buildings, Dong Van is overlooked by a limestone peak topped by another French-era fortress. We overnight here in a local inn and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1550 M

Descent

1580 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs cycling

Distance

55 KM

Today is Saturday and we have the option to pay an early visit (7am) to the nearby and authentic hill tribe market of Ma Le. Many different ethnic groups (Hmong, Dao, Lo Lo, Giay and Nung, each in their distinctive dress) bring their wares to the market, helping to preserve the lifestyle and traditions of the Dong Van Karst Plateau. Then, setting off on our bikes, we leave the Dong Van Valley via the pretty sensational Ma Pi Leng Pass (1500m), where the views extend over the deep valley of the beautiful, green Nho Que River towards the peaks that line the Chinese border. Descending from the pass on the aptly named 'happiness road' (opened in the 60s) we make several stops to enjoy the views of the patchwork of fields on the other side of the valley. At Meo Vac, we turn onto a smaller road that twists and turns its way down to Lung Pu beside the Nho Que River. This is the end of the ride today and after our picnic lunch we board small boats for an hour's cruise through a part of the spectacular gorge known as Tu San Alley. Disembarking at Bao Lam Dam, we transfer to Bao Lac and check in at our local inn accommodation.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1000 M

Descent

1545 M

Time

6 hrs cycling

Distance

48 KM

We start out today beside the Gam River which flows out of China. The road twists and turns across the steep slopes of Xuang Truong district and crosses the challenging Khau Coc Cha Pass into a valley dotted with rice fields and Nung and Tay ethnic hamlets where time appears to have stood still. Approaching the northern slopes of the Thong Nong Mountains we once again let the support vehicle take the strain, transporting us to the top of the next pass, where we saddle up again and look forward to the descent. Our destination, Nam Ngu, lies in a beautiful valley overlooked by impressive limestone peaks covered in misty forest. Here we meet our Nung hosts and settle in at our homestay accommodation.

Accommodation

Homestay

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1350 M

Descent

1340 M

Time

6 hrs cycling

Distance

42 KM

Cycling away from Nam Ngu through a landscape of limestone peaks covered by dense vegetation we reach the town of Nguyen Binh. From here we take the support vehicle for the steep climb up to the Lea Pass which is high on the slopes of Mount Pia Oac and close to the watershed of the Red River and Pearl River basins. Beyond the pass, it's back on the bikes for the amazing 26 kilometre descent to Phieng Diem, with Dao and Hmong hamlets on the heights, giving way as we descend to denser Tay habitation. We transfer the last part of the day's journey on a minor road into the Ba Be National Park and to Ba Be Lake, fed by three rivers and surrounded by high and jungle-clad limestone formations. We take a boat from the eastern pier to the Tay village of Coc Toc, located in a cove of the lake. On arrival, we settle in at a guesthouse run by a Tay family and look forward to a dinner of local specialties.

Accommodation

Lodge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1150 M

Descent

2450 M

Time

6 hrs cycling

Distance

52 KM

Completing our loop through northen Vietnam, we cycle southwards on a quiet road through a verdant landscape with many Tay hamlets, emerald green rice paddies and dense forest. Arrive at Phieng Lieng after just a couple of hours, we put our bikes away and board the support vehicle for the 4-hour drive back to Hanoi via Bac Kan. We soon find ourselves amongst the flooded rice fields of the lower delta and from Thai Nguyen where the road improves we make better time. Stopping off for lunch en-route, we arrive at our hotel in Hanoi in the late afternoon. Dinner in town and overnight at the hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

600 M

Descent

500 M

Time

2 hrs cycling

Distance

35 KM

After breakfast, we set off on a two and a half hour drive to the Gulf of Tonkin through the colourful rice fields of the Red River Delta. Arriving at Bai Chay harbour around noon, we will be welcomed on board the Dragon's Pearl Junk and begin our cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay. Quieter, but no less spectacular than neighbour (Halong), Bai Tu Long is a revelation with its steep cliffs and half submerged limestone towers. We'll enjoy lunch on board as we explore hidden hidden lagoons and discover the fascinating floating houses of the bay's inhabitants. There's the opportunity to kayak and swim in the clear waters of the bay. Dropping anchor for the night in an isolated area, we can look forward to sampling the chef's fine cuisine in the peaceful atmosphere of this magnificent place, before settling down on the upper deck to admire the beauty of Bai Tu Long as the sun sets. Overnight on board.

