Vietnam Backroads – The Mekong Bike Tour

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Long Duration Tour
From₹ 120,000
Long Duration Tour
From₹ 120,000
Fixed Departure
Private/Custom Tour
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  • 9 Days
  • 250 kilometres
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Ho Chi Minh City

Tour Intensity

Medium Intensity Tour

Activity

Best Season

Tour Overview

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries. Spread over a mosaic of landscapes; from beautiful blue beaches and limestone islands to lush green inland rainforests and the fertile delta island plains along the Mekong river. The Mekong Delta in the south of the country forms the heart of Vietnams’ rural countryside life, culture, natural beauty, and history. Vietnam is exotic and enthralling and much of the region’s culture is influenced by the local hill tribes in the North, the Chinese, Khmer community, and Cambodia in the Mekong Delta. Colonised by the French and influenced by the Americans during World War 2, Vietnam is an enigmatic mix of cultures. The Mekong river is a major transportation route for villagers living in the Delta. From floating markets sell fish, coconut candy, tropical fruit, vegetables, and flowers to bee farms that line the river, the Mekong is rich in indigenous crafts and reflect centuries-old mercantile influences and throbs from before sunrise to after dark with vital economic activity.

On this 10-day bike tour, we’ve packed the right mix of cycling, local experiences, leisure, and exploration that will introduce you to the people, their culture, and cuisines along the Delta. You will take on experiences like visiting pagodas, learning about Taoism, cooking local food, visiting shrimp and fish farms, and some of the busiest floating markets coupled with scenic routes that will indulge your senses. All this can be experienced at the pace of a pedal and will allow plentiful opportunities for interactions with the locals to soak in the culture.

Who can do this tour?

The Vietnam Bike Tour is a medium intensity tour and ideal for an average cyclist who is keen on exploring places for local experiences, culture, and history. The vistas along the Mekong Delta are pristine and filled with local experiences. Riding distances range between 40-70 kilometres on an average; the trail in Vietnam is mostly a mix of trail roads and tarmac roads weaving through villages and farmlands along the Mekong river. We’ll be driving through some scenic stretches as we get into major cities/towns. Cyclists should be in good physical shape with at least some cycling experience. Although being physically fit will be a huge asset, the tour is supported with a van which is close at hand if need be.

Itinerary

The cycling leg of this expedition starts in Ho Chi Minh and makes its way through the diverse landscapes. The route takes us through towns and cities that are culturally and historically significant in Vietnam. The goal is to celebrate this prosperous country through its nature reserves, floating markets, and historically significant spaces. We get to share real-world experiences, where you will interact with the locals, understand their way of life, and relish the local cuisines. The terrain in Vietnam is rather flat and distances peddled daily will range between 40 to 70 kilometres (25 to 50 miles) the difficulty level will vary from being easy to mildly challenging along the journey. 

Day 1 : Arrive in Ho Chi Minh and take a guided walk around Saigon in the evening

You’ll arrive in Ho Chi Minh airport and you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel for some much-needed rest. In the late afternoon, we head out on a walk around Saigon city and return to the hotel for dinner. Ahead of dinner, you will be briefed about the tour and the day-to-day plan. Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh city.

Ride distance: 45 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You arrive in Ho Chi Minh
• You meet and greet your fellow travellers
• You get to walk about in the evening in the city of Saigon

Day 2: Cycle through coconut plantations from Ho Chi Mihn to Tra Vihn

After breakfast, we’ll drive for an hour to get out of the city, into the countryside in Tan An town and ride to Tra Vinh. For the first half of the day, we’ll bike along scenic paths through picturesque old villages, paddy fields, fruit orchards, and vegetable plantations. We’ll stop over in a rural village of Mỹ Tho for lunch and begin our post-lunch ride from here to Tra Vinh. We will choose shaded pathways to cycle through jungle-like plantations on smaller lanes lined with banana and coconut plantations. For our last leg into Tra Vinh, we take a ferry across Co Chien River.

