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, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is 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 overwhelming.
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 a visit to the farms.
I chose Heaven & Earth Traditional Countryside Bike Tour because:
- They were the only one that offered an afternoon tour to the countryside.
- The price was the most suitable for my budget.
- It included the basket boat experience
Heaven & Earth Bike Tours
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
You can make a booking by contacting them directly:
Address: 61, Ngo Quyen St., Hoi An, Vietnam (Opening Hours: 8 am – 9.30 pm)
Tel: +84 (0)235 3 864 362 / Mobile: +84 (0)126 8 422 260
Or, if you can find their brochures at your hotel, you can get your hotel receptionist to make the booking for you.
What to Expect
Easy. Suitable for families. You will cycle on small, flat paths with very few cars.
9 km (5.5 miles) with several stops.
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 from their office. From there, you will be taken on an hour-long boat ride on the Thu Bon river to arrive at Duy Vinh island.
You will cycle around the island and make a few pit stops. 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 basket boat. It’s harder than you think! But don’t worry — a very feisty (and flirty) old lady will guide you through it.
Your last stop will be a local cafe/grocery stores 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.
- 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.
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 in Vietnam? How did it go? Share your experience in the comment section below.