Accommodation

Junk

Meals

B L D

Optional Tai Chi on the deck before breakfast, a great way to start the day as the South-east Asian sun rises. After breakfast, we'll take a rustic rowing-boat to visit a fishing village, an opportunity to discover the traditional culture and customs of the local fisherpeople. Later, we explore an impressive cave with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. And, there's another opportunity to kayak and swim, before cruising slowly back to the pier around midday. From Bai Chay Harbour it will take us two and a half hours to retun to Hanoi and our hotel. After resting and freshening up. we can visit the Temple of Literature, a masterful representation of traditional architecture, dedicated to Confucius. If there's time, we can also visit the colourful 6th century Tran Quoc Pagoda located on the edge of Ho Tay (West Lake). This evening, we'll have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Your holiday ends after breakfast. A single group transfer to Hanoi Airport is provided. If you would like to extend your stay in Hanoi additional hotel nights can be arranged, or you may want to consider adding an extension to visit neighbouring Cambodia and the magnificent temples at Angkor Wat. Contact the KE Office for details

Meals

B
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The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
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Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • An experienced local English-speaking cycling guide
  • All land transport as described
  • Single group Hanoi Airport transfer on arrival and departure
  • One or more support vehicles and drivers
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • Temple and other site fees
  • 1-hour boat ride on the Nho Que River
  • Overnight junk boat cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay
  • Local fruit and snacks and water
  • Bike hire

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Tips for the local crew and drivers
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

The group will meet at the hotel in Hanoi.

A single group transfer is provided from/to Hanoi Airport on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and on the final day of the Land Only itinerary.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 12 are included in the holiday price.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

You can expect to feast on an A to Z of delicious Vietnamese cuisine during the course of your holiday. Start practising your chopstick technique now, as there may be no knives and forks for parts of this holiday! Vietnamese cuisine is fresh, fragrant and flavoursome. Typically, for included meals, a selection of dishes or varying flavours will be served together and each person takes a little of each dish – so there will usually be something to please everyone (vegetarians included!) at every meal. Whilst at the homestays breakfasts might be pancakes with banana, eggs and bread or (more traditionally) ‘Pho’ a noodle soup. Lunches will sometimes be taken at a wayside eatery and other times will be a picnic, usually rice with steamed chicken/pork, stir-fried vegetable and spring rolls. A typical evening meal will also include Pho, a choice of pork or chicken dishes, a selection of stir fried or boiled vegetables with rice, and usually fresh fruit for dessert. Whilst cruising on Bai Tu Long we will certainly be treated to a variety of fresh and delicious sea food.

 

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

We will spend 3 nights in a comfortable and well located hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, 1 night in a simple hotel in Tuyen Quang, 2 nights in local inns in Dong Van and Bao Lac and for the night beside Ba Be Lake we will stay at a simple guesthouse/homestay with twin rooms and shared facilities. There will be a total of 3 nights in simple village homestays, where you will require a light sleeping bag or a sleeping bag liner. At these homestays sleeping arrangements will be communal with everybody sharing one large room and all footwear left outside; in some villages it is possible that males and females will be asked to sleep separately (same room, but not next to each other). Each person will have their own mattress (sometimes on the floor, sometimes on a raised bed), with bedding and mosquito net provided - there will be plenty of colourful blankets should the temperature fall in the evenings. The bathroom facilities will be basic, with a mix of western and squat toilets. There will also be basic shower facilities, although electricity and hot water can be intermittent. Charging phones or cameras is also usually possible. Whilst the facilities are basic, the unique experience of staying with the villagers in their homes, in stunning and remote locations, will more than make up for the lack of modern amenities. There is also a single night on the very comfortable Dragon's Pearl Junk. All accommodation is twin share (except for the 3 simple homestay nights). If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with someone of the same sex. Single rooms at all of the accommodation (except the homestays) are available for a supplementary cost. If you are planning on extending your holiday additional nights at the group hotel are available on request.

