Join us in Hoian

hoian fb

Following our dream to be present in the main tourist spots in Vietnam, since last month we have one more office in Hoian. As usual, one of our goals will be to connect with local cyclists, both locals and foreigners, both expats and tourists, and help people discover the wonderful potential of Hoian and Danang region. It is very common to see groups of tourists with their bikes along the rice fields or in the ancient town of Hoian, a perfect place for bikes. But we want to go a bit further and discover some of the secret gems for cycling in the area. We like discovering the countryside, but also the cultural treasures, and they are a lot in the area. For instance, yesterday, in the second Sunday Bike Ride in Hoian, we had a wonderful ride to Tra Que Herb Village, where after an interesting ride you can experiment being a farmer, preparing rice paper or cooking in the traditional style from the center. From Hoian you can easily pedal to My Son Heritage site, where you can discvoer some ancient Cham culture structures that survived through the centuries, go to Lang Co bay and Hue or go further South to Nha Trang.

hoian addThe office will also be a starting point for cycling tours in the region, one more possibility of exploring the center after the one in Hue. Those who need to rent bikes will be able to enjoy our GT Avalanche, with 27,5 inches wheels, or the bigger Karakorum elite with 29 inches wheels. Both are very comfortable off road and feel very light when you are on the road.  And because we value safety more than anything, the helmets we offer are not just ok helmets, but very good Giro Hex with a market price over 100 USD.

There is no excuse to miss the chance to visit Hoian with a new perspective from the saddle! Don’t miss our office in 162/22b Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoi An (0974131032).

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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

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.

Saad Ahmad - vietnamBikeTours Singapore.JPG

One hundred Sundays riding together

ho tri an

A few weeks ago we celebrated the second year anniversary of the Sunday Bike Ride in Saigon and now we are proud to say this Sunday we are reaching our 100th ride. For such an event we chose to connect with one of our trademarks: merging with nature. That’s why we will be cycling to Ho Tri An-Dong truong eco tourism facility in Dong Nai province, where we will be able to wander by the Tri An lake, enjoy the nature that surrounds the water flows and, for the most adventurous, explore the surrounding areas. The nearby Ma Da forrest is also worth exploring and those who are interested can learn a lot about what you can eat when you are in the forrest, you never know, it might be useful in the future. Riders will soon understand this is one among many overlooked natural tourist attractions near Ho Chi Minh City .

It will be a long ride, 120 kilometers overall from the start in front of Ben Thanh market at 6:30 AM,  but as usual, we’ll be having stops for coffee and snacks. We plan to arrive there before lunch. The food will also be very special, as we will get the fish from the lake and get it cooked in the traditional way in a claypot. You won’t have to worry about chemicals or how the fish has been processed, since you will see how they catch it (or you catch it) and prepare it. After cycling, having a little adventure and eating this delicious fish, nothing better than resting your tired body in a hammock under the shade, listening to the sounds of nature. You will probably wish you can stay there forever… but after a few hours you will have to go back, smoothly, to Saigon. Be sure you keep some energy for the ride back! We also want you to reach our ride number 200.

 

The second SBR anniversary approaches

Sunday bike Ride flag

It seems like it was yesterday, but it has almost been two years since when VietnamBikeTours chairman Ngo Trong Huy and one of his friends friend met in front of Ben Thanh market and rode their bicycles to Can Guioc in what was the first Sunday Bike Ride in Ho Chi Minh City. On the first Sunday f November, which this year happens to be November 1st, we will celebrate the second anniversary of the Sunday Bike Ride. We still have to carefully prepare that ride, we can already say that we are offering some gifts to celebrate our birthday, but you have to apply in advance. In this Google doc you can  give your basic data and say the number of times you have participated in the Sunday Bike ride during the last year, also telling anything about your experience. The original document is in Vietnamese, but you can easily understand it with Google Translate. If we want to get some of the gifts offered with the help of our sponsors (Phi An welding machine, xedapvietnam.com.vn and VietnamBikeTours) you have to fill in the form before our deadline on dfs October 18 at 5pm.

Through these two years we have seen how more and more riders, both Vietnamese and foreigners, joined us for our Sunday adventures. We have also seen how the idea expanded in our branches in Nha Trang and Hue. And we will see many more good things in the future. We’re just starting. Let’s keep pushing the pedals!

The miracle of Can Gio

can gio sunday bike ride

Our last Sunday Bike Ride took us to spend a day in Can Gio, one of the most overlooked spots around Ho Chi Minh City. it is usually publicized in travel agencies for its Monkey Island, an area where crab eating macaques and tourists have fun together, although you risk to lose your hat if you wear one, those monkeys are fast and sneaky. But the most amazing fact about Can GIo is not the monkeys, but how this are was completely destroyed by chemicals during the war, how a mangrove forrest was turned into a desert of sand and salt and how Vietnamese people were able to reverse the situation and get back the mangrove they had.

