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Cycling in Vietnam


Cycling in Vietnam is certainly an experience. Where should you start your journey in Vietnam? There are two ways, from north to south, or the other way around. Some claim the south is not much of interest but I disagree. It's just different.

A general overview of the main things to know about Vietnam, weather, transport, health visa, money etc, you will find here.

Champa ruins
Cycling in Vietnam, visiting Champa ruins,
here the My Son ruins in the jungle near Hoi An

I have separated north and south Vietnam in this way:

  • South Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta and road north to Danang, Hue and the Lao Border at Lao Bao.
  • North Vietnam: Vinh and the roads north to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa and Lao Cai plus the road to Lang Son at the border with China.

South Vietnam

South Vietnam offers much for any traveler: cyclists, backpackers and organized tour travelers alike. The journey starts in Ho Chi Minh City, for most travelers the entry point to the country.

One of my favorite photos I made in Vietnam

One of my favorite photos I made in Vietnam

A great trip, at the minimum of 3 days goes deep into the Mekong Delta. Must visit places around the city are Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple. North you will find the hill station Dalat and further the Nha Trang Beaches and Champa ruins.

The next stop for most travelers is Hoi An with the legendary Cua Dai and China Beach. Nearby are the beautiful My Son ruins and Da Nang.

The UNESCO World Heritage city Hue and the DMZ with the road Lao border at Lao Bao is the end station for the section about south Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay

North Vietnam

A journey starting in North Vietnam usually starts in Hanoi. If you come from the south, your first stopping off point might be Vinh although I would skip it unless you ride your bicycle. Further north close to Hanoi there are beautiful karst limestone mountains near Ninh Binh and at the coast you will find the UNESCO Heritage area of Ha Long Bay.

The far North West with Dien Bien Phu and Sapa and Lao Cai has become increasingly more popular because it offers rugged mountains and many minorities who have kept their traditions.

Some travelers decide to travel/cycle overland to China via Lang Son

Cycling in Vietnam

Road construction on the way to Son La
Cycling in Vietnam sometimes means of the bicycle and walk due to road construction, like here on the way to Son La

My pages do not pretend to answer all your questions about Vietnam. They're based on my own journeys in the country since 1994. Since than much has changed. When I cycled Lang Son-Hanoi-Vinh-Lao Bao in November 2011, I realized how much had changed since my first visit, 17 years earlier.

The roads were in great condition, hotels and hostels were found everywhere and even the food selection outside the tourist areas was great.

These days Vietnam is not only a popular tourist destination, it's also one of the easier countries to travel/cycle on your own. Money and bank, internet and other facilities in every price range can be found.

Of course you do need sometimes bargain hard for a good price, especially in the main tourist areas. But outside those tourist hotspot, Vietnam can be dirt cheap and you meet some of the most friendly people you have ever met in your life.

Bicycle shops are in the larger cities available. Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Dalat and Hue have shops but you might have problems (I had that) with finding even 26 inch tires. That said, cycling as a leisure thing in the country is increasing in popularity.

Temple in Langson

More details about Vietnam

The following pages offer a more detailed view on the many tourist areas and roads I have cycled:

Central Vietnam

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Vietnam Stories

Twpo stories from cyclists in Vietnam. Both Marco and Barry have extensively traveled and cycled in the country. And they have much to tell you






Dalat

Dalat is a hill station in south Vietnam where locals and foreigners escape from the tropical heat of the big cities. With its magnificent nature, this is the place you will want to go cycling in Vietnam.

waterfalls in Dalat

Hill station Dalat


The Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is usually skipped or only quickly done by travelers. There is still much to experience and certainly worth a visit.

Sunset over the Mekong near Chau Doc

The Mekong Delta


Vietnam Maps

map of Vietnam
Map of Vietnam


About luck on the road from Vinh to Ha Tinh

Luck is a mindset and sometimes I looked like it is abandoning you... here's a story about an unfixable tire in a place with no hope...

broken tire in Vietnam

Vinh to Ha Tinh


Vinh to the Lao Border

The journey from Vinh to the Lao border at Lao Bao was considerable more interesting as I had to pass the former DMZ:

On the way from Dong Hoi to Dong Ha