The trip will be led by an experienced local English-speaking cycling guide and there will also be one or more support vehicles and drivers.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

Approximately £150 (or equivalent in $/€) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including tips for local staff, homestay hosts, guides, drivers, boatmen etc. It is not necessary to obtain local currency (Vietnamese Dong) prior to travelling. Money can be changed at one of the banks in Hanoi or you can withdraw funds from an ATM, either at the airport or in the city. For ease of exchange we recommend that you carry your travel money in US dollars. US dollars are acceptable for exchange in Hanoi and can also sometimes be used to pay directly for goods and services.

Tips are the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your local guides and to your support crews and drivers. They do not form part of their wages. KE always pays local staff the best rates of pay, no matter what country they are in and any tips they receive are seen as a personal thank you from group members. For our part, we advise local teams that tips are not a duty or a prerequisite but are a bonus and entirely dependent on the service that was given. For your support crews we recommend that you give a tip if you feel that their services have met your satisfaction. It is best to tip as a group and it is useful to have a group pool for this. As a rough guide we suggest you allow a total of £80-100 for tipping. Note that you will have a guide and one or more drivers and other staff. It is also not unusual to tip the families at homestays if you feel that they have provided a great service; around $1-2 per group member, per homestay is reasonable.

Bikes are provided locally within the cost of the holiday. These bikes are Trek 4300 and 4500 bikes in a full range of sizes. They are good quality and well maintained bikes with Shimano components, triple chainsets (27 gears), 100mm Suntour front suspension, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and fast-rolling all-round tyres. Spare parts (tubes, tyre, chains etc.) will be available in the support vehicle along with a tool kit and track pump. The guide will also carry some spares and tools for fixing punctures etc. The bikes are equipped with flat pedals. If you prefer to use spd or clip-in pedals, you will need to bring these with you, along with your regular cycling shoes and cleats. Another item which you might choose to take with you on the holiday is your saddle. The hire bikes have standard saddles and anyone requiring more comfort, or a women-specific saddle, should consider taking their own. Helmets can also be provided free of charge if you request one.

Throughout this trip we have the back up of one or more support vehicles. Each morning our main baggage will be loaded onto the support vehicle which will follow the group on the day's ride. The local biking leader and the support vehicle driver will watch over the group and will carry mobile phones, allowing you to contact them in the case of a breakdown or other incident. We want everyone to enjoy their cycling experience on this trip and we recognise the importance of group members being allowed to cycle at their own pace. At times there can be a fair distance between the front and rear cyclists in the group, with the support vehicle and cycling leader out of sight. The support vehicle will pick up any group members who wish to take a break from cycling at any time. There will be local fruit and snacks and drinking water available from the support vehicle at all times.

You should travel with one main item of luggage, such as a robust holdall, as well as a small day pack or mountain bike-specific hydration pack. The day pack can be used to carry valuable items such as cameras and GPS devices whilst travelling and will also carry your day-ride essentials during the rides.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Visa Vietnam

British Citizen passport holders do not need a visa for durations of stay up to and including 45 days for tourism and transit.

For information about multiple entry visas, longer stays or different nationalities please contact the relevant embassy. The Vietnamese Embassy in the UK is in London.

 

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

VACCINATIONS

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you specific require any vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis are required. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong.

The better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy your holiday. You should adopt a sensible weekly exercise regime and fit in a number of long cycle rides in hilly country ahead of the trip. As well as cycling, running and swimming are also good for developing aerobic fitness and stamina.

The north of Vietnam has a sub-tropical climate. During the winter months from November to April this region is relatively cool and dry, influenced by the generally northerly winds of the north-east monsoon. The highest daytime temperature during this season in Hanoi will be 20 to 25 degrees centigrade and it will be 5 degrees cooler than this in the highland areas. At the highest points of the journey, it can be cold enough in the winter to need a fleece jacket in the evenings. During the summer, particulary from June to August it is warmer and wetter with temperatures rising above 30 degrees centigrade in Hanoi (cooler in the highlands) and heavy showers.  