This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Can Gio, part of the Ho Chi Minh City municipality, is located about 30 km away from the city center. The trees of this 40,000-hectare forest with over 700 animal species protect Saigon against the rising sea levels. According toLe Duc Tuan, executive secretary of the Biosphere Reserve of Can Gio, biodiversity now is almost the same as before the war, which would have been hard to believe when he was one of the young volunteers who started the replantation in 1978. These teams replanted 4,000 hectares per year from 1978 to 1981.

DSC_0781It is still possible to visit the remaining os the Viet Cong guerrilla camp that the American Army tried to drive out by spraying the forest with 2.4 million litres of Agent Orange and 1.5 million litres of other defoliants such as Agent White and Agent Blue between 1965 and 1970. “After the war, the local government prioritized the recovery of green areas, and specially Can Gio, which was the most important. We chose a kind of mangrove tree from Ca Mau province (located at the southern tip of Vietnam) that was particularly resistant and could grow easily”, says Le Duc Tuan. They used 2,000 tons of seeds per year.

Since 1981, the pace of replantation went down to 2,000 hectares a year and since 1990, other tree species were introduced to improve biodiversity. In 2000, the replantation was officially completed, the same year that UNESCO recognized Can Gio as a Biosphere Reserve. Now, peop

6 ways to get up in the morning and ride

Author: Kham Tran
Author: Kham Tran

You might be one of those occasional riders who love going on a bicycle but for whom getting up at 5 or 6 in the morning to go for a ride is too much. As a result, you either go late, which is not advisable in Vietnam because of the heat, or you don’t go at all, and enjoy your bed, which, truth to be said, is not a bad option. But you might regret it later on during the day, thinking you could have hit the road, discovered new places, feel better after the exercise. Here are a few tips for the ones who, like the author of this blog, have a hard time getting up early.

1) Set an appointment with a riding mate

Promises to yourself are easy to break, you will forgive yourself anyway. But it’s different if you know your buddy will be waiting for you. You can always do the last minute cancel, but that is not very considerate, so you’d better get up and go. You will later know you made the right decision even if it doesn’t feel like it.

2) Prepare your clothes and gear the night before

Ok, we know you like sleeping as much as possible and it’s hard to get you up from the bed. So a little trick to save time in the morning is to prepare your gear before. You will just have to get up, eventually have breakfast (you can consider skipping it and eating something along the way if it works for you) and go.

3) Plan your route in advance

If you know where you are going you will already have an expectation in your mind and it will be easier for you to beat the bed temptation. You will be looking forward to it.

4) Leave the curtains open

If your bedroom lets sunlight in, let the curtains open the night before and let the sun slowly wake you up. In Vietnam the sun rises very (too?) early, so take advantage of it. You shouldn’t, however, replace the alarm clock, never trust that you will wake up with the sun. It’s just a little help.

 5) Drink a lot the night before

Native americans (the Indians from Western movies) used to drink a lot of water the night before a fight or a battle. This natural alarm clock is very effective, although the effects might come earlier than your expected waking up time. Some might want to replace the water with beer, and although it is effective in filling your bladder, it’s not the best to enjoy your ride the next morning. Keep the beers for after the ride.

6) Join the Sunday Bike Ride

If your ride is on a Sunday and you happen to be in Saigon, Hue or Nha Trang, just join us for the Sunday Bike Ride. You will have an appointment with someone (us), you will have a route to look forward to (we plan it for you) and you will have fun and discover new places.

Fight the heat in Giang Dien waterfalls

waterfalls giang dien 2The last two or three months have been extremely hot in Ho Chi Minh City and around. Not that we are not used to hot, but this has been exceptional, people who have lived their whole lives in Saigon said they never experienced such a hot time for so long. With these temperatures, we are all waiting for the rainy season, but it’s taking a while for it to come and stay. To refresh yourself, you can wait for the rain, lock yourself up inside an aircon room or enjoy nature and freedom and discover one of the ecotourism gems around Ho Chi Minh City: Giang Dien Waterfalls.

Located just 50 km away from the city, in Dong Nai province, this is a perfect getaway for the Sunday and a way of having a good and refreshing time for cyclists. This coming Sunday june 14th, the Sunday Bike ride is organizing a trip there, and as usual it will be free for anyone bringing their own bike (for those who don’t, a cheap rental can be arranged). As you dip your feet in the Buong river, in front of the waterfalls, you will feel like you are so far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You could even believe you are in Dalat, if not for the temperature (no, it’s not as cool).

waterfalls giang dienAfter a relaxing bike ride which will start at 6:30 from Ben Thanh market, you can just rest, enjoy the nature, have lunch in some of the restaurants around or even do your own barbecue. If you still have enough energy, you can explore the rocky paths around the area, have a look at the plantations, or go for a swim. As it often happens with beautiful natural sites in Vietnam, there is a legend to make two of these waterfalls more mysterious. It is a love story, a sad one about two young people from the Ma ethnic group who were in love with each other and were not allowed to get married. In dramatic fashion, they decided to die together for their love in that same spot and thus created the twins waterfalls (Doi), one named Chang (Boy) and the other Nang (girl).

