Vietnam is an enchanting destination that truly has something for everyone. Its rich cultural heritage and fascinating history stretch from ancient trade ties with the Khmer and Chinese empires to more recent international events, which have shaped the country into what it is today. Inside the bustling and fast-growing capital cities, you'll find a delicious range of local cuisine from around the country, but also a growing cosmopolitan scene as the country rapidly develops.
Venture beyond the cities and you'll discover more of Vietnam's natural beauty, and the warm welcoming locals that call this country home. Its diverse landscapes feature everything from lush tropical forests, to a vast coastline of beautiful beaches, and scenic highlands where you could encounter coffee plantations or rice terraces depending on your latitude. There are plenty of national parks and protected areas where you can enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling, and birdwatching, making Vietnam the ultimate adventurer's paradise, and the perfect place to explore on a bike tour!
Many visitors often congregate at the two focal metropolises - Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Both cities offer an excellent base for exploring the surrounding regions with plenty to see and do. However, if not venturing beyond these, visitors miss out on the charming central coast region of Vietnam. Which is a terrible shame considering all the area has to offer holidaymakers, and cycling enthusiasts especially. It's so good we have four different tours that explore this region, with something for everyone: Small Group, Self-guided, Family, and E-bike!
Check out the cycling highlights of Vietnam's central coast that await...
Hoi An is a wonderfully cyclable city famous for its history, culture, and beautiful period architecture. The city is small and easy to navigate by bike, and the many cycle paths and small lanes make it easy to get around.
One of the benefits of cycling in Hoi An is that it allows visitors to see the town and its surroundings at a slower pace and experience the local culture and way of life more authentically. There are also many scenic routes in the surrounding countryside, taking in spellbinding views of rice paddies, picturesque villages, and waterways that are perfect for exploring by bike.
Hoi An is known for its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town is home to many well-preserved historical buildings, including traditional houses, temples, and merchants' shops. Many of these buildings date back to the 16th and 17th centuries and reflect the Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese styles that make up the melting pot of architectural influences.
The old town is often held up as an emblematic example of a traditional Vietnamese town, charming visitors with its colorful lanterns that decorate the streets, buildings, and shops, especially during festivals and special events. In addition to its hundreds of skilled tailors, the city is also home to dozens of art galleries, craft shops, and artisan studios, where visitors can learn about and purchase local handicrafts.
Besides the quaint cultural draw of the town, there are a number of bars, restaurants, and cafes that stay open late, making for a relatively vibrant nightlife.
Through our cycling tours that visit Hoi An, we offer a range of experiences that immerse you in local life, whether it be learning the intricacies of local flavors in a cooking class or taking a tour of an organic farm growing local produce. There’s also an opportunity to dive into Vietnam’s burgeoning coffee scene with a visit to our favorite local coffee emporium.
The intriguing My Son Ruins are just outside Hoi An and readily accessible by bike from the town. Located in a lush valley surrounded by mountains, the ruins are considered one of Vietnam's most culturally significant historical sites. The temples were built between the 4th and 14th centuries by the Cham people, a Hindu civilization that ruled over much of central Vietnam at the time.
The temples are made of brick and sandstone and decorated with intricate carvings and reliefs depicting Hindu gods and legends. Many of the temples are in a state of ruin, with collapsed walls and overgrown vegetation, but they still retain much of their original beauty and grandeur. The dilapidated state of the moss-covered buildings somehow increases the mystical nature of the site.
If you venture to My Son on one of our cycling trips, our knowledgeable guide will help unpack the Hindu legends depicted on the walls, helping to explain the site’s significance in central Vietnamese culture through the stories and myths displayed.
Hue is another city in central Vietnam known for its historical and cultural significance. Located on the banks of the Perfume River, the city is surrounded by serene countryside, making it an attractive destination for those who enjoy cycling. The city center is moderately sized, yet it’s relatively flat and easy to navigate by bike, thanks to some well-maintained bike routes.
