Cycling from Hanoi to Luang Prabang 10Days
Cycling from Hanoi to Luang Prabang 10Days This Vietnam and Laos biking tours start in Hanoi and finish in Luang Prabang, the World Heritage town in Northern Laos. We cycle apporximately 475km. The road is a bit hilly but we will be able to see the beautiful and peaceful mountains of Sapa, the historical Dien Bien Phu, the Red River Delta and Hanoi. This biking tour has spectacular changing scenery as you bike. Being mostly downhill, one can concentrate on the views, far more than the pedaling. This tour includes a support vehicle, all meals and a professional guide.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Tough
Group Size Small Group
Itinerary: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Sam Nua – Vieng Thong – Vieng Xai – Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang
Highlights: As the original path between these two countries has now become a giant construction zone, we have moved to the next frontier. Starting in a bustling former French colonial city and finishing in a much quieter, world heritage listed one, we traverse one of the most remote corridors of the former Northern Indochina. We meet the many hill tribes who inhabit the region and get a taste of their lifestyle, we visit the hide-out of the Pathet Lao during the war that consumed much of this region in the sixties and seventies, and we pass through some absolutely stunning scenery, with limestone karst mountains, forests and picturesque rivers all coming together to make this an unforgettable ride. To top it off, it’s not just a bike ride. We will also kayak down the Nam Ou River and have the chance for some first rate village trekking along the way. Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.
The group will be arriving throughout the day. Our hotel is set just a short distance from the vibrant old quarter in Hanoi, so a good starting point to stretch the flight weary legs. In the evening we will meet up for a group briefing on the adventure ahead and our first meal together.
Hanoi 25km (BL)
After a morning walk to see the buzz of activity taking place around the city, we drive to the far side of the Red River to take a ride through the countryside. We ride along the dykes that partly formed the defence strategy of Hanoi, but also protects from flooding. Most of the families in this area have lived in the same houses for generations. We enjoy a tradional lunch and then drive back to the city where we spend one more night.
Mai Chau 40km (BL)
This morning we make an early start by car and head into the hills west of Hanoi. We pass through Hoa Binh and onto Mai Chau. Mai Chau is set in a picturesque valley with towering hills around it. Here, only 145meters above sea level live the ethnic tribe of the White Tai. We take an afternoon ride of the valley and will see rice cultivation in action as well as hand made bricks being fired in cottage kilns and farmers hard at work tending to their crops and livestock. We finish the ride at the Mai Chau Lodge where we enjoy a comfortable bed to prepare us for the challenging ride tomorrow.
Moc Chau 95km (BLD)
We start out on the bike today and start to climb our way out of the valley. We are on a well made road today and we pass through some industrious small towns as we enter the more remote regions of the north-west. We have a couple of nice descents as we near our destination for the afternoon, Moc Chau, a small town of little repute and a perfect place to enjoy some local interaction and real Vietnamese food.
Sam Neua, Laos 70km (BLD)
After a hearty local breakfast we hit the road in the direction of Laos. We arrive at the border in the late morning and after clearing immigration we meet our Lao support crew who will have a picnic lunch waiting for us. In the afternoon, we push on for a few more hours before boarding our comfortable support vehicle and driving into the next town, Sam Neua. Lao is a small country with small towns and a small population. The persistent din of Vietnam will have faded by now and you will be left with only the roosters to wake you the next morning.
Vieng Thong – Vieng Xai Caves (BLD)
Today we drive to the Vieng Xai Caves. These huge caves were home to around twenty thousand Pathet Lao communist fighters during the secret war of Laos. This war, termed secret because the US was not supposed to be engaged in combat in neutral Laos, was all part of the larger geo-political events and changes of the sixties and seventies. While the communist forces were being bombarded from the air by the CIA funded Hmong Army, they used these caves as a refuge, complete with hospital, school and underground villages. In the afternoon, we will drive onto our next stop Vieng Thong.
Nong Khiaw 90km (BLD)
Today, after a short drive, we have a challenging ride ahead of us as we ascend and descend numerous times. The scenery of limestone karst mountains and forests, punctuated by small rivers and villages will be the reward for meeting this challenge. We arrive into the lovely Nong Khiaw in the late afternoon and can relax in a riverside guesthouse with a stunning view and a cool drink.