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Lonely Planet. Vietnam
  • Rough Guide. Vietnam
  • Vietnam Pocket Guide. Insight Guides
  • Vietnamese Phrasebook. Rough Guides
  • Hill Tribes Phrasebook. Lonely Planet
  • Vietnam: A History. Stanley Karnow

Vietnam North. Reise Know-How. 1:600.000 Scale

Indexed, waterproof and tear-resistant road map of Northern Vietnam with topographic and tourist information. Road and rail networks are clearly presented and driving distances on main roads are indicated. Topography is shown by altitude colouring, contours, spot heights, mountain passes and names of mountain ranges. National parks and protected areas are marked and symbols highlight various places of interest, including UNESCO world heritage sites, archaeological remains, temples and museums, viewpoints etc.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

For this holiday you will need your usual cycling clothing, including shoes, cycling gloves and a helmet (which must be worn at all times when cycling).

Bike Wear

  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling shoes
  • Daypack or mountain bike-specific hydration pack (e.g. Camelbak)
  • Water bladder - min. 2 litres water capacity (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Padded (baggy) cycling shorts
  • Long leg cycling trousers or leg warmers
  • Base-layer – short sleeve cycling tops
  • Mid-layer - long sleeved cycling tops
  • Fleece jacket or jumper
  • Lightweight windproof gilet
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Regular biking gloves
  • Buff
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream (inc. total bloc for lips/nose)
  • Camera

Other Stuff

  • Travel and off-the-bike clothing and footwear
  • Wash bag, towel, toiletries, including anti-bacterial handwash
  • Headtorch and spare batteries
  • Swimwear
  • Basic First Aid kit and personal medication
  • Insect repellant
  • Chamois cream (e.g. Assos/Ozone)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Spares and Repairs

You do not need to take any tools or spares. The local guide will take care of any and all issues.

Hydration and Energy Snacks

You should take suitable water bottle(s) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic) or a hydration pack and you should also consider taking a small supply of the gels, power bars or sports drink mix that you would normally use on a ride at home.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your equipment.


 

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
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Reviews

4 out of 5 from 1 review

Unforgettable experience, but seriously hard climbing ★★★★

We did this trip in Nov-Dec 2022. The first thing to say is that the cycling is hard. KE had graded this as a 6, but we have done a few KE trips before, including Jordan’s Dead-to-Red, which is listed as an 8, and Vietnam was harder than that, much harder. Because you are cycling on very small tracks and roads, the gradient is often >10% and sometimes this goes on for several miles. On day 3 we cycled 61 km, but climbed >2000m. In total we cycled only 466 km, but climbed 9553m. So, if cl imbing is your thing, this holiday is for you. The second point is the itinerary, which is often far too ambitious. On day 2 we cycled 110 km (on MTB hardtails) and arrived well after dark, too late to see the ‘pretty amazing waterfall of Than Ban Ba’. On several occasions the group had to board the support vehicle (and still arrived after dark). The itinerary often suggests time in afternoon for exploring, but there simply was never any time for this. The lunch breaks were also quite long and –if these were shortened a bit- you could get in a bit more cycling. The third thing is the weather. We were expecting fairly hot and humid conditions and this was certainly the case to the first 2 days, with temperatures of around 30-35 degrees. But on the third day this dropped to 7 degrees and we were all freezing. So, if you do this trip around Nov-Dec, pack for all conditions. You will need warm jacket, thermal base layers, bib trousers, winter socks, warm shoes, overshoes, buffs, gloves etc. The accommodation can best be described as ‘variable’; anything from comfortable hotels to very basic homestays. The first and last homestays were lovely and clean, the other 2 were much more basic with pretty unhygienic shower and toilet facilities Saying all this, we did have an awesome holiday. Vietnam is amazing and we really felt we saw the heart of the country. The people we met were all super friendly and welcoming. The homestays certainly provide a good opportunity to see how the local population lives. It’s also good you’re supporting local communities. The countryside was beautiful with many stunning views. Our guide Shi and the support team were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble. Shi was very knowledgeable (56% of Vietnamese men are called Nguyen!), a keen cyclist and coffee connoisseur. One of the highlights was the Vietnamese food, which was truly delicious. However, as vegetarian or vegan you will be struggling as soon as you leave Hanoi. Rice, noodles and cabbage only gets you so far. And bread (or wheat) is simply non-existent. After finishing our last day cycling Shi took us to a spa bath + massage place in Hanoi, which was a great experience. It was also dead cheap and maybe should become of the program? The cruise in Halong Bay was a relaxing finish to the holiday, although this is much more a mass tourism experience. Some of us felt this could be made an optional extra. We have fed back most of the above to KE and I think they will adjust the grading. As long as the itinerary gets streamlined a bit, this will be a pretty perfect cycling adventure (as long as you like climbing and bring warm clothes). All together, a highly recommended trip and an amazing experience.
By Nico Dorchester | 01 January 2023

