Vietnam cycling vacations travel guide


Most people don’t have enough time to travel the length of Vietnam on one vacation, but by taking the train between Hanoi in the north and Hue in the center, you can cover some serious ground. The train is the famous Reunification Express, built in 1975 as a way to reunify the people after war. In fact, we see cycling vacations in Vietnam as unifying in themselves. They break down the ‘them and us’ barrier and bring you into real communities, such as fishing villages around Nha Trang or small farming communities in the Central Highlands. You will connect with market traders scattered along the Mekong Delta, or with local cyclists on the dedicated lanes in Ho Chi Minh. Consider this Vietnam travel guide as a first introduction. After that, your connection with real Vietnam will be downhill all the way.

Is a Vietnam cycling vacation for you?

Responsible Travel recommends

Go on a Vietnam cycling vacation if…

… you want to have an active adventure but also have plenty of time to enjoy slow travel, spending plenty of time with small, local communities off the beaten track.

… you like to cycle with a conscience. We offer Vietnam cycling tours where you visit NGOs en route, such as Habitat for Humanity and other social enterprises.

… you like the idea of two for the price of one. Some cycling vacations cover both Cambodia and Vietnam. Or just go for the cycling shebang of Indochina from the saddle, taking in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and of course, Vietnam, in just a couple of weeks.

… you are after something different to do with teenagers. Learning about history and culture was never more fun. May half term is also fantastic to avoid the crowds.

Don’t go on a Vietnam cycling vacation if...

… you just want to cycle, head down, triathlon style. A Vietnam cycling vacation is about culture just as much as it about cleats and climbs.

… you don’t want to get up early. It gets really hot, so 6am wake ups can happen. You’ll find somewhere superb for your siesta though.

… you aren’t fit. You don ‘t have to be Pendleton or Wiggins for a Vietnam cycling vacation, but you do need to have a bit of strength to keep going, as many of these vacations have ten or more days in the saddle.

… the word ‘chafing’ upsets you. It’s a reality. Cyclists have lots of tips, and one is going commando under the padded shorts which have no seams and are breathable. But you can never go wrong with a jar of Sudocrem tucked in the pannier.

Best time to go on a Vietnam cycling vacation


Click on a location: Ho Chi Minh | Hoi An | Hanoi
Vietnam not only offers a fine variety of landscapes but also the full gamut of weather. Cycling vacations run all year round, and vacation companies give good packing tips, so it is worth reading them if you are traversing the whole country. The humid south is warm year-round, but the warm May-Nov monsoon season brings brief, heavy showers that barely disrupt travel except around the Mekong. The center is cooler Oct-April and the north is warm Oct-Dec. March is boiling, with May, June and Sep turning down to a simmer. But in general, bank on between 28-34°C all year round.
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Photo Credits: [Topbox: Lukasz Saczek] [When to go chart.: Staffan Scherz]
Written by Catherine Mack
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