Bike Cambodia to central Vietnam
An unforgettable overland adventure by bike from the famous ruins of Angkor in the heart of the former Khmer Kingdom, to the ancient trade port of Hoi An, exploring the remote and intriguing lands of Cambodia and Vietnam by bicycle in-between.
This Bike tour runs from Siem Reap to Hoi An.
This adventure links two of the region's famous locations, the Angkor temples of the Khmer Empire with the historic UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An. The journey between offers an amazing diversity of landscapes and overnight stops: from the Mekong Basin and remote areas near the Lao border, to the area surrounding the Ho Chi Minh Trail; from the Vietnamese highland coffee country, to the beautiful coast. Great bike touring, activities and an amazing array of scenery awaits.
The most recently opened border between Cambodia and Vietnam sits in the triangle area where the Laos, Cambodian and Vietnam borders meet. We make use of this strategic location to offer a satisfying and different cycle route between these two iconic destinations. This tour shows you the great, non-touristy areas, off the beaten track and with some very memorable bike touring in between.
For tours commencing from Dec 20 to Jan 5 there is a peak season surcharge of 15% on the price of this tour due to hotel rate increases at this time of year.
14 days duration
765 km distance
Difficulty: Somewhat challenging
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
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Top quality, well maintained Cannondale (Cambodia) and GT (Vietnam) mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour, fitted with hybrid tyres for touring. Handlebar bags for your personal possessions and a comfortable saddle are also provided, with a women's specific version available.
In the larger cities and established tourist centres we use stylish and comfortable hotels and resorts. In the smaller destinations we use simple hotels with air-conditioning and private bathroom, however in the truly off-the-beaten-track locations we will stay in guesthouses with shared facilities. We stay here because the ride is worth it!
Experienced English speaking, local leaders will host you on this trip who are well spoken, very well informed, and charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local leaders who have a passion for their countries and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country and will help you to connect with the villagers you meet along the way.
For groups of 5+ people a bike mechanic will join the group. Whilst not a master of linguistics, our technical team always make an effort to form a bond with the group and provide not just mechanical support, but additional encouragement to those who may find themselves at the back of the group. Our drivers support the group by ensuring that the freshest fruit and tastiest snacks are picked up along the way.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available in case you want a break from riding, and to carry your luggage.
This is as much a food adventure as it is a bike one. Whilst Cambodian cuisine may not be as famous as Vietnamese, it offers some subtle, understated flavours. There is a strong emphasis on fish and fresh vegetables in the traditional diet, but contemporary Cambodian cuisine offers a wide range of options and surely has something for everyone. Vietnamese food is now known around the world, but what may not be so well known is that there is a great deal of variety within the national menu. In the southern area where we will be, a lot of seafood is available and also freshwater fish. In reality though, the Delta produces such a mind boggling amount of food that the range of choice may endanger any hopes you had of losing weight on this bike tour. Our guides are experts at introducing you to the finest food on both sides of the border. Included meals are listed in the day by day itinerary, and drinking water is always included with meals. Any soft or alcoholic drinks are not included and will be at your own expense.
Energy bars and local snacks are provided to keep your energy levels up for the riding, and clean water and electrolyte drinks are always available to keep you well hydrated.
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home. We also provide a Grasshopper drink bottle as an extra memento.
4 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of 4 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
This tour is 100% operated by Grasshopper Adventures. The guides are our full time employees, the hotels booked by our local office staff, and the bikes are part of our fleet of over 300 bikes. We are not outsourcing any element of this tour so you can be assured of 100% Grasshopper quality.
Travel by any means results in some impact to the countries, communities and environments we travel. This trip includes a conservation donation to the ACCB who run the wildlife center that we visit. In addition to this, our Cambodian support vehicles on 100% Bio-Diesel from Naga Biofuels. This is not a crop based product, the fuel made entirely from recycled cooking oil.
for Cycle Angkor to Hoi An
Sunset Biking at Angkor
Early check-in at 13:00 is available. After a chance to unpack, the group convene for the first, gentle ride of the tour. We start with a bike fitting at our Siem Reap headquarters then ride up along the Siem Reap river, stopping at the Royal Gardens, to reach the Angkor Heritage area. We take the back trails and paths, stop briefly at Angkor Wat itself, then the iconic Bayon temple. We conclude the ride at the moat of Angkor Thom and take a peaceful cruise on a rowboat with Canapes and bubbly to celebrate the start of the adventure. Dinner is had back in town and there is time for a trip briefing in amongst all the action.
