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Hoi An to Halong Bay Cycle

Vietnam Cycle DEMANDING
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About the Challenge

Vietnam is incredibly diverse, with ancient cultural sites, amazing natural landscapes and friendly, hospitable people.

Our challenge starts at the charming ancient trading port of Hoi An, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and heads north. Our route takes us over Hai Van Pass, which has been a vital military strategic foothold for centuries, and then on through rich farmland and dazzling green rice paddies, along scenic coastline, and through bustling towns and villages which provide a wonderful insight into traditional life. Despite all this beauty, it’s impossible to be oblivious to the scars of the relatively-recent Vietnam War, and the sites we pass bring yet another dimension to this diverse route.

We finish at the breathtakingly beautiful Halong Bay, where we celebrate our achievement with a boat trip among the scenic islands and karst limestone outcrops.


Hoi An to Halong Bay Cycle

12 DAYS
  • We connect from our international flight to a shorter hop to Danang; on arrival at the airport we transfer to Hoi An, the start of our exciting cycle challenge. After lunch and a chance to freshen up, we meet our bikes and go for a warm-up ride to get used to the bikes and to explore the sights of Hoi An. Back at the hotel, we have a trip briefing before getting a good night’s sleep, ready for our first full day of cycling! Night hotel.

  • Our first, and possibly hardest, full day of cycling beckons! After a hearty breakfast, we cycle back towards Danang and head further north. We visit Red Beach, where American Marines first landed in 1965, then ride over Nam O Bridge en route to the steep Hai Van Pass. This is our first major climb and, on a humid day, will be hard work! Hai Van Pass has been a vital military strategic foothold for centuries, and was used by French and American armies in the Indochina War and Vietnam War; bunkers and fortifications dot the hillsides. Continuing north, roughly parallel to the coast, we reach the imperial city of Hué. We have a short drive for part of this route, to avoid a very busy stretch of road. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 120km

  • We pedal through Hué and head back to the coast for a scenic ride through the busy markets and bustling atmosphere. Today’s route is very flat and, time permitting, we’ll make a small detour to visit Long Hung Church, a Catholic Church in which American troops sought refuge during 1972’s Easter offensive, to no avail. It has been left as it stood after the battle, with scars from grenades and bullet-holes. We then ride the last part to Dong Ha. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 95km

  • The 5km strip of land on either side of the Ben Hai River, which from 1954 to 1975 acted as a buffer between the North and the South, is still known as the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone), and today’s route takes us north through it, crossing the 17th Parallel. Ironically, the DMZ became one of the most militarised areas in the world. We follow this fascinating and thought-provoking route, making time in the morning to visit the Vinh Moc Tunnels. An incredible complex of tunnels that were dug by local people to evade the constant US bombing of the area, it includes kitchens, wells and a ‘hospital’, as well as living quarters for roughly 60 families, all at a depth of roughly 30m. The tunnels saved the lives of the local villagers and are still in very good condition. We continue our cycling to Dong Hoi on much quieter roads, passing through small communities, along the coast. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 115km

  • Today’s route is beautiful as we cycle along the coast road, passing several small villages as we leave the tourist trails and experience authentic Vietnam. We stop for lunch in Quang Dong, a beautiful seaside fishing town surrounded by hills. After lunch we cycle until the 95km marker, and transfer the last 140km to Vinh. Vinh is the biggest city, and the economic and cultural centre, of Vietnam’s North Central Coast region. Vinh was also the hometown of Ho Chi Minh. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 95km

  • We set off, and break after a short distance to visit the home village of Ho Chi Minh or ‘Uncle Ho.’ We then rejoin our bikes, continuing north, following mostly coastline through villages, and enjoying the colourful scenes of daily life. Thanh Hoa is a much smaller town than Vinh and well off the tourist trail – one of the benefits of exploring this beautiful country by bike. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 50km

  • A change of scenery today, as we head inland though countryside and rural villages. The afternoon’s route takes us through the beautiful Red River Delta. The delta creates rich fertile soil; these flat lands are perfect for growing rice. This results in some beautiful scenery to ride through, and it’s fascinating to watch the local people working in the fields as we weave our way along the raised paths which separate the paddy fields; there are over 3000km of these dykes in the region. We then arrive at Nam Dinh, the capital of the province. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 98km

