- Cycle from Vietnam to Cambodia along quiet roads through farms and villages
- Ride into the heart of the fabled Mekong Delta
- Visit ancient temples, floating markets, and impressive ruins
- Tour the Cu Chi tunnels, Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat, and much more
- Follow local, expert guides on this fully-supported cycling tour
Few cycling adventures offer the same combination of fantastic scenery, cultural immersion, and exhilarating sense of discovery as our Vietnam and Cambodia cycling tour. Setting out from cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), signs of Vietnam's largest metropolis quickly vanish and the lush green colors of the fabled Mekong Delta fill our field of view. Using an extensive ferry network when the roads end, we pass ancient temples, countless colorful pagodas, lively floating markets, and tranquil backwater villages.
Crossing into Cambodia by riverboat, we glide towards Phnom Penh where we take time to explore this vibrant capital rapidly rebounding from a tragic past. Jumping back in the saddle, we make fascinating stops along our route to explore the magnificent 1400-year-old ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk, catch glimpses of the rare Irrawaddy river dolphin, and interact with local people enjoying the sight of our colorful group zipping by.
As we approach the end of our remarkable journey, the soaring lotus-shaped towers of Angkor Wat—one of the world's archeological and cultural wonders—rise up to greet us.
- Day 1 - Arrive in Vietnam's economic and cultural heart, Ho Chi Min City.
- Day 2 - Bike quiet roads to the legendary Cu Chi tunnels.
- Day 3 - Ride into the rural Mekong Delta past banana and sugar cane plantations.
- Day 4 - Cycle by Khmer homes to colorful temples and witness life along the river.
- Day 5 - Visit floating markets before riding to Chau doc.
- Day 6 - Cross the border and travel by boat to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.
- Day 7 - Spot Irrawaddy Dolphins while boating on the Mekong.
- Day 8 - Bike through Cambodian villages, surrounded by luminous green fields.
- Day 9 - Visit Sambor Prei Kuk; cycle among the Rolous temples.
- Day 10 - Bike to Angkor Wat and explore the world's largest temple complex.
- Day 11 - Our final ride takes us to the unique pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei.
- Day 12 - Our Southeast Asian odyssey ends.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Arrive in Vietnam's economic and cultural heart, Ho Chi Min City.
Our trip begins in Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), Vietnam. Today's Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant metropolis of over 9 million people and the nexus of Vietnamese commerce and economic revival. We provide one group transfer from the airport to our hotel. At 3:00 p.m. your guides will be waiting in the hotel lobby to welcome you and provide a bike fitting, followed by dinner at a nearby local restaurant. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Dinner included.
Day 2 - Bike quiet roads to the legendary Cu Chi tunnels.
We'll depart our hotel at 8 a.m. this morning and transfer by private vehicle approximately 20 miles out of the city, far from the teeming traffic. Once in the countryside, we'll climb on our bikes and cycle quiet roads past rice fields, rubber plantations and small villages to the legendary Cu Chi tunnels, a few short sections of which have been preserved as national historic sites. More than 150 miles long and three to four levels deep, the tunnels were an important part of the Viet Cong's struggle during what is locally referred to as the "American War". The district of Cu Chi was the most bombed and defoliated region during the war but while under attack, the Vietnamese used the extensive tunnel system to move their artillery around, making it extremely difficult for U.S. troops to pinpoint their location. Today the remaining tunnels provide the visitor with a firsthand perspective of what underground life during wartime was like. After our visit to Cu Chi and a lunch stop on the banks of the Saigon River, we'll continue cycling along a tarmac road to Trang Bang and finish our warm-up ride near Duc Hoa. A transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City by vehicle gets us to town by late afternoon and allows for some free time before another delicious Vietnamese dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 21 miles; Hours in the saddle: 2.5; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 3 - Ride into the rural Mekong Delta past banana and sugar cane plantations.
After breakfast, we'll depart Ho Chi Minh City and transfer (2 hours) to My Tho – the gateway to the Mekong Delta. After a journey of nearly 2,500 miles from its origins in the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River and its tributaries wind through this incredibly prolific agricultural region of Southern Vietnam (producing almost 40% of the country's food crop) before mixing with the saline waters of the South China Sea. Today's amazing spin will lead us directly into the heart of the rural Mekong. After a short ferry crossing of the Tien Giang River at My Tho, we begin our ride along narrow lanes, past banana plantations and fields of sugar cane, through the lush green landscape of the Delta. This afternoon, we'll arrive in the town of Cai Be and cycle to the lovely Mekong Lodge, a eco-lodge set among a fruit orchard on the banks of the Tien River. Overnight in the Makong Lodge tonight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 31 miles; Hours in the saddle: 3.5; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 4 - Cycle by Khmer homes to colorful temples and witness life along the river.
