Bike, Hike, & Kayak Northern Vietnam
Adventurous travellers will revel in this trip to Vietnam, a geographically diverse country that offers some of the best playscapes in South East Asia. Our adventure kicks off in Hanoi, where we explore the bustling old quarter on foot and in rickshaws. We spend a few days on mountain bikes snaking along dirt roads that carve around steep mountains, through remote villages and alongside fertile meadows. To add a burst of culture, we trek into the Giang Tai Chai to see the colourful Dzao hill tribe. The wow factor continues in Halong Bay where we slip into sea kayaks and paddle amongst rugged limestone cliffs that rise out of the sea. This 11-day ramble is loaded with culture, nature and activity and is a sure bet to satisfy all of your adventure cravings.
- Kayak in UNESCO recognized Halong Bay, exploring hidden caves, stunning lagoons, pearl farms and fishing villages
- Bike and hike through remote villages and past terraced rice paddies, meeting and learning about hill tribe culture
- Explore Hanoi’s fascinating historic sites and bustling Old Quarter by foot and rickshaw
|2||Hanoi||Hiking & Rickshaw||Train||B,L,D|
|3||Lao Cai, Bao Nhai & Trung Do||Biking||Homestay||B,L,D|
|4||Trung Do, Coc Ly & Bac Ha||Biking||Hotel||B,L,D|
|5||Bac Ha, Lao Cai & Sapa||Biking||Hotel||B,L,D|
|6||Sapa & Ban Ho||Trekking||Homestay||B,L,D|
|7||Ban Ho & Sapa||Trekking||Train||B,L,D|
|8||Hanoi & Halong Bay||Sea Kayaking||Junk Boat||B,L,D|
|9||Halong Bay||Sea Kayaking||Junk Boat||B,L,D|
|10||Halong Bay & Hanoi||Sailing||Hotel||B,L,D|
Day 1: Arrival Hanoi
Upon arrival into the Hanoi airport a BikeHike Adventures representative will greet you and transfer you to a comfortable hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you’ll likely have free time to relax, get adjusted and explore a bit of Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter. In the evening you’ll meet your guide and enjoy a savory spread of Vietnamese dishes followed by a visit to the Water Puppet Theatre for a performance of this ancient traditional art form. (D)
Day 2: Hanoi (Hiking & Rickshaw Riding)
After a hearty breakfast we'll set off to explore some of Hanoi's historic sites, such as The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, The Ethnology Museum, One Pillar Pagoda and the 11th century Temple of Literature. After lunch, we’ll ride in rickshaws , touring the historic 36th Street Old Quarter--it's a shoppers and photographers delight as the streets are alive with shops and vendors making and selling everything imaginable. We'll have dinner before preparing for this evening's 9:30 pm night train to Lao Cai. The air-conditioned sleeping berths have 4 beds. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Lao Cai - Bao Nhai - Trung Do (Mountain Biking)
Our train pulls into Lao Cai between 5-5:30 am. We'll stop at a nearby restaurant to refuel with a hearty breakfast, then gear up for our bike trip, cycling 46 kms/25 miles from Lao Cai to Bao Nhai. The roads wind through luxuriant mountains with views of rice paddies stacked like mossy pancakes. We cycle on paved with slight to moderate elevation changes. This is a very colorful ride, bursting with cultural encounters. We'll pedal alongside commuting locals doubling and tripling up on bicycles. Afterwards we'll board a longtail boat for a relaxing float up the Chay River. This is a good opportunity to observe rural life along the river. We'll motor to the 'Fairy Cave' a limestone cavern punched through the canyon walls, then head back down river to the sleepy hamlet of Trung Do where we'll meet our host family from the Tay hilltribe. Here we'll dine on a homemade dinner and be overnight guests in their family home with their warm and gracious hospitality. The accommodation here is basic, but the cultural experience is worth every moment. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Trung Do - Coc Ly - Bac Ha (Mountain Biking)
We begin early with breakfast with our family, then have time to wander around the village meeting the locals. The photo opportunities are abundant with water buffalos plowing through the rice fields, fleshy pigs grazing beneath wooden homes on stilts and ponds of ducks swimming in huddles. From here, we'll transfer by vehicle to the weekly market in Black Dzao Village. This experience is rich with culture as the Flower H'mong, Black Dzao, Tay and Nung Hill Tribes all gather for this important social and economic event. Once we've had our share of the market and for the adventurous, sample some of the exotic food dishes we'll transfer to our biking start point. Here we'll switch gears and bike 18kms/10 miles on a snaking rocky road. Our support vehicle follows closely for weary riders who want to catch a lift up the steep glute burning stretches. The hearty can attempt the ascent all the way to the top of the high pass of Bac Ha. Midday we reach our hotel in Bac Ha and break for lunch. Afterwards we'll hop back on our bikes and ride 8 kms/5 miles around town with a stop in Ban Pho Village to have tea with a local family. Our final leg on the bikes is a stretch of singletrack that winds through plum gardens, rice fields and past the mud homes of the local inhabitants. We return to Bac Ha for dinner and overnight at a comfortable hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Bac Ha - Lao Cai - Sapa (Mountain Biking)
After breakfast we have a short drive up to Lung Phin. Here we ditch the vehicle and hop on our bikes for a thrill-filled ride to Seng Sui, Lung Sui. This scenic loop is dramatic with staggering high mountains laced with rice paddies, corn fields and colorful Flower H'mong villages. The route is rated moderate, with a good mix of rolling hills and dirt and rocky roads. In Can Cau our support vehicle will await to transfer us back to Lung Phin. From here it's back on our bikes for the last stretch, a 12 km/6 mile glide on a paved road back to Bac Ha town. Late afternoon we drive to Sapa where we have the evening free to relax and explore the village and its market. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. (B,L)
