By Penny Martinelli
Avid cyclists looking for an incredible destination for their next cycling adventure should consider venturing into Vietnam. Boasting a rich history, fascinating culture, and incredibly stunning scenery, you will surely enjoy riding your bike around this Southeast Asian country. Cycling in Vietnam is an experience of a lifetime, where you zoom past lush rice terraces, explore villages home to friendly locals, and even climb majestic mountains while passing through beautiful waterfalls.
But before you get too excited about your cycling trip, here’s everything you need to know about cycling in Vietnam.
Why Choose Vietnam?
There are many good reasons to choose Vietnam for your next cycling adventure. You will enjoy the beautiful sceneries along the way, from the lush terrains of the Mekong Delta to the rich cultural heritage and picturesque villages in the countryside. And if you’re someone craving thrilling adventures, why don’t you conquer the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi and brave your way amidst the millions of scooters?
If you prefer to cycle at a relaxing pace, Vietnam has a vast network of rural roads offering the perfect conditions for riding your bike at a slower pace. These rural areas are ideal for extended hours in the saddle, where you’ll have the opportunity to discover local villages, meet friendly locals, and get insights into the country’s enriched culture.
Another reason for cycling around Vietnam is to visit its key attractions. The fascinating country will surprise you with its incredible historic sites and stunning natural landscapes, which you can best explore on a bike. Here are some of the key attractions to see in Vietnam.
- Mekong Delta – the Mekong Delta is one of Vietnam’s key attractions, boasting a tranquil atmosphere and lush green countryside. Here, you’ll cycle by the maze of scenic rivers and swamps home to floating markets and villages. It’s also a great place to learn about the local culture by visiting farming villages and meeting warm and friendly locals.
- Sapa – Sapa is a mountainous city offering epic cycling adventures. Its lush landscapes provide the perfect setting for a scenic bike ride. For the more seasoned cyclists, you can cycle towards Muong Khuon or even up to Son La. Despite the steep and rough terrain, the views are incredibly stunning.
- Hoi An – Hoi An is a charming ancient city with a traditional feel. It’s one of the safest places to cycle in Vietnam, especially in the car-free streets of the Old Town, with many beautiful colonial buildings. If you want to escape the city, venture into Cua Dai or up into the Marble Mountains if you’re up for some uphill ride.
- Nha Trang – if you’re looking for a more “chill out” cycling holiday, Nha Trang is an ideal place to consider. It’s home to some of Vietnam’s most stunning beaches with colourful coral reefs. You can cycle by the coast and admire the stunning ocean views and stop for a break at one of the beaches.
- Hue – Hue is a fascinating city rich in culture and history. It’s the former capital of the Nguyen Dynasty and still has many incredible historical sites you can explore on a bike. Explore the emperor’s tombs, discover the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, and visit ancient old palaces.
The Cycling Routes
As one of the top destinations for cycling, Vietnam boasts many scenic cycling routes. Here are some suggestions.
- Hue to Hoi An – for history lovers, consider cycling from Hue to Hoi An. Aside from discovering two ancient cities, you’ll come across many picturesque views. Starting in Hue, you’ll cycle towards the coast and pass along beautiful beaches like the Thuan An beach. You can stop for a swim or continue towards Hai Van Pass before reaching the charming ancient town of Hoi An.
- West Lake and Three Bridges – if you’re in Hanoi, cycle along the back roads of the Red River towards West Lake and the Three Bridges. It’s a popular cycling route if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. The paths are easy to tackle, and you’ll love the relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking scenery.
- Saigon to Hanoi – for the more expert cyclists, consider cycling from Saigon to Hanoi. The epic journey could take over two weeks, depending on the number of stops you’ll make. You will pass many beautiful sceneries, such as the charming city of Dalat, the scenic waters of Nha Trang and the central coast at Hoi An. Before reaching your final destination in Hanoi, you’ll pass along the famous Halong Bay, where you can admire its sparkling emerald sea.
Where to Stay
Vietnam is long and narrow, home to many beautiful cities and villages. The best place to stay will depend on which part of the country you wish to explore on your cycling adventure. Here are some ideas:
- Hanoi – as the capital city, Hanoi is the perfect base for exploring Vietnam on a bike. You’ll find numerous accommodation options in the city, from budget hostels to more luxurious hotels.
- Hoi An – families will find Hoi An an ideal place to stay. You can cycle around the ancient city with your kids and marvel at its colonial architecture alongside centuries-old temples.
- Da Lat – couples heading to Vietnam on a cycling trip should consider staying in Da Lat. Known as one of the most romantic cities in Vietnam, Da Lat is home to French colonial buildings and picturesque streets that you can explore on a bike. Here, you’ll find many hotels and resorts geared towards couples.
What to Pack
For a successful cycling adventure in Vietnam, preparation is key. So, pack the right stuff to guarantee a safe and fun journey. Here’s what to pack for your cycling trip to Vietnam.
- Cycling shoes
- Several pairs of cycling shorts
- Leg warmers or tights
- Short-sleeved shirt for sun protection and layering
- Rain gear, pants, and jacket
- Waterproof shoe covers
- Sandals or flipflops
- Comfortable shorts and pants
- Fleece hat
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