Road Biking the Ho Chi Minh Highway

Day 1 Meet in Hanoi

We meet at the hotel in the late afternoon for a trip briefing followed by a welcome dinner at a fine Hanoi restaurant.

Church Boutique Hang Gai

Day 2 Hanoi - Mai Chau - Phu Luong

We leave the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and transfer just outside the city to start our riding. We cycle on along small roads passing many Hmong, Dao, and Thai villages with spectacular views of lush vegetation and green rice paddies. We start off easy, and there will be some rolling climbs, but nothing too steep. Depending on how your legs feel, we may have a short transfer to our overnight stop in a Thai ethnic stilt house in Mai Chau Valley.

Mai Chau Sunset Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 70km

Day 3 Mai Chau - Ngoc Lac

We ride along the stunning and undulating valley of the Song Ma River as we head towards Hoi Xuan. This route was used to carry supplies and ammunition during the war and linked to the main part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The route then takes us away from the river through the range of mountains that stretch from Mai Chau to Cuc Phuong and to Hoa Lu. The road gets more beautiful as you ride closer to Ngoc Lac with looming limestone cliffs and lush vegetation. We overnight in this small town.

Gold Time Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 120km

Day 4 Ngoc Lac - Thai Hoa

We start the day with a short transfer to avoid the main road to Lam Son. We ride on the wide and newly-built Ho Chi Minh Highway, which we’ll have virtually to ourselves. The tarmac makes for smooth and fast riding with 360-degree picturesque scenery. Riding through the fertile area, we'll see such crops as coffee, rubber, tea, and various fruits. We will arrive in Thai Hoa late in the afternoon.

Thai Hoa Riverside
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 100km

Day 5 Thai Hoa - Pho Chau

Following breakfast, we are back on the Ho Chi Minh Highway. The road winds through lush jungle and beautiful villages nestled under the Truong Son mountain range. During our cycle, take the time to admire the stunning scenery and the serene karst formations. We reach the remote town of Pho Chau in Nghe province at the end of the day, where we stay at a local guesthouse.

Hai Thuong Eco Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 130km

Day 6 Pho Chau - Phong Nha

From Pho Chau, the Ho Chi Minh Highway is still a dream to ride on and you’ll appreciate the smooth tarmac as the mountains rise and the road winds up and down along the hillsides. The scenery is impressive, and the road is tranquil. We ride to Phong Nha National Park, which contains one of the most magnificent caves in Vietnam. A true speleological wonder with 65 km of caves and underground rivers, formed approximately 250 million years ago, the caves were used as a hospital and ammunition depot during the war, and the entrance still shows evidence of attacks from fighter air-craft. Nearby, there are community projects underway with Flora and Fauna International, and it may be possible to visit village initiatives creating habi-tat corridors to help to maintain the forest’s ecosystem.

Saigon Phong Nha Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 150km

Day 7 Phong Nha - Dong Hoi

This morning, we board a boat to visit the first 600 m of Phong Nha Cave. When we reach the cave’s gaping entrance the engine is cut, and you’re transported to another world as you’re paddled through illuminated cavern after cavern. We then have the option to climb 330 steps up to Tien Son Cave, a dry cave in the mountainside used as a hospital and ammunition depot during the American War and consequently was heavily bombed. Our afternoon cycle will be a gentle ride on a flat road to the seaside village of Dong Hoi. The village has beautiful white sand beaches for 12 km long.

Muong Thanh Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 50km

Day 8 Dong Hoi - Cam Lo - Khe Sanh

Today, there will be many reminders of the war that forced the creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Our ride takes us across the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone, also known as the 17th Parallel) to Cam Lo. The DMZ was the dividing border between North and South Vietnam, and troops of both governments were barred from 5 km on either side of the border. The road is now quite flat, and we make good time and stop to visit Truong Son Cemetery, a memorial to the tens of thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers who were killed on the DMZ and on Ho Chi Minh Trail. It’s just 14 km further to the town of Cam Lo, and here the trail heads across the border into Laos. We then transfer to Khe Sanh, the site of a former US marine base and the in-famous 1968 battle of Khe Sanh (longest battle in Vietnam War), near the Laos border to overnight.

Green Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 129km

Day 9 Khe Sanh - A Luoi

We start the morning with a visit to the Khe Sanh combat base, where relics of the war are exhibited, and see the airstrip used to transport troops and supplies, and where to this day nothing will grow. We ride through spectacular scenery, mainly downhill, from the Laos border to Dak Rong River. We cross the bridge and ride along the river and what was considered the southern part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Again, enjoy a traffic-free road, the terrain undulates and it’s a nice contrast to the flat plains of the previous day's ride.

Thanh Quang Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 103km

Day 10 A Luoi - Hue

Begin the beautiful ride downhill to Hue, Vietnam’s Imperial City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We ride through the middle of Vietnam for 60 km on backroads before hitting Highway 1, just a few kilometres south of Hue. We stop on our way to visit the Imperial City, which once served as Vietnam's capital from 1802 to 1945, under the Nguyen Dynasty. The citadel is protected by fortified ramparts and ringed by a moat. During the Vietnam War, the Imperial City was heavily damaged, but it is slowly being restored to its former glory. We ride on backroads to our hotel and prepare for a farewell dinner.

Emm Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 70km

Day 11 Departure

We end the tour, but you may choose to extend your time in Hue, visit Hoi An, or travel to Ho Chi Minh City.