Hue has a rich and varied cultural heritage, with something for everyone in a cycling group to enjoy. There is the UNESCO-listed Imperial City for history buffs to admire. This walled citadel was built in the 19th century to house the Nguyen dynasty, who ruled Vietnam from the early 19th to the mid-20th century. Visitors can admire and explore the well-preserved palaces, temples, and other buildings that provide a glimpse into the lavish and opulent lifestyle of the Vietnamese royal family.
For cyclists especially, the Perfume River offers beautiful and picturesque riverside scenery that runs through the center of Hue. The cycle paths, surrounded by lush vegetation and indigenous plants, offer a nice botanical distraction along the pleasant ride.
THIEN MU PAGODA
On our Vietnam trips that visit Hue, you’ll bike to Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddhist temple and an iconic, seven-story structure with tranquil gardens overlooking the Perfume River. Taking a break from the bike seat, you’ll head out on the water for a laid-back boat ride to further admire the riverside setting from a different vantage point.
For the shoppers, the Dong Ba market is a bustling and colorful market located in the center of Hue. The market is a great place to buy souvenirs and experience the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the city. Taste local delicacies like Com Hen, clams served in a spicy broth, and Bun Bo Hue, an equally spicy beef noodle soup that originates from here and bears the name of the city.
Just beyond town, there are several royal tombs located in the surrounding countryside that are worth visiting. These tombs were built for the Nguyen emperors and are known for their beautiful gardens, sculptures, and architecture.
THE VIETNAM OCEAN ROAD
Away from the cities, you can discover one of the best reasons to go on a cycling tour of Vietnam. Here you can immerse yourself in local life and admire the truly majestic natural scenery that keeps many coming back for more. The Vietnam Ocean Road along the central coast, is one such route that encapsulates the joys of traveling in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Ocean Road is known as the "East Sea Road," it is a scenic coastal highway that runs along the east coast of Vietnam. The road stretches over 2,000 kilometers and passes through some of the country's most beautiful and picturesque parts, including the Central Coast region and down to the Mekong Delta.
The Vietnam Ocean Road is known for its stunning waterfront views of the South China Sea, and the picturesque fishing villages and towns along its route. There are also many points of interest and attractions to visit, including national parks, beaches, temples, and cultural sites. Enjoy calmly cruising with the water to one side, and the lush interior of Vietnam on the other.
The Vietnam Ocean Road is a popular route for cycling trips due to its pleasant scenery. You can enjoy the natural beauty and cultural diversity of Vietnam, on well-maintained coastal roads, with accommodation and food options along the way. The route combined with the famed hospitality of the locals, makes it suitable for either a guided or self-guided tour.
Away from the serene beauty of the coastline, heading inland will let you encounter the Central Highland region. This area is yet another display of Vietnam’s rich diversity and is home to several national parks and protected areas, including the Yok Don National Park and the Chu Mom Ray National Park.
The rolling mountains are carpeted in dense forests and grassland, and despite the intimidating nature of riding into the highlands, there are plenty of accessible passes that let even casual bikers reach the impressive scenery.
The central highland region is home to several ethnic minority groups with unique languages, cultures, and traditions. Thanks to these different groups the region has a varied tapestry of traditions and customs. The villages are known for vibrant music and dances they incorporate into festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Cyclists discovering the Central Highlands can observe and learn about these cultural traditions on their travels.
An absolute must-try in the Central Highlands is to stop by one of the many coffee or tea plantations. You’ll glide by plenty of these on your cycling journey. Many offer tasting tours or hands-on experiences to let you immerse yourself in the tea or coffee growing and making process. Vietnamese have a unique coffee culture and this is a great way to gain an insight into local life.
EXPLORE THE CENTRAL COAST OF VIETNAM WITH GRASSHOPPER
From breathtaking coastlines to majestic mountains, coffee farms, and vibrant cities, Vietnam is ideal for a bicycle tour vacation. You can ride through the full diversity of Vietnam's terrain and meet welcoming locals, sample their fresh, flavorful cuisine, and bask in the country's natural splendor.
Each offers some fantastic cycling opportunities to witness the natural majesty of the country via comfortable, easygoing cycle routes. We’ll also treat you to some immersive experiences that help you uncover the heart and soul of the nation and make meaningful connections and memories during your travels.
Reach out to find out more about our cycling tours in Central Vietnam.