Note: If you have not visited Angkor previously, we highly recommend arriving earlier to visit the key sites and perhaps some lesser known ones. This tour program only includes a very short visit, so a more involved day tour might be a good way to fill in a day or two before this trip starts.
Cycle to Kbal Spean, Transfer to Anglong Veng
Our ride route today takes us on brilliant back trails and secondary roads through landscapes of coconut and palm trees and into a dry zone leading up to just near the Kulen Range. Here we find Banteay Srey, known as the lady temple. After taking some time to see the intricate and unique carvings here in orange-pink sandstone, we push on to the waterfall at Kbal Spean. Here, after a short walk, we can enjoy the cool water of the falls and the shade. In the late afternoon we visit the ACCB Wildlife Conservation Centre, a facility that is home to rescued wildlife that is rare throughout Cambodia now. Here we see enormous birds, cheeky Langur monkeys, gibbons and we can often hear Hornbills overhead. A drive of one hour takes us to the small town of Anlong Veng where a simple, but adequate hotel awaits us.
Cycle to Sra Em
This morning you have the opportunity to try a couple of typical Cambodian breakfast items, but we'll have the essentials to hand also. The ride starts out with a ride through town and a short diversion to the now abandoned home of the infamous Ta Mok, one of the senior Khmer Rouge figures. From there, we'll find a secondary road that takes us east, with the Dangrek Mountains on our left for most of the morning. About halfway through, we join a more substantial road, but still with minimal traffic. The areas through which we pass have only been opened up in recent years by this road and we see some communities starting to put down roots, often Military families who have been encouraged to move here as part of a border protection presence. Sra Em is the commercial hub for these communities and where our comfortable hotel with a pool is located.
Cycle & Walk to Explore Preah Vihear
Today we ride, then hike up an ancient staircase to Prasat Preah Vihear, a temple and a location that has been a source of angst and tension between Cambodia and its larger, richer neighbour: Thailand. In 1962 an ICJ ruling confirmed Cambodia as the owner of the temple, but tension has continued over disputed land surrounding the temple. Nonetheless, the temple is now in a peaceful situation, set atop the mountain range and offering views out over the plains. It is a beautifully designed, ancient Hindu temple, built during the time of the Khmer empire. We climb to the top to explore the temple, then descend to our accommodation for the evening.
Cycle & Transfer to Stung Treng
We start off riding today on a recently opened, dirt road which will eventually form part of the Dragon Road, a perimeter trail that will run from the Vietnamese border in the Northeast to the Gulf Of Thailand in the Southwest. As the day wears on, we board the support vehicle for the drive into our destination of Stung Treng. This is a sleepy town at the junction of the Mekong and the Srepok Rivers. The riverbank is a great place to see out the day with some snacks and curious conversation with the locals.
Kayak the Mekong
It's time to trade our bikes for floating craft as we paddle instead of pedal. We first drive north towards the Lao border where our kayaks await. This is a highly enjoyable and memorable experience. Paddling downstream, pass through the flooded forests that are made possible by the river's passage over falls to the north that oxygenate the water and make a range of plant, bird and fish life possible in this area. We paddle for around four hours, but thanks to the currents of the Mekong, you can take it easy on the paddle and just enjoy maneuvering the craft through the forest. We finish up a little after lunch and then travel by motor-boat to reach the exit point. We then finish off the day on our bikes as we ride along a beautiful section of Mekong trail back to Stung Treng.
Cycle to Ban Lung
We start out in a boat today as we shuttle up the Srepok River, one of the Mekong tributaries. After an hour and a bit on the boat, we meet the road and then take to bikes again for the ride up into the highlands of Rattanakiri. The hills are certainly not steep, but there are quite a few so today can be a challenging but rewarding ride. We finish off at the Rattanakiri Lodge in Ban Lung where the sense of style through the property, bringing a sense of old world charm.
