Cycle Laos with us

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Committed to our goal of uniting cyclists in Vietnam and in neighboring countries, in November at Vietnambiketours we are organizing our special ASEA Sunday Bike Ride, which is taking us to Laos, where we will have a great chance to discover its capital city, Vientiane, on a bicycle and with the best possible tour guides: local cyclists. This small country is really unknown for many Vietnamese and foreigners and this is a great opportunity to have a glimpse of it. Here is the schedule of this 4 days and 3 nights trip from November19th to 22nd.

November 19
We will fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Vientiane, Laos capital city. This days we will only have time to do a quick tour around the city before enjoying our dinner.

November 20
It’s the big day, the main reason why we organize this trip. We will be part of a biking event with a local cyclist club. It will be a great opportunity to discover Vientiane on a bicycle and to make new friends who share our same passion for biking. We believe cycling can help our countries get closer and also make new friends.  Organized in cooperation with Asean Cycling Club and Laos Cycling Federation, it will be a non-profit tour that will help us build stronger ties with those who love cycling and promote peace in the region and in the world. After that, the ones who feel like it can play a badminton game.

November 21
We will start the day with a city tour around Vientiane, you can choose to make it by bike or by bus if you got too tired the previous day. We will always recommend the bike, but the bus will be available if you need to rest or you want to enjoy the air conditioned. The rest of the day we can take our time to go around, buy some souvenirs and keep discovering a country that was a total mystery until not so long ago.

November 22
It’s the end. After breakfast we will go to the airport and end our tour in Laos.

The cost will be 199 USD per person, including 3 nights in a 3 star hotel, meals (3 dinners, 2 lunches and 3 breakfasts), cycling shirt, transport airport transfers and daily events and certificate. It doesn’t include the airfare, you can book your flight here: http://www.laoairlines.com/ . You can register here until October 19.

Bike ride in Myanmar

myanmar ride

Biking can be a good way of exercising, of seeing the world, of moving around the city in a fast and clean way… We all know there are many advantages to cycling. We also want to promote friendship between countries through cycling, with a special focus on our neighbors from ASEAN. Last February we cycled to Laos, we have cycled in the past with clubs from Malaysia and now we are excited to enjoy a ride in Myanmar next May with the cooperation of the Asean Cycling club and the Myanmar Cycling Federation.

It will be 4 days in Yangon, from May 21 to 24th, with a ride on the 22nd in Yangon with local riders. The cost is 185 USD for the hotel with breakfast, 3 lunch and 3 dinners, a biking shirt, transportation in Myanmar (does not include the airfare) and a certificate. It will be free for riders from Myanmar. You can register here before March 31.

Here is the schedule:

May 21
This is the day we are arriving from Vietnam so we will just have time to meet for dinner at 5pm in the hotel lobby and get the first impressions of Myanmar.

May 22
This is the big day, when we will do a cycling tour together with our fellow Myanmar riders around Yangon. The ride will start at 5:30 AM from Yangon International Stadium and we will go around the city for a 35 to 40 km ride, which will help us discover the city and also enjoy time with our friends from Myanmar. We are happy that biking can be a way of getting people and countries closer. After the ride, all participants will receive a certificate and a medal. Then we will all have lunch together and those who didn’t have enough with the bicycle can participate in a Badminton friendly match before dinner.

May 23
We will probably be tired from the previous day, so we thought this could be a good time for the participants to relax, go sightseeing… But if you didn’t have enough exercise, you should join the Futsal friendly match. With Vietnam’s recent achievement making it to the World Cup next September in Colombia, riders from Myanmar should be scared of our skills. And if some foreigners want to join the team, they will be more than welcome. Here is the complete schedule

May 24
This is the end. A little time for sightseeing or shopping after breakfast, lunch together and the tour will end.24/5/2016 ( B, L ): Have breakfast at hotel, free to visit sightseeing. The tour ends after lunch.

And here is a summary of what the price includes:
– 3 nights at the Orchid 4 stars hotel
– Meals (3 dinners, three lunches, 3 breakfasts)
– T-shirts for participants
– Bus transport in Yangon

There will be bikes for rent for 10 USD per day. For more information, contact us at info@vietnambiketours.com

Tết ride: Vietnam-Laos-Thailand

2016 just started, but for Vietnamese the big New Year celebrations are coming in February, with the coming of the Lunar Year of the Monkey next February 8. And Vietnambiketours will celebrate it, you guessed it, with a bike ride. This time it will be a very special bike ride, as we will go through three countries (Vietnam-Laos-Thailand) in three days, with some vehicle support for the hardest or tedious parts of the road. If you want to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year in a different way, surrounded by nature, doing exercise, meeting people and having fun, this is for you. Here is the schedule of the trip, which will happen a few days after the traditional celebrations, in order to allow Vietnamese riders to spend time with their families.