Traveller Reviews
4 out of 5 from 1 review

Unforgettable experience, but seriously hard climbing
★ ★ ★ ★
We did this trip in Nov-Dec 2022. The first thing to say is that the cycling is hard. KE had graded this as a 6, but we have done a few KE trips before, including Jordan’s Dead-to-Red, which is listed as an 8, and Vietnam was harder than that, much harder. Because you are cycling on very small tracks and roads, the gradient is often >10% and sometimes this goes on for several miles. On day 3 we cycled 61 km, but climbed >2000m. In total we cycled only 466 km, but climbed 9553m. So, if cl imbing is your thing, this holiday is for you. The second point is the itinerary, which is often far too ambitious. On day 2 we cycled 110 km (on MTB hardtails) and arrived well after dark, too late to see the ‘pretty amazing waterfall of Than Ban Ba’. On several occasions the group had to board the support vehicle (and still arrived after dark). The itinerary often suggests time in afternoon for exploring, but there simply was never any time for this. The lunch breaks were also quite long and –if these were shortened a bit- you could get in a bit more cycling. The third thing is the weather. We were expecting fairly hot and humid conditions and this was certainly the case to the first 2 days, with temperatures of around 30-35 degrees. But on the third day this dropped to 7 degrees and we were all freezing. So, if you do this trip around Nov-Dec, pack for all conditions. You will need warm jacket, thermal base layers, bib trousers, winter socks, warm shoes, overshoes, buffs, gloves etc. The accommodation can best be described as ‘variable’; anything from comfortable hotels to very basic homestays. The first and last homestays were lovely and clean, the other 2 were much more basic with pretty unhygienic shower and toilet facilities Saying all this, we did have an awesome holiday. Vietnam is amazing and we really felt we saw the heart of the country. The people we met were all super friendly and welcoming. The homestays certainly provide a good opportunity to see how the local population lives. It’s also good you’re supporting local communities. The countryside was beautiful with many stunning views. Our guide Shi and the support team were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble. Shi was very knowledgeable (56% of Vietnamese men are called Nguyen!), a keen cyclist and coffee connoisseur. One of the highlights was the Vietnamese food, which was truly delicious. However, as vegetarian or vegan you will be struggling as soon as you leave Hanoi. Rice, noodles and cabbage only gets you so far. And bread (or wheat) is simply non-existent. After finishing our last day cycling Shi took us to a spa bath + massage place in Hanoi, which was a great experience. It was also dead cheap and maybe should become of the program? The cruise in Halong Bay was a relaxing finish to the holiday, although this is much more a mass tourism experience. Some of us felt this could be made an optional extra. We have fed back most of the above to KE and I think they will adjust the grading. As long as the itinerary gets streamlined a bit, this will be a pretty perfect cycling adventure (as long as you like climbing and bring warm clothes). All together, a highly recommended trip and an amazing experience.
By Nico Dorchester | 01 January 2023

DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2024

Dates

Adults from

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Status

More Information

  • Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HAMB/03/24/
  • This trip begins on Mon 18 Nov and ends on Fri 29 Nov
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$365 - Includes all nights except the 3 homestays.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HAMB/03/24/
  • This trip begins on Mon 18 Nov and ends on Fri 29 Nov
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$365 - Includes all nights except the 3 homestays.
  • Download Trip Notes

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HAMB/01/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 31 Mar and ends on Fri 11 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$365 - Includes all nights except the 3 homestays.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HAMB/02/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 25 Aug and ends on Fri 5 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$365 - Includes all nights except the 3 homestays.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Hill Tribes of Northern Vietnam Cycling Adventure
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HAMB/03/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 17 Nov and ends on Fri 28 Nov
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$365 - Includes all nights except the 3 homestays.
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary starting at the hotel in Hanoi. A single group transfer is provided from/to Hanoi Airport on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and on the final day of the Land Only itinerary.

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Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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