Day 1: Hoian Cycling To Hue - Over Hai Van Pass : ( L, D )
8:00 AM pick you up from your hotel and our first day of cycling brings a mixture of coastal riding and mountain passes. After a hearty breakfast, we cycle back towards Danang and head further north. We visit Red Beach, where American Marines first landed in 1965, then ride over Nam O Bridge en route to the steep Hai Van Pass. This is our biggest climb on the whole trip and, on a humid day, will be hard work! Hai Van Pass has been a vital military strategic foothold for centuries, and was used by French and American armies in the Indochina War and Vietnam War; bunkers and fortifications dot the hillsides. The descent from here takes us back to the coast and into the beautiful fishing town of Ga Lăng Cô. We stop for lunch next to Đầm Cầu Hai, an enormous saltwater lagoon famous for its oysters. A short transfer takes us back to the coast, where we continue on our cycle, passing many beautifully embellished Buddhist cemeteries and fishing communities until we reach today’s endpoint in the town of Vinh Thanh. From here we take a short transfer into Hue, to avoid a very busy stretch of road. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 60-80km, drive approx. 1hr
Day 2: Hue cycle to Cua Tung Beach ( B, L, D )
After a short transfer out of Hué, we will notice a marked difference in terrain on our cycling route today, as it remains pan flat throughout. We leave the fishing communities and ride on an elevated road, through the middle of vivid green rice paddies as far as the eye can see. Contrasting and brightly colored Buddhist pagodas stand out in the scenery. The prevailing wind through the rice paddies gently encourages us as we cycle, soon rejoining the coast for the afternoon and passing shrimp farms as we go. Upon reaching Cúa Tung, our accommodation for the night is positioned alongside a lighthouse on the beach, where we can enjoy a swim before dinner. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 90km
Day 3 : Cua Tung Cycle to Dong Hoi ( B , L ,D )
The 5km strip of land on either side of the Ben Hai River, which from 1954 to 1975 acted as a buffer between the North and the South, is still known as the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), and today’s route takes us north through it, crossing the 17th Parallel. Ironically, the DMZ became one of the most militarized areas in the world. We follow this fascinating and thought-provoking route, making time in the morning to visit the Vinh Moc Tunnels. An incredible complex of tunnels that were dug by local people to evade the constant US bombing of the area, it includes kitchens, wells, and a ‘hospital’, as well as living quarters for roughly 60 families, all at a depth of roughly 30m. The tunnels saved the lives of the local villagers and are still in very good condition. We continue our cycling on undulating roads, through lush scenery, with trees lining the road and providing welcome shade from the sun. As we reach the endpoint of our cycling today, we board the awaiting transport to transfer into the seaside town of Dong Hoi. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 80km
Day 4: Dong Hoi Cycle to Phong Nha caves ( B, L, D )
Today’s ride is shorter, to make time to visit the Phong Nha caves – an indisputable highlight of our trip. We begin our day with a ride through the bustling town of Dong Hoi, where we join what may seem like hundreds of motorcyclists on their morning commute. We ride past Tam Toa church, which is scarred with broken walls and bullet holes from the war and kept as a reminder of the troubled past. We leave the coastline and head inland towards the ancient limestone mountains of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park piercing out of the rice fields. We cycle into the park to our hotel and freshen up before lunch. After lunch, we climb into the awaiting boats which take us into the heart of the water caves (for approx. 40 minutes), where we disembark to explore Tien Son cave by foot before returning to the hotel by boat down the Son River. A truly magical experience. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 50km
Day 5: Phong Nha Cycle To Huong Khe ( B, L, D )