Laos tour

Day 1 (February 13) Hue-Savannakhet (Laos)-Mukdahan (Thailand)

Have you ever been in three countries on the same day. It’s not so often that we can have the chance to cross to borders in such a short time, but that’s what we plan for the first day of this adventure. Central Vietnam is one of the nicest regions for bike riding in the whole Vietnam. The slow pace of the country side fits perfectly with Vietnambiketours philosophy of riding without pushing our bodies too hard, enjoying the nature and the kindness of villagers. We will feel mostly the same as we cross to Laos through the Lao Bao border and have lunch in Dansavan (Laos), where we will meet local riders. We’ll finish our day in Mukdahan (Thailand) after going over the Mekong River through the Friendship bridge. We will be able to visit the night market and the border between Thailand and Laos during the night,
Departure from Hue: 5:00, at 18 Dương Văn An street. Lunch in Dansavan, Laos and continue to Mukdahan (Thailand) for dinner and spend the night. 

Day 2 (February 14) Mukdahan (Thailand)-Savannakhet (Laos)

For Valentine’s Day we’ll have a more relaxed schedule after a fulfilling first day. We’ll cycle around Mukdahan on the Thai side of the border before crossing the Friendship bridge again (sorry, no love bridge available for Valentine) to Laotian side, in Savannakhet. We will spend the nigh there, resting, having dinner together and maybe trying our chance in the Casino. On a Valentine’s day you can check if the saying “Unlucky in gambling, lucky in love” is true.

Day 3 (February 15) Savannakhet (Laos)-Hue (Vietnam)

This will be the end of our trip, before going back home and to work for many of the riders. We’ll have breakfast at the hotel, do a last ride around Savannakhet, eat lunch in Dansavan, then use the support vehicle for a transfer to Hue. The tour will be over then.

As usual you can use your own bike (road or MTB are fine) or rent with us, with 50% discount. All cyclists can join.

How much?

The price will depend on the number of riders. With a group of 20 to 24 persons the price will be 2,735,000 VND per person and if we get 25 to 30 riders the cost will be 2,470,000 VND per person. This is the rate with shared room. If you want a single room it will be an extra 370,000 VND. If you want more information or already decided to register you can contact us here: uy.nh@hghue.com [054 3 932 789; 0914 019 177 ]; or huy@vietnambiketours.com [0974131032].

Remember you need to register before January 15! 

 

 

Robert, our man in America

3241.1The US, where biking has been steadily growing in popularity is an important market and  Robert Moore is now our representative there. In his new position Moore will try his best to find trips that suit the needs of the clients. “A trip needs to suit their riding style and let them see the part of Vietnam that interests them”, he says.

For Vietnambiketours it’s an honor to work with Robert, as he was one of the first travelers who cycled with us back in 2010. Ngo Trong Huy, our chairman, was his tourguide then and this is how their friendship started. He has travelled from Saigon to Hanoi and has also explored the Mekong Delta. After selling the Marketing and Publishing house he owned in the US for more than 30 years, he has “changed directions and never looked back”. 

Moore is  aware that Vietnam still evokes nasty memories for many Americans and he wants to assure everyone about traveling here. “The people are friendly, the food is amazing and the country is absolutely beautiful.” However, the perception of Vietnam is already changing, specially among young people, and the war is no longer the first thing that comes to their minds when they hear the world Vietnam. “I believe the people who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s still think of the war first.  They grew up seeing the war on the news every night and those memories are still with them.  For younger people, they are certainly aware of the history, but its just that history.  They see Vietnam as a new and exciting place to explore, not a history lesson.”

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These words are said by a true American, a Texan from birth who still lives in Dallas, the place he calls home. Having traveled himself through Vietnam he strongly urges anyone interested in knowing the country to consider getting on a bike “even if it is just a day tour.” “On a bike -he says- you will get much more of a sense of place, a sense of what it is like for the people who live there.” 

For himself as a traveler, Vietnam is “both a history lesson and an exciting place to explore.”  After doing bike tours in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Spain, Cuba, Lebanon, and Canada, he considers Asia his favorite part of the world and he specially loves Vietnam. Although the interest for Vietnam is growing in the US, he is aware that the kind of tours Vietnambiketours offers are more focused on biking enthusiasts who had some experience in cycling tours even if they are not avid cyclists. In short, people who like exploring the world from their seatpost. “Most of my clients are cyclists who have done cycle tours in other countries and loved it.  They understand how traveling a country on a bike gets you a perspective that you simply cannot get if you are whizzing through in a car or bus.  For any one who enjoys travel outside of the tourist bubble, biking offers a great option”, explains Moore.

