Take this trip to explore The North of Indochina on bike. This is an adventurous, on-moving tour through the mountainous Northwest provinces of Vietnam and Laos. This tour is suitable for fit, experienced cycling enthusiasts.
Brief Itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner):
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Welcome to Hanoi. Our guide will be at the airport to pick you up. Transfer to the hotel. Check in and have a welcome dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour (B,L)
Leave the hotel to visit Ngoc Son temple, Hanoi Old Quarters, pass by Dong Xuan market then continue to the Old Citadel.
Stop for visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, One Pillar Pagoda. Continue to visit the Quan Thanh Temple and Tran Quoc Pagoda. After lunch proceed to visit the Ethnology Museum, continue to visit the Literature Temple and Quoc Tu Giam. There will be an evening water puppet show. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi - Overnight train to Lao Cai (B)
We will have a free day in Hanoi, an afternoon brief walking tour to explore Hanoi and in the evening we will have a trip briefing. We will spend the night on a train heading towards Lao Cai. Lao Cai is on the gateways to China. Lao Cai lies at the end of the train line on the Chinese border.
The border crossing slammed shut during the 1979 war between China and Vietnam and remained closed until 1993. Lao Cai is now a major hub for travellers journeying between Hanoi, Sapa (38km away) and Kunming.
Day 4: Sapa (20km cycling) (B,L)
Transfer to Sapa up the mountainside and have time to get the bikes ready to go before biking into the Sapa Valley. The Queen of Mountains, Sapa sits regally overlooking a beautiful valley, lofty mountains towering over the town on all sides. Sapa is a French hill station that was built in 1922. Stay overnight in Sapa.
Day5: Sapa ride full day (30km cycling) (B,L)
Cycling an off road track to the village of Ta Phin, when the ride will be more challenging in a loop across steep and forested hillsides and minority villages. Stay overnight in Sapa.
Day6: Sapa – Tam Duong (Phong Tho) – Pa So (80km cycling) (B,L,D)
Cycling shortly uphill as a warm up to the Tram Ton Pass, before starting a long descent ride to Binh Lu and ride on a truly off the beaten track (jeep track) mixed of hard pack gravel and clay to Tam Duong and Pa So. Overnight in Pa So – Lai Chau.
Day7:Pa So – Sin Ho - Lai Chau (now Muong Lay) (45km cycling) (B,L)
Take a brutal ride this day to Lai Chau and Sin Ho and get a reward of truly spectacular views. The ride is on the main road, uphill and tarmac downhill, mixed of gravel and hard pack clay. Overnight in Lai Chau.
Day8: Lai Chau (Muong Lay) – Tuan Giao - Dien Bien Phu (90km cycling) (B,L)
We will go on the hardest and most challenging ride on this day to Tuan Giao and Dien Bien Phu, on a rough tarmac terrain all the way, but you will be rewarded with the stunningly beautiful scenery and untouched remote villages. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.
Day9: Dien Bien Phu – Muang Khua (70km cycling) (B,L)
Early in the morning we will explore the historical sites of Dien Bien Phu. It used to be the big battlefield between the French and Vietnamese when Vietnam fought again the French to get independence. Then we cycle 70km to Muang Khau by crossing Laos North-East border at Tay Tran.
This Northeast area is the area with the least amount of people of Laos. In the afternoon, we will continue cycling to Muang Khua along Nam Ou river. Overnight in Muang Khua.
Day10: Muang Khua to Oudomxai (75km cycling) (B,L)
After breakfast, we will cycle 75km on the main road to Oudomxai. This is a scenic lightly traveled road to bustling Oudomxai. During the second Indochina War, the provincial capital became the center for Chinese troops supporting Pathet Laos. Today, it is the junction of National Road 1, 2 and 4 which has made it a booming also - China trade center.
Day11: Oudomxai to Pak Mong (60km cycling) (B,L)
After breakfast, we fill up our water supply and then do a bit of exercise to warm up our muscles. We will begin to cycle with a tough climb with hill after hill but the scenery is magnificent. Then we will take a break to enjoy snacks, fresh fruits and drinks to get energy before continuing to cycle to Pak Mong. Overnight in Pak Mong.
Day12: Pak Mong to Luang Prabang (95km cycling) (B,L)
Today is our longest bike ride. Early morning, we cycle on the main road passing Ban Thabu. Then we cycle along Nam Ou river. It is interesting to cycle along the river through villages and get a chance to see their rural lives.
Enjoy picnic lunch on the riverbank and take a power nap before heading to Pak Ou. It has the famous tourist attraction, Pak Ou caves. The end of the day, we finally arrive at Luang Prabang, the World Heritage town. Dinner and overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day13: Luang Prabang (50km biking) (B,L)
After breakfast, we set off south of Luang Prabang, enjoying splendid mountains and unspoiled forest scenery. Upon reaching the river, we will take a small long tail motor taxi downstream on the Nam Khan River, passing stunning soft green mountains and observing the local activities at various small villages on our way. Your bike will be ready at the local pier near Ban Phanom for our journey back to Luang Prabang. We will take an alternative route back to Luang Prabang, riding through and stopping over at the well-known weaving village of Tai Lue, who used to make silk weaving textiles for the former Lao royal family. We will then ride to Luang Prabang by the late evening, to enjoy a short guided cycling tour in Luang Prabang before sunset.
Day14: Luang Prabang (42km biking) (B,L)
An early call wake-up call will invite you to participate in giving alms to the Buddhist monks as the sun rises. Then, we will head northbound from Luang Prabang to the village of Ban Pak Ou. After enjoying a picnic lunch surrounded by the picturesque countryside, we will cross the Mekong River to Pak Ou and the Thamting Caves, located on the Mekong riverbank.
Day15: Luang Prabang departure(B)
After breakfast this morning, we will visit The National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign.
We also visit the Phousi Market, where you will see such diverse goods such as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter in addition to the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weaving. The tour ends here. If you have an onward flight, we'd be happy to transfer you to the airport.