Nong Khiaw Rest day or trek Muang Ngoai
Today is a day off the bikes. For those who would like to relax with a book by the river, the day is yours to do so. If you crave more action, then you can board a boat and travel up-stream to Muang Ngoi, a small village accessible only by river. Here you can trek into the forest and pass through some of the most remote villages you can imagine. Mentioned by many as the highlight of their travels in Northern Laos, this is an activity that comes highly recommended.
Luang Prabang – Kayaking the Nam Ou (BLD)
After so much exercise for the legs, today our upper bodies see some action, although, fairly gentle action. We kayak down along the Nam Ou River with it’s densely forested banks. Along the way children playing in the water will be surprised to see you and will yell out a warm Lao welcome. The river has some small rapids but anyone with basic skills in this area will be able to participate. We will come ashore late morning and find our lunch prepared before driving into Luang Prabang, world Heritage listed city, set on the banks of the Mekong River. This marks the end of our adventure. We will have a meal to celebrate the achievement of the ride.
The tour concludes today. If you haven’t had enough cycling, then join our Lao Lao tour and pedal your way to the Lao capital, Vientiane.
When cycling we stay in friendly hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail.In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels or resort. Please do not expect the same standard as you would your home.
Homestay in the villages is simple interm of bedding condition and ementies. We will sleep on beds or floor with mattress, clean sheet, pillow and mosquito nets. Toilet is usually western style.
Suitable Bicycle. MTB, Touring Bike, Cyclocross/Gravel bike.
At JET we hold firmly to the opinion that using your own bike, the bike on which you feel at home and comfortable is the finest way to enjoy a cycling adventure.
Most kinds of bicycle, except light-weight racing bikes are suitable for this tour: touring bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids or cyclocross bikes are all fine. Road conditions vary from asphalt to gravel and some hard packed dirt tracks. Tyre’s from 35mm in width upwards will be fine but we recommend 40mm on 700c and 2” on 26” wheels as a minimum.
South East Asia is generally a warm place so the ability to carry one or two water bottles is essential (either on your bike or in a backpack). Our back-up vehicle carries water and tools although for those competent with tools bringing your own pump, puncture kit, and multi took is recommended as it would speed up repairs and minor adjustments. If bringing your own bike please bring along a few spare spokes that fit your wheels (please note that different wheels have different size spokes). If your bike has disk brakes or hub gears please bring any components that you feel may be necessary. We carry some spares for our hire bikes but we cannot guarantee that we will have any tubes other than 26” car type valves. Tyres and tubes other than 26” can be difficult to come by in many parts of the world so please make sure you have spares. If in doubt please ask at your local bike shop. A means of carrying your camera, sunblock etc is also useful – either an on-bike bag, handlebar or saddlebag for example, or a lightweight day-pack.
Recommendation: Although our hire bikes come equipped with a saddle if you have a saddle you use and are happy with it is strongly recommended that you use it on tour. If you use SPD type shoes please bring your own matching pedals. We are happy to fit these for you. You may also like to bring bar ends if you use them at home.
ESSENTIAL! Please be sure that your bicycle is in perfect condition before you leave home. Again, if in doubt please consult your local bike shop.
If you wish to hire a bicycle for the duration of your holiday with us we can arrange for the hire of good quality cycles from our in-country agent. Typically these bikes are mountain bikes, often Trek 4 series or similar. Please request a hire bike at the time of booking, fields to do so are on the booking form. Payment for hire bikes can be made with the balance of the tour payment or in cash on arrival.
Rental Bicycle Recommendation. Although our hire bikes come equipped with a saddle if you have a saddle you use and are happy with it is strongly recommended that you use it on tour. If you use SPD type shoes please bring your own matching pedals. We are happy to fit these for you. You may also like to bring bar ends if you use them at home.
Special offers :
– Mineral water drinking.
– Seasonal fruits.
– Fresh tissue and some fruits while touring !
What to bring :
Sun Block , Wide brim hat, Camera + Film, Comfortable shoes, Rain Gear , Warm clothes in winter, Original Passport, Small backpack , Shoes and shorts for cycling ,Sunglasses , Gloves , Professional Pedal ,Insect repellent ,Wide brim hat ,Bike water bottle (if you don’t want to use ours bottle)
Minor program changes are sometime necessary, depending on road conditions and weather.
This itinerary allows for 10 days on the cycling section. You will be able to decide for yourself at any time during each of these days how far you want to cycle. Average daily cycling distances are approximately 40 -100 km. These distances may vary according to weather, road conditions and group fitness and preferences. This is a sightseeing cycle tour, not a marathon or time trial.