Northern Vietnam & Laos Bike Tour
From US $3,295
Journey deep through the two most fascinating countries of Southeast Asia: Vietnam & Laos. Bursting with a variety of experiences, Northern Vietnam and Laos throws up myriad experiences; deep-rooted culture, verdant surroundings, and unique food. Experience stretches of biking through Northern Vietnam's spectacular karst mountain ranges and the lush valleys, enchanting views of terraced rice fields, and tea plantations, and through Northern Laos, home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests and three beautiful rivers viz. Mekong, Nam Ou, and Nam Pak. The rolling terrain combined with gradual climbs from low-lying riverside valleys is just perfect – a cyclist’s delight.
This is an excellent way to experience life in Northern Vietnam and Laos.
Hanoi | 13:00hrs
Luang Prabang | 17:00hrs
50km or 30mi
Limestone mountainsThe mighty rivers and karst mountain ranges become the focus of the biking trip
|DAY 1||Hanoi||Silk Path Boutique Hotel||D|
|DAY 2||Halong City||Halong Plaza Hotel||B,L,D||50km / 30mi*||cycling|
|DAY 3||Cat Ba Island||Little Cat Ba||B,L,D||30km / 18mi||cycling|
|DAY 4||Ninh Binh||Trang An Retreat||B,L,D||kayaking|
|DAY 5||Cuc Phuong National Park||Cuc Phuong Resort & Villas||B,L,D||40km / 24mi||cycling|
|DAY 6||Pu Luong||Pu Luong Home||B,L,D||70km / 42mi||cycling|
|DAY 7||Mai Chau||Mai Chau Lodge||B,L,D||60km / 36mi||cycling|
|DAY 8||Fly to Luang Prabang||Sala Prabang||B,L,D||50km / 30mi||cycling|
|DAY 9||Luang Prabang||Sala Prabang||B,L||12km / 7mi||cycling|
|DAY 10||Boat to Pakbeng||Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge||B,L,D|
|DAY 11||Oudomxay||Namkat Yorla Pa Resort||B,L,D||70km / 42mi*||cycling|
|DAY 12||Muang Khua||New Chaleunsouk GH||B,L,D||70km / 42mi||cycling|
|DAY 13||Boat to Nong Khiaw||Mandala Ou||B,L,D|
|DAY 14||Luang Prabang||B,L||60km / 37mi*||cycling|
Day 1: Hanoi
Our guide meets you at your hotel at 13:00hrs for a bike fit.
Post that, walk the busy streets of Hanoi visiting some of the cultural and historical highlights of Hanoi. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, which was constructed nearly a millennium ago, and is delicately elevated in a pond. Also visit the Temple of Literature, dating back close to a thousand years, is a wonderfully preserved piece of ancient Vietnamese architecture and stands to honor the scholarly achievements of the country’s academics and philosophers. Continue exploring the area around Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake, the old quarter including Ngoc Son Temple, which sits perched on a little island in the lake. In the evening, we convene over dinner.
Day 2: Halong City
Ride past the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta before taking a shuttle to Halong City. The river rises in Yunnan province, and flows across the Tonkin region, through Hanoi, and enters the Gulf of Tonkin. We criss-cross the rivers and ride over a multitude of bridges.
Day 3: Cat Ba Island
A quick ferry journey amidst spectacular limestone mountain scenery brings us to Cat Ba Island. After lunch, get on the bike for a loop around the island. Enjoy the stunning sunset over the limestone mountains.
Day 4: Ninh Binh
After a hearty breakfast, get on board a smaller boat and take a journey to the more remote and secluded parts of the Lan Ha Bay waters and islands. Trade your boat with a kayak and explore the lagoons, the coral reef, beaches, and limestone peaks. Ferry back to Hai Phong and shuttle to Ninh Binh. The transfer to Ninh Binh takes about 3 hrs.
Day 5: Cuc Phuong National Park
A short cycling ride along the river brings us to Trang An, known as Halong Bay on land. The landscape is largely dominated by limestone mountains, rivers, caves, and pagodas. Here we take a boat ride and get to experience the magical scenery dotted with natural and cultural wonders.
We take a break at the ancient city of Hoa Lu for a quick temple tour and then continue riding toward Cuc Phuong National Park through the stunning landscape.
Day 6: Pu Luong
In the early morning hours, visit the Cuc Phuong National Park, an important site for biodiversity in Vietnam
It’s a long day interspersed with transfers and rides. We start with a transfer of about 90min to the starting point for our cycling. Unload the bikes and cycle on largely undulating paths. We continue cycling past acacia plantations, sugarcane fields, and corn farms dotted with Thai and Muong Tribes' villages. Arrive in Pu Luong, and check in at a family lodge located in the heart of Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
Day 7: Mai Chau
Another day of the undulating ride. Cycle past a spectacular mountain range with karst cliffs, terraced rice fields, and a typical agricultural landscape, ending at the beautiful valleys of Mai Chau. The experience is truly unique as we get to experience a good change in landscape.
Mai Chau is a collection of villages and offers a true rural cycling experience. Do enjoy the evening walking around the valley and admiring simple rural life amidst spectacular scenery.
