What You Would Like to Know about Cycling in Vietnam

By Ngoc Tu Dinh - July 5, 2024
What You Would Like to Know about Cycling in Vietnam

Cycling in Vietnam is one of the most exciting experiences that promises you breathtaking scenery, wonderful people, culture, and adventure.

Vietnam is a bicycle-friendly country with beautiful winding roads, peaceful and picturesque landscapes as well as hospitable locals. If you are a cycling enthusiast or want to experience cycling in Vietnam, read on until the end of this article for the best guidelines.

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1. Why Choose to Cycle in Vietnam?

Vietnam offers a plethora of terrain

Vietnam's geographical diversity is truly remarkable, and its impact can be felt while you are cycling. This spectrum of terrain is a fascinating mix of rugged crags, expansive flatlands, undulating hills, and seamless descents, all clustered together. Every day of your cycling tour will be filled with excitement and adventure, unlike the monotony that can be found in less diverse landscapes.

Vietnam's geographical diversity

Vietnam offers a delightful blend of urban centers and rural landscapes. When exploring Southeast Asia, you'll find that most countries are characterized by bustling cities and their surrounding suburbs. However, Vietnam is blessed with a diverse range of villages, towns, and cities that are scattered throughout the country. These urban areas are interspersed with pockets of untouched countryside, giving you a different point of view of Vietnamese scenery.

Read more: Best Time to Visit Vietnam by Region and Month

Landscapes make you “Wow”

Landscapes make you wow

As mentioned earlier, Vietnam has a wonderful cluster of typography that will never get you bored while cycling. These distinctive terrains make way for various landscapes to witness. If you cycle up north, your eyes are fed with towering mountain peaks, mesmerizing cloudbeds, and winding routes that lead you to beautiful villages. The central area of Vietnam is filled with coastal villages and cities that embrace the beauty of Vietnam's sea and sand. Going down to the South, where lies the mighty Mekong River, cyclists often love exploring the provinces in the delta, through rice paddies, fruit orchards, and homefarms. It is amazingly peaceful and serene that you may want to experience cycling in Vietnam.

Great way to explore authentic Vietnamese local life


There are places easily accessed by car or bus which might get very touristy due to the nice location. Therefore, to discover the authentic and raw picture of daily life requires you to go deeper into the village, where only 2-wheeled vehicles like bikes or motorbikes can get in. By this kind of transportation, you might have chances not only to experience stunning sceneries on your own but also to immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich culture and people’s hospitality. The everyday Vietnamese lifestyle beautifully incorporates traditional art forms, foods, and clothing styles. It creates a truly memorable cultural immersion experience that feels authentic and genuine.

Vietnam is 2-wheeled friendly

Vietnam's rich history is familiar with the image of a humble bicycle, which served as the primary mode of transportation for the majority of the last century. Additionally, during the Vietnam War, this two-wheeled vehicle even played a significant role as a tactical device. Maybe this is one of the factors that contribute to the local favor of bikes, particularly the older generation, motivating cyclists to explore the country.

Vietnam is 2-wheeled friendly

These days, Vietnam has been developing, motorbikes and cars possess a large number of commuting vehicles but bicycles are still a favorite mode of transportation in the countryside, suburban areas, and even in bustling cities. 

Speaking of bikes’ merits, just imagine how convenient it is to navigate through the country's infrastructure, with its narrow alleyways in urban areas and winding single-track roads in the countryside. This is the reason why a significant portion of the country becomes effortlessly accessible for cyclists. Traveling by bicycle is not only environmentally friendly, but it also allows you to explore Vietnam without causing much disruption. The locals appreciate the sight of a group of friendly cyclists rather than a noisy tour bus polluting their village with exhaust fumes.

Vietnamese cuisine is perfect for cyclists

Proper hydration is absolutely crucial for those embarking on cycling adventures, especially long ones. For cyclists exploring Vietnam, this is fantastic news! Vietnamese cuisine is heavily centered around savory broths and carb-loaded dishes, providing the perfect fuel for your adventures. There are plenty of Vietnamese noodle soup dishes that are perfect for the cycling lifestyle. One popular example is Pho, known for its flavorful broth, fresh rice noodles, and nutritious meats and vegetables. These dishes offer a great boost of energy and nutrients, which is absolutely what you need as a cycling traveler.

Cuisine is perfect

Read more: Top 10 Delicious Vietnamese Dishes You Should Know

2. Best place for cycling in Vietnam

2.1. Northern provinces (Sapa, Mai Chau, Moc Chau)

northern provinces

Sapa is located in the mountainous northern region of Vietnam. The location is absolutely breathtaking, with ethereal clouds floating gracefully amidst majestic mountain ranges. As you embark on the biking route, get ready to witness the hypnotizing transformation of nature as you ascend to higher altitudes. Prepare to cross paths with fascinating ethnic minority communities and brace yourself for the exhilarating challenge of navigating treacherous trails. With its unique mountainous terrain, the rice paddies in this area are carefully crafted into terraces that gracefully follow the contours of the hills. During the harvest season, these terraces turn into a breathtaking sea of golden yellow.

To come to Sapa, you are likely to catch an overnight train/bus/private transfer from Hanoi and reach there after 5-8 hours depending on your choice. If you prefer other places with similar landscapes of rice paddy fields and mountains but closer to Hanoi, then there are Mai Chau, Moc Chau.

