Northeast Vietnam Biking Tour: 15 Great Days Off The Beaten Track
Northeast Vietnam, which straddles the Red River Delta and the ocean, has a rich agricultural and historical heritage and a regional growth engine for business and tourism.
The region is home to majestic mountain passes, enormous waterfalls, lush national parks, historic royal citadels, and ethnic hill-tribe minority villages hidden at the base of mountains.
If you’re reading our post, we think you’re planning to go cycling in Vietnam. Lucky you, the Northeast Vietnam biking tour we will introduce below is well worth a try. Read on to know more!
Northeast Vietnam Biking Tour: Highlights
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Arriving in Hanoi, I spent the time exploring the bustling streets on a cyclo ride to experience Hanoi’s splendor, both old and new.
Then, we were kindly welcomed with a special dinner as a welcome in a typical Vietnamese eatery.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Night Train to Lao Cai: 45km
On our second day of cycling Vietnam, we started with exploring Hanoi, including stops at the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, and Museum of Ethnology, among other well-known historical sites.
After lunch, we visited 36 historic streets and Dong Xuan market and experienced the amazing Water Puppet Show, where live musicians played traditional Vietnamese instruments and sang throughout the performance.
We then took a night train to Lao Cai and started our cycling tours in Vietnam.
Day 3: Lao Cai To Bac Ha Bicycle Tour: 76km
After a filling supper and being ready, we set out on our third day of Vietnam cycle tours for Coc Ly on a paved and scenic road, stopping along the way to take in the stunning scenery and unusual nature.
Our first destination was the local market, and here we were impressed by the vibrant hill tribe market and the distinctive products they were willing to trade.
When I got to Bac Ha at 5:00 PM, I made the decision to stroll around the town and watch the sunset over the rice terrace fields.
Day 4: Bac Ha Bike Tour – Coc Pai – Hoang Su Phi – Thong Nguyen Cycling Tour: 81km
After a delicious home-cooked breakfast, we headed out for a second riding day, traveling through Sin Man and Coc Phai town before overcoming the “Heaven Gate Pass 2” to reach Hoang Su Phi.
The landscape was magnificent and breathtaking, with villages of the H’Mong, Dao Phu La, Tay, and Nung.
After riding our bikes for around 7 hours, we reached a homestay where we enjoyed a delicious meal by the fire pit in the kitchen.
Day 5: Hoang Su Phi Bicycle Tour to Ha Giang: 86km
On day five of our Vietnam bicycle tours, the trail’s highlight is cycling between Hoang Su Phi and Ha Giang. Along the route, we marveled at some of the most stunning limestone mountains and breathtaking rice terrace views.
Since we still had time, we made a little side trip to a few tribal communities. We also overcame some significant hills before returning to Viet Quang and continuing on to our accommodation in Ha Giang.
Day 6: Ha Giang Bike Trip to Quan Ba and Yen Minh: 97km
Waking up early in the morning, we left for Ha Giang and went on the journey to admire the gorgeous, untouched forests and mountains of the Northeast. We took a break at Quan Ba’s Heaven Gate to take the Twin Hills.
After eating lunch, we got on our bikes and cycled toward the Gam River until we came to another pass once more. The terrain was rough up and down until we reached an elevation of 1,025m, and the rest became easy when we descended for the last 15 kilometers into Yen Minh.
Here, we saw the traditional dwellings of the neighborhood hill tribes and indulged in authentic Chinese cuisine.
Day 7: Yen Minh – Lung Cu – Dong Van Biking Tour: 87km
On day seven, we had a wonderful day while cycling in the internationally recognized Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark.
Besides, our group made a pit stop to see and tour the Hmong King Palace before riding to the Lung CuPole Flag Tower and moving on to Dong Van.
In the evening, I walked around Dong Van Old Town, which bears the architectural imprints of the Chinese and Lo Lo people, and savored the rich flavor of the coffee.
Day 8: Dong Van Cycling To Meo Vac – Biking Bao Lac: 94km
On this day, we mostly cycled over relatively flat roads, sometimes stopping to check out the neighborhood market or learn more about the way of life of the hill tribes.
Around 4 PM, we arrived in Bao Lac, had dinner, and then explored the town’s night market, which showcased the distinctive cultural traits of the Tay, Mong, Dao, Nung, Lo Lo, and San Chi ethnic groups. We also sampled the local cuisine here, such as pig ribs, Thang Co, and ant egg cake.
Day 9: Bao Lac – Cao Bang Bike Trip: 124km
The 38 km ascent to the summit of Pia Hoac and subsequent descent on a paved road to Cao Bang City made it the most challenging cycling day of our tour.
Nevertheless, the limestone mountain range, rice and maize fields, and other stunning natural vistas were our reward. Locals’ livelihoods are agriculture, so even kids had to work on the field.
Day 10: Cao Bang Cycle Tour To Tra Linh: 94km
From Cao Bang city, we moved to the North to reach Pac Bo on the relatively long and zigzag road.
Pac Bo is a unique national relic location of the country where President Ho Chi Minh formerly lived and worked after 30 years of foreign dads fleeing and discovering a method to preserve the country.
As we approached the Pac Bo Cave Relic Tourist site, we stopped at other tourist destinations nearby, including Lenin Stream, Mac Mountain, Co Rac Beach, and Landmark 108.
After visiting, we prepared our bikes for an ascent to the Gate of Heaven, where we tested our skills before descending to Tra Linh Town.
Day 11: Tra Linh – Ban Gioc Biking Trip: 72km
From Tra Linh, we descended to Trung Khanh town and rode into the heart of the UNESCO Global Geopark in Vietnam, where we saw stunning views and spectacular panoramas.
There, we continued cycling along Quay Son River to Ban Gioc waterfall. Coming over here, I could see a waterfall with an unusual layered structure where each water block passes through numerous layers of plants and rocks.
Day 12: Ban Gioc – Quang Uyen Cycle Tour: 76km
After breakfast, we kept riding from the hotel to Quang Uyen Town via the new border route to take in the mountain ranges while passing numerous Tay and Nung hill tribe villages.
By visiting their home, conversing with the neighborhood residents, or participating in their own unique productions, we could understand their daily life.
Day 13: Cycling Tour From Quang Uyen To Lang Son
The battlefields of Dong Khe that we passed through on this day brought me to the old days of Vietnam against French troops.
This day also delighted us with the fascinating landscape, magnificent mountain ranges, and charming rice terraces. After lunch, we traverse a challenging pass to That Khe before taking a pleasantly wavy route to Lang Son City.
We celebrated our last night in a mountainous area with dinner and a beer with many local people.
Day 14: Lang Son – Halong Bicycle Trip
Leaving Lang Son behind, we set off to Ha Long. The boat ride over Halong Bay was the highlight of our 15-day bicycle tour in Northeast Vietnam.
The entire voyage was delightful, and the scenery I saw simply took my breath away. Everything I experienced – from witnessing the numerous limestone mountains that jutted out into the azure waters to the mysterious caves and the tranquility of the water all around – was unmatched.
Day 15: Halong Bay Cruising Tour – Hanoi – Onward
Rose and shine for an early morning on the boat; we swam before breakfast. On the upper deck, we unwinded while admiring the stunning splendor of the rocky islands rising from the bay’s emerald ocean.
Then, we discovered Sung Sot cave, cruised through the bay, went back to check out, and came back to Hanoi.
For us, this Northeast Vietnam biking tour is truly a wise choice for exploration, food, culture, fun, and much more. If you have the time and inclination, even if you are apprehensive, give Vietnam cycling tours a shot.
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