Vietnam Mountain Bike Holidays: Cycle Hanoi Son La Tuan Giao Lai
Chau Tam Duong Sapa Lao Cai (7 days)
This 7-day mountain biking tour is arranged in the north western Vietnam taking to such places as Lao Cai, Sapa, Lai
Chau, Muong Lay, Phong Tho, Binh Lu, Tam Duong, Tuan Giao, Son La, Moc Mai, Mai Chau, Hoa Binh province. Begin
the tour with a car transfer out of Hanoi to Mai Chau where you start cycling on paved roads towards Son La. You
mostly cycle on paved roads with many up and downhill ride. Sometimes you get off the main, paved roads taking
small, single dirt track biking trails leading to remote hill tribe villages. Taking this 7-day mountain biking tour, you
enjoy the beautiful scenery, the wild nature of the less travelled north western Vietnam. You meet up with lots of
ethnic groups during your bicycle tours including the Tay, the Dzao , the Xa Pho, the H’mong…The tour is provded with
experience English-speaking tour guide, support vehicle and good mountain bikes, trek bikes.
Day 1: Hanoi to Son La.
8:00: You will be met up with Lotussia Travel team and transferred to Son La. The drive will take you through different
minority villages as we climb onto a higher plateau. We pass through coffee and tea plantations before arriving Son La
in the late afternoon. Son La was once the site of a French penal colony where radicals and revolutionaries were
incarcerated during French rule. The prison was destroyed by American war planes during the Vietnam War (or as the
Vietnamese sensibly call it the American war) except for a lone peach tree planted by an inmate in the 1940s. Since
then the prison has partially rebuilt and a museum opened.
Check in hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Cycling Son La to Tuan Giao.
The bicycle tour begins with a 5km riding up to the beautiful surrounding countryside. We bike through a patchwork of
rice fields and plum orchards. The scenery makes up for the hard work as the rolling land erupts into stunning karst
rock outcrops bristling with trees. The land is home to the Black Thai. The women can be glimpsed working the fields
in brightly colored dresses and hats, the children riding water buffalo and the men speeding along on noisy motor
cycles. We finish the day with a thrilling 11km decent before we reach the town of Tuan Giao.
Day 3: Bike Tuan Giao to Lai Chau.
Once out of Tuan Giao the road deteriorates as we take a spectacular back road to Lai Chau. We cycle past rice fields
and bananas plantations as we pass through small minority villages of Red Hmong and Kho Mu. There are two hard
climbs today the first starts after 50km with a 5km ascent but the second, and most challenging comes at the end of
this stunning day, with an 8km strength-sapping climb. All this hard work is easily forgotten as we finish the day with a
stunning descend of 18km on a winding road into this lush valley of Lai Chau.
Day 4: Biking Lai Chau to Tam Duong.
After we leave Lai Chau we cross the Hang Tom suspension bridge and follow the Na River passing through spectacular
gorges and Black Dao villages. The Dao worship spirits and ritually sacrifice pigs and chickens. The women clothes are
covered with intricate weaving and silver colored beads and coins. It is said the wealth a women can be judged by the
weight of the coins she carries. We finish this long day with a 15km ascent followed by a gentle 10km ride down to
Day 5: Cycle Tam Duong to Sapa.
Today we cycle up to the Tram Ton Pass (1,900m; 6,230 ft) the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, on our way to Sa Pa.
We start with a relatively easy 7km ride before we hit the first of two major climbs. A 8km tough ride sets us up for the
26km monster climb later in the day. As we start the second climb we slowly start to witness the beauty of Mt. Fan Si
Pan, South East Asia’s highest peak. Often hidden with a veil of moving mist and fog, we will hopefully get a glimpse of
its lofty peaks.
Sa Pa is an old French hill station perched in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains near the Chinese border. Its position gives
it some of the best vantage points to savour the surrounding mountain peaks.
Day 6: Sapa – Laocai – Hanoi.
Enjoy a half day walking to visit hill tribe villages before you take the night train trip to travel back to Hanoi. You will
commence your short journey by driving south toward Muong Hoa valley. You will then start your walk by descending
into the valley, which is the largest rice paddy terraced among Sapa area.
The guide can provide you interesting information about rice. If you visit the valley sometime in between May
and October, you will be able to observe and experience how the local do planting and
harvesting, one of the most important activities in the daily life. The walk takes you from Lao Chai
village of Black Hmong minority to Ta Van village of Giay minority including a visit to the local
Catholic Church. After visiting Ta Van the car will return you to Sapa.
Have quick shower in a mini/standard hotel before taking the overnight train to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.
Day 7: Arrive Hanoi train station. Departure.
Arrive Hanoi early this morning. You will be picked up by our car and transferred to Hanoi airport for onward flight.
Lotussia Travel is a Hanoi based tour operator offering a wide selection of cycling tours in all over Vietnam. The above
biking tour is only a sample we list on this site for your reference. That can be flexible, customizable and subject to
weather conditions and other circumstances. We have lots of other cycling itineraries which are available upon
request. If you need further information or have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact us at any
time. We look forward to seeing you soon in Vietnam!
For more details either visit www.vietnamcycling.com or www.lotussiatravel.com