Real Biking Overland Vietnam on Ho Chi Minh Trail

Routing: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Pu Luong Nature Reserve – Tan Ky – Huong Khe – Dong Hoi – Dong Ha – A Luoi – Thanh My – Hoian – Danang

Trip Duration:

13 days 12 nights


Activity:

Biking,


Physical Grading:


Ho Chi Minh Trail, a complicated road system, winds along the Truong Son Range, facilitated a huge movement of soldiers and war supplies from North Vietnam to battlefields in South. The route is incredibly beautiful with new mountain views around every corner, very little traffic, and virtually no tourists. Our real biking challenge brings you a great chance to learn about the Vietnamese history while enjoy wonderful nature. The bikes start up at stunning valley Mai Chau and concludes in Hoian, a charming ancient town in center Vietnam.

Tour Highlights
  • Top challenging biking trails
  • Pu Luong Nature Reserve
  • Phong Nha Cave
  • Vinh Moc tunnel & DMZ
  • Hoian 


Day by Day Program:

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Biking to Buoc Village
Day 3: Buoc Village – Biking to Hang Village (Pu Luong Nature Reserve)
Day 4: Hang Village – Biking to Hin Village
Day 5: Hin Village – Canh Nang Town – Cam Thuy – Tan Ky
Day 6: Tan Ky – Huong Khe
Day 7: Huong Khe – Phong Nha – Dong Hoi
Day 8: Dong Hoi – Dong Ha – DMZ
Day 9: Dong Ha – Khe Sanh – Aluoi
Day 10: Aluoi – biking to Thanh My
Day 11: Thanh My – biking to Hoi An
Day 12: Hoian free day for relax
Day 13: Hoian – Danang – Departure flight 

Services and Activities included:

Private A/C vehicle to transfer and carry the bikes
Good quality helmets
High-end Mountain bikes rental  
Professional biking English speaking guide  
Meals as indicated in the itinerary  
Homestay permission
Accommodation in twin share basis as listed
Boat trip in Phong nha
Water and snack on every biking segment
First-aid kit
Entrance & Sightseeing fees
Service charges and taxes


Tour Exclusions:

Travel insurance
All flights and other accommodation
Visa process and stamp fee
Tips and gratitude
Personal expenses
Others not mentioned




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    Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
    Upon arrival in Hanoi airport, you will be met by ActiveTravel Asia biking guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel in Hanoi. On the way to Hanoi, in addition to a brief introduction about our biking tour and Hanoi information, our guide will help you with some orientation about the bikes as well as the road, traffic condition in Vietnam. If time permits, we can have riding test in the afternoon so that you can get along well with the bikes.
    Check in our room then enjoy welcome dinner with local delicacies. Overnight in Hanoi.
    Summary
    Airport transfer: 1 hour by private AC car
    Meal: Welcome dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
     
    Day 2: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Buoc Village ~ 20km/12miles biking
    Kick start our adventure with a drive to wellknown and beautiful valley Mai Chau at 8am. You will be provided professional bikes and good quality helmet.
    We drive for about 4 hours to reach to Mai Chau, the gateway to the impressive mountainous area of northern Vietnam. The drive is very nice with stunning view of mountains, valleys, sugarcane farms and rice paddies. We would have a stop en route for refreshment and/or photo hunts.
    Upon arrival in Mai Chau, we have a lunch stop in Pom Coong, a village of Thai ethnic minority where we will have lunch in a local house. After lunch we embark on a Mai Chau biking on village road to Buoc, a village of Thai minority group. You will be provided a professional bike and helmets. Our start up biking segment today is on small, less tourist village road. We arrive Buoc Village late afternoon where we will have dinner and overnight in a traditional stilt-house of a Thai family.
    Summary
    Transfer to Mai Chau: 170km with 4 hrs driving
    Biking:   20km on undulating village road
    Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Home stay
     

    Day 3: Buoc – Hang Village (Pu Luong Nature Reserve) ~ 40km/25miles biking
    With this biking day, we will upgrade the challenging level a bit to yesterday. The bike will be longer and on bumpy road for the very last part. Enjoy the breakfast then we embark on a beautiful ride following shaded village roads to Van Mai Village where we have lunch in a local house.
    After lunch we ride southward to Pu Luong Nature Reserve. We will first bike on beautiful road through Mai Chau valley before jumping into bumpy village road the last 15km. We will reach Hang Village around 5 pm. Here we take another homestay at a Thai family. The dinner is included at the house.
    Summary
    Biking:   40km – unpaved bumpy road – Moderate grade
    Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Home stay
     
