Vietnam: Hike, Bike & Kayak

Trip Code: TVXA

Why we love it

Gain a greater insight into life in northern Vietnam with an itinerary that explores not just Hanoi but also heads out into the countryside, Hike through the picturesque valleys surrounding Sapa and visit local communities, Cycle out to Mai Chau and on through the stunning karst landscapes to Ninh Binh, Kayak around karsts and explore the secluded lagoons and caves of Lan Ha Bay - the lesser visited but just as beautiful sister of Halong Bay

Is this trip right for me?

This trip has a number of activities to get your pulse going. Whilst prior training for each activity is not necessary, a moderate level of fitness will help you to get the most out of the included activities

The hike in the hills of Sapa is approximately 10 kilometres (6.2miles) in total, on sometimes steep and uneven terrain

You will spend 2 days on your bike, riding to Mai Chau and Ninh Binh, with approximately 60-70 kilometres of cycling each day. The cycling in these areas is relatively flat and you will have time to get used to your bike in Hanoi before departing

There are 2 nights of homestay on this trip in Sapa and Mai Chau. Accommodation will be multishare rooms, with simple bedding and shared bathroom facilities. While accommodation is simple, the warm welcome and home-cooked meals will be comforting after a day of exercise

Kayak around secluded islands in Lan Ha Bay to explore this world renowned scenery. While this bay is generally sheltered, this is sea kayaking so you will need to be confident on and in water for this activity

Important information

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 2 (Sapa homestay) and Day 6 (Mai Chau homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike.
4. Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one. You can bring your own to ensure fit and quality, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, LOCAL DRESS:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong., WATER BOTTLE:
This trip includes one or more sections in a private vehicle with a water dispenser. We encourage all our travellers to bring a refillable water bottle on your trip to help reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles.

Physical rating

3

Joining your group

La Sante Hotel & Spa, 42 Chau Long Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, VIETNAM, Phone: +84 2435132222

Joining instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer you will be met as you exit the Terminal Hall by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. If you cannot find your transfer representative, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline on +84 903 117 770. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Exit the Customs Hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1. You will find Noi Bai Airport Taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available. Noi Bai Airport Taxi drivers wear a yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. VND350,000.00 in total. Please note these taxis won't use a meter, but generally charge a fixed fare. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finishing your trip

La Sante Hotel & Spa, 42 Chau Long Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, VIETNAM, Phone: +84 2435132222

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip.

If you have pre-booked a departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends.

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approx. VND260,000.00. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 10

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 2

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

INCLUDED BREAKFASTS:
At hotels you’ll often have a buffet with choices of Vietnamese and Western food. At homestays you will have more basic breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. Take away breakfasts for early starts may be very simple such as a piece of fruit and a bread roll.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Check out this guide to eating in Vietnam for vegan, vegetarian, gluten & peanut free travellers: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free-vietnam/

FOOD ALLERGIES:
Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

Climate & seasonal information

TET
11-16 February 2021, 31 January - 4 February 2022
Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure.

CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
For the majority of the year, the temperature in Vietnam is normally warm and humid, particularly from Hoi An southward. North of here, it can be cool between late November and March. If travelling at this time it is advisable to bring some some warmer clothing, particular if you plan to visit the Central Highlights or Sapa.

WET SEASON:
Flooding is common across Vietnam during rainy season (June-December) and could also lead to landslides. Typhoons are also common during this period. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed as a result at short notice.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

WINDOWLESS ROOMS:
Some hotels in South East Asia have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also do not require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however they aren't always available.

Transportation

LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.

OUR BIKES - VIETNAM
We use Giant Rincon Disc bikes on this trip. These bikes are mountain bike-style with flat bars, front suspension and 24 gears. For more specific information please see https://www.giant-bicycles.com/int/rincon-disc-2016

SUPPORT VEHICLE
On the cycling section of this trip there will be a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others.

Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle.


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