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  • Saigon to Hanoi (17D)

    As Vietnam opens its doors to welcome the world at large, many people have no idea of the stunning visual beauty and traditional culture that lie beyond the threshold. To many, the name Vietnam brings to mind only haunting images of a devastating war in Southeast Asia, an image that continues to be exploited on the big screen and in print. Beyond such images lies the real Vietnam, a unique and fascinating land of great physical and rich cultural diversity whose history spans over 4,000 years.


    HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUDE

    • This epic cycle trip covers the entire length of Vietnam, from bustling Saigon to the serene northern capital of Hanoi.
    • Ride on country roads on either side of the main north–south artery of Highway One.
    • We see many of Vietnam’s historic and scenic highlights, from the cool mountain air of Dalat we descend tothe beach resort of Nha Trang before riding back roads to historic Hoi An and Hue.
    • The overnight Reunification Express train takes us to the amazing karst scenery of Ninh Binh and Halong Bay.
    • The bicycle is still the most common form of rural transport in Vietnam and you will share the country roads and tracks with beautiful girls in flowing Ao Dais, school children.

    DETAILED PROGRAM

    Day 1

    HCMC Arrival

    Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon then being transferred to your hotel. After bike fitting and trip briefing you are free to explore the city before returning for a welcome dinner.

    Recommended Hotels in Saigon:

    - Northern Hotel Saigon
    - Little Saigon Corner


    Day 2

    Today we transfer a short distance out of bustling Saigon and start riding to the haunting Cu Chi Tunnels, which consist of more than 200km of underground tunnels. This main axis system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels. The network included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction, giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel for what underground life was like during the U.S.-Vietnam War.

    After witnessing the war's devastating consequences we return to Saigon by bus just in time for a visit to the notorious Museum of War Crimes. Dinner is your choice.

     Cu Chi Tunnels, Museum of War Crimes


    Day 3

    We rise very early this morning and transfer to the airport for a short flight to Dalat, once a favorite summer retreat among the French and Vietnamese royal families. Dubbed “Le Petit Paris”, the city is now a popular honeymoon destination for Vietnamese newlyweds. Upon arrival, we'll hop on our bikes and cycle out of town on picturesque and nearly traffic-free country lanes and back roads. After cycling in the shadow of Mount Langbian, we return to Dalat for dinner and you are free to take a walk to explore this lovely city.

    Recommended Da Lat City Hotels:

    - Dalat Hotel Du Parc
    - TTC Ngoc Lan Hotel


    Day 4

    We start off with a relatively easy ride around Dalat past Xuan Huong Lake, colorful flower plantations, the Old French Railway station and Than Tho Lake. As we head towards Nha Trang, a famous seaside getaway, we’ll tackle some challenging hills before being rewarded by smooth descents with lush mountains in the backdrop. After lunch in Da Chay, we muscle our legs again to conquer Hon Giao pass (2,062 m) before letting them rest by transferring to our destination. If we have time we’ll stop to visit Po Na Gar Cham Tower, the most famous Cham temple founded in the 8th century, and continue to the resort town for a lively evening.

     Xuan Huong Lake, French Railway Station, PoNaGar Cham Tower


    Day 5

    Nha Trang Rest Day

    For a rest day off the saddle, we take a boat trip to stunning coral islands for swimming and snorkeling. Alternatively, those who would like to take it easy can lie down and soak up the sun by the beach or go scuba diving.

    Recommended Hotels in Nha Trang:

    - Asia Paradise Nha Trang
    - Michelia Nha Trang


    Day 6

    Following breakfast, we cycle 15 km out of Nha Trang and transfer to the fishing village of Vung Ro and stop at Dai Lanh Beach for a swim. Back in the saddle, we cruise 35 km along a newly paved coastal road snaking along Da Bia Mountain with some gentle climbs. After lunch at a local restaurant we’ll transfer to My Thanh and ride 30 km on quiet countryside lanes passing soothing rice paddies and peaceful villages.

    The terrain is flat and the road is a mixture of tarmac and dirt. We finish at Phuong Hoa Tri Hamlet and take a short transfer to our hotel in Tuy Hoa.

     Fishing village of Vung Ro, Dai Lanh Beach, Phuong Hoa Tri Hamlet


    Day 7

    After transferring out of town to avoid the main highway we start biking along a remote but well-surfaced road running parallel with the railway. The terrain rolls gently with breathtaking views of the highland hills. As we cycle through tribal and Viet villages we'll also spot potbellied pigs and barefooted children trotting across the trail. We then return to the highway and transfer a short distance to Quy Nhon.


    Day 8

    Today we follow the coastal road to Tra O Lagoon, the largest wetland in Binh Dinh Province and also a principal food source for the locals. While rolling we also take in the sea breeze and spot tranquil fishing villages lined along the coastline. After lunch at a local restaurant, the ride continues to Highway 1, where we transfer to Quang Ngai for the night.