Free Day in Ban Lung
Ban Lung being the capital of Rattanakiri Provice is becoming a more lively place as the population grows. The local market is bound to be an interesting place where often one can see more unusual produce than you might on the flatlands. The province is known for its forests and minority peoples. The unfortunate fact is that there has been deforestation over many years, so things are not as green as they used to be. There are still some nice walks though and probably the easiest way to take these is to do an organised trek out of the hotel. Alternatively you may just like to rest and make good use of the pool.
Cycle & Transfer to Kontum
We have a very different ride today on a well-sealed surface as we ride up further into the highlands to the Vietnamese border. We are now in the neighbourhood of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and while we won't actually ride the trail due to its challenging terrain, we will get a feel for the kinds of conditions that it takes in. A sleepy border post sits in wait for us to enter Vietnam. After farewelling the Cambodian support crew, we continue in the vehicle to reach Kon Tum. This area is home to a number of ethnic minorities with their own traditional farming techniques. We take an afternoon ride to get a feel for the area which is also known for coffee production.
Explore the Highlands
We will spend another night in Kontum tonight and will spend the day exploring the trails and backroads of the area. We'll see a coffee plantation and visit some minority villages where we can learn a little about the tribal customs and beliefs and some of their farming practices.
Cycle to Quang Ngai
Today is a ride to remember. A 1 hour vehicle transfer to set us up with an achievable distance, then some great riding. After a few rolling hills, we get into a thrilling descent, taking us down out of the hills onto the flatlands. Some amazing views can be seen over the side of the mountains and on a clear day you may even see the ocean. After our descent we are in very different country with rice becoming the main crop and the density of villages increasing. We'll enjoy lunch here in the town of Ba To before transferring the remainder of the distance to the bustling regional capital of Quang Ngai in the late afternoon.
Cycle to Tam Ky
As Quang Ngai's working populace head on their commute by motor-scooter, we will be heading for the coast. Along the way, we encounter a point of tragic history at the My Lai Massacre site. It was here that one of the most barbaric incidents of the US-Vietnam war took place and when uncovered by the media had a profound effect on US public opinion over the war. After learning a little about this, we continue on a ride along the coast, a very different feel to our previous days. Tam Ky is a smaller town with a pleasant hotel and great local food.
Cycle & Boat to Hoi An
Saving the best for last! This is a great ride to finish with. We first ride quiet roads right along the coast, passing tiny fishing communities and village markets and schools. Late morning, we arrive at a river where a boat is waiting to take us into our destination. We arrive by boat into the UNESCO listed Hoi An Old Town, an introduction that few people have the pleasure of experiencing. A short pedal has us at our final lunch, then it is farewell and off to your hotel for some well earned, relaxation time.
Tour Concludes in Hoi An
The tour concludes today. Breakfast is included and checkout time at the hotel is noon. We will have a car waiting to take you to the nearby airport in Da Nang, but you may wish to stay on in this lovely little town, Hoi An. We have some excellent day rides if you haven't yet had your fill.
What's the Riding Like?
Some hilly terrain
12 days riding
On this bike tour the terrain is a mixture of sealed and unsealed secondary roads. We rarely cycle on main roads or highways and if we do, it's only for a few kilometres to get to the next turn. The majority of the ride is on small roads through the villages with minimal traffic. The road surface can at times be rough and broken, depending on seasonal conditions. In most cases, there is a comfortable line through the puddles or potholes and it makes for more interesting riding than a perfect road. There are some hills involved in this tour. These are a maximum of 8km long at any time. Most are shorter at around 3-4km in length. The gradient would not exceed 10% at any time. There is one day in excess of 100km in distance. The mixture of adventurous cycling, kayaking and travel in relatively remote areas, makes this a slightly more challenging tour than most of our Cambodian adventures, so we have rated it at four out of six stars. With the use of the support vehicle riders who might find this ride a little too challenging can still experience the adventure that this tour presents by using the support vehicle when the conditions get too hard.
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