Cycling Ha Giang in the Northeast region of Vietnam offers a glimpse into a bygone age.
Until recently, the Vietnamese government restricted travel to this area, so it has escaped the impacts associated with mass tourism. During the past two decades, as Vietnam’s lowlands and urban centers have teetered on tracks of globalization and economic development, much of this distant 5,000-square-mile province has remained detached and frozen in the past. With its uniquely preserved tribal culture (nearly 90 percent of the population is ethnic minorities), Ha Giang is one of those rare places on Earth that hasn’t been impacted by modernity.
Terraced rice paddies and primary forests provide an attractive canvas as guests cycle through vertiginous passes on the road less travelled. The elevation profile is immense, and the riding averages 60-100 miles per day, so this tour leans towards the ‘epic’ scale of the Ride & Seek tour portfolio. The 10-day tour is slated for October 16-25, 2016 and starts at $3,350 USD.
This enigmatic landscape along the Chinese border–a mythical combination of conical limestone peaks and deep, craterous valleys–is probably the most striking in Vietnam. Considered the “last frontier” for adventure travel in Vietnam, Ha Giang already has an almost legendary status among independent travelers. With mountain passes hanging onto cliff-faces high above roaring rivers, and back-roads threading through forests of limestone pinnacles, it is an ideal territory for an adventure cycling tour.
“We were the first tour operator to run a road bike tour in this region of Vietnam, and it is not one for the faint hearted,” said Ride & Seek co-founder Dylan Reynolds. “Guests will experience stunning landscapes, great people, phenomenal food, and most importantly monumental climbs.”
“Vietnam Untouched” Highlights:
- Experience the road less travelled in an area that until very recently was closed off to tourists
- Savor the great food prepared by our team of chefs—be it impromptu picnics or buffet extravaganzas
- Interact with villagers as they line the streets to cheer you on
- Cycle one of the great rides to Dong Van and the Chinese border
- Experience the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, arguably Asia’s most atmospheric capital
- Bike into the clouds on a colossal 25 km climb to the remarkable town of Sapa
- Interact with the local hill tribe people that dominate the population demographic–there are 22 ethnic minorities in the region
- Relax at the end of the day with a massage from one of our accompanying masseurs
Odds of Encountering Children: Low. When asked if the tour is adults only, a representative replied, “Not necessarily, but the kids would needed to be borderline expert cyclists: 60-100 miles per day.”
– Photos by Philip Le Masurier; text courtesy Sublime PR