BikeHike Adventures - vacations and travel

Vietnam & Cambodia - Active Indochina

Cambodia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

from $3,699* per person 12 Days October-February, April, May
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: BikeHike Adventures 12 people max
  • Airport near hanoi, vietnam
  • Active & Adventure trips
This double dose of adventure in Vietnam and Cambodia is for those travellers wanting a luxurious experience in South East Asia. We stay in deluxe 4-star boutique hotels and on a Indochina Sailing Junk. The first eight days are in Northern Vietnam, kicking off in Hanoi, where we hike and ride cyclos around the bustling old quarter. We mountain bike through remote villages past mountainsides of terraced rice paddies, trek into the Sapa Region to see the colourful Dzao hill tribe and overnight in a cozy Eco Lodge high in the lush mountains. In Halong Bay we explore a labyrinth of limestone cliffs that rise out of the sea from the comfort of our sailing junk and in our sleek ocean kayaks. The last four days are in Cambodia, visiting Angkor Wat, the epitome of classical Khmer architecture. This 12-day ramble is loaded with comfort, culture, nature and adventure and is a sure bet to satisfy.
Trip Highlights

    Biking through remote villages amongst various ethnic hill tribes
    Cruising through Halong Bay on a Vietnamese Junk Boat
    Exploring Angkor Wat, the epitome of Khmer architecture

Locations visited/nearby

Cambodia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Upon arrival into the Hanoi airport a BikeHike Adventures representative will greet you and transfer you to a comfortable hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you'll likely have free time to relax, get adjusted and explore a bit of Hanoi's bustling Old Quarter. In the evening you'll meet your guide and enjoy a savory spread of Vietnamese dishes for dinner followed by a visit to the Water Puppet Theatre for a performance of this ancient traditional art form. Overnight at a comfortable hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour - Night train to Lao Cai

After a hearty breakfast we'll set off to explore some of Hanoi's historic sites, such as The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, The Ethnology Museum, One Pillar Pagoda and the 11th century Temple of Literature. After lunch, we'll ride in rickshaws, touring the historic 36th Street Old Quarter-this area is a shoppers and photographers paradise as the streets are alive with colourful shops and vendors selling everything imaginable. You'll have free time to dine on your own and prepare for this evening's 9:30pm night train to Lao Cai. The air-conditioned sleeping berths have 4 beds. (B,L)

Day 3: Lao Cai - Sapa (Mountain Biking)

We'll arrive at Lao Cai station very early in the morning and jump on a bus to Sapa. The drive takes a little over an hour, giving us our first glimpses of the stunning vistas and impressive rice terraces. We'll have breakfast at the hotel before setting off for a short walk through Sapa town and exploring the vibrant market. We then gear up for our bike ride out of town towards the Ta Phin valley, winding our way through a Black Hmong hill tribe village in Ma Tra. This is a small village nested in Ta Phin Valley, which was once the most famous opium poppy field in the area. Now the area is famous for vegetable and rice fields. We continue cycling on winding village roads amidst rice terraces to a village of the Red Dzao ethnic minority. If time permits, we can visit the Ta Phin cave. In the afternoon, we'll head back to Sapa and rest before dinner. Overnight at Chau Long Sapa New Wing Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Sapa (Trekking)

This morning we drive to the Golden Stream Valley, stopping at Lao Chai village. We'll wander through the village from the main road and start trekking along the rice fields to Lao Chai (Black H'mong) and Ta Van (Dzay) village. We'll visit some families along the way and learn about their daily lives and fascinating culture. In the afternoon, we trek to Giang Ta Chai (Red Dzao) village. The trekking is a bit challenging as we balance our weight on the ledges of the terraced paddies and a small trail on the steep mountainside. The vegetation is dense as the trail leads up to a peaceful village perched on the Hoang Lien mountainside. We'll have lunch by the stream before continuing to Topas Ecolodge for the night, our home for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Sapa - Night train to Hanoi

After breakfast we'll transfer to Ban Ho, a small village of the Tay people who live in the deep valley below the Ecolodge. Upon arrival to the village we visit one of the local families for tea, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the valley dominated by traditional stilt houses and rice terraces. We then tour the village and follow a stream to a hanging bridge before arriving in Nam Toong Village. In this postcard picture valley, we'll pass some remote villages of the Red Dzao ethnic minority communities set amongst the rice and cornfields. Upon return to Ban Ho we'll feast on a local home cooked lunch before riding back to Sapa. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore. Dinner tonight is in Lao Cai before taking the night train back to Hanoi. (B,L,D)

Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Sailing)