Day 6: Sapa - Ban Ho (Trekking)
After breakfast we'll hop into our jeep for a half hour journey to the trail head of our hike. Donned in our hiking boots, we'll set off for a two hour trek to Ta Van in the heart of the Golden Stream Valley - a colourful village of the Dzay people nested at the foot of Fan Si Pan mountains. We'll refortify midday with a picnic lunch and then continue trekking, following the meandering river to the end of the valley and then winding up the mountainside to Ban Ho, a peaceful village where the Tay Hilltribe resides. We'll end in the home of one of the villagers, who will host us for the night in a traditional homestay. We'll enjoy a home cooked dinner and have the opportunity to interact with the host family and learn about their culture. Overnight in Ban Ho homestay. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Ban Ho - Sapa (Trekking)
After breakfast and a farewell to our Tay hosts, we continue trekking through the spongy valley. We'll thread along dirt paths with beautiful views of the misty clouds hanging over the terraced rice paddies. Midday we'll break for a picnic lunch and then continue trekking until we reach the main road. Our driver and vehicle will meet us here and transfer us back up to Sapa. We pick up our gear from the hotel, then drive back down the mountain to Lao Cai. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy dinner in Lao Cai before taking the night train back to Hanoi. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Sea Kayaking)
Our train reaches Hanoi at approximately 5:30 am. We’ll be greeted at the station and have breakfast at a local restaurant. We'll then depart by vehicle to Halong City driving through the Red River Delta. Upon arrival into Halong City we’ll transfer to a traditional Vietnamese junk boat. Our boat will launch from the Hon Gai pier while everyone checks into their cabins. For lunch, we’ll feast on a fresh local seafood buffet while cruising amongst the limestone cliffs that rise out of the sea throughout Halong Bay. We’ll make a stop at Bai Tu Long Bay and from here we’ll dip into the sea in kayaks, which is the ideal way to explore the calm emerald waters, hidden caves, lagoons, pearl farms and fishing villages. Dinner and overnight on a traditional junk boat. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Halong Bay (Sea Kayaking)
Today we have a full day of kayaking and swimming. We’ll first board a support boat which will motor us to a remote area of Halong Bay. From here we’ll explore the nooks and crannies of the archipelago at a leisurely pace, with time to take a closer look at the amazing karsts, floating houses and sandy beaches. Lunch will be served back on the boat. Mid-afternoon we will motor back to the junk boat for dinner and to watch the sunset. Overnight on the same traditional junk boat. *Please note the exact program depends on the tide and weather conditions. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Halong Bay - Hanoi (Sailing)
For those interested, there is a 6:30am sunrise tai chi session on the sun deck. Afterwards, we’ll hop on bamboo boats and visit a secluded floating village surrounded by the limestone karsts. We make our way between a community of floating houses and small rowing boats that serve the everyday life of the locals here. This is what they use for vehicles, where they shop, where they fish, and where they live. We’ll then head back to the pier for our land transfer back to Hanoi. The evening is free in Hanoi. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Hanoi - Departure
We’ll pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your journey home. (B)
All accommodation (twin shared), Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all internal transportation, 21-speed mountain bikes, airport transfers and English-speaking guides.
Trip Does Not Include:
International airfare, airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not indicated and items of a personal nature.
11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
Hotel: 4 Nights
Homestay: 2 Nights
Train: 2 Nights
Junk Boat: 2 Nights
"We loved the county, the people and the fact that we were off the beaten path. We really got to experience and feel the county and people. The local food was excellent and that combined with having a good mix of activities, we arrived home feeling so good. We would go back to Vietnam in a flash. Our only concern is that we do not think that we could ever find a trip that would come close to equaling the BikeHike trip...maybe we will just have to book the same trip again!"
~ Dave Sloan - Okanagan Falls, Canada
“It's hard to define one best thing. Experiencing the culture, the activities, the food, meeting new people, it was all great.”
~ Annelie Vandenberg - Nova Scotia, Canada
“Anh was fabulous, knowledgeable, and had a fine sense of humour. Whether we were in a museum, biking the countryside, or walking the streets and hills, he had good answers for all our questions. The fact that he loves his country, shines in the manner of his showing and telling of it. He was a pleasure, and is a 'real keeper'.”
~ Cindy Gilday - Whitehorse, Canada
"Thanks to BikeHike, I finally felt like a traveller, not a tourist"
~ Tracy Picha - Toronto, Canada
Click here for more BikeHike Testimonials.
Vietnam is a bold and dramatic pot of unparalleled adventure. The watery landscape is marked by rice fields, dense forest, soaring mountains and fairytale coastline. Its distinct flavor is owed to its expansive past, one of the longest continuous histories in the world. Today, Vietnam is a compelling mix of old and new world style. Stare down endless motorbikes in the tangled streets of Hanoi. Experiment with the shocking culinary offerings of the Lao Cai market place. Experience the floating villages set between the limestone karsts of Halong Bay. The heartbeat of Vietnam belongs to its gracious and hardworking people. Despite the country’s sorted history of war, poverty and heartbreak, locals demonstrate optimism and graciously welcome foreigners. Vietnam is a place of endless stimulation.