The numbers say many Americans could be interested in soing cycling tours in Vietnam. As Moore highlights, in 2014 about 47 million Americans went cycling in the last 12 months.  In 2014 there were 18 million new bikes sold in the US.  “It’s easy to see that cycling is popular in the US.  The states with warmer weather, in the South and the East and West coasts report higher cycling participation, but biking is popular in every state”, he tells us.

RobertMooreRobert is himself a biking enthusiast, an activity he has learned to love in the last ten years and that he enjoys couple of times a week. His love affair with biking started just for convenience reasons, but it grew into a passion. “Ten years ago I moved into a new house.  The best biking trails in the city ran right behind that house.  Several of my neighbors were cyclists and encouraged me to get a bike and join them out on the trails.  That developed into joining in on bike rallies and doing longer multi-day rides.  I love it a lot”, he recalls. Aside from biking, Robert also enjoys photography, a hobby he tries to bring to the next level by practicing and attending workshops.

If he had to choose a place in Vietnam, he wouldn’t have doubts: the Mekong Delta. Not because it’s flat but because of its human interest: “Life in the delta is different than the rest of Vietnam. Riding through the jungle and crossing the rivers on little ferries, seeing the people who live and work on their boats, its all so interesting to me”.

Vietnambiketours is now in Singapore

20150910_164433-1_resizedAs VietnamBikeTours grows, we also get more and more friends all over the world. It’s always rewarding to see how people from all over the world enjoy our cycling tours in Vietnam and go back home with good memories from our work. In some cases, cyclists who join our tours and our Sunday Bike Ride, become good friends. This is what happened with Saad Ahmad, our new man in Singapore. Saad lived for 10 years in Vietnam, five in Hanoi and five in Ho Chi Minh City, he joined several of our rides during weekends in 2013 and 2014 and became a good friend of our chairman, Ngo Trong Huy. Now retired from his work in the garment industry, this cycling enthusiast moved to Singapore and happily accepted his new position as Vietnambiketours representative in that market. As he tells us, “cycling in Singapore is becoming popular with the new PCN (park connector) built near housing estate”.

Although Singapore is becoming more and more friendly for cyclists, there is not much space left to explore, and that’s why cyclists there, who usually ride in groups several times a week, will for sure be happy to explore wild Vietnam, as they also cross sometimes the border to enjoy nature in neighbouring Malaysia. Singapore isless than four hours away from Saigon by airplane and you don’t even need to bring your bike with you, you can rent it from us.

Mr Ahmad thinks Singaporeans will be interested in any kind of cycling, enjoying the real Vietnam. If any tourist is interested, he can tell his own experience, as he joined a cycling tour last November from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue. When he is not cycling, he also likes playing tennis or enjoying a motorcycle ride (legs need some rest sometimes). If you are in Singapore and are thinking of doing a cycling tour in Vietnam, you can contact him by email: singapore@vietnambiketours.com. You won’t regret it.

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Simon and Ngan almost in Paris after 9 months cycling from Saigon

Simon and Ngan when they reached Europe. Credit: Bike4afuture
Ngan and Simon when they reached Europe. Credit: Bike4afuture

Last February, some regular Sunday Bike Ride cyclists and other bike enthusiasts in Saigon sent off Simon Barry and his Vietnamese girlfriend Nguyen Kim Ngan before their long trip through Asia and Europe to rise awareness about climate change and reach Paris before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change starts on November 30. It looked like a long shot when we crossed the Cat Lai ferry with them but anyone who could spend five minutes with them could see how determined they were and how hard they would try. Nine months later, after an extenuating adventure, with Ngan having some health problems, Simon simply says “it’s not that hard to do” and he highlights something anyone having travelled by bike knows: “the vast majority of humanity are kind and generous”. However, they are disappointed to see the very small awareness of the problems climate change is bringing.

The couple are now reaching French city of Lyon and are just a few days away from making it to Paris, a city many may want to avoid after the recent events but not Simon and Ngan. Although the demonstration before the summit starts and day of civil disobedience at the end these have both been cancelled after the terrorist attacks, they still plan to be very active. “In the light of that it makes it even more important that people in other countries attend the demonstrations in their country. However other events are still going ahead and we’ll be participating in those and sharing the story of our journey at the counter summit and speaking everyday”. Here are a few questions Simon and Ngan had the kindness to answer us by email.