  • After breakfast, we continue on long flat roads through more rice paddies, crossing bridges over the many waterways that make up the fingers of the Red River Delta. Hai Phong, despite its size, is very accessible by bike, meaning we can ride into this beautiful city. Founded in 1887 as a seaport, its boulevards are lined with French colonial-era landmarks such as the neoclassical Opera House and Queen of the Rosary cathedral. The French influence coupled with the Vietnamese love for iced coffee makes this a caffeine-aficionado heaven; the central area buzzes with cafés where tables spill out onto the pavements, and it’s a great place to stay. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx. 100km

  • After a short transfer we embark on the final leg of our adventure through Northern Vietnam, and we’ll be excited world-renowned Halong Bay, which makes an incredible finish. Today’s short ride takes in a viewpoint over the forest-topped islands scattered in the emerald waters of the bay. We ride into port, and our bikes are loaded up for the last time as we board our awaiting junk boat – our home for the next 24 hours. Lunch is served on board as we tour around the Bay's islands, dotted with wind and wave-eroded grottoes. We visit several islands, as well as Sung Sot cave, and enjoy a swim at Ti Top beach, known for its white sand beaches and clear water. This is a fantastic way to celebrate our cycling achievements. Night junk boat.

    Cycle approx. 45km

  • Today we awake surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Halong Bay. We have breakfast sitting on the upper deck taking in the beauty of the rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear waters of the Bay. With the accompanying soundtrack of birds singing, cicadas chirping ashore and the gentle lapping of the waves against our boat, we continue to explore this UNESCO World Heritage-listed bay. This morning we visit more islands, and take to small bamboo boats to appreciate more caves. After lunch we return to Halong Wharf and transfer to the airport at Hanoi for our departing flight.

    (Dinner not included)

  • Our flight connects en-route and we return to the UK.


Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,000 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,000 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,750 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All return transport from London to Danang / Hanoi to London
    • All meals except where specified, and accommodation
    • Discover Adventure leaders; local guides/mechanics and cooks
    • Vehicle support and backup equipment on the trip
    • 21-speed Mountain bike (Trek/Giant or equivalent)
    • Overnight cruise on Halong Bay and any other sites visited as part of the itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Any meals specified 'not included' in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Cycle helmet (compulsory) and water bottle
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,000 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,000 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,750 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All return transport from London to Danang / Hanoi to London
    • All meals except where specified, and accommodation
    • Discover Adventure leaders; local guides/mechanics and cooks
    • Vehicle support and backup equipment on the trip
    • 21-speed Mountain bike (Trek/Giant or equivalent)
    • Overnight cruise on Halong Bay and any other sites visited as part of the itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Any meals specified 'not included' in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Cycle helmet (compulsory) and water bottle
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,000 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,000 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,750 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All return transport from London to Danang / Hanoi to London
    • All meals except where specified, and accommodation
    • Discover Adventure leaders; local guides/mechanics and cooks
    • Vehicle support and backup equipment on the trip
    • 21-speed Mountain bike (Trek/Giant or equivalent)
    • Overnight cruise on Halong Bay and any other sites visited as part of the itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Any meals specified 'not included' in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Cycle helmet (compulsory) and water bottle
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels or camp. Occasionally we may use hostel-style accommodation. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.

  • We stay in a variety of hotels/lodges ranging from quite simple, friendly guesthouse-style to more international-style hotels in larger towns or cities. Standards are generally good, in great locations, but there may be a night or two where facilities are more basic, as you'd expect in very remote, untouristed or rural areas. On the final night we sleep on board a junk boat on Halong Bay; this is comfortable but not particularly roomy!

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. 

    Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check requirements on our website; please ensure you allow plenty of time.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

  • For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow participants and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!

Cycle Training Weekends

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£180 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Cycle Training Weekends take place in and around the valleys and ridges of the chalk downs around Salisbury. They are designed to gauge your fitness so that you can be confident you are well prepared for the challenge ahead!

MORE INFORMATION

GRADE | demandING (2)

Trip grade 2 web

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

DEMANDING trips ramp up the challenge with some long days over tough terrain, and require good stamina, fitness and determination.

See Trip Grading Explained.

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