Since 2003, about this time of year, I’ve headed south to join a cycle tour with Adventure South. This meant meeting up with a group of cyclists, most not Kiwis, for a leisurely ride between sumptuous meals . Since 2005 they’ve been “Returning Clients Trips” which meant meeting some friends from previous trips or other returning clients for the first time. Last year we got to the end of the Otago Rail Trail After and realised we’d basically run out of South Island!
That’s why from mid-April onwards I’ll be on a bike, plane, junk or boat somewhere between these places in Vietnam! It’s another Adventure South Returning Clients Trip with people coming from Australia, America, Japan & New Zealand. The plan follows, details in the extended post.
Day 1 – Sunday April 13 – Ho Chi Minh City- Tour Starts @ 2.00 p.m.
We will collect you from the Saigon Hotel and drive to the outskirts of the city to a private resort. Here we will fit you with your bicycles & you can have a test ride on the resort’s private roads.
Day 2 – April 14 - Ho Chi Minh to Long Xuyen (cycle section 71km)
The trip starts by driving out of the city to start our cycling on the quiet Highway 30. Immediately you will see the essence of the Mekong Delta. The countryside is pancake flat with brilliant green rice fields laced with a network of canals & rivers.
Day 3 – April 15 - Long Xuyen to Chau Doc (58km)
Today’s ride follows the canal system all the way to Chau Doc. This is a great way to see the river lifestyles of the local people - the canals are alive with boats transporting goods & the banks are lined with houses & fish cages. In the afternoon we take a boat tour to visit a floating village.
Day 4 – April 16 - Chau Doc to Rach Gia (122km)
Our early morning ride takes us past the sacred Sam Mountain and the famous Tay An Pagoda & temples. From the summit on a clear day, we can enjoy fabulous views towards Cambodia.
Day 5 – April 17 - Rach Gia to Phu Quoc Island
A chance to rest our legs as we spend two days off the bikes. We travel by hydrofoil to the beautiful Phu Quoc tropical island, (imagine Bali or Phuket 20 years ago), beautiful beaches, clear water, rainforest & few visitors.
Day 6 – April 18 - Phu Quoc Island – rest day
We charter a private boat to travel to the idyllic An Thoi islands, unpopulated gems famous for their crystal clear water & magnificent coral Snorkelling here is a must. We will eat a fresh seafood lunch on an island paradise, before returning to our resort mid-afternoon. B, L
Day 7 – April 19 - Phu Quoc to Can Tho (123kms)
This morning we take a short early morning flight back to the mainland, arriving around 9.00am we cycle for the rest of the day on the very quiet Highway. The road follows the canal network, along which you will see the famous monkey bridges used by the villagers to get across the canals.
Day 8 – April 20 - Can Tho to HCM (cycling section 54km)
A feature of the Mekong Delta are the floating markets situated at the main river junctions. An early morning boat trip will take us to visit one of the largest floating markets at Cai Rang where you will see a large variety of local produce being sold from all manner of boats.
Day 9 – April 21 – HCM to Hanoi
This morning there is time for a last minute shop in Saigon before we transfer to your flight to Hanoi.
Day 10 – April 22 – Hanoi to Halong Bay
Departing Hanoi we travel through rolling fields and small towns to Halong Bay. Here we board a Vietnamese junk and travel on a boat trip through the magical seascape of Halong Bay’s 3,000 limestone islands & outcrops.
Day 11 – April 23 – Halong Bay to Hanoi
Awake to the sunrise over Halong Bay and breakfast on the cruise back to Halong City.
Day 12 – April 24 – Hanoi to Hue
We transfer you to the airport & your flight to Hue . We will take an afternoon city tour around the Imperial citadel.
Day 13 – April 25 – Hue to Hoi An
Today explore the historical significance on a city tour of the small city of Hue – the former Imperial City.
Day 14 – April 26 – Hoi An
Free day in Hoi An.
Day 15 – April 27 – Hoi An to HCM
Your tour ends this morning as after breakfast we transfer to the Danang airport for the morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), then home via Sydney.