– How do you feel after all these months traveling by bike?

Really good. It had been a wonderful trip. We have seen so many beautiful places and met so many wonderful people. Every day something new happens so it doesn’t feel boring. And i’m the fittest I’ve been in my life so physically I feel good too.

– Are there days when it’s hard to get on the bike and keep going?

Not really for all the reasons I’ve outlined above. We have been taking  rest days every week so sometimes by the end of the week the legs are getting tired and you appreciate a day off. But the world is a beautiful place so seeing lots of it doesn’t seem hard. We have also been lucky with the weather. It has only rained 7 times when we were riding in the whole of the 9 months we have been travelling. Although that will very likely change in the last week in the north of France.

– What has been the most difficult time of your trip?

Ngân got quite sick because of the food in cental Asia. Going from a Vietnamese diet with lots of vegetables and rice to a diet of lamb and bread was a bit of a shock to the system. It was challenging trying to find doctors and it affected her ability to ride. It lasted for months too which was worrying but thankfully she is ok now.

– What are your best memories so far?

Being woken up by the sound of a fox stealing my shoe while we were camping in Iran. The landscape in Kyrgyzstan. The snowcapped mountains and bright blue lakes. It is probably the most beautiful country I’ve been to. The wonderful people that we’ve met. Unfortunately too many to mention. We have been using hospitality sites like Couchsurfing and warmshowers a lot and it’s been fantastic meeting so many interesting people and experiencing their hospitality.

– You want to call attention about climate change. After seeing all these countries what are your views about pollution in Asia? Is it worse or better than you expected?

Actually we have passed through mainly rural areas so haven’t seen too much pollution. Even in China it was only in Xian and Lanzhou that the pollution was noticeable. However we have been seeing and hearing about the affects that climate change is already having. In Vietnam we spoke to farmers who told us about the salt water contaminating their fields as sea levels rise. In China we saw the spreading deserts. In all the mountainous areas we visited people explained that there was a lot less snow in winter and the snows were melting earlier causing water shortages. In many areas it was drier and hotter again causing water shortages. Iran was probably the most threatened country we visited. Within 30 or 40 years up to 50 million people could be forced from their homes due to lack of water. Even in Europe we saw problems. Flash flooding had ripped through the town of Benevento in Italy a few days before we passed through killing 5 people. And people told us the weather was becoming much more variable, some summers are cool and wet others much hotter. Even warming of only 2°C would see 50% of summers at least as warm the heatwave of 2003 which killed 70,000 people.

– How do people react when they meet you and find out about your trip? Are they receptive when you talk about climate change?

Yes people were receptive but we were speaking to mostly educated people who could understand English or were involved in environmental groups already. But what really surprised me was the lack of awareness of just how serious the problem is and how much it could affect them. Even in places like Iran were the population is highly educated there is almost no awareness that within 40 years much of the country could be uninhabitable desert. We only met one person who understood that and he was a geographer. But then again even in Europe people don’t understand that deserts could also start spreading through southern Europe this century unless we take serious action to cut emissions.

– What did you learn in all these months?

Apart from a hate appreciation of the impact of warming of less than 1°C was having I learned that the vast majority of humanity are kind and generous. We have met so many people who helped us, gave us things, invited us into their homes. That’s what gives me hope for the future. That we can actually create a better society which cares for the earth and for each other. We just need to get rid of the arseholes who are running the show at the minute.

If you want to find out more about their story and their commitment, you can read their website and blog: http://bike4afuture.com/

Our man in Australia

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Andrew with the Vietnam flag

Andrew Edwards is one of the dozens of tourists who experienced traveling by bike with Vietnambiketours. He cycled with a friend from Ho Chi Minh City to Angkor Wat and he remembers it as an experience he will never forget. He was impressed with the quality of the tour and he couldn’t believe how warm and hospitable people in Vietnam were. “Vietnam was a country that had always interested me and I was not disappointed. The countryside is beautiful, the cities are hectic and full of life, the food is absolutely amazing but probably the best thing about Vietnam is the people. Everywhere we went we were greeted with a smile and a ‘Xin Chao” and more often than not a giggle when we answered back in English. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming and at no time did we ever feel like we were intruding”, he says.

Now back in Adelaide, South Australia, where he has been working for 20 years in the transport industry, this passionate surfer who also likes riding his bicycle whenever he has spare time is Vietnambiketours man in Australia. His main task is to act as an Australian contact for people who are interested in booking a bike tour in Vietnam. If you are Australian and are planning to do a biking tour in Vietnam, he is the man with all the answers. “I will be able to answer questions about particular tours, make suggestions and help make the booking process easier. My job is also help the tourists find the tour right for them”, he tells us.

