Cycle South East Asia

Trip Code: TVXCC

Why we love it

See the region as you’ve never seen it before (from the seat of a bicycle). Cycling is the ultimate way get off the beaten track!, Work up an appetite for Southeast Asia's famously delicious local and regional food., Get among nature, wildlife, small villages and ancient ruins, as well as the region's most lively cities, with a local leader who knows all the best secrets., See one of the best UNESCO sites in Vietnam with a tirp to Ninh Binh, a place of scenic natural beauty, perfect for any nature lover!, See Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia's best sites while staying active, adventurous and Intrepid.

Is this trip right for me?

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. You’ll be cycling for up to 70 km per day on varied terrain – this trip is for the reasonably fit.

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

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), Day 5 (Overnight Train) and Day 16 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.Please note that some room configurations have two single beds, although a double bed will always be requested.
3. Please provide your height at time of booking so that we can ensure a suitable sized bike is arranged.
4. 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.
5. Whilst bicycle helmets are not compulsory in Vietnam, Intrepid cyclists must wear a quality helmet at all times while riding in Vietnam. Good quality helmets are not available in Vietnam so make sure you bring yours from home.
6. During the group meeting, your trip leader will ask you if you would like to contribute to the snack kitty. Please refer to the ETIs Money Matters section for the cost. This 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.
7. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1 in Hanoi. This trip ends on Day 27 and you are free to leave at any time.
8. Cambodia Visa - The standard e-visa for Cambodia is not valid at Phnom Den border (on entry to Cambodia on Day 18 of this trip). Travelers of all nationalities must apply for visa on arrival, which usually takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes at Tieh Bien/Phnom Den border.

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 requirements and suggestions:

• Main piece of luggage – as space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small bag as your main piece of luggage. We recommend a soft-sided bag
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• Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can often 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 appropriate helmets locally so you will always 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 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 / Regular gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycling gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in the case of a fall. Regular gloves for those who may not own cycling gloves to keep hands warm in cold wet weather.

• Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road.

• Light breathable waterproof/windproof outer layers – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when 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 the sun.

• Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main piece of luggage, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea.

• Sunscreen – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle mean long exposure to the sun.

• Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all 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 recommend '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.

• 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.

• Bike Lights - we design our Cycling trips so that you are only riding during daylight hours so do not include bike lights. Should you feel more comfortable riding with 'daytime' flights please bring your own and we will be happy to assist in fitting them to your included bicycle

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

Alternate Joining Point


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.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll 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. Neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

Alternatively, 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 24 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. 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

Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing), 2 Samsen 2, Samsen Road, Pranakorn, Banglumphu, Bangkok, 10200, THAILAND, Phone: +66 22827500

The Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions, such as the Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. We use the Canal Wing and rooms are equipped with a private en-suite. Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant. Please also note that no alcohol is served in this hotel, but there are lots of great bars across the road.

Alternate Finish Point


Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer to 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. You can expect to be picked up three hours prior to your flight. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, ask the hotel staff to call our transfer provide, Ms. Janet +66 64 649 0485

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approx. THB700. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 23

Lunches included: 12

Dinners included: 3

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative 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.

Food is cheap in SE Asia and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in SE Asia the availability of certain specialized products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialized dietary items from home. You may find it beneficial to bring some 'cycling snacks' with you from home; high energy snacks are not readily available locally. For snacks and drinks during the rides, a kitty is normally arranged.

Climate & seasonal information

TET
8 - 14 February 2024, 28 January - 3 February 2025
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.

CAMBODIAN FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS:

During public holidays and festival periods in Cambodia some businesses may close, transport may be extremely busy and travel times may increase. The main holidays in Cambodia are:

Chinese New Year (09-12 February 2024,28-30 January 2025)
Khmer New Year (13 - 16 April 2024 ,13 - 16 April 2025)
Royal Birthday of the King Sihamoni (14 May 2024,14 May 2025)
Pchum Ben Day (01 – 03 October 2024,21 - 23 September 2025)
Water & Moon Festival (14 -16 November 2024,4 - 6 November 2025)

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 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 or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative 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 numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

Available for phone call or WhatsApp call on +66 89 810 3722

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +84 90 311 7770

Accommodations

OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS:
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. 6 berth compartments have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will 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. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.

HOTEL IN HO CHI MINH CITY
Please note as this trip is a combination trip you may be required to move hotels in Ho Chi Minh City on day 10. Your leader in Vietnam will advise you if this is required and assist with transport to the next hotel.

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.

BASIC ACCOMMODATION
Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only.

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 - VIETNAM
In Vietnam we use a mixture of Giant Rincon Disc 1 and Giant Rincon 2 Disc bikes for sizes Small to Large. For size Extra Small we use the Giant Talon 4. These bikes are mountain bike-style with flat bars, front suspension, 24 gears and hydraulic disk brakes. For more specific information please see https://www.giant-bicycles.com/int/rincon-disc--gi--2019

OUR BIKES - CAMBODIA & THAILAND

We use Specialized Pitch Pitch Sport 650b bikes for the Cambodia and Thailand trips. These bikes are mountain bike-style with flat bars, front suspension and 24 gears. For more specific information and sizing please see https://www.specialized.com/us/en/pitch-sport-650b/118356

We use private coach/minibuses, which will be quite comfortable, usually with air-conditioning. There are a couple of long driving days on this trip (up to 7 hours). Road conditions are often not good, and progress can be slow. Boats are used at various points in the itinerary; these are nearly always private, and vary from converted trawlers to small riverboats.

We use different vehicle set-ups in each country, as our vehicles do not cross international borders. In Thailand we have 100% vehicle support. There will be one or two support buses, plus a support truck for the bikes and baggage. In Cambodia, there is 80% vehicle support. On the circular rides around Angkor we are followed by a bus, which will carry bags and drinks, but will only have space for a few bikes, should some of the group wish to opt out during the ride. In Vietnam we have 100% vehicle support with vehicles to carry both clients and bikes.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.