Get lost in the gorgeous views of rice fields, jungles and beaches
Traverse mountain passes which are amongst the highest in Vietnam
Gain appreciation of the different ethnic groups
Throw yourself into once-in-a-lifetime experiences
Cycle on beautiful mountains and meet friendly locals

Biking Hanoi to Luang Prabang

Duration
13 days
Site savings
$140
From
$2,795
$2,655 USD

-5%

Come and cycle the majestic mountain ranges of Vietnam and Laos for a fresh perspective on these Southeast Asian countries that few others will ever have the privilege of seeing. The journey will lead you past flowing rivers, towering limestone cliffs, cascading green rice paddies and introduce you to fascinating hilltop tribal communities. Put simply: this is the adventure of a lifetime and one you will cherish forever.

  • Category
    Adventurous
  • Destination
    Vietnam
  • Duration
    13 days
  • Culture Level
    Adventurous
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    3 - Active
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
    Hilly
  • Distance
    393.3 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    43.5 miles
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  1. Day 1Hello to Hanoi

    It is arrival time as you set foot in the high-octane Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. You will immediately be sucked in by the scene before you with scooters vying for space amongst beautiful French and Chinese buildings that hark back to their respective occupations of this land. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get your bearings in the city before meeting for dinner and discussing the exciting tour ahead.

  2. Day 2Diving head first into Hanoi before setting off for Sapa

    Hanoi deserves your time and to be understood as to what it represents as the capital of Vietnam. Accompanied by your experienced and local guides, there will be a half-day tour to get a greater sense of what makes this unique city tick. You'll pass peaceful lakes and Oriental temples on the way to the mausoleum complex of the father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh.

    This proves a fascinating insight into this historical figure especially when you visit the the former president’s gardens and his old house. After this and if time permits, history and nature will be combined as you head for the dazzling central Hoan Kiem Lake which has superb pagodas nearby. Food is in order and it’s fortunate that we are in the capital, as the Old Quarter offers up a melee of twisting streets all with businesses, shops and more importantly, wonderful dining options everywhere.

    There will be another meal early in the evening as you prepare to head north-west into the mountains of Sapa. To reach it there will be an overnight train on the King Express and it will be a majestic journey with comfortable sleeping compartments and a refreshment carriage. You’ll want to get your sleep ahead of the tour but it's understandable if the excitement is a bit too much.

  3. Day 3Sensational scenery in Sapa

    Waking up on the train is an unusual but adrenaline pumping experience, particularly when you know that today is your first day on the bike. You'll arrive in Lao Cai at 7:00 am before taking a support vehicle the final stretch of the way up to the former hill station of Sapa and the hotel. Situated at 1,450m (4,757 ft) you'll be able to breathe in the cool air - a stark contrast to what you've experienced in Hanoi just a day earlier.

    After a hearty breakfast it’s time to get those legs pumping as you finally hop on the mountain bikes. As it’s the first day riding, it will be relatively easy and you'll be able to soak up the sensational scenery of the Moa Huong valley that lays before you. Everywhere you look is green with rice fields which seem to stretch out forever. This historic and remote location is home to several traditional hill tribes and you'll be fortunate to meet the Red Dzao people in Ta Van village. Assisted by guides, you'll soon discover more about their culture and homes before having lunch.

    More riding follows after a meal and then you'll pedal onwards to Thanh Kim village which has some gentle hills. This is excellent preparation for the bigger climbs that lay ahead on your mountain mission across Vietnam and Cambodia. The village itself affords glorious sweeping views of the Ban Ho valley and while on some days it may be cloudy, the hill-tribe people fill the area with color. Depending on your mood and energy, you can ride back towards Sapa or opt to jump in the support vehicle.

    • 26.1 miles
  4. Day 4Soaking up super Sapa

    This brilliant area with cascading rice terraces and bursts of color in the hill-tribes demands you explore it further. And that's whats in store today as you take a loop route along the hillside town. Switching between climbs and speeding downhill, you'll be able to soak up the beautiful vistas that Sapa has to offer. Every so often there will be a break from your riding spells so you can visits local villages such as Ta Phin where you can witness the kind-hearted nature of the Red Dzao people.

    Sapa is a cycling paradise with numerous tracks and loops that you can take to fly down to the main Lao Chai road. The terrain can change as it becomes muddy and slippery, but this adds to the challenge and makes it exhilarating to ride. Having reached the road you can either transfer back to Sapa or push on and cycle the remaining 15km (9mi). The nature of the tricky roads means our jeeps will not always be available for support, but we will find spots to catch up with them. Having reached the hotel, the afternoon is free for you to wander round Sapa before meeting up again for dinner.

    • 13.7 miles
  5. Day 5Rolling into remote lands on the Tram Tron pass

    For all its beauty Sapa is a popular tourist spot and while the bikes enable you to escape this to a degree, it is understandable that you will want to go more remote on this tour. Today ticks that box as you roll through the gears and ride up to the highest road pass in Vietnam – Tram Ton. You'll feel the burn in those legs as you hit 2,000m (6562ft), but the descent into the soaring valleys will have you shouting with joy.

    Before you, the green Vietnamese countryside lays ahead and on this ride you'll pass tea plantations, plus the inquisitive looks of minority tribes as you pedal ahead. While Sapa offers a mystical air and potential views, this side of the mountain provides clearer vistas and looking back you will be able to see the highest mountain in Indo China, Fansipan.

    Lunch will be in the town of Tam Duong before jumping back on the saddle and riding past picturesque villages, rice paddies, coffee plantations and towering limestone cliffs. The environment on this tour is truly epic and you will feel in awe at countless moments as you push on before spending a night in the city of Lai Chau.