    Day 4: Hang – Hin Village ~ 30km/18miles biking
    Today is a tough day with long climb on mix of dirt paths and village roads. This road is an original part of the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail, which run through the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. In the morning we cycle ascending mainly. In the afternoon we enjoy easier ride slightly downhill to Hin, a village of Thai minority. Great mountain view and scenic villages. Lunch in local house en route. Dinner and overnight in Hin village.
    Summary
    Biking:   30km – unpaved bumpy road – Challenging grade
    Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Home stay

     
    Day 5: Hin Village – Tan Ky ~ 60km/37miles biking
    In the morning, we say good bye to the villagers and ride toward Ma River passing expansive maize fields. Near the river we would see many water wheels which used by the local to water their farms. We cross the river on bridge and have lunch in Canh Nang town. 
    Treat your stomach with our well-prepared lunch, we continue biking toward the Fairy Fish Stream in Cam Luong where you see thousands of fish in a shallow stream. You can feed and touch them. After that you keep cycling southward on Ho Chi Minh Highway. In the afternoon we will use van for over 100km transfer to Tan Ky Town, where we will stay overnight in a small hotel and have dinner in local restaurant.
    Summary
    Biking:  60km – 40% unpaved bumpy road, 60% paved road – Moderate grade
    Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, 
    Accommodation: Hotel in Tan Ky

     
    Day 6: Tan Ky – Huong Khe ~ 70km/44miles biking
    Breakfast in Tan Ky and ride on Ho Chi Minh Highway to Pho Chau, a small town 87km south of Tan Ky. We will tackle around 40km in the morning. The ride is on smooth road and passing peaceful villages and stunning mountain range. We take bus ride the last 40km to Pho Chau for lunch. After lunch we jump into a branch of Ho Chi Minh Trail, a smaller road leading to Dong Loc T-junction. This was a hot spot, which was bombed heavily during the Vietnam War. Continue riding for 1 hour then we meet the Ho Chi Minh Highway again. Bus transfer to Huong Khe. Dinner and overnight on Huong Khe.
    Summary
    Biking distance: 70-80km – 60% highway, 40% smaller paved road
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, 
    Accommodation: Hotel in Huong Khe
     

    Day 7: Huong Khe – Phong Nha – Dong Hoi ~ 60km/37miles biking
    After breakfast bus drive 20km and then we begin our ride today toward Phong Nha National Park. The biking today is on pave highway. Lunch stop in Liem Phu. We take bus ride to Phong Nha Cave, which is a World Heritage Site. Upon arrival in Phong Nha we take a boat cruise on river to explore the cave. 
    The cave exploration often lasts for 2 hours with amazing limestone formation inside the cave. We are back to the boat pier then take bus ride to Dong Hoi to check in hotel. Dinner and overnight in Dong Hoi.
    Summary
    Biking distance: 60km – highway
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Dong Hoi
     

    Day 8: Dong Hoi – Dong Ha – DMZ ~ 60km/37miles biking
    Breakfast in the hotel. We have a short bus ride before beginning the biking today. The ride is totally on Ho Chi Minh Highway. We will have a stop at the Truong Son Cemetery where some hundred of thousand soldiers who served in army during Vietnam War are resting in peace. 
    Bus transfer to Dong Ha for hotel check in. Lunch in local restaurant. In the afternoon we have a DMZ tour by bus. Here you will listen to our guide explain about the importance as well as the violence of this are during the war time. We do not judge right or wrong, just stay here to tribute the fallen soldiers and value our present peaceful life. Dinner and overnight in Dong Ha.
    Summary
    Biking distance: 60km – quiet highway
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Dong Ha

