Bike, Hike, & Kayak Northern Vietnam
Adventure junkies revel on these Vietnam adventure trips. A geographically diverse country, Vietnam 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 12-day ramble is loaded with culture, nature and adventure and is a sure bet to satisfy all of your adventure cravings.
- Exploring the Old Quarter of Hanoi by foot and rickshaw
- Sea kayaking the turquoise seas of Halong Bay
- Mountain biking through remote hilltribe villages
|2||Hanoi||Hiking & Rickshaw||Train||B,L|
|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|
|6||Sapa & Ta Van||Trekking||Homestay||B,L,D|
|7||Van Ho & Sapa||Trekking||Train||B,L,D|
|9||Halong Bay||Sea Kayaking||Cabin||B,L,D|
|10||Halong Bay||Sea Kayaking||Cabin||B,L,D|
|11||Halong Bay & Hanoi||Sea Kayaking||Hotel||B,L|
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. You’ll have free time to dine on your own and prepare for this evening's 9:30 pm night train to Lao Cai. The air-conditioned sleeping berths have 4 beds. (B,L)
Day 3: Lao Cai - Bao Nhai - Trung Do (Mountain Biking)
Our train pulls into Lao Cai between 6-6:30 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. We'll walk about one hour along a dirt road where our driver and vehicle will meet us with our bikes. Here we'll switch gears and bike 10kms/16 miles to Bac Ha. 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 La 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'll walk to the Sunday market in Bac Ha. 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 time to fill our bags with goodies and for the adventurous, sample some of the exotic food dishes we'll walk back to our hotel and 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 - Ta Van (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 into Ta Van, the heart of 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: Van 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: Free Day in Hanoi
Our train reaches Hanoi at approximately 5:30 am. We’ll be greeted at the station and transferred to a cozy hotel with time to catch up on sleep and rest from our memorable northern excursion. Later in the morning we'll visit the outskirts of Hanoi where there are over 50 Handicraft villages, some being world renowned for their arts and crafts. We'll visit the some of the must see villages such as Bat Trang ceramic village, Van Phuc silk village, Dong Ky wood carving village and So noodle village where you can see the production of all of these local products. We'll return to Hanoi in the afternoon with the remainder of the day at leisure to relax, shop or enjoy some of the spa services Hanoi has to offer. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. (B)
Day 9: Halong Bay (Sea Kayaking)
We depart at 5:30am this morning, driving 2 hours to the seaport of Hai Phong. We'll stop for breakfast along the way, then board the express boat to Cat Ba Island. From here we board a small boat for a 20-minute ride to our private base camp. We'll settle into our beach cabins, take a refreshing dip in the sea, or a walk along the white sand beach while our guides prepare a delicious spread of fresh local seafood and vegetable dishes. Afterwards we'll have a briefing on gear and safety, basic paddle strokes and our paddling route. Then it's time to slip into our sleek kayaks and set out for an afternoon of paddling. We'll return to base camp for a shower and then a delicious seaside dinner before retiring to our cozy cabins for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Halong Bay (Sea Kayaking)
Today is a full day of paddling, exploring the bay at a leisurely pace, with time to take a closer look at the amazing karsts. We’ll explore the labyrinth of caves that lead to stunning lagoons, paddle to floating villages to see this unique way of life, and stop to chill out at one of the many beaches here. We’ll be met by a support boat, which we’ll board for lunch, then return to the sea and spend the remainder of the afternoon paddling. The support boat will pick us up late afternoon to motor us back to the base camp for dinner. Overnight at our cozy base camp in comfortable cabins. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Halong Bay - Hanoi (Sea Kayaking)
Early risers can revitalize with a morning dip in the ocean before breakfast. We can enjoy a last paddle of the bay or merely hang on the beach and chill in a hammock with a good book. The paddlers return to base camp in time for lunch, then we all cruise back to Cat Ba Island, passing floating villages and markets along the way. We take the express boat back to Hai Phong then bus back to Hanoi, arriving in Hanoi at 7.30 pm. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. (B,L)
Day 12: 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, 7 Dinners
Hotel: 5 Nights
Homestay: 2 Nights
Train: 2 Nights
Cabin: 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.