Is Vietnam your next destination for a cycle tour in Asia? First of all, you’ve made a great choice! Vietnam is a spectacular country to explore off the tourist trail, especially on two wheels. But planning the perfect trip abroad isn’t always a simple job when there’s a bike involved.
With Grasshopper Adventures, you can leave everything to our expert team. We are the leader in Asia bike tours, so we know how to make your cycling holiday in Vietnam smooth, seamless, and unforgettable. We are delighted to help you discover the best of Vietnam by bike. Our bike tours in Vietnam suit all manner of riders, from self-guided to small-group guided trips. We even have a new dedicated E-bike tour for everyone's enjoyment.
If you have any questions for us before booking, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, let us take you through some of the dos and don’ts of cycle touring Vietnam.
Things You Should Do on a Bike Tour in Vietnam
There is near limitless beauty to discover on a bicycle tour in Vietnam, be it the cultural heritage, the charming atmosphere of quaint villages, or the beautiful landscapes of the Mekong Delta.
Cycling in Vietnam can truly bring joy to your heart, especially if you keep the following points in mind...
Enjoy Time Off the Bike
You should always allow for more non-riding time than you think you will need. This is particularly true if you want to stay in a highlight location for a little longer. This extra time gives your itinerary flexibility, so you can take a rest day if you’re feeling tired, or repair your bike if it's needed.
At worst, this buffer just means you will have extra time up your sleeve, and that’s always a good thing. This removes stress and eliminates the need to rush through what should be an enjoyable adventure. It also gives you the ability to plan a last-minute loop ride or a spontaneous trip to explore an area you hadn’t planned on seeing. If you end up wanting more riding, there’s plenty to be had, so there’s no danger of missing out.
For first-hand insight into touring this spectacular country, read a personal account of cycling Vietnam self-guided.
Focus on a Few Core Highlights and Regions
From north to south, Vietnam is a long, skinny country. Unless you have plenty of time and a steadfast determination to do it, we don’t recommend an end-to-end ride.
Of course, there are some bragging rights in completing such a long and arduous journey. But if you want the best, most pleasurable experience in a limited timeframe, you are far better off focusing your time and effort on a portion of the country that interests you.
Map out broadly achievable routes that avoid main roads, give yourself time in places that most intrigue you, and, of course, allow a little leeway for the unexpected.
Hydrate and Snack at Regular Intervals
This is a well-known habit for anyone who has spent extended time on a bike. Without a regular intake of fluids and calories, you run the risk of hitting a wall. Needless to say, this will sap the energy and enjoyment out of your experience, and can even make subsequent days more demanding. If it is particularly warm, as it can get in this part of the world, you must make sure to hydrate more than you regularly would.
Are you worried about what to pack for your trip? We cover the pitfalls of overpacking further down the page. You can also check out our list of 10 essentials for cycle touring.
Use a Bike that can Handle a Variety of Terrain
The road surfaces in Vietnam can vary quite drastically at times. For comfort in as many situations as possible, you need to have a tire size that can accommodate some variation in road surfaces. Hybrid bikes offer an ideal balance of comfort and weight. If you are opting for a drop bar bicycle, choose a disc brake option that can handle a moderate size tire — we advise a minimum of 32c or more.
Just remember that you aren’t trying to win any races. If you factor in some extra comfort, your body will thank you for it.
Don't let a language barrier or the fear of the unknown stop you from trying to order a snack, refreshment, or meal from a local vendor. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. You may be surprised at what you can achieve with some ad-hoc sign language and pointing. This can sometimes evolve into a full-blown conversation, albeit a pretty basic one, comprised of a few shared words. But it’s an encounter that will live with you far longer than many others.
A little bravery in communication will help you have a far richer experience while in Vietnam. You have to get beyond the ubiquitous chains of McDonald’s and Starbucks to find real experiences and memories. And it’s in these lesser-known spaces that you can find the most delicious and authentic local fare you're likely to encounter.
Are you planning a family adventure in Vietnam? Our Vietnam Active Family Tour offers a fun-filled itinerary for all ages.
Things You Shouldn’t Do on a Cycling Tour in Vietnam
We feel safe in assuming that you’re traveling a great distance to come to Vietnam for a fun, exciting time and to make lifelong memories.
To ensure this happens, try to avoid these common mistakes...
Don't Try to Do and See Everything
Unless you have a serious amount of time — we’re talking months, not weeks — there is far too much to see and do on a single trip to Vietnam. If you try too hard to squeeze everything in, you will only scratch the surface at best. Even worse, your holiday will become a box-ticking exercise.
Rushing and skimming over everything you see will rob you of deeper connections and experiences in fascinating places. This applies even if you are not on a bike, but especially so if you are.
If you want to make the days a little more comfortable during your trip, check out our Vietnam E-Bike Tour.
Don't Try to Ride Your Maximum Every Day
You may be comfortable riding 100+ kilometers a day, but remember that your cycling holiday in Vietnam is as much about the experiences off the bike as those on it. Our guess is you have traveled all this way to enjoy yourself — so focus on exactly that.
Give yourself some easy days and leeway for non-riding days so you can maintain your energy levels and explore as much off the bike as on it.
Do you really need all those toiletries? Is that extra jacket necessary? While it can get cool in the mountains or at certain times of the year, keep in mind you are riding in the tropics! Think minimal on just about everything — with maybe the exception of socks.
When packing, focus on lightweight gear that will dry quickly so you can hand-wash clothes in the hotel sink and let them dry overnight. There are also plenty of laundry services along the way, so you don't need to take a week's worth of gear. Minimize electrical gadgets to the most useful ones that you are sure to use. If you are self-supported, bring a basic mini first aid kit.
You won’t need to lug around tons of water and snacks either, because you aren’t venturing out into the wilderness. You will almost certainly encounter towns and roadside vendors at regular intervals where you can stop to refuel and rehydrate.
Read our previous article Is Self-Guided for You? to find out if this approach suits your needs.
Don't Bring Every Piece of Bike Equipment You Own
Related to the point above, if you are self-supported you will want to bring some items in case your bike needs tending to. But you don't need to bring the whole tool shed! A multi-tool, puncture repair kit, pocket-size lubricant, and a spare tube are probably all you're likely to need.
Local motorbike mechanics can help with basic tools and repairs if needed, and all for a tiny cost. And you can find bike stores in all the larger towns and cities. The chances are, with a well-maintained bike, you are unlikely to encounter anything more than a flat tire.
Do: Explore the Beauty of Vietnam on a Grasshopper Adventures Bike Tour
Have we inspired you to turn your dreams of a cycling tour in Vietnam into a reality?
If you’re ready for even more travel inspiration, browse our range of bike tours in Vietnam. If you’d like more information about any of our tours or Vietnam as a cycling destination, please feel free to get in touch.