2.2. Hanoi

cycling in hanoi

Hanoi is a bustling city, with a lot of motorbikes and cars you can see in this area. However, roaming by bicycle in Hanoi can be a delightful experience. The best place to visit by bike in Hanoi is the West Lake area, the Old Quarters, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. If you crave adventure, let yourself be immersed by the alleys in the central areas. You are likely to find something very poetic, peaceful, cozy, or cheerful in Hanoi. 

Where to rent a bike if you don't have one? Head to the West Lake area (Nguyen Dinh Thi or Trich Sai Street) for a ~2$/3-hour ride.

Book Hanoi Bike Tour

2.3. Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is an absolute haven for cycling enthusiasts. With its stunning tourist attractions, there are also beautiful biking paths that wind through the area, allowing you to hop on a bike and take in the breathtaking scenery. This adventure is sure to take you off the beaten path. Exploring Ninh Binh on a bicycle allows you to discover a wider array of places compared to trekking. Experiencing the joy of biking, relishing the refreshing breeze, and exploring the enchanting temples, churches, and villages is truly a remarkable adventure. Cycling through the villages is a great opportunity to connect with the locals. It is clearly seen people commuting on their bikes or working in the paddy fields. Take the time to engage with them and have a conversation. Experience the locals' warm hospitality and genuine friendliness, gaining insights into their daily lives. 

cycling in ninh binh

Book Ninh Binh Cycling Tour

2.4. Hoi An

If you're looking for a laid-back cycling adventure, Hoi An is definitely worth considering. Exploring the rural areas and venturing into the city on a bike tour offers a seamless blend of nature sightseeing and a firsthand experience of Vietnamese rural landscapes and lifestyles. Immerse yourself in the astonishing beauty of Vietnam as you witness the picturesque rice paddies, majestic water buffalo, and charming bamboo houses and ranges. Hoi An city, on the other hand, presents a unique perspective: a city that was once bustling and prosperous, now exudes charm and beauty with a vibrant scenery of lanterns. Another attraction you should ride your bike through is Hoi An Ancient Street, which is filled with yellow vintage houses, and beautiful trees on two sides of the street.

cycling in hoi an

Book Hoi An Cycling Tour

2.5. Dalat

Da Lat is a city located on the Langbian Plateau in the beautiful Central Highlands of Vietnam. For those with a taste for adventure, cycling enthusiasts often opt for a thrilling journey to the bottom of Langbiang Mountain. From there, they embark on an exhilarating ride along the enchanting forest trails, leading them to the breathtaking destinations of Victory Lake and the romantic Valley of Love. It means that you'll conquer challenging uphill and exhilarating downhill rides, traversing diverse landscapes and immersing yourself in the beauty of nature. In addition, you might come across some beautiful waterfalls during your journey.

cycling in dalat

2.6. Mekong Delta

When it comes to cycling in Vietnam, the road in the Mekong Delta (South of Vietnam) offers a much more different experience compared to the mountainous parts. The scenery is absolutely heart-stopping with rice paddy fields stretching as far as the eyes can see. Along the way, you have a view of the many canals, rivers, and the countryside. Because there are not bridges everywhere, there is a good chance that you will have to cross the water with a small pond. Exploring by bike allows you to discover charming riverside towns, vibrant shades of green, and an array of vibrant floating fruit orchards along the rivers. You can combine cycling with a visit to floating markets, local factories, villages, temples, and fruit orchards.

cycling in mekong delta

3. Tips for cyclists in Vietnam

To enjoy the best time cycling in Vietnam, here are a few tips for you:

  • Research the place beforehand: yes, this is one important thing before going anywhere. Especially for cyclists in Vietnam, you’d better notice the weather conditions and the topography of the destinations to decide if your level of health and cycling skills can fit it.
  • Don't overpack: Cycling wastes a lot of energy. Even in Vietnam, when it’s scorching summer, riding only for a short distance can make you feel exhausted. Therefore, put less burden on other parts of your body by packing light for the best experience.
  • Keeping hydrated: water X3, please! It's ridiculously hot and humid in the summer. Bring your refillable bottle to keep you hydrated anytime.
  • The weather changes: the weather in Vietnam can be very unpredictable, so you should bring necessary things with you such as a light raincoat, a hat, an anti-UV light jacket, a waterproof pair of shoes, sunglasses, etc.
  • Eat only cooked food: when you cycle, you need to be in good condition of health. Any digestion disorder can irritate and pause your wonderful exploration. Therefore, wherever you go, eat only what is cooked completely and served hot so that no bacteria can harm your stomach. Sometimes you don't have a lot of choices but a bowl of noodle soup is basic to any place in Vietnam.

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Ngoc Tu Dinh
Travel Expert
I'm Ngoc Tu Dinh, a local travel expert from Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam. Exploring Vietnam has been my passion for years, and I've spent 10 years as a tour guide throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. I hope that my understanding of Vietnamese culture, allow me to offer a unique perspective in this blog. Currently, I am based at IZITOUR. If you're planning a trip to Vietnam, I'm here to help you make the most of it! Feel free to leave your comments at the end of the article. Your feedback is important, and I look forward to responding to you.

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