We'll be picked up and transferred to a restaurant for breakfast. At 8.am we'll depart for a drive to Halong Bay through the Red River Delta with a coffee stop on the way. Upon arrival into Halong Bay we'll transfer to the luxury INDOCHINA Junk (a traditional Vietnamese boat) and enjoy a welcome cocktail. We will start cruising at noon while everyone checks into their cabins. For lunch, we'll feast on fresh local seafood while cruising through Holy Bay to see the incredible karst formations. We arrive to Bat Cave (Hang Doi) where we have some options to choose from: visiting a local fishing village OR visiting a cave by rowing a sampan or kayak (kayak is at additional charge) or relaxing with the beauty services offered onboard. Dinner is a luxury Vietnamese buffet served on board. Overnight: Luxury Indochina Sails Junk. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Halong Bay (Sailing and Sea Kayaking)

After breakfast, we'll transfer to a smaller junk for a cruise further into Bai Tu Long Bay. Kayaking Halong Bay is the perfect way to explore the calm emerald waters. The kayak experience is perfect for beginners or experienced paddlers. This exciting getaway combines the perfect amount of physical activity and relaxation. Our kayaks are the ideal way to explore the hidden caves, lagoons, pearl farms and fishing villages. You'll discover a side of mystical Halong Bay that you can't see from a tourist boat. We explore the lush green lagoons of Three Cave Lake where there is time to paddle and enjoy the peacefulness of the bay. We then head to the Three Peach beaches to relax on one of the tiny beaches. Afterwards we'll return to the Indochina Sails to cruise amongst the limestone karts in this World UNESCO Heritage Site then have a sunset dinner. The evening is at leisure to relax under the starlit sky before retiring to the comfort of our cabin. Overnight at Luxury Indochina Sails Junk. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Siem Reap, Cambodia (Optional Yoga, Kayaking)

For those interested, there is a 6am sunrise Meditation and Yoga Session on the Sun Deck. At 7am we'll depart by boat to visit the famous Surprise Cave. Another option is to spend the morning swimming or kayaking (kayak is at additional charge). We will then start cruising in Halong Bay back to Hongai where we will catch our bus back to Hanoi. From here we will connect with our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Upon arrival we'll be transferred to the Angkor Village Resort. (Brunch)

Day 9: Siem Reap - Koh Ker, Cambodia (Walking)

This morning we travel to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples and a mirror image of Angkor Wat but left untouched with roots and trees growing from the ruins. We'll also visit a nearby Angkor-era quarry from where stone was cut to build these massive monuments. We then head into the bush to the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker. The history of Cambodia is riven with dynastic spats and political intrigue and one of the most memorable came in the 10th century when Jayavarman IV (928-942) fell out with his family, stormed off to the northwest and established the rival capital of Koh Ker. We climb to the summit of Prasat Thom, a seven-storey step pyramid, more Mayan than Khmer, with commanding views over the surrounding forest. Nearby is Prasat Krahom or Red Temple, named after the pinkish Banteay Srei-style stone from which it is built. We then return to our camp for the night, spending the night in a luxury safari tent in Koh Ker. (B,L,D)

Day 10: Ko Ker- Siem Reap, Cambodia (Walking)

We rise early to enjoy a sunrise from the summit of the immense pyramid of Prasat Thom. After breakfast, we explore some of the lesser known sites around Koh Ker. There are many more temples in the area, including the five towers of Prasat Ling, each enclosing a giant linga or fertility symbol, the biggest and best found in situ anywhere in Cambodia. We then continue back to Siem Reap. In the afternoon, we visit the pink temple of Banteay Srei, Angkor’s ultimate art gallery. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. Then, we travel to the traditional village of Preah Dak to the 12th century temple of Banteay Samre. Built by King Suryavarman II, the genius behind Angkor Wat, this temple has been extensively restored. The temple is unique in that over-quarrying of sandstone led to the use of laterite for the roofed corridors. The pediments above the inner doors here include some of the most accomplished carving from the Angkor period. Dinner with a traditional show at the Angkor Village Hotel. Overnight at a comfortable hotel in Siem Reap. (B,L,D)

Day 11: Angkor Wat Temples, Cambodia (Walking)

Rising at the crack of dawn, we journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is the most famous temple at Angkor. We enjoy a picnic breakfast amongst the ruins. Afterwards we begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, this intricate carving is a candidate for the world's longest unbroken piece of art. We then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are quite steep, where pilgrims would stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. Finally we see the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat. We continue to the 'Indiana Jones' temple of Ta Prohm. The tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones. Afterwards we head to Angkor Thom, an immense walled city that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. We begin our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating back to the 11th century. Our climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion). We return to the same hotel in Siem Reap and have the rest of the evening at leisure. (B,L)

Day 12: Departure

We'll transfer you to the Siem Reap airport to catch your international flight home or onward in South East Asia. (B)

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