For the ones who would like to enjoy this place longer, there are two hotels in the area. It’s never a bad time to relax and enjoy nature.

Urban challenge: Competition and fun

In Vietnambiketours we are usually not so much into competition. The way we ride has more to do with enjoying the scenery, melt yourself with the nature and using the bike as a mean to enjoy all this, not as a purpose in itself. That’s why in our tours and our Sunday Bike Ride we follow a gentle pace (20-25km/h), we stop quite often to have a drink or eat something and try to create a relaxed atmosphere for the riders to be able to socialize and enjoy beyond the pleasure of exercise. That said, a little bit of competition can also be exciting sometimes and this is why we are joining the Cannondale challenge this Sunday in Ho Chi Minh City. You can compete or you can just watch.

The format is the same as in the last challenge in January: we will form teams of three people, who will have to complete some tasks around the city. After one task is completed, they will move to the next station. The team who gets to the last stage first after completing all the tasks will get win the Canondale Urban challenge. Joining is completely free, but you have to rush, the deadline for joining is today, Friday, at 5pm. You can contact the organizers at the email address cannondale.uc@gmail.com to register your team or get more information. The winners will get 1,500,000 VND, the runners-up 900,000 VND and the third team will get a voucher of 300,000VND to spend at Jett showrooms in the city.

Even if you don’t manage to make a team you can join the Sunday Bike Ride group, some of us will just support the event and cheer all the participants. We will gather as usual at 6:30 in front of Ben Thanh market before going for coffee and breakfast in district 5 and will join the challenge in Tran Phu street at 8:30. We will stay there the whole morning until the awards ceremony and then we will have lunch together.

Here is a video of the first edition held in April last year.

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We have some exciting bike tours coming up in May. 11 days Hanoi to Saigon, with vehicle assistance and cycling tourguide from May 8th. It starts at Hanoi train station at 5 am and the first day will be kjust a tour around Hanoi. The following days, the riders will go to Hue, Hoian, Danang, Buon Ma Thuot, Dalat, Cat Tien and Saigon. The price depends on the number of riders, all included.
The second tour is another classic, Saigon to Angkor Wat, from May 12 to 22. Both are a great chance to explore two countries in an adventurous way but with a certain level of comfort and the peace of mind of having guides who can share their deep knowledge about the route.

Sunday Bike Ride now in Hue

11080004_911185445599500_842197272545125434_nA few months ago we were proudly announcing the beginning of Sunday Bike Ride in Nha Trang and now we can say that this Sunday we will have our third Sunday Bike Ride in the former imperial capital of Hue. This city is a well-known touristic spot, mainly known by its magnificent citadel (despite the heavy destruction during the war) and the emperors lavish mausoleums, specially Tu Duc’s tomb. Next to the Perfume River, Hue charms any visitor with its relaxed atmosphere and low pace. As we already do in Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang, we want the Sunday Bike Ride to help locals and foreigners discover hidden aspects of the local culture, have fun together, get to know each other, admire some of the natural beauty around, let Vietnamese and foreigners know each other and of course, enjoy the ride.

On our first ride in Hue we cycled around the ancient houses in Hue citadel, where we learnt about the traditional local architecture. In Hue old houses are traditionally surrounded by gardens following the traditional Hue style. What makes some of Hue’s houses quite unique is the use of wood structures. These houses, ofthen built on stilts, are known as nha ruong and are built near the shore of the Perfume River. Despite its similarities with other traditional wooden architectures like the ones found in Japan or China, some experts claim that Hue houses are very unique because they use a triangle measure instead of the usual square one. Now, with fast paced development, they are being threatened and vanish little by little, but they can still be saved.

11079031_915183545199690_2730981721822999989_nOn our second Hue ride, we conquered Bạch Mã National Park with our bicycles. 40 kilometers away form Hue, in an area of 22,030 hectares and with peaks as high as 1,450 meters over sea level, this natural marvel is often overlooked by visitors who travel to the area. From the top we could admire a wonderful panoramic sight of Hai Van Pass, Thuy Van Mountain and the city of Hue.11090847_915181808533197_5826915308285693070_o

And for the upcoming third ride this Sunday, we will put the stress again on the cultural aspect by visiting hước Tích Ancient Village. This is one of the oldest sites in Vietnam, founded in the 15th century. Those who join will have the chance to see some of these characteristic nha ruong built on stilts. Out of the 117 houses, 27 share this characteristic. It is the second most ancient village in Vietnam, just after the village of Duong Lam, near Hanoi. It is not very common in Vietnam to see such ancient structures, so you shouldn’t miss the chance!