Cycling Tour & Riding a Basket Boat in Hoi An, Vietnam
The Vietnamese love their two-wheelers, be it the ones with engines or the pedal-powered ones.
There are literally millions of bicycles on the roads of Vietnam, and this can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that Vietnamese drivers are used to having bikes around them on the road, therefore are generally more considerate towards cyclists. The bad thing is, for people who are not used to riding bicycles on busy roads, it can be nerve-wracking.
If you’re one of those people, yet would still like to experience the country on two wheels, I recommend taking a tour. You will be spoiled for choice. Every hotel/hostel is littered with brochures advertising cycling tours, from short excursions to multi-day cross-country expeditions. Most are combined with other activities, such as visits to farms or boat rides.
When I was in Hoi An, I chose Heaven & Earth Traditional Countryside Bike Tour because:
- They were the only one that offered an afternoon tour to the countryside. I am so not a morning person.
- The price was the most suitable for my budget.
- It included the basket boat experience
Heaven & Earth Tours was founded by Pascal (a French expat) and his Vietnamese wife, Thu. It was born out of a simple idea: to offer a variety of bike tours to hidden places in and around Hoi An, away from the well-trodden paths.
Ranging from 9 km – 50 km, the bike tours take you to the countryside areas in Hoi An where the inhabitants are often poor and tourism is pretty much non-existent.
By organizing these tours, Heaven & Earth has been able to develop activities, partnerships, and provide regular income to the families in need. Since their first year of operation in 2010, the company has donated more than USD15,000 to the people who live in the areas where the tours take place.
How to Book a Cycling Tour
You can make a booking by contacting them directly:
Address: 61, Ngo Quyen St., Hoi An, Vietnam (Opening Hours: 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
Tel: +84 (0)235 3 864 362 / Mobile: +84 (0)126 8 422 260
Or you can get your hotel receptionist to make the booking for you. There are also other companies you could try. Check out this one on Get Your Guide:
What to Expect on a Cycling Tour in Hoi An
This tour is easy, and even suitable for families with kids. You will cycle on small, mostly flat paths with very few cars. The only time I had to get off and push my bike was on an old wooden bridge that took us across a river. Some of the other participants continued cycling on it, but I simply didn’t trust my skill on the rickety structure.
9 km (5.5 miles). To those of you who are not used to cycling, this might sound like a lot, but you won’t actually feel it, as you will be making several stops along the way.
USD 19 for adults / USD 15 for children (6 – 12 years old). Children below 6 years old can join for free as passengers. The price does not include drinks or insurance.
Things to Bring
- Sunscreen lotion
- Hat or cap
- Cash for food/drinks/souvenirs
- Windbreaker for the months of November – January
The tour begins at 1.00 pm at their office, close to the river. There, you will sign an indemnity form, get your helmet, and listen to a quick briefing. If there are many of you, you’ll be divided into groups.
From the office, you will walk a short distance to the river, where a ferry will be waiting. The ferry will take you on an hour-long ride on the Thu Bon river to arrive at Duy Vinh island.
You will then start to cycle around the island, making a few pit stops along the way. There will be two guides in each group — one will lead the way, while the other will bring up the rear to ensure that stragglers (like me) won’t get lost.
In the course of the tour, you will learn how a traditional basket boat is made, how to weave straw sleeping mats, and how to produce rice wine from scratch (you’ll get to try some!). The rice wine factory also hosts a family of pigs.
After that, you will go to a river where you’ll get to try your hand at rowing the round-shaped basket boat. It’s harder than you think! A normal boat has an aerodynamic shape that makes it easier to move forward or backward. But with a hemispherical boat, it’s not quite as simple.
Anyway, you don’t have to worry — a very feisty (and flirty) old lady will guide you through the process.
Your last stop will be a local cafe/grocery store where you will take a break while sampling some local snacks. After that, you will be taken back on a boat to the starting point. The tour ends at around 6:00 pm.
Additional Info on Hoi An Cycling Tour
- The tour is available every day, all year round.
- Maximum 10 pax per group (unless otherwise requested).
- Helmets are available upon request.
- You can choose between a city bike and a hybrid bike.
- Children’s bicycles are available for 6 years old and older.
- Tandem bicycles and bicycles with child carriers are available upon request.
