Vietnam cycling has become more and more popular in the last decade. Outside of the cities, there is little motor traffic on the roads. Because the bicycle has been (and still is) one of the primary methods of transportation for the people during most of the 20th and 21st centuries, there are numerous paths and trails that lend themselves particularly well to cycling tours in Vietnam that sometimes even cross borders into the neighboring countries of Southeast Asia (usually Thailand and Cambodia).
Mountain biking in Vietnam has also become increasing popular, and has created a burgeoning adventure travel industry in the country. There are beautiful mountains here, and the regions around them are often little visited and very scenic. The northern range that includes Mount Fansipan (highest point in the country at more than 10,000 feet above sea level) is particularly remote, and provides the most spectacular and varied scenery in the country.
Located in the far northwestern region of the country north of Hanoi and on the borders of Laos and China, this region has the added cultural bonus of being the homelands of some fascinating and colorful ethnic minority tribes. Many cycling tours in Vietnam that travel through this region will visit one or more of these villages, sometimes spending a home-hosted night with a local family. Combining Vietnam biking with this cultural exchange provides a wonderful insight into a little known part of the country’s history. The three notable ethnic people in this region are the Hmong, Dao, and Tay.
There is more traditional Vietnam cycling in the south of the country in the Mekong Delta region around Ho Chi Minh City. This region is flat and lush, suitable for those looking for Vietnam biking that is less strenuous than tours in the more remote mountains. Because of the canals that irrigate the miles of rice paddies, and the many fingers of the mighty Mekong River, a typical itinerary in this area is quite apt to include a day or two of river cruises.
Cycling tours in Vietnam are usually sold as vacation packages with most features included. You rarely stay in luxury hotels, except perhaps for the first and/or last night in a major city. Generally, accommodation is in intimate two- or three-star hotels that offer charm and character. Group size is generally a minimum of two or as many as sixteen participants. A bilingual Vietnamese guide cycles along with the group, and there is a support vehicle for luggage and participants who want to ride for a period of time. Detailed maps and directions are provided for those who wish self-guided tours. This is generally fine for intrepid travelers in the southern part of the country, but not recommended in the remote border areas of the north.
Vietnam cycling is also available for a simple half or full-day excursion for those who want to experience the countryside from the seat of bicycle, but are not keen on entire biking vacations. Many tourists also enjoy Vietnam biking just as a method of getting around, usually when they are staying on the beaches around Danang or the coast south of Ho Chi Minh City. Car rental is not the most practical method of transportation, so a number of beach resorts will have bicycles, mopeds, and even motorcycles for hire so guest can go out to dinner, explore the scenery, or travel to an adjoining beach.