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Luang Prabang to Hanoi cycling holidays, Laos and Vietnam


Hanoi cycling holidays this exceptional, fully supported cycling odyssey takes us through some of the most stunning landscapes and culturally significant parts of Laos then over the border for a richly rewarding taste of Vietnam. We commence cycling on the banks of the Mekong river in the World Heritage listed town of Luang Prabang with its exquisite golden temples and waterfalls. We continue through rolling mountain scenery to Nong Khiew then travel by boat to the village of Ban Sopjam where we stay with the village headman. Travelling northeast we cycle to the intriguing Vieng Say Caves where the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party lived during the Secret War. Cycling to the Vietnamese border we cross over to explore the beautiful valley of Mai Chau and its many ethnic minority villages before completing our adventure in the bustling northern capital of Hanoi.


Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1: On arrival in Luang Prabang you will be met at the airport and transferred to our group hotel. A group meeting will be held in the hotel lobby at 5pm where you will meet your guide for a trip briefing before heading out for a welcome dinner to get to know your guide and other travellers.
Day 2: After breakfast, we will fit you for your bike then enjoy a tour around Luang Prabang with the Mekong river as our backdrop. You will soon understand why it deserves the World Heritage title! Visit Wat Visoun, the site of impressive Thad Makmo stupa. The rounded dome is stylistically more Sinhalese than Lao. Phou Sii hill stands right in the center of this small city. Climb its 350 steps to enjoy commanding views for many miles in each direction. Wat Phou Sii sits atop the mountain, along side the skeletons of Indochina war anti-aircraft guns. Then continue on to visit Wat Mai. Built in 1796, the five-tiered roof of the wooden Sim (chapel) epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. Wat Xieng Thong further emphasizes & characterizes the uniqueness of Luang Prabang, its several roofs sweeping low to the ground. See also the impressive “tree of life” mosaic here. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts episodes from the Ramayana. Then visit the National Museum, once a king’s palace, where displayed inside is a lovely collection of personal artifacts of the royal family, including photos, musical instruments, and many gifts received from the dignitaries of foreign countries. Cycle approx 10 kms
Day 3: Today we cycle out south of town with to the Kuang Si Waterfall. The falls cascade over many calcified tiers and down several hundred feet into a series of cool, turquoise pools. The water here has a clear blue-green tint due to the high mineral content. You can climb the stairs and look down from various high viewpoints on the way to the top! Bring a bathing suit if you’d like to swim. We cycle back to town and enjoy our evening at leisure. Cycle approx 50kms
Day 4: We check out this morning and begin cycling north out of Luang Prabang. We arrive at Pak Ou village, cross the Mekong River and climb the stairs to Pak Ou Caves where hundred of Buddhist statues are housed. We then continue north through rolling mountain scenery to Ban Huay Pene, a Leu Tribal village and enjoy lunch along the way. We visit the old temple then travel the remaining distance by vehicle to Nong Khiew. Cycle approx 35kms
Day 5: This morning we take a boat up the Ou River, which originates near the border with China then feeds into the Mekong near Luang Prabang. We board a boat for our journey northward to a scenic village and overnight homestay. This village was the stage of an NXNE assistance project to build a new school. The locals are subsistence farmers as well as proficient hunters and fishermen. In the late afternoon, we will go for a refreshing bath in the river. Women should wear a sarong. Tonight we enjoy tasty organic Lao cooking! To get a real taste of Lao life, we will sleep in the village headman’s house which will have comfortable mats, pillows and mosquito nets. Please be aware that there are no showers or western toilets in the village.
Day 6: Today we enjoy a local breakfast and explore the surrounding village. We will likely be the object of curiosity for the village children. They only rarely get the chance to interact and play with westerners. A game of football is a great icebreaker for those physically up for it. Watch the village women weaving their ancient patterns on aged looms, or just relax on our balconies. Depending on the season, we will suggest other interesting activities to watch or participate in. Tonight many of the villagers will gather around for a special farewell blessing ceremony. This rite, the Baci, is performed mostly for family and friends who are going on or coming back from a long journey. This is their way of saying thank you for visiting. We enjoy a feast afterwards!
Day 7: This morning we say goodbye to the villagers and return by boat to Nong Khiew and pick our bikes. We then take a more leisure ride, as we cycle through rural villages and along side lush green rice fields as farmers go about the daily work. We arrive in the small town of Vieng Kham for your overnight stay. Cycle approx 55kms
Day 8: After breakfast we mount our bikes and continue on our path eastward. Today our road travels through Phou Loei National Biodiversity Protected Area, so the forests lining the road will be quite lush. A long days ride today so we will no doubt earn our delicious local meal and a good nights sleep! Cycle approx 60kms
Day 9: Today we cycle through more mountainous terrain. We get started early and pedal towards Sam Neua in Houaphan province. We ride until the mid afternoon, then climb into the van to make it to Sam Neua before dark. Cycle approx 60kms
Day 10: This morning we explore the quaint morning market along the Xam River in this mountainous town. Today’s ride is much shorter to give us a bit of a rest. We cycle to Vieng Say, the cave city which was home to the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. Marvel at the amazing karst landscape in the middle of town. Visit the Information Center near the guesthouse to learn more about the interesting historical significance of the area during the Indochina War. With the help of a local guide, we travel to some of the nearby caves to see how the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party lived during the war. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant then relax in this charming town in the late afternoon. Cycle approx 28kms
Day 11: Today after breakfast, we travel to the nearby Hospital Cave. This extensive cave was used as a hospital during the war. Inside we can see intact medicine bottles still strewn about the rubble. After the bombing raids ended, a new hospital building was built in front of the cave. Now the site is a local school. We return to our guesthouse and enjoy your afternoon and evening at leisure. Cycle approx 5kms
Day 12: Today after breakfast, we set off and say goodbye to Laos as we cycle to the Vietnamese border. We say good bye to our Laosian guide here and are met by our Vietnamese guide who will cycle with us throughout the Vietnam section of our journey to ensure the best local knowledge for our group. Cycle approx 55kms
Day 13: Today after breakfast, we cycle through the beautiful country side of Vietnam on the way to Mai Chau. Enroute we will have plenty of opportunity to catch the activities of locals in the field. Mai Chau is located in a beautiful valley with patchwork quilt rice fields, farms and stilted houses. In the spring Mai Chau displays a riot of blooming flowers and peach blossoms. Only 60km’s southwest of Hoa Binh is the home of the White Thai and H’mong hilltribe people. Cycle approx 65 kms
Day 14: Today after breakfast we cycle around the beautiful outlying villages and to the local market to visit the minority White Thai. It is interesting to see their custom and life style, their houses on stilt and the local handicrafts produced by them. Late afternoon, we drive to the capital of Vietnam. Cycle approx 25kms
Day 15: The trip concludes after breakfast then airport transfers will be arranged. NB: The itinerary may alter due to weather or local conditions.