A bucket-list destination for many Americans, Vietnam offers vacationers and cultural enthusiasts looking for a sense of place an authentic experience. Even better, embracing Vietnam by bike is an unforgettable way to appreciate this fascinating country and its culture for those in the know.
Hanoi. Saigon. The Mekong Delta.
These iconic names conjure strong impressions and emotions for many, like whispers from the past. VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations’ (VBT) 14-day bicycle tour (with airfare), “Journey through Vietnam,” delivers these places up close and personal to every guest, both on and off the saddle. During the trip, travelers bike, boat, and rickshaw through the country’s beautiful landscapes and dynamic cities, becoming immersed in its unique and ancient culture. There’s no better way to tap into the heart of this intriguing nation — from its open-air markets and family temples and gardens, to its pagoda-dotted mountains and tiny villages — than by doing so at a slower pace and with nothing between you and the land you’ve come so far to discover.
Few cycling destinations match Vietnam. Amid a culture that depends so heavily on bikes, vacationers pedal along farm-lined rivers peppered with dragon boats, sampans, and traditional houseboats topped with rooftop shrines among a backdrop of breathtaking mountain views. Guests explore age-old cities — Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An — replete with remnants of the country’s centuries-old past and walk Saigon’s bustling city streets, where bicycles outnumber people.
The experience offers guests an opportunity to embrace the local culture through such activities as a traditional water puppet show, a hands-on cooking class, and guided tours of ancient pagodas, citadels, and palaces. Of course, there are sobering reminders of the Vietnam War, such as a guided tour with a former member of the Vietcong of the infamous Cu Chi tunnels near Saigon, a 75-mile-long underground maze dug by the Vietcong for protection. From colorful markets selling therapeutic herbs, prayer flags, and silk fashions, to the everyday feast that is Vietnam’s distinctive cuisine (French-Asian fusion), the beguiling tastes will linger in travelers’ hearts long after they have returned home.