It is not a coincidence that Vietnambiketours is putting the focus on Australia, a country of adventurous people. “Australians love to travel and South East Asia is a very popular destination. We also love the outdoors and a bit of adventure, something a little bit different from a normal tour. This is what makes the tours offered by Vietnam Bike Tours so attractive – the sense of adventure, getting off the beaten track and seeing something that most tourists would never experience”, explains Andrew. Besides, biking is a big thing in Australia and it’s becoming bigger. “Cycling in Australia is a very popular pastime as well as a sport. We have the Tour Down Under which gets more popular with every passing year. With our climate it is easy to cycle all year round and Australians have really embraced it”, he states.

You could think that cycling tours are just for young people, but every Sunday you can realize how wrong this conclusion is, many people over 50 or even 60 love cycling and are not scared of a cycling tour. Anyone who loves cycling, outdoors and experiencing a different culture can enjoy it.  “This is the great thing about cycling tours, they appeal to many different age groups and kinds of people. They are suitable for people who ride a bike all the time but also will suit someone who enjoys a nice quiet ride on a Sunday. Most of the tours are suited for families or small groups and some are more suited to your dedicated riders who want to really challenge themselves. There is really something for everyone regardless of age or experience”, he asserts.

As Vietnam becomes more and more popular in Australia -a country with a big Vietnamese community-Andrew strongly recommends it as a traveling destination, regardless of his work for Vietnambiketours: “For anyone who has ever considered traveling to Vietnam my advice would be to go for it,  you won’t regret it. But a word of warning, once you have been you will find it hard not to keep returning to learn more about this wonderful country!”

Riding Angkor Temples

As part of our multi-country tours, Cambodia is one of the countries that we are positive you would really love to ride through. And when we talk about riding in Cambodia, it is definite that a must-see place for our tour is Angkor temples—the worldwide famous site near Siem Reap. And it is here in Siem Reap where our adventure will begin.

In order to see and enjoy as much as we can we will get ready early in the morning; the first ride is 8 kilometers from the city to the temples. Angkor Wat, the most famous temple at the site, will be the first stop, and it is an amazing place to take a rest. After a bit of relaxing, we can ride all around the ancient city.

Then we will ride to the Angkor Thom exit through the north gate, where we will continue on to Preah Khan, a beautiful location among a forest, cute bridges, and other temples. Ta Keo is the only temple made of sand stones, so while it is not as luxurious as the others; it is still really nice to admire. We will continue the journey to Ta Prohm, which is one of the most famous temples in our time, all thanks to the film starring Angelina Jolie: Tomb Raider.Image

 To finish our exciting day through this UNESCO world heritage site, we will visit Banteay Kdei and Sra Srang before saying goodbye to one of the most exciting journeys of we have to offer. Don’t miss the opportunity to ride among these temples! A magical land is waiting for you and your bike.

Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos, the multi-country tour

The best way to know the asiatic southeast is by biking, and while riding you will discover its secret paths and charming villages, and you will be in real contact with its people and culture. For these reasons, Vietnam Bike Tours has organized this special combination tour which includes Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The Mekong river unites both Vietnam and Cambodia, and the last one borders Laos on its northeast side.
Vietnam is well-known for its outstanding landscapes around the Mekong Delta, where you can find a real jungle while cycling. Such adventures will begin in the busy city of Ho Chi Minh, but you will soon discover the quietness of its countryside, riding along the Mekong villages, or experiencing the famous Cuchi tunnels, which were used by the guerrilla during the Vietnma War. We will have the opportunity of tasting its widely-recognized food in the most amazing places, always surrounded by kids and locals, all of whom are nice people who love to be visited by foreigners.

After cruising the Mekong and seeing the famous floating market, we will sail to Cambodia. The kingdom’s capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, but the most amazing place to visit, apart from its paradisaical beaches, will be the Angkor temple, one of the wonders of the world, which you can explore by yourself joined only by the company of your bike and tour friends.

Travelling to the northeast area of the country we will cross the border to Laos, visiting wonders of the world such as Luang Prabang, world heritage city by UNESCO, where you will find its famous temples and discover one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But to discover the real Laos we will ride our bikes along the countryside, where we will have amazing experiences by going to the Kuang Si waterfalls, where you will have the opportunity to swim with elephants!

If you are a passionate biker, this is the best option for your next adventure…cities, villages, ancient temples, jungles, rivers, and waterfalls that are all in one tour…We cannot wait, can you?

Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos, the multi-country tour
Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos, the multi-country tour