7 Day Northwest Mountains Tour
From Sapa to Hanoi the long way round: this seven day tour is an immersion in the majestic landscapes and diverse cultures of Vietnam’s remote northwestern uplands.
Day 1 Hanoi to Topas Ecolodge (35km, 1300m)
Our adventure in the northwest mountains begins with a transfer from your hotel in Hanoi to just shy of the border town of Lao Cai. Here it’s out of the bus and onto the bikes for the 35km climb up to Topas Ecolodge, our accommodation for tonight. We’ll arrive in time to enjoy the views of the surrounding rice paddy terraces and valleys, farmed by the Hmong and Dao for centuries. Said views are best enjoyed along with a couple of locally brewed craft beers.
Day 2 Sapa Loop (110km, 2500m)
We’ll take the first 17km of today in the bus to avoid the less than ideal road to Sapa town. From here it’s smooth tarmac, and the good news is the first 30km is downhill. Then it’s on to discover some of the gorgeous back country around Sapa as we complete a 110km loop with no shortage of climbing. Tonight we’ll enjoy the bustle of Sapa, with Hmong-inspired cuisine at the Hill Station Signature restaurant, then a stay at a Sapa landmark hotel.
Day 3 Sapa to Than Uyen (100km, 1364m)
Today starts with a climb out of Sapa town to the top of the famed O Quy Ho Pass. Then it’s a screaming 20km descent and a gently undulating ride to Than Uyen, where we find our lodgings for the night at the District Guesthouse. This humble institution is usually only frequented by traveling cadres, and will give you a taste of what it was like in the good old days of Central Planning and ration cards. We’ll find some cold beer and chicken glass noodle soup on the street for dinner tonight.
Day 4 Than Uyen to Nghia Lo (130km, 2500m)
Today’s ride starts with some sustained climbing up to Mu Cang Chai town. The road keeps on heading skywards past Thai minority villages until we hit the Khau Pha Pass, a contender for the most picturesque part of our route. We’ll find some lunch on the way down before we complete the rest of the mostly downhill route to Nghia Lo. This town is a stopping point for rich Hanoites on the road and thus features a few creature comforts. We’ll seek out some honest frontier food and the awesome Bigken minikegs that seem to be all the rage in this friendly town.
Day 5 Nghia Lo to Bac Yen (112km, 1819m)
Another stunning day awaits us. The route from Nghia Lo to Bac Yen features some picture perfect country roads with little traffic. Today’s up-and-down route features significant climbs at around 50km and 100km, including a corker of a mountaintop finish in Bac Yen town. This little-visited place is built along one long strip hugging a narrow ridge. Our accommodation here is another communist-style government guesthouse that has all the basics and some pretty impressive mountain views thrown in. We’ll eat in a local banquet place and hopefully find some more of that Bigken beer.
Day 6 Bac Yen to Mai Chau (154km, 2500m)
Today’s challenging route starts with a descent back down the mountain to a ferry crossing over the Song Do. Then the serious climbing starts. Once we’ve conquered the tough ascent out of the Do River valley we’ll take on the long, more gradual climb up to Moc Chau. From there we make the final push to our destination, the ethnic minority Thai town of Mai Chau. Tonight we’ll be rewarded for our efforts on this long leg with a stay in luxury at the Mai Chau Ecolodge.
Day 7 Mai Chau to Hanoi + transfer (100km, 1200m)
We leave Mai Chau via a fairly serious ascent, enjoy the gravity on the other side, and then find a quiet back road that follows a river framed by limestone cliffs and glimpses of distant mountains. After enjoying the views we’ll find lunch on the road, and then continue to a convenient point outside Hanoi, where we’ll get on the buses to relax and avoid riding in the Hanoi traffic. Tonight we’ll celebrate with a big meal at West Lake, and accommodation will be in a landmark Hanoi hotel.
This tour is available on the below dates:
|Tour||Start Date||End Date|
|7 Day Northwest Mountains||1 Sep 2018||7 Sep 2018|
|9 Sep 2018||15 Sep 2018|
|27 Oct 2018||2 Nov 2018|
|4 Nov 2018||10 Nov 2018|
|12 Nov 2018||18 Nov 2018|
5 of us, guided by Dave, completed an 800km cycle ride over 6 days from Lao Cai in the north of Vietnam via Sapa and back to Hanoi. There were some challenging climbs and some tremendous decents as we cycled through beautiful valleys and spectacular mountain scenery, past paddy fields and tea plantations, and meeting some wonderful Vietnamese people and enjoying their superb hospitality along the way. A fantastic experience, great memories, everything was very well organised by David and we were excellently supported by Tung and Ha, we all thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would recommend Velo-Vietnam to anyone thinking of cycling in that part of the world.
Superb Cycling Experience
Our ride was a 6 day 500 mile ride from the very North of Vietnam back to Hanoi. We cycled through some beautiful mountain scenery, there were some great climbs and awesome descents, and above all we met some wonderful Vietnamese people.
The whole trip was superbly organised by David and we were excellently supported so that we were never without anything especially the magic “Choco-Pies!”
I could not recommend Velo-Vietnam enough – thanks for the memories 🙂 Brendan
Enjoyed a truly memorable three-day
Enjoyed a truly memorable three-day training camp with Vélo Vietnam in the Central Highlands.
Amazing routes, fantastic support, beautiful views, and an unforgettable experience.
Not only do David and Ashley clearly love what they do, they also know the best places to ride and stay. We stayed in hill tribe villages, slept in wooden huts (very comfortable, actually) and rode through some of Vietnam’s beautiful landscapes.
If you are planning a cycling trip in Vietnam, look no further.
Road cycling gives us pleasure, inspiration, solace, culture, camaraderie, therapy and adventure
Boy Velo Vietnam delivers on this. 5 days in the saddle, 550km of riding with 6500m of vertical elevation gained, made up of 2 days looping out of Da Nang beach and 3 days heading west into the jungle to teh Lao border. Ashley Carruthers and David Lloyd’s organisation, hospitality, knowledge of the area and themselves and human beings are second to none. All of us on this trip would highly recommend road riding through Vietnam with velovietnam.cc, a magical experience.
Managed by proper cyclists
Our ride was managed by “proper cyclists” and featured amazing scenery, challenging topography, and logistics and support worthy of a pro team. The riding aside, the trip also exposed us to places far off the beaten track. Thanks Ashley and Dave, see you next year.
A first class experience
I just returned from a 5 day training camp organised by Velo Vietnam. Absolute first class experience. Ashley, David and team were outstanding in their planning and execution. I highly recommend them. I (and others from Hong Kong) will definitely be back. Well done to all.