- The tour is also available in French (please indicate your preference when making your reservation)
- The fee does not include insurance. Although cycling is a low-risk activity, accidents can happen anytime and to anyone. Make sure you’re insured and that your insurance covers activities like cycling. World Nomads offers one of the most comprehensive travel insurance policies out there.
Final Thoughts on Hoi An Cycling Tour
Indeed, the best way to see Vietnam is on two wheels. And this tour was the perfect introduction to that. Although I’m not that great on a bicycle, I felt very comfortable throughout the tour because there was almost no traffic at all except for the occasional motorbikes.
The side activities were great, but the highlight to me was the exquisite landscape of rice fields that we passed through. It was truly an authentic Vietnamese experience.
Have you tried cycling anywhere in Vietnam? How did it go? Share your experience in the comment section below.
You May Also Like
Pingback:I Visited Vietnam Twice and HATED It – Here’s My Story – Ummi Goes Where?
Seronok betul tengok Ummi cycling . Dapat menjelajah di bumi Vietnam .. tumpang kagum. Banyak info dan knowledge yang K.Sal dapat dari sini tau
Terima kasih, Kak Sal, Semoga info2 ni bermanfaat untuk kak Sal jika berkunjung ke Vietnam suatu masa nanti. 🙂
menarik jugak cycle experienced kan. your itinerary semua best2. once dah boleh travel, kena baca balik. haha dah bookmark
Thanks, Bae. Jangan lupa baca balik ya, bila dah boleh travel nanti 🙂
Best btul dapat berbasikal kan. I would like to try this tour if I travel to Ho Chi Minh again. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. Awesome post!
Thank you, Fadima! Cycling in Ho Chi Minh City would undoubtedly be a lot more challenging than in Hoi An, but if you think you can, go for it! I’d love to try it too, if there’s a reputable tour I could join.
I never thought cyling would be a good idea to explore a new place until I read your post. Glad you’ve enjoyed it sis 😃
Thank you, Lea! Cycling is a great way to explore a place. But since I’m not that confident on a bike, I prefer joining tours, then I can be sure of my safety and that I wouldn’t get lost!
I like cycling in city and explore around. Your cycling trip is so fun and the pigs are so cute! TQ
You’re welcome, Rane. The pigs are cute, but my god, the smell! Hahaha I don’t want to come close to a pig sty anymore.
sangat best aktiviti tu.. teringin juga nak ke vietnam.. boleh tahan jauh juga nak cycling.
Tapi tak terasa sangat pun sebenarnya, Mus. Sebab banyak pit stop. Budak-budak pun boleh join. 🙂
Cycling at Vietnam lak bestnya heheh macam-macam aktiviti dapt buat kat sana.. Kita nak sampai sana pun susah heheheh tak apa kita cuba lah juga untuk pergi sana juga satu hari nanti…
Ok, Maha. Cuba, jangan tak cuba ya. 🙂
your cycling trip looks so fun…can explore so many things…kalau i pergi vietnam..biasanya I akan cari kopi hehe
Sama la, Ayu. Iced Vietnamese coffee tu nombor satu. Haha. Dah la sedap, murah pulak tu. Lepas minum kopi baru kita cycling. Baru ada energy sikit 😉
Bestnya, sambil cycle mencuci mata dengan pemandangan indah macamtu..best juga tu.. cuma kena pandai cycle ni, lagi satu stamina kan.. jenis yang sakit lutut memang tak bolehlaaa kann…dan Sis baru tau ada cycling tour gini…
Ya, kena ikut kemampuan fizikal juga. Yg ada masalah lutut tak boleh la kot, sis, or maybe boleh pakai knee support ke? Dari segi stamina rasanya takde masalah sgt sebab cycle santai2 je ni. Banyak stop dan takde turun naik bukit.
How i wish I can cycle or ride a bike.. this is the best way to explore the places around kan.. need to learn before we can travel again la.. 😛
Oh no, u can’t ride a bike? Well it’s never too late to learn. My mom learned it when she was in her 50s!
What a wonderful and fun destination! i did something similar in cambodia, and i cant wait to try it out in vietnam! thanks for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome, Grace! And I’d love to try it in Cambodia. Thank you for giving me the idea 🙂
Pingback:10 Things I Love About Vietnam – From Banh Mi to Bia Ha Noi – Ummi Goes Where?