Vietnam cycling holiday

“Relaxed 11 day cycling tour as part of a small group. Pedal past the paddy fields, along the rivers and over the flat tarmac roads in Vietnam's lesser-visited rural heartland, south of Saigon.”

Highlights

Ho Chi Minh City | Mo Cay Nam | Mekong Delta | Khmer communities | Bac Lieu | Tan Hiep | Giong Rieng | Cai Rang floating market | Mekong canal boat trip | Village homestay |

Description of Vietnam cycling holiday

Eleven days is a long time in Vietnam with no two days on this small group cycling holiday ever the same. This trip is all about experiencing a side to Vietnam that most tour groups rarely get to witness. Away from the coast and within the agricultural landscapes and paddy fields of the Mekong Delta can be found some excellent tarmac roads from where peaceful pedalling can take place.

From decorated pagodas and floating markets to luscious landscapes and ever more delicious regional dishes, this cycling holiday unveils Vietnam’s hidden depths one relaxing ride at a time. Minimal vehicle transfers and a good balance of time spent on and off the saddle allows this cycling holiday to really take shape with a village homestay and a boat ride on the Mekong adding to an itinerary that’s as culturally enlightening as it’s enjoyably active.

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700

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Basis
23 Mar 2019
£1599
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26 Oct 2019
£1719
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16 Nov 2019
£1749
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30 Nov 2019
£1749
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18 Dec 2019
£2129
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28 Dec 2019
£2099
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08 Feb 2020
£1749
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21 Mar 2020
£1729
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18 Apr 2020
£1749
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24 Oct 2020
£1759
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14 Nov 2020
£1769
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16 Dec 2020
£2139
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26 Dec 2020
£2119
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Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Vietnam cycling holiday

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
We will spend the nights in locally owned hotels including a night in a homestay guesthouse. All accommodation employs local staff and when food is provided, ingredients are locally produced and sourced. This thereby ensures that our money spent directly benefits the local community. Most of these hotels also have environmental policies which reduce waste, water usage and energy expenditure. Where meals are not provided, your guide will be able to point out several smaller restaurants, cafes and markets, in the various destiantions. There are some weird and wonderful regional specialties to try with plenty of fresh produce available in most areas. Meals consist mainly of rice, vegetables and grilled or stir fried meat. The staple dish is ‘Pho’, which is a noodle broth with veg and meat as well as Banh Mi which is very similiar to a stuffed baguette where it can be easily purchased from roadside stalls, as well as restuarants during the trip.

Local culture and Craft:
Though this trip is primarily focused on the natural landscape, there are still several opportunities for clients to support local produce and craft, mainly during our visits to the various markets such as the Cai Rong floating market, Ben Thanh market and Phong dien market. We will also visit the cottage industries in Ben Tre to see how the locals make rice paper, coconut candy, rice wine and honey etc. Of course, our local guides will advise clients on what to purchase and what to avoid as items made from python or crocodile skin should never be purchased.

Activity:
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. The use of bikes allows us to cover fairly large distances, while offering very little adverse impact, like pollution and threat to wildlife. Additionally, cycling also allows for easy access to the local population, shops and restaurants, facilitating cultural exploration. The route of this trip is still untouched by tourism hence, our visit will help promote the area to a wider range of travellers and allowing tourism to benefit the communities visited.

Community:
In Ho Chi Minh City, clients can have an optional welcome and farewell dinner at the KOTO restaurant. KOTO, which also stands for “know one, teach one”, is an NGO that provides a two year course in hospitality, English and life skills training to groups of 16-22 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students also receive accommodation, food, medical check-ups and treatment whilst they are being trained. Many of the 700 graduates have gone on to continue developing their careers at KOTO restaurants or have gained employment elsewhere with their training so this is a great initiative to support.

Other than KOTO, our local partner also supports other initiatives such as the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation that rescues disadvantaged children from poverty and trafficking and the Children’s Hope In Action (CHIA) which is a NGO that provides a range of services for disadvantaged children in the wider Quang Nam province.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

Community

We spend six nights in simple hotels in Deli and Leh and eight nights in full service camping. All accommodations used are staffed locally, which has a really positive effect on employment and economy in the areas where we stay. By camping for the majority of the trip, we also reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint for the whole tour. On trek, meals include locally sourced ingredients, like porridge, eggs, bread, pasta, rice and potato with a mixture of Indian and Chinese styles. All groceries and other items used during treks are purchased from local shops and markets in Leh- where clients are encouraged to support local businesses and explore local delicacies on offer.

Community:
Our Himalayan Community Support Projects have been helping people in the Markha Valley, Ladakh since the floods in 2006, when we helped people rebuild homes. Since then we have been involved with the local women’s groups and Youth Organisation for the Conservation and Preservation of the Hems National Park in building and running a successful Eco Café. The focus is using only locally made or organic produce and eliminating the plastic bottles littered around the Valley with the use of a UV water filter for trekkers. The Ladakhi women have been trained in needle and flat felting in order to make and sell felt snow leopards, ibex and blue sheep as souvenirs. This has had great economic, social and environmental benefit for the area.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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