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Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hue

Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hue – 10 days

The famous Ho Chi Minh Trail was a labyrinth of complex truck routes, foot and cycle paths and river transportation. In memory of the important role it played during the Vietnam War, a new highway has been built.  In just under two weeks, this tour goes from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) via some of Vietnam’s most important historical and cultural sites.  The breathtaking landscapes vary from towering cloud-shrouded peaks, shimmering rice paddy fields, lush jungle forests and long stretches of pristine white sandy beaches. Traveling by bike, boat, bus and airplane gives visitors the best opportunity to discover Vietnam’s rich diversity, and pays homage to this fascinating support route.

Are you ready for cycling from Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hue?

Hanoi – Mai Chau - Chau – Ngoc Lac – Yen Cat (Nhu Xuan) – Tan Ky – Do Luong – Kim Lien – Vinh- – Pho Chau – Huong Khe - PhongNha National Park - Dong Hoi – KheSanh - A Luoi – Hue.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arriving – Hanoi– Mai Chau
07.30: Travelloops tour guide and driver meet you at your hotel in Hanoi.

We depart Hanoi early for Mai Chau and the drive is just superb. From the top of Cun Mountain, one can admire the panorama of Mai Chau’s green valley with stilt houses dotting the landscape. An early lunch will be served at PoomCoong village before jumping on our bikes and cycle on a mixture of good single-track paths and undulating rough jeep trails to the Thai village of CunPheo.
The views are remarkable as we pass through villages, hot springs, suspension bridges and across rice paddies. Overnight in Buoc Village Mai Chau.

Cycling: approx. 30-35km
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Lunch & Dinner included

Day 2: Mai Chau – Ngoc Lac – Yen Cat (Nhu Xuan)
An early morning start allows us to beat the heat of the day. Our journey takes us away from the river and through the range of mountains that stretch from Mai Chau to Cuc Phuong to Hoa Lu.
There are great photo ops of the always present and looming Karst limestone cliffs and lush vegetation. Although we have tarmacadam all the way, the riding can get a bit tough due to the undulating terrain. At Ngoc Lac, we get on bus and transfer our weary legs to Nhu Xuan. Overnight in a local hotel in Nhu Xuan.

Cycling: approx. 60-70km
Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 3: Nhu Xuan – Tan Ky – Do Luong – Kim Lien – Vinh
Today the ride will be on the newly built two-lane Ho Chi Minh Highway. There is not a lot of traffic however, and the road makes for smooth fast riding. For those who prefer it, there is always the older highway of dirt and gravel that weaves around the new one and allows for plenty of exploring possibilities. A must-see en-route is the birthplace of president Ho Chi Minh at Kim Lien village. This province has a reputation for producing charismatic revolutionary leaders; for not only Ho Chi Minh was born here but also Phan Boi Chau – another fervent anti-colonialist. From Kim Lien, we’ll most likely transfer by bus or car to Vinh city.

(Note due to the total distance some sections will be transfer by car, depending on the strength of the group and cycling conditions)

Cycling: approx. 70km
Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 4: Vinh – Pho Chau – Huong Khe
After breakfast, the shuttle will bring us back to Ho Chi Minh Highway. We disembark at Pho Chau, where our cycling begins. The roads today wind their way through lush jungle and beautiful villages nestled under the shadow of the historic Truong Son Mountain range. We reach Huong Khe at the end of the day; a remote town in Nghe An province. Overnight in standard guesthouse.

Cycling: approx. 68 km
Difficulty:  Moderate/Challenging
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 5: Huong Khe – PhongNha National Park
After a relaxing breakfast, we continue riding on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. From Huong Khe the mountains soar skyward and the road winds its way along the hillsides. The landscape is amazing, the road tranquil. We ride up to 80km and then transfer to PhongNha National Park. The park contains one of the most spectacular caves in Vietnam, which was formed approximately 250 million years ago and was used as a hospital and ammunition depot during the war. The entrance still shows marks of aircraft attacks. There are community projects underway with Flora and Fauna International and it may be possible to visit village initiatives and learn more about the forests. Overnight in a standard National Park Guest House.

Cycling: approx. 84 km
Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 6: PhongNha National Park – Dong Hoi
After breakfast we’ll visit the spectacular PhongNha cave by boat and then wander through the cavern, past ancient foundations of Cham ruins. The stalactites and stalagmites here are breathtaking. Exploring the cave generally takes a few hours and then we return to the hotel. Here we hop back on the bikes and travel toward the small town of Dong Hoi.

Cycling: approx. 48km
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 7: Dong Hoi – KheSanh
Branching temporarily from the Ho Chi Minh highway, we drive approximately 100km along a flat stretch of Highway 1 to visit the Vinh Moc Tunnels; a 2.8km labyrinth where the Vietnamese hid from American troops during the Vietnam War. The villagers of Vinh Moc built the tunnels in 1966 when they were being heavily bombarded. 30km from Dong Ha we pick up cycling again across the DMZ, (better known as the 17th Parallel). The road is quite flat and makes for good cruising! Enroute we will pass relics left over from the war and end up in the Vietnam/Laos border town of KheSanh, where some of the bloodiest battles took place. Overnight in a hotel in KheSanh.

Cycling: approx. 85 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 8: KheSanh – A Luoi
Start this morning with a visit to the KheSanh combat base where relics of the war are exhibited. There is also an airstrip in the area. Then ride through spectacular scenery, mainly downhill, from the Laos border to the Dakrong River. Cross the river by bridge and ride along the waterway to what was considered the southern part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Again, enjoy a traffic-free road with rolling terrain, a nice contrast to the flat plains of the previous day’s ride. Overnight in A Luoi.

Cycling: approx. 70 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 9:  A Luoi – Hue
After breakfast, we leave the Ho Chi Minh Trail for good and pedal 65km for Hue. The ride is relatively easy as the terrain is flat. The landscape is dotted with quaint villages, jungles and rivers. We finish our ride at the Bach Ho Bride and hop on a bus to transfer the last 12km to Hue.

Cycling: approx. 65km
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 10: Biking Hue
The quiet country lanes and picturesque monuments make Hue an ideal place for cycling. Morning cycle through bamboo groves and small villages to the Thanh Toan covered bridge. The cycling route leads further on local paths, through rural village, rice fields, to Sam market with interesting daily activities and Thien Lam pagoda.

Cycling: approx. 25-30km
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 11: Depart Hue
Enjoy the breakfast at hotel then will be free at your leisure until transfer to airport for your onward flight.

Meal: Breakfast

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