    Day 9

    In the morning we’ll visit the Thien An Pagoda, a famous 17th century temple in Central Vietnam, and later on My Lai, the site of one of the deadliest massacres during the Indochina War. After the guided tour we transfer 1.5 hours to Tam Ky, the main base of the US troops during the war, to begin cycling and do a loop through the picturesque countryside of Quang Ngai Province.

    After lunch in Hiep Duc, we continue the ride to Ha Lam and transfer to Hoi An, a major trading port during the 17th and 18th centuries. With 844 structures of historical significance and vibrant shopping streets, the city is a must for you to wander around and absorb the atmosphere.

     Thien An Pagoda, My Lai Village, Hoi An Ancient Town


    Day 10

    This morning we have a short transfer to avoid the highway and start riding to My Son, the ancient centre of the Cham Civilization dating back to the 4th century. We then cycle along scenic country back roads flanked by rice paddies, eucalyptus plantations and relaxing villages. Later the road stretches away from the coast, offering stunning views of the ocean as we head to My Son, once Champa’s most important city.

    After lunch, we spend the afternoon visiting the site, and although many of the temples were destroyed from heavy bombing, enough have survived the war to impress most visitors. After the historical tour, we take the bus back to Hoi An. Dinner is your choice.

    Recommended Hotels in Hoi An:

    - Ancient House Hoi An
    - Vinh Hung Emerald Resort


    Day 11

    This is probably the toughest ride of the tour, yet it is also one of the most rewarding. We transfer out of Hoi An to Danang and climb the Hai Van Pass, a steady and moderately challenging uphill with exhilarating views of the coast, before flying down a long and smooth downhill.

    After lunch, we venture away from the main highway and cruise on a coastal road for 44 km to Hue, the old capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty.

    Recommended Hue Hotels:

    - Romance Hue Hotel
    - Eldora Hue Hotel


    Day 12

    Today we explore by bicycle and boat the rich history left behind by the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. We ride to the pier for a cruise along the Perfume River and stop to visit the seven-story Thien Mu Pagoda, the tallest religious building in Vietnam. Built in 1601, it has become the symbol of the city, and be sure to get a photo with the marble turtle!

    Back on the bikes, we pedal through the countryside to Minh Mang Mausoleum, the tomb of Emporor Ming Mang famous for his opposition to French involvement in Vietnam. After a walk through this extensive complex we cycle back across the Perfume River back to Hue. After refreshing ourselves and packing up we have an early dinner before taking an overnight train to Ninh Binh.

     Thien Mu Pagoda, Minh Mang Mausoleum


    Day 13

    We arrive in Ninh Binh around 8 am (however, the official and actual arrival times may vary). Following the check-in and breakfast, we start cycling through spectacular karst mountains towering over a blanket of rice paddies to the ancient city of Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries.

    After touring the temples we continue to Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam's first and largest natural reserve, to visit the primate rescue centre before checking into our accommodation at the park.

    Hotels in Ninh Binh:

    - Cuc Phuong Resort & Villas


    Day 14

    We enjoy another ride to appreciate the park's beauty and head east on serene back roads through a sea of pineapple plantations. Today while riding you’ll notice the differences between North and South Vietnam ranging from crops, villages, to clothing as we pass through countless lush greenery, lovely villages and friendly locals. Today's ride finishes just before we reach Highway 1 and for the transfer to Haiphong, one of Vietnam’s major ports.


    Day 15

    After the morning transfer we catch a speedboat to Fulong on Cat Ba Island. Located at the southern end of picturesque Halong Bay, the Island is home to one of Vietnam’s most exquisite natural treasures, Cat Ba National Park. Once we get off the boat we roll 27 km on the island’s only road before enjoying lunch at Cat Ba Town.

    In the afternoon you are free to explore the surroundings before spending the night on this heavenly island.


    Day 16

    We have a short ride in the morning and head for a memorable cruise through majestic Halong Bay. With its towering limestone karts protruding from the emerald sea, Halong Bay is truly one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. Legend has it that it was formed by a great dragon that descended from the mountain into the sea. The boat trip is definitely rewarding after the long biking expedition. We then transfer to Hanoi and meet again in the evening for our farewell dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the city.


    Day 17

    Departure

    In the morning you are free to do last-minute shopping or take a short tour around the Vietnamese capital before catching your onward flight. If you would like to extend your stay in Hanoi, please contact us for best hotel deals and rates.

     

     

      MORE TOURS HERE


    NOTES:

    • Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. At Vietnam Senses Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.
    • Prices include the following:
      . All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast
      . Internal economy flights as stated with airport taxes
      . All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle
      . Private services of local guides
      . All special events & private tours, guest experts
      . All entrance fees into historical sights & museums
      . Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring
      . 24/7 support from the Vietnam Senses Travel Team

     

    Location
    Accommodation

    SAIGON
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    Northern Hotel Saigon

    • An added bonus at the Northern Hotel is the good sized rooms that feature large windows to make the most of those city views. Incidentally, all of the rooms have external windows, which is quite unusual in Saigon.
    • The décor is contemporary and easy-on-the-eye, with modern-style marble bathrooms and all the facilities you require to make your stay comfortable.
    • The Northern Hotel prides itself on its service levels: you’re guaranteed a warm welcome, with nothing too much trouble. Facilities include a pleasant mezzanine-floor restaurant and a small gym.