Ride distance: 60 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You’ll get to experience a scenic bicycle ride through coconut and paddy plantations
• You’ll take a ferry ride across the Co Chien River
• Experience a local feast at a village for lunch

DAY 3: Get a taste of local cuisine at a shrimp farm riding from Tra Vinh to Bac Liêu

We ride from Tra Vinh to Bac Liêu through Sóc Trăng which has pleasant cycling routes. This region is home to people from the Khmer civilization which is the source of tradition and culture in Vietnam. The Mekong in Vietnam was witness to the bloodiest times during World War II. We start our cycling adventure after a 10 minutes transfer from the hotel and ride along concrete paths through rural villages. We will spend the morning biking from Tra Vinh to Cầu Quan past the small town of Tiểu Cần. We ride through rice paddy fields and remote villages of Khmer lined with colourful temples, tiny thatch houses. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in the rural countryside followed by more riding and two ferry crossings across the Mekong Lower River through Dai Ngai Island and villages of Sóc Trăng. We’ll also pass by a few shrimp and fish farms and perhaps stop by to learn how the famous “shrimp paste” is made. Depending on time and your cycling ability, your guide will figure out a plan and continue to ride or plan for a transfer to Bac Liêu.

Ride distance: 60 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel / Resort

Highlights:
• Get an insight into the times of WW2
• You’ll get to ride through rural villages along heritage temples
• Take a ferry ride across the Mekong River

DAY 4: Ride along paddy fields from Bac Liêu to Rạch Giá via Vị Thanh

We ride through the new town of Vị Thanh, on countryside roads exploring a network of natural creeks, villages surrounded by paddy fields, and farms. Another highlight to the ride is the floating market of the Mekong. Following lunch, in Vị Thanh, we will drive to the outskirts of the city and begin our noon ride to Rạch Giá. We cycle on small asphalt countryside roads, through huge rice fields, timber, and rice husking mills and tiny villages along the river. We cross the river in local ferries and our final leg will be in a van/bus to Rạch Giá city.

Ride distance: 70 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel / Resort

Highlights:
• Take a ride along the countryside exploring natural creeks
• Walk through rice fields and visit a rice husking mill
• Enjoy a ferry ride across the river to get to Rạch Giá

DAY 5 : Ride through the Tra Su Cajuput forest from Rạch Giá to Chau Doc

Following breakfast at the hotel, we ride to Chau Doc town through the countryside and forest. We take a 30-minute drive to Soc Xoai rural district to begin a morning ride. We pedal on a single-track road across villages, wild grass fields, and through the Tra Su Cajuput Forest with the river by our side and racing the local cargo boats. We follow the single track along eucalyptus fields, pagodas, and palm trees by the foot of a mountain near Tri Ton. We’ll have lunch at Tri Ton and then ride/drive further to Chau Doc.

Ride distance: 70 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:
• You’ll ride across the Tra Su Cajuput forest
• Enjoy the cultural insights with stopovers at Pagodas
• Eat lunch at the quaint rural district of Tri Ton

DAY 6 :Start the day with a boat ride to visit catfish farms and ride to the floating markets.

We head to the famed city of Cao Lãnh. We begin with a boat ride to visit the catfish farms and go past a floating village before we discover the lowlands of the Dong Thap province. This is a great stretch to ride as we go through villages on rural roads. Most houses and villages are on raised stilts in this region. We ride on a dirt tracks to Cho Moi, pedal past Hoa Hao Buddhism temple. On our afternoon trail, we ride to the monastery, which was built 120 years ago by the French. The first monastery was built and established in 1874 in Indochina. Our ride will take us to Gieng Islet; enjoying a ride on smooth roads, stopping by at local markets, fruit gardens before we get on a small ferry to Cao a rural district in Cao Lãnh. From here we will cycle leisurely through the countryside by the Mekong River, and we will end our ride by the edge of the city. We then transfer to Cao Lãnh city by van/bus.

Ride distance: 70 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• Take a boat ride to the catfish farms
• Visit the French monastery that dates back to 1874
• Take an interactive boat ride along the floating markets

DAY 7 : Ride into the colonial city of Sadec to Can Tho, lunch at a heritage home.

We ride from Cao Lanh to Can Tho past the old city of Sadec. While Cao Lanh is a new city, built after 1975, Sadec was the main town before the Vietnam War hit the region. The former capital of Dong Thap province, Sadec is a peaceful city of tree-lined streets and fading old colonial villas. Our guide will lead us cycling through villages surrounded by flower plantations. We’ll stop for lunch at the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, our cycling adventure will take us through the countryside which will bring us up close and personal with friendly local people, their unique culture and their beautiful villages as we ride all the way to Can Tho.