Today will make for some memorable riding, as we skirt the eastern edge of the national park. The remoteness of this area was utilized by the Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. We cycle along the old Khe Giat runway, which is now a very wide road. From here, we enter a steep-sided gorge of large limestone cliffs lined with wild banana trees and dense rainforest, which makes for some incredibly scenic riding. The terrain today is tough, with some long hills but the much longer descents offer an exhilarating ride. The welcoming local villagers are not so familiar with foreign tourists and will be full of smiles as we ride by. After lunch, we have a short transfer before jumping back on our bikes at the top of a pass to enjoy a great descent, leaving the hills behind and continuing on a flatter section to Huong Khe. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 80km, drive approx. 1.5hrs
Day 6 : Huong Khe Cycle To Dong Hien - Thanh Hoa ( B , L , D )
Today we cycle through the countryside and rural villages, in a region that rarely sees tourists - we are certainly off the beaten path here. For the first part of the day, we cycle through tea plantations on gently undulating roads, dotted with small climbs. Continuing onwards, we follow the River Lam, a very wide and meandering river dotted with fishing boats. The towns we pass through will be fascinated at the sight of foreigners on bikes, as smiling ladies wearing Nom La’s (the traditional cone straw hats) wave from the rice fields. We finish in Dong Hien and have a long scenic transfer to Thanh Hoa. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 80km, drive approx. 2.5hrs
Day 7 : Thanh Hoa Cycle To Nam Dinh - Hai Phong ( B , L , D )
A 30-minute transfer takes us out of the town center. This morning will feel like a world away from the peaceful and tranquil roads of yesterday, as we ride through suburbs busy with people buying and selling everything, from house fans and mirrors to Buddhist shrines and coffins. You’ll be amazed at home much can be carried on one motorbike! Many of the locals in this area are craftsmen who produce much of the grand, mahogany furniture that adorns hotel lobbies and homes. We soon find ourselves following a quiet canal that weaves its way along the base of the Nga Son Mountains, rising steeply out of the rice paddies. Just before lunch, we cross the Thai Binh River by ferry and stop for a picnic on the river bank. Back on our bikes, we follow the east bank of the river into Nam Dinh on traffic-free routes shared by other cyclists and motorbikes. Once in Nam Dinh, we load up the vehicles and transfer them to Hai Phong. Night hotel.
Cycle approx. 90km, transfer approx. 3hrs
Day 8: Hai Phong Cycle Cat Ba Island ( B, L, D )
After a vehicle transfer to the ferry point, we have a short crossing to Cát Bà Island to embark on the final leg of our adventure through Northern Vietnam. The excitement will have been growing to finally reach world-renowned Halong Bay, which makes for an incredible finish! Once on the island, it is flat at first before a steep uphill of approximately 22kms takes us to an awe-inspiring and incredible vista of Halong Bay – our first glimpse is well worth the effort! Cát Bà Island regularly appears in the backdrop of photographs of Halong Bay, so it is a unique experience to be part of the iconic scenery. Arrive at the hotel for check-in and afternoon free to explore Cat Ba small beach town, so you can swim on the beach and have a local dinner.
Cycle approx. 22 km, transfer approx. 2hrs
Day 9: Cat Ba Island Cycle to Halong Bay and overnight on a cruise ( B, L, D )
After breakfast, we cycle to the ferry port on the other side of the island and the ferry to take us across to the port of Halong Bay. We can relax and enjoy the views – we made it! With our bikes loaded up for the last time, we board our awaiting junk boat – our home for the next 24 hours. Lunch is served on board as we tour around the Bay's islands, dotted with wind and wave-eroded grottoes. We visit several islands, as well as Sung Sot cave, and enjoy a swim at Ti Top beach, known for its white-sand beaches and clear water. This is a fantastic way to celebrate our cycling achievements. Night junk boat.
Cycle approx. 18 km
Day 10: Halong Bay Transfer To Hanoi ( B, L )
Today we awake surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Halong Bay. We have breakfast sitting on the upper deck taking in the beauty of the rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear waters of the Bay. With the accompanying soundtrack of birds singing, cicadas chirping ashore, and the gentle lapping of the waves against our boat, we continue to explore this UNESCO World Heritage-listed bay. This morning we visit more islands and take to small bamboo boats to appreciate more caves. After lunch, we return to Halong Wharf and transfer to Hanoi. Check-in your hotel and End The Tour.
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