    DA LAT 
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    Dalat Hotel Du Parc

    • The hotel was originally built in 1932 and has been elegantly restored to its original Colonial grandeur. The rooms are well sized and tastefully finished, the lobby area is very pleasant and you are just a few minutes by foot from the lakeside.
    • Whilst it's fair to say the Dalat Hotel Du Parc lacks the class of its sister hotel, the Sofitel, as a guest you get to share many of the hotels facilities and benefits.

    NHA TRANG 
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    Asia Paradise Nha Trang

    • This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Ideally located in central Nha Trang, Asia Paradise Hotel is just a 2-minute walk from the sand and sea at Nha Trang Beach. It has an outdoor pool and free WiFi access.
    • Asia Paradise Hotel is 34 km away from Cam Ranh International Airport.
    • Fitted with wooden flooring and large windows, the air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a cable/satellite TV and minibar. En suite bathrooms come with separate bathtub and shower facilities.
    • Day trips and sightseeing activities can be arranged at the tour desk. The hotel also provides laundry services and a 24-hour front desk. Hot tub and sauna facility is available at a surcharge.
    • Located on the 1st floor, Cozy Restaurant serves a selection of fresh seafood, European food and Asian dishes. A daily buffet breakfast is also available there every morning.
    • This is our guests' favourite part of Nha Trang, according to independent reviews.

    QUY NHON 
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    Seagull Hotel Quy Nhon

    • Located in the Binh Dinh Province of Quy Nhon City, this beachfront hotel offers a spa and rooms with sea views and a flat-screen TV. Free Wi-Fi is available.
    • The modern rooms at the 4-star Seagull Hotel have a private bathroom with amenities, air conditioning and a tea/coffee maker.
    • The Seagull serves a large breakfast buffet in the mornings. Guests can also enjoy local cuisine for lunch and dinner at the restaurant, which overlooks the pool and sea.
    • The Seagull has a modern gym and a spa where guests can enjoy massages.

     HOI AN DA NANG
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    Vinh Hung Emerald Resort

    • Rooms are decorated in a peaceful contemporary Vietnamese style, with cream walls and linens, dark woods, and rich colourful satin accessories. Carefully chosen modern art adds further colour, and all accommodation benefits from views of the hotel’s leafy courtyard, the river, or both. Bathrooms are bright and nicely appointed with marble vanities and warm cream tiling.
    • Enjoy fresh regional specialities in the garden restaurant, or cocktails and tapas in the poolside bar, which overlooks the river. The property centres around an infinity pool and spacious courtyard that is pleasingly open to the riverbank along one side, and the tasteful spa offers a good range of therapeutic and pampering treatments.

    HUE
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    Romance Hue Hotel

    • Aside from the well-sized rooms and great value suites, many with balconies and city views, there is a very welcoming swimming pool and terrace on the 11th floor roof.
    • The location is also good, situated as it is close to a number of Hue's best restaurants and within easy walking distance of the Perfume River and the famous Imperial Citadel.

     NINH BINH 
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    Ninh Binh Legend Hotel

    • The hotel has a good range of facilities, with the welcoming pool and terrace and a social restaurant amongst the most essential.
    • What the guest rooms perhaps lack in modern chic, they more than make up for in size - they are simply massive.
    • Amenities are of a suitable standard and many rooms offer superb views of the nearby paddy and limestone karsts. All are decorated in a light colour scheme with plenty of comfortable furnishings and pleasant touches.

     

    CAT BA ISLAND
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    Sea Pearl Cat Ba Hotel

    • This property is a 10-minute walk from the beach. Sea Pearl Hotel is located in front of Lan Ha Bay, a 5-minute walk from Cat Co Beach. It features 2 dining options and rooms with views of the sea. Wi-Fi and parking are free.
    • The air-conditioned rooms at Sea Pearl are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV and minibar. Shower facilities and toiletries are provided in the en suite bathroom.
    • Guests can enjoy a body massage, relax in the sauna or rent a bicycle to explore the area. Local souvenirs can also be purchased at the gift shop.
    • The restaurant serves a variety of local dishes. Light snacks and refreshing beverages are available at the bar.
    • Hotel Sea Pearl is a 1-minute walk from Cat Ba Hydrofoil Wharf and a 5-minute walk from Cat Ba Market. Cat Ba National Park is a 30-minute drive away.

    HANOI
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    Essence d’Orient Hotel & Spa

    • Accommodation is contemporary in style with dark wood furniture and white walls complemented with a ‘natural’ colour scheme of brown and greens, in-keeping with the hotels' eco-friendly philosophy.
    • Interconnecting rooms are available for families and some of the rooms feature a private balcony with city views.
    • Despite being a first class hotel, service levels are more akin to an upgraded property and there are appealing extra touches such as a laptop with free wifi in each room for guests to use and, for Suite guests, a complimentary minibar and laundry service.