    • 45.4 miles
  6. Day 6Meandering past mountains to Muong Lay

    Following a pretty tough day’s riding, you can take things easy as you pedal out of the sleepy city of Lai Chau. But don’t rest on your laurels just yet as there will be further climbs ahead that are enveloped by towering mountains and rice terraces on either side. Eventually, mountains take charge of both sides as you head along the Nam Ma River before reaching the town of Muong Lay. As ever the scenery acts as an incredible means of supporting you, while riding along these beautiful roads.

    • 66.5 miles
  7. Day 7Hauling up hills for the smiles

    Start today with a gentle ride along the river before tackling the first climb. Once at the top, take the time to recover and check out the local tea shop. This is the highest pass you will take on today, but it’s not the last. Cycle on and drop down to a plateau where with the help of local guides, you'll meet some hill tribe villagers before enjoying lunch. Then it’s on to the pass as you climb up, up and away again and  be rewarded by a sight of smiling children plus flat roads all the way to Dien Bien Phu.

    • 64 miles
  8. Day 8Delving into the Dien Bien Phu’s deep history

    It is time to explore some Vietnamese history again and Dien Bien Phu is the perfect spot for this. This historic city was the location of the decisive engagement in the Indochina War as the Viet Minh communist forces defeated French Union troops in 1954 to secure independence and free Vietnam from colonial rule.

    You'll cycle to an excellent war museum which provides greater details into this life changing battle, while also stopping at other historical points such as the Castries’ bunker, Glory Statue and the campaign headquarters. Between these visits lunch will be squeezed in before it is back to some real mountain bike riding. Take on a short climb then cycle amid towering forests and a reservoir.

    Afterwards, ride back into the quaint city, which is free for you to explore the rest of the day. Dinner is your own choice tonight.

    • 31.1 miles
  9. Day 9Veering out of Vietnam into luscious Laos

    One country down and one to go. Today, bid farewell to Vietnam as you take a transfer to the border of Laos and cross into this Southeast Asian gem. Once all the paperwork is concluded, collect your new hire bikes (only if you haven’t brought your own), meet your new support crew and pedal off in the direction of Muang Khuoa – a delightful riverside town. You'll feel buzzed as you look around at Laos’ luscious scenery. Cycling on quiet roads, you'll pass quaint villages comprised of Thai ethnic tribes before stopping for lunch. Fully fueled up on food, pedal uphill before dropping into the resting point of Muang Khuo. Set on a hillside it offers superb views over the two rivers it meets on.

    • 42.9 miles
  10. Day 10Lap up and relax in the real Laos

    Today is a scheduled day off. Laos is not as popular as its Southeast Asian neighbors, but that means its emerald lands are more untouched and make for a paradise to explore. A voyage to the quiet riverside village of Muang Ngoy is a must and you'll get there by taking a 4-hour ride on a traditional long boat. Life on the river is amazing to observe as fishermen search for their catch, while traders and children greet you along the way. After a couple of hours, stop at one village to take a short hike and check out some local souvenirs before enjoying a fine lunch on the beach.

    Back on the boat, cruise up to Muang Ngoy, a spectacularly remote location that got electricity recently. Inaccessible by roads this spot is surrounded by lush subtropical forest and limestone cliffs, it is the perfect place to relax and explore. Having checked into your bungalows for the evening, the rest of the day is free to explore the village, meet the locals or even check out the caves where people resided during the war. It is a perfect day that's rounded off with a sumptuous riverside dinner.

  11. Day 11Back to the bikes

    Suitably relaxed and chilled out, head back to your bike and tackle the remaining couple days of riding. A short boat transfer takes you to some dirt tracks and from there get the wheels spinning again as you head to Nong Kiau. This is real, rural cycling and you'll be passing through ethnic Hmong villages. The undulating route gets pretty narrow at certain points and there are stream crossings to factor in too. It makes for an exciting beginning today before joining tarmac roads into the town of Nong Kiau for lunch and then checking into the guesthouse for the evening.

    Overlooking the Nam Ou River you can opt to either take the boat or ride to the hotel before grabbing the bikes for an afternoon ride to the limestone caves that villagers used to seek refuge in from America’s carpet bombing tactics.

    • 14.9 miles
  12. Day 12Let’s go! Speeding off to Luang Prabang on the last day

    The last day of riding is an absolute belter as you ditch the big mountains and hill climbs for some peaceful roads along the Nam Ou River. The silence by the river is astounding as you tackle minor hill climbs and enjoy riding at a real quick pace. Flying into the former royal capital of Luang Prabang, makes for a tremendous way to conclude this journey of incredible highs.

    A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is unrivaled for spirituality and is filled with endless Buddhist temples and monasteries. Its location on a peninsula between the Nam Khan and Mekong River adds to its overall allure. Each morning you can witness the monks from the monasteries walking the streets and collecting alms in a display that will make you feel lucky to be there. Once you reach this beautiful city, check into the hotel before heading for one final dinner to reflect on this incredible experience.

    • 88.9 miles
  13. Day 13Waving goodbye to the journey of a lifetime

    That time has come as you get ready to say goodbye. The morning is free for you to continue exploring the beauty on every corner of Luang Prabang before setting off on your onward travel. It has been a heck of a trip with numerous mountains, hillside tribes, rivers, jaw-dropping vistas and incredible food all likely to live long in the memory. If you wish to continue your adventure in Laos the tour provider will be more than happy to assist with recommendations.