Ride distance: 70 kilometres
Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• Take a ride into the industrial and agricultural trading centre of Sadec
• Enjoy a local meal at a heritage home of Huynh Thuy Le, a famed writer
• Stay in Can Tho and experience a surreal dinner at a floating restaurant

DAY 8 : Experience the floating markets of Can Tho and drive to Saigon

Can Tho is located at the heart of the 12 provinces which makes up the Mekong Delta. It is not only famous for rice but is also well-known for its many floating markets. We’ll start the day very early on a boat getting us to the floating market and then head back to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, we’ll drive for an hour to Vinh Long town where we will cross the Co Chien River and continue by bike to An Binh. We ride for 17 kilometres to Cai Be town, where we enjoy a delicious lunch at an ancient house. After lunch, we will cycle another 15 kilometres on the back roads to Cay Lay, in Tien Giang province to finally transfer into Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for the evening where we will bid adieu to our support team.

Ride distance: 30 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:
• You’ll explore the floating markets of Can Tho
• Take a ferry ride across the Co Chien River
• Get a transfer back to Saigon

DAY 9 : Explore the markets and transfer to the airport for your onward journey

Post breakfast at the hotel, you are free to spend your time shopping until your transfer to the airport. Your tour ends with breakfast at the hotel on this day!

Tour Inclusions

The Vietnam Backroads Cycling Trail is set against the backdrop of the Mekong Delta, spread over a mosaic of landscapes, from beautiful blue beaches and limestone islands in the North to lush green inland rainforests and the fertile island plains along the Mekong river in the south. This 9-day expedition begins and ends in Ho Chi Minh and includes about 300 kilometres of cycling over 7 days. We’ve packed the right mix of cycling, leisure, and exploration. You will experience stretches that challenge your limits, sceneries that indulge your senses and interactions with the locals that expose you to their culture.

 

Our Vietnam Backroads Bike tour is a good blend of nature, culture, history, local food, and real-world experiences of life along the Mekong Delta. It gives you a sneak peek into the of “The Land of the ascending dragon”. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a regular city commuter; this trail has a good combination of long winding flat terrain, to quaint countryside roads which roll downhill, villages, forest trails, and plantations for you to trail leisurely and interact with the locals.

This tour is graded medium intensity in terms of distance and gradient climbing since most of the rides will be done on commutable roads. We suggest that our guests start mountain biking in their own home country a month before this trip. This is to ensure you take away the unfamiliarity with mountain bikes that occur due to lack of practice, physical unpreparedness, and you don’t hold up the other prepared participants. This tour will include a local guide, a tour leader, mechanic, and a designated support vehicle with driver.

Cycling Support

Your tour will be supported by a “support vehicle”. The cycles are 21-speed aluminium 6061 alloy frame mountain bikes. You will also have a well-trained mechanic accompanying you, and a full repair kit with essential spares. We will also be carrying a back-up cycle along the expedition; just so that nobody misses out on the riding experience, should his or her bike have a serious breakdown.

Accommodation: 

Accommodation will be in 2-3 star hotels and homestays with good hygienic bathrooms offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport: 

A team of 10-12 riders will be supported by one coaster bus with a carrier that will transport both the riders and bikes along with a spare cycle, lunch packs, and water. Through the day this vehicle will trail with the riders.

Our tour cost is inclusive of:

  • All transport from Ho Chi Minh to Ho Chi Minh in a good quality AC vehicle. Depending on the number of travellers there will be another vehicle for the cycles or alternatively the same vehicle will accommodate traveller and bicycle.
  • All accommodation on twin sharing basis in resorts/ hotels and home stays
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner on all days. Potable drinking water will be provided
  • Services of an Unventured and local guide.
  • Snacks and hydration along the way. The support vehicle will carry potable water and snacks.
  • Cycles and helmets: Good condition Giant MTB bikes, wheel size 27.5’ with Hydraulic brakes. Helmets as per your comfort
  • All entrance fees, boat rides, ferry tickets.
  • Inclusive of Taxes as applicable

Excludes

  • Flight charges from your home destination to Ho Chi Minh and back
  • Additional camera fees at sites of attraction.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Room orders in hotels, aerated beverages.
  • Personal expenses
  • Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
  • Any extra day arrangements in Ho Chi Minh
  • Anything not mentioned in the inclusions.
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