Day 8: Fly to Luang Prabang
The initial stretch has a bit of climb and then it delves down to the foothills of mountains. The topography is adorned with timber and fern trees. After around 45km, we stop for lunch along the Da reservoir and then make a transfer to Ky Son to cycle further along rivers and lakes. The cycling is up to yen Trung and then take a shuttle transfer to Hanoi and fly to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Day 9: Luang Prabang
Begin the day by cycling around the old quarter of Luang Prabang, starting at Heuan Chan Heritage House and after to Luang Prabang’s National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace. Displayed within is a collection of personal artifacts of the former Laotian Royal Family. Visit nearby Wat Mai – the five-tiered roof epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. Continue cycling along the Mekong River and stop at the hillside temple of Wat That Luang. Take a short walk and visit the ancient stupa called That Dam (the Black Stupa) before biking to Wat Visoun, the oldest living temple in Luang Prabang. Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddha images. Continue along the Nam Khan River to Wat Xieng Thong – often considered to be Luang Prabang’s most elegant. The temple is characterized by tiered roofs sweeping low to the ground and the impressive “tree of life” mosaic. Before sunset, cycle back to your hotel on the town’s main street, stopping at Wat Sop and Wat Sen along the way.
Day 10: Boat to Pakbeng
We transfer to the pier and board a huge traditional Mekong riverboat for the upstream cruise to Pak Beng, departure at 08.00 hrs. This portion of the Mekong is very remote, which sometimes allows glimpses of wildlife in the extensive forests. There are occasional stops at local hill tribe villages to meet people and observe life on the riverside. Lunch will be served on a boat and you may have the opportunity to stop and visit local villages. Enjoy the lovely scenery along both sides of the Mekong cruising to today’s destination.
Boat: 6 hrs
Day 11: Oudomxay
Today it’s a long full day cycling to Oudomxay. This is one of the most spectacular stretches of long mountain road. The road is dotted with small villages and this is a great way to get acquainted with local rural life. The dramatic limestone and green rolling hills formations make for great photographic opportunities. There will be plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the wonderful scenery. The journey passes through beautiful mountain ranges and Hmong hill tribe villages.
Day 12: Muang Khua
We continue riding to Muang Khua. This is one of the most unvisited parts of Laos and the experience is truly unique. To get to the Muang Khua, we ride along the Nam Pak River. Along the way, you will notice how the homes are made of wood and bamboo. We spend some time here talking to the locals, just walking around, or just sitting at the edge of the river.
Day 13: Boat to Nong Khiaw
We ditch the cycles for an amazing boat ride in the Nam Pak River to Nong Khiaw. This is one of the most stunning journeys by the river in this region. The edge of the river is dotted with small villages and this is a great way of getting acquainted with local life. There are also limestone formations that make for great photographic experiences. The jaw-dropping landscape keeps you hooked to this for a long.
Day 14: Luang Prabang
Hop on a bike and ride along the undulating countryside skirting the Nam Pak River to Luang Prabang. Cycle out of the Nong Khiaw towards Pakmong. From here we transfer 40km then cycle to visit Pak Ou Buddha Caves before a van ride back to the city. These caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since the 16th century when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition.
Extend at Luang Prabang or travel further as per your onward travel plans.
Dates and Prices
Our base pricing is in USD. However, we can also quote in AUD, GBP, CAD, and EUR, and you can pay in the same. Please write us.
Couldn't find a trip with convenient dates?
Open your date as a join-in tour or customize further as private one.
We offer private departures on almost all our itineraries, and for groups of four or more, they cost the same as our standard trips!
All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).
Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.
Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.
A Van support that follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.
Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.
Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.
Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.
When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Our fleet majorly consist of the below bikes as a part of this tour. However, sometimes due to height or availability constraints, we may provide a different but similar quality bike.
Trek Marlin 7
Included in your trip price
Giant Explore e+
Available at a surcharge
The cycling season in the northwestern mountains of Vietnam runs from late August to May. December and January are cold with light showers, and travelers need to prepare accordingly.
The dry season runs from late October until May; June to October is characterized by heavy rainfall. The southwest monsoon generally arrives around May/July. Until July, rain comes mostly in the form of short downpours for an hour or so, clearing the way for clear skies. After July, rain reaches peak levels in August and September.
Though the weather can be sometimes quite unpleasant from June to September, there are benefits to this season. Nature comes to life, dry brown grasslands and forests become lush and green, the farmers welcome the season with full productivity, and lakes and rivers as well as waterfalls fill up and become stronger than ever.
Our cycling tours in Northern Laos majorly run from September to mid-April with Oct to Feb being the best months having low humidity and plenty of sunshine. Mar to May is characterized by high humidity and some smokey skies due to slash-and-burn agriculture.
Residents from a number of countries have visa exemption status for tourist visits to Vietnam. For a full list of up-to-date visa-exempt countries, see the Vietnam Foreign Affairs website.
e-Visa – The ‘e-visa’ process is newer and more streamlined. You can apply for an e-visa through the government website, then, once approved, simply print it out and present it upon arrival in Vietnam. The additional benefit of the e-visa is that it's valid at land borders, not just airports. The processing time ranges from 2 to 7 working days. We recommend applying 2 weeks in advance to avoid unexpected delays. Read more about tourist e-visas for Vietnam at the Vietnam Immigration portal and apply there.
While applying online for an approval letter, please ensure that you have the following documents:
- Passport scanned copy: A scanned copy of your passport - front (main) page. It shouldn't be a mobile photo or a photo taken from a laptop. Strictly scanned copy done through a computer scanner.
- Passport size photo: portrait photo (4*6 size, colored photo, white background, straight looking without glasses). A photo taken from a mobile or laptop may or may not work, so I would strictly advise getting one made through a nearby photo studio (retail shop) that specializes in taking photos for visas.
Here is an excellent resource on Vietnam visas that may be worth looking at.
Airport pickup and drop
We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.
Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.
Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.
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