     
    Day 9: Dong Ha – Khe Sanh – A Luoi ~ 60km/37miles biking
    Breakfast in hotel and take bus ride to Khe Sanh. Visit to old military base before beginning the biking along Da Krong River. The ride is so beautiful with river and tribal villages along the road. We will have a lunch stop on the way. In the afternoon, we continue riding to A Luoi. The last 20km can be done by bus. 
    The biking segment today get you pass through one of the most brutal battle fields. The historical stories blending with awesome scenery give us the mixed feelings of enjoyment and sadness. They also make you understand how Ho Chi Minh trail becomes a legend in this painful part of our history.
    Dinner and overnight in A Luoi.   
    Summary
    Biking distance: 60-70km – quiet highway
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Aluoi

     
    Day 10: A Luoi – Thanh My ~ 70km/43miles biking
    Breakfast in town. We will have a bus transfer to the summit of a long, high pass. Begin the beautiful ride downhill 40km to Prao. Lunch in Prao. In the afternoon, continue riding to Thanh My. Dinner and overnight in Thanh My.  
    Summary
    Biking distance: 70km – Challenging grade
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Thanh My

     
    Day 11: Thanh My – Hoi An ~ 80km/50miles biking
    Enjoy breakfast in Thanh My and get excited for our target today, Hoi an town - the World Heritage site. Start up with a ride along Vu Gia River to Hoian for next 80km from Thanh My. We will have a lunch stop in Dai Loc before getting back to our bike and cycling to Hoian. The biking segment today is pleasant since we ride mainly downhill and on flat terrain. 
    We reach Hoian around 5pm. Check in hotel and have dinner in the Old Quarter of Hoian. Overnight in Hoian.
    Summary
    Biking distance: 80km
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian

     
    Day 12: Hoian free time ~ day off
    Free day for relaxing or shopping in the ancient town. Hoi an is a very lovely town to self explore with many types of activities such as cooking class, handicraft villages: pottery, vegetable or wood carving, enjoying sunset cruise with cocktail over Thu Bon river or just leisure tea/coffee time at a very styled shop in town center.
    Lunch and dinner are under your own management. Our guide can help with suggestions and setup. Overnight in Hoian. * Note: You can also book an optional tour with us for this day. Please contact our travel consultant for a suggestion.
    Summary
    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian
     

    Day 13: Hoian – Danang – Departure flight
    Breakfast and free at leisure. The best option for today is swimming at Cua Dai beach before we transfer to the Danang airport for flight to onward destination. Our biking adventure for the first half of Ho Chi Minh trail ends up at the airport see off.
    Summary
    Airport transfer: 35 minutes driving
    Meals: Breakfast

     
    Note on client safety
    We reserve the right to deviate from this itinerary for any reasons, including road and weather conditions, frequency of visits to a village, or for any other factor which may influence client safety.
    Group size Price guide (USD/person)
    WHAT ATA SUPPLIES?
    Professional Mountain Bikes
    Specialized Hardrock Sport (brand USA) assembled in Taiwan with 27-speed (3 levels, 9 speed each), manufactured in 2012 with size S, M, L, XL, XXL applied for customer height from 1,55m - 2,00m.
    Giant Revel 24 speed (with 3 levels, 8 speed each), manufactured in Taiwan in 2013 with size S, M, L, XL customers' height 1,55m to 1,95 m.
    Baby bikes available on request with 21 speed and 6 speed for kids' height from 0.90m - 1.40m
    High Quality Helmets: Offer maximum protection during off-road uses
    ATA first-aid kit: Available on any ATA trip
    If you pick the price option Incl. Mechanic and Support truck, we will supply:
    Support truck: each morning our main baggage will be loaded onto the support vehicle which will follow the group on the day's ride. The local biking leader and the support vehicle driver will watch over the group and will carry mobile phones, allowing you to contact them in the case of a breakdown or other incident. We want everyone to enjoy their cycling experience on this trip and we recognize the importance of group members being allowed to cycle at their own pace. At times there can be a fair distance between the front and rear cyclists in the group, with the support vehicle and cycling leader out of sight. The support vehicle will pick up any group members who wish to take a break from cycling at any time.
    01 professional mechanic along the biking trip who greatly understand the technical issues and fix the professional bikes as manufacturer's requirements. That will maximize the safety and the duration of our bike usages.
    Spare parts of the bike such as: Tyres, Pump, Plastic tyre levers, Small tube of grease, Brake cable, Gear cable, Spare set of brake blocks / disc pads (front and rear), Spare spokes for front and rear wheels, Spoke key, 4 x inner tubes etc
     
    WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING WITH?
    Cycling Shoes
    Regular cycling gloves
    Biking glasses - sun protection recommended
    Helmet best fitting your head size recommended
    Personal knee and elbow protections
    Bottles of water
    Base-layer - short sleeve cycling top
    Long sleeved cycling top
    Lightweight waterproof jacket
    Several T-shirts
    Long-sleeve, lightweight casual shirt
    Fleece jacket or jumper
    Padded cycling shorts x 2, inc 1 pair of baggies
    Cycling tights or tricksters
    Lightweight travel trousers
    Casual shorts
    Sun block, anti-insect repellent, rain coat, toiletries
    GoPro Camera - optional
    Mobile phone with multi sockets - optional
    THIS ADVENTURE INFORMATION 
    Depart from:  Hanoi - End at:  Danang
    When:    Year round with best time from Sep to April
    Activities:   Biking, Culture and history expedition, Home stay
    Transportation:  AC vehicle, Mountain bike
    Guide: Biking, English speaking guide
    Accommodation:  Homestay and hotel

    BIKING GRADE:
    Challenging Grade that means involve active, physical required activities up to 06 – 08 hours per days in remote area, under variable weather conditions or quick attitude changes. You are going to get into remote areas where the support facilities are not always available or facing to passes or river crossing. You should be in very good level of fitness. For those biking or motorcycling adventure, experienced riders with good driving skills may be required.
    * Suggested preparation: 45 - 60 minutes of aerobic type exercises, 4-5 times per week for about 04 - 06 weeks before your adventure. Outdoor hill or stair walking is recommended. 
    Who suits: Recommended for fit travelers
    Activity: 6-8 hours most days 
    Distances: Hike up to 10 - 13 miles (or 16-22km), cycle 40 - 55 miles (or 65 – 88km) most days 
    Surfaces: mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails 
    Elevation change: up to 4,000 ft/day (about 1200m)
    Altitude: up to 12,000 ft. (about 3600m)

    MEALS & FOOD
    - Day 1: Welcome Dinner
    - Day 2 - 11: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    - Day 12 - 13: Breakfast
    All meals, which are indicated in the itinerary, are included in the price of this trip. Since we travel away from town, the emphasis will be on healthy and nutritious fresh local produce. On this tour, a local cook will accompany us and cook meals at the home stay.

    THE HOMESTAY AND ACCOMMODATION

    Homestay in villages is simple in term of bedding condition and amenities. We will stay in the traditional-stilt-house of the Thai people and, as the locals do, we will sleep on the bamboo floor with mattress, clean sheet, pillows and mosquito nets. Toilet is usually western style.

    THE BIKING DAYS
    A typical biking day starts at about 8.30 am after breakfast. Lunch times can vary depending on the distance. We aim to reach the next overnight stop by 4.30 or 5. During the biking we will have plenty short breaks for rest, snack and photographing. 
    Depending on the distance and the terrain the biking day can be part-drive part-ride or riding the whole way. 

    THE BIKES 
    On this tour we use high-end mountain bikes with different sizes. Biking helmets of good quality are also provided. 
    The bikes often are:
    ++ Specialized Hardrock Sport (brand USA) assembled in Taiwan with 27-speed (3 levels, 9 speed each), manufactured in 2012 with size S, M, L, XL, XXL applied for customer height from 1,55m - 2,00m.
    ++ Giant Revel 24 speed (with 3 levels, 8 speed each), manufactured in Taiwan in 2013 with size S, M, L, XL customers' height 1,55m to 1,95 m. 
    ++ Baby bikes available on request with 21 speed and 6 speed for kids' height from 0.90m - 1.40m.

    OUR BIKING TOUR GUIDE
    The tour will be led by one of our tour guides who are experienced in guiding cycling tours in Vietnam. He has been carefully trained in this field and is fully licensed in tour guiding by the government. In addition, he has been trained in first-aid by SOS International and he knows how to deal with difficult situations. You will have a great time traveling with him.

    Note on client safety
    We reserve the right to deviate from this itinerary for any reasons, including road and weather conditions, frequency of visits to a village, or for any other factor which may influence client safety.


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