Exploring Vietnam on Two Wheels: Where to Go Cycling in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a country that is best explored at a slow pace. This is because there’s so much to take in every place you go. From its gorgeous beaches to the stunning Mekong delta, to the karst mountains of the north, few places on earth can compare to Vietnam’s breathtaking beauty.

And what better way to do this than on a bicycle. A Vietnam cycling tour lets you take the scenic route, quite literally, as you meander through quiet country roads, riding past peasants working in their paddy fields, and through fields of durian, jackfruit, and oranges. It’s just something everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. 

And if you’re wondering where to go cycling in Vietnam, or how to do it, this post tells you just that.

First off, it’s always better to do a guided bike tour in a country you’re not very familiar with. There are plenty of good companies, such as this Vietnam cycling tour operator that run guided tours complete with an expert local guide and a support van that stays with you all the way. So even if you get tired, or if you don’t feel biking on a certain day, you can simply load your bike in the van and enjoy the scenery.

5 Best Cycling Routes to Explore in Vietnam

Although all of Vietnam is beautiful, some places just lend themselves more to be explored on a bike. Here is our list of the 5 best places you should explore on a bicycle in Vietnam:

1. The Beaches of Central Vietnam

Vietnam has a pretty long and scenic coastline along the South China Sea. However, it is along central Vietnam, in the region around Hue and Hoi An where one is likely to enjoy riding a bike most. This part is studded with some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Southeast Asia such as Nha Trang, Quy Nhon, Hoi An, and Hue.

A great cycling route to follow in this region would be to start from Hue, then bike southwards through Hoi An, Tam Ky, Quang Ngai, Quy Nhon, and ending at Nha Trang, all the while sticking to the coast.

2. The Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta has few other parallels anywhere in the world. From its numerous islands to its floating markets to the rice paddies, the sights and sounds of this beautiful part of southern Vietnam are simply mesmerizing.

A great cycling route in this region would be to start from Saigon, head south west towards Can Tho, then head westwards towards Tra Vinh and end at Ho Chi Minh city. This in effect, makes it a loop, since Saigon is located only 14 kms from Ho Chi Minh city.

3. Hanoi to Luang Prabang

This is a thrilling cycling route that takes from Vietnam and into Laos. Luang Prabang is the ancient capital of the former kingdom of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Cycling in Laos, however, is a little more challenging than in Vietnam as most of Laos is mountainous. So get ready for a few challenging climbs as you bike through the spectacular karst mountains of northern Vietnam and Laos. If you feel riding uphill is a little more than what your knees can handly, you can always opt for an e-bike to make riding uphill easier.

This is a route that starts at Hanoi, then heads northwest towards Sa Pa, Muong Lay, crosses into Laos at Dien Bien Phu, passes through Oudomxay, and ends with a boat ride to Luang Prabang.

4. The Ha Giang Loop

Ha Giang is a remote, rugged province in northeastern Vietnam bordering China. This is a place that is truly off the tourist circuit. It has spectacular mountains, numerous mountain streams, and lush greenery as far as the eye can see. 

The Ha Giang Loop is a famous circuit that starts from Hanoi, moves on to the town of Ha Giang, then covers Yen Minh, Meo Vac, Du Gia, and Thac Ba Lake before ending at Hanoi.

The climbs in this region are quite tough, with gradients as steep as 20%, so make sure you’re doing this tour on an e-bike if you’re not a hardcore cyclist. That said, as the saying goes, the harder the climbs, the better the views. So expect some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen while on the Ha Giang Loop.

5. The Ho Chi Minh Trail

The Ho Chi Minh trail is a complex network of roads and trails running through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that was used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War to supply manpower and materiel. Running through high mountains and dense, tropical jungles with triple canopy cover, it has been described as one of the greatest engineering marvels of the 20th century.

While doing the entire trail on a bike might be challenging, there are several easier sections of the trail that are perfectly doable on a gravel bike.

A good cyclable route starts from Hanoi and passes through Mai Chau, Ngoc Lac, Vinh, Huong Khe, Phong Nha before ending at Hue.

This is hands down, one of the most spectacular routes in Vietnam, and several places along the way look like they are straight out of a dream.

Final Thoughts

Vietnam is a beautiful country that looks even more beautiful when seen from a bicycle. There are, no doubt, several other places, routes, and trails in Vietnam where one could go cycling. But the list we’ve compiled for you consists of destinations that, apart from being beautiful, also have some tourist infrastructure in place such as good hotels and restaurants along the way. After all, you want to go off the tourist trail, but you don’t really want to get lost, do you?

And if you’re looking for more travel inspiration, why not have a look at this month-long Thailand itinerary we’ve put together for you.

Happy biking!

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