My cycling experience in Vietnam

My cycling experience in Vietnam

Want to take an adventure tour to explore biking routes in Vietnam? That’s amazing! In Vietnam there are more than 50 ethnic groups and most of them inhabit mountainous regions in the north of the country.

Almost all develop fields on the terrace, built in the mountains where they grow rice and corn. They live in wooden houses and in very primitive ways.

When I arrived at the border migration office in Vietnam, I waited half an hour to be treated. There a young officer sealed my passport, even though he was only interested in exchanging my money; Then I started pedaling the hill. They are 20 km from curves and counter-curves, on slopes that are too steep, dangerous. My brakes exploded and heated my wheels, causing stab. That is a gift for all climbs in the mountainous regions of Laos, something I will almost never forget.

The route took me through the valley between green rice fields and small towns, where people when they saw me passed me welcomed me with a warm smile or only with their hands raised.

My first destination was the historic city of Dien Bien Phu, known as the site of the Battle between the Vietminh (League for National Independence led by Ho Chi Minh) and French troops. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu meant the beginning of the end of the French empire in Indochina, after nearly 100 years in power; and produced the "Geneva Agreement" in the formation of North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

I decided to rest for a few days in the city. There I looked for a mechanic for my bicycle, but it wasn't easy; I feel that no one wants to understand me with signs or worse than that: work. Communicating with people is a real challenge, to ask questions about getting out of town, to find a place to eat, to ask for food and even to ask for a bill. And that's a tire.

I left Dien Bien Phu to the north, to enter another mountainous area, with steps ranging between 1000 and 2000 mt altitude. I almost always stop in small towns where I stay at a hotel, which unlike Laos is not cheap. But after exhaustion that day, I preferred to sleep in bed and eat in a restaurant, because camping and cooking were more tiring and the day was endless. It was mid-April and very hot. Half of the routes, like in Laos, are being built, the roads are clouds of dust and rocks that damage my bicycle. I had to take a few liters of water for a long trip, but never reached and also food because sometimes reaching the city takes 4 or 5 hours. Almost every day we pedal 2 or up to 3 hours at night. My bicycle is heavier than before and sometimes I have to drag it to continue. Sometimes fatigue defeated me, I felt weaker and thinner than before. There are days I climb 20 or even 30 km without stopping, and sometimes 2 times a day. This route clearly requires me to handle, like several places throughout my trip. It goes up and down constantly.

In Vietnam there are more than 50 ethnic groups and most of them inhabit mountainous regions in the north of the country. Among them, we met between Hmong, Muong, Dzao, and Lahu. In the end, cycling in Vietnam is about showing your maximum ability!

NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.