Cycle Vietnam

Trip Code: TVXB

Why we love it

If you love to cycle, to feel the wind in your (helmet-covered) hair and a tropical breeze on your face then this speedy but comprehensive 15 day adventure is for you, A bike lets you see Vietnam like never before – you’ll go from road to beaten track to something way beyond, Think of the calories you’ll burn and the appetite you’ll work up cycling around Vietnam’s incredible landscape – all the more reason to indulge in the wealth of delicious local and regional food, This two-wheeled adventure will show you all the different sides of this country – wildlife-filled natural landscapes, small villages and ancient ruins, along with the region’s liveliest cities

Is this trip right for me?

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

This trip covers quite some distance – you’ll be cycling for up to 70 kilometres a day on varied terrain, so this trip is for the reasonably fit.

There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way – a puncture here and there maybe – but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure

You'll be spending one night in a homestay and another on an overnight sleeper train. While the accommodation is shared and basic, this is a great opportunity to interact with the locals, and get a real sense of Vietnamese daily life.

If you’re confident in your cycling ability, then those that want an even longer cycling adventure should opt for ‘TVXCC - Cycle South East Asia’, which includes everything that's on the itinerary of this trip, plus the itinerary of ‘TTXC- Cycle Indochina’.

The weather in this region can be varied. Be prepared to get sweaty and for the occasional rainstorm, which may require a change of plans.

If you feel like doing all the riding but with less effort we have the option of hiring an electric bike (e-bike) on this trip.

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 3 (Homestay) and Day 5 (Overnight Train) 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. Bike helmets & closed toed shoes are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
5. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed bookiing. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.
6. Please see your Trip Notes if your departure takes place during Tet, usually in late January/early February. 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.
7.  During the group meeting, your trip leader will ask you if you would like to contribute to the snack kitty. This is $30USD per person and would be used to purchase extra supplies of snacks, including nuts and other energy packed goodies. It is not a compulsory kitty, although will make the purchasing of snacks easier and more convenient for you. You can find out more information from your leader upon arrival.

What to bring/pack

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips.

• Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this).

There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case.

• Padded bike shorts
• Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates.
• Quick-dry socks
• Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall.
• Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road
• Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor.
• Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier.
• Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun
• Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea.
• Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun
• Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding.
• Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike
• Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike

As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases., 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.

Physical rating

3

PHYSICAL PREPARATION
There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate.

As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential!

It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment.

CYCLING DISTANCES:
The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.

Joining your group

Thang Long Espana Hotel, 63 Nguyen Truong To Str., Ba Dinh Dist., Hanoi, VIETNAM, Phone: +84 2437163233, Fax: +84 2437163232

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Riverside Hotel Saigon, 18 - 19 - 20 Ton Duc Thang st., Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM, Phone: +84 28338224038, Fax: +84 2838251417

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. VND120,000.00. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 13

Lunches included: 11

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. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. 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. There's no obligation to do this though.

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.

WET SEASON:
During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.

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:

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Cambodia's Office can be reached on Tel: +855 92 555 969 and Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

Intrepid's local Operator: +84 (0)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

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have 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

OUR BIKES
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--gi--2019

RENTAL E-BIKES
Our rental e-bikes are the Giant Explore E+, available in Small & Medium sizes (up to 175cm) only – please provide your height at time of booking so that we can reserve the correct size.
These bikes have an Aluminum frame, flat bars, 100mm front suspension, disc brakes, a 500w battery, and Shimano 9 speed gears. Please note the maximum speed for the ‘electronic assist’ is 25kph/15mph – once you reach that speed the motor assistance cuts out (although you can still go faster if your legs can do it!)

BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE
While we’re confident in the quality and suitability of the bikes we include, we do recognise that sometimes you just need the comfort of your own bike to enjoy the ride. If you are thinking of bringing your own bike on this trip, please advise us at time of booking and take note of the below information. If you do choose to bring your own bike, please note that we will not being carrying a spare bike for you.

SUITABLE TYPE OF BIKE
Although the surfaces of the roads we travel on are generally good there are occasionally gravel or potholed sections of road/track. As such, we recommend a 'mountain' or 'hybrid' style bike with plenty of gear selections for easy cruising. For more details on the type of roads we’ll be riding on see the ‘Physical Rating’ section of your Essential Trip Information. Please contact your booking agent if you have any questions about the suitability of your bike.

OUR BIKES
We use Cannondale Quick 6 ‘hybrid’ bikes on this trip. These bikes are a hybrid/fitness bike-style with an alloy frame, flat bars, rim brakes, a fixed front fork and 21 gears. For more specific information please see https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/active/fitness/quick/quick-6

We usually cannot accept tandem bikes on our trips as they are often too large for our transport. In some destinations we can make an exception. Please ask your booking agent if you are interested in bringing a tandem bike.

BEFORE THE TRIP
We recommend that you have a full service of your bike performed by a trained mechanic to help minimise any issues you may have during the trip. Please also ensure that you have specific and adequate cover for loss, damage or theft for your bike under your travel, home and contents or specialist insurance policy.

DURING THE TRIP
Your bike will be transported in the same way as our included bikes, usually in the support vehicle or on the bike trailer. While we endeavour to take the best care we can, you should recognise that transported bikes do get the occasional bump or scratch along the way. The same applies when we take other forms of transport, such as a train, where we are unable to pack the bikes ourselves. Your bike will be secured in the same way as our included bikes. This can occasionally be outside the vehicle (where the bikes are locked together).

In order to reach our destination, it is necessary for us to travel via various modes of transportation, including planes and trains. Any extra costs involved with transporting personal bikes are your responsibility. This includes (but is not limited to) additional transport costs and customs/import fees.

While our mechanics can usually assist with minor repairs, you are responsible for the safety and upkeep of your own bicycle. This includes conducting regular safety checks of your bike during the trip and cleaning your bike. In addition, any parts that require replacing are your responsibility. Most destinations have access to only limited spares along the way and access to bike shops can be days apart. Therefore, please ensure you bring any spare parts that you may require (especially specialist parts).

TRANSPORTING YOUR BIKE TO/FROM THE DESTINATION
Your preferred airline should have no problem carrying your bike, but many will charge an extra fee. Contact them before departing to discuss their arrangements for transporting bikes.

A well-padded bike box (obtainable from a bike shop) is usually the best method of plane transportation. We recommend that you accompany your bicycle on the flight. Unaccompanied bicycles have been known to spend some extra days in the hands of customs authorities.

Many taxis are not large enough to transport a bike box/bag so you may be delayed waiting for a suitably sized vehicle.

BIKE SECURITY:
All personal and hired bikes are stored in our support vehicle overnight, it is not necessary to bring a lock. We recommend bringing your own lock if you bring your own bike and wish to ride outside of leader accompanied rides. It is not possible to use our hired bikes outside of the included leader accompanied rides.

DECLARING YOUR BIKE:
On arrival in Vietnam you shouldn't need to declare your bicycle. If asked you will need to explain to the authorities that your bike is used, and that you will be taking it with you when you leave.

OVERNIGHT TRAIN FROM NINH BINH:
If you bring your own bike, it will travel in the freight compartment for the overnight train journey which may take few days to arrive. Alternatively, you can pay for oversize luggage fee to conductor to keep your bike in your cabin, price is approx. 50 USD.

OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS IN VIETNAM:
Compartments will be 4 berth to 6 berth depending on seasonal variations and the group configuration. We aim to secure 4 berth compartments where possible. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Passengers of different genders may be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. On occasion the group may be split between several carriages, however your leader will coordinate and give further information on the trip.

An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.

INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE
You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


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