An early morning boat picks us up at the lodge and transfers us across the river. Another full day of great cycling awaits as we enjoy the rural scenery that lines our route all the way to Can Tho. We'll cross small estuaries on bridges made of wooden planks and larger bodies of water by a variety of ferries, a ubiquitous form of transportation in this marine environment. There is plenty to see along the way, from the contrasting architectural styles of ethnic Khmer homes, to the numerous colorful Khmer temples, and the fascinating river scenes that could be taken straight from a postcard. During the afternoon, we notice that the landscape changing to open rice fields flanked by palm and coconut trees. Quiet country roads slice through the many small villages offering a glimpse into the lives of the local people. Today's ride explores the true essence and pace of life in the Delta. Dinner and overnight in Can Tho tonight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 48 miles; Hours in the saddle: 6.5; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 5 - Visit floating markets before riding to Chau doc.
After an early breakfast, we'll catch the boat to Cai Rang floating market and then cycle along a narrow road to the friendly and off-the-beaten-track Phong Dien floating market. As we weave through the bustling morning market along the banks of the busy river, we'll marvel at the numerous cottage industries, timber merchants, coconut shredders, and dock workers loading and unloading rice from waiting boats. If we're lucky, we may be offered a chance to sample some of the local fruit by one of the market vendors. After our market visit and a relaxing lunch stop, we'll jump back on our bikes and pedal along a tiny road leading upstream towards Long Xuyen from where we'll transfer by ferry to Chau Doc, home to a diverse population of Khmer, Cham and Chinese practicing Buddhism, Catholicism and Islam. We spend the night in Chau Doc, our last stop before crossing the border into Cambodia. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 57 miles; Hours in the saddle: 7.5; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 6 - Cross the border and travel by boat to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.
Another adventure awaits us today as we depart early from Chau Doc on our boat journey to Phnom Penh. We cross the Cambodian border at a checkpoint on the water and then head northwest on a tranquil voyage that provides us with a unique opportunity to observe rural river life in Cambodia.
Phnom Penh was at one time considered one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia and, despite its recent turbulent history, still retains a distinct colonial charm. Cambodia's capital is majestically located at the confluence of the mighty Mekong and Tonlé Sap Rivers and its wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings add to the allure of the city where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way. Arriving in early afternoon, we'll be greeted a local guide and transferred to an authentic Khmer restaurant for lunch. The remainder of the afternoon is reserved for a city tour by cyclo, a type of tricycle used traditionally in this region for transporting people and goods over short distances and a fun way to discover this lively city. The first stop on our tour is the Royal Palace, dating back to 1866 and last palace built during the French colonial period. The palace complex also houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Also known as Wat Preah Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the spectacular temple currently contains a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze and was preserved by the Khmer Rouge to demonstrate to the world Pol Pot's supposed interest in the conservation of Cambodia's cultural riches. Our next stop is the National Museum, built in a traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artefacts dating from the 4th-13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the primary repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony! After our tour ends, we'll check in to our hotel and have time to freshen up before dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 7 - Spot Irrawaddy Dolphins while boating on the Mekong.
We board our vehicle this morning for a 5-hour transfer through the rolling countryside to the riverside town of Kratie. After lunch at a restaurant offering sweeping views of the Mekong, we continue on to the village of Kampi, one of the premier locations along the river to view the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins found in these waters. We'll board a local boat with the hope of spotting one of these interesting creatures that bear a resemblance to a small Beluga Whale, taking advantage of the boat driver's knowledge of the dolphins' preferred swimming locations (as soon as a dolphin is spotted, the driver will immediately turn off the engine and follow silently so as not create a significant disturbance). After our unique wildlife encounter, we'll return to Krati for a ferry transfer to Koh Trong Island. This Mekong island is populated by local people whose livelihood mainly revolves around rice farming and fruit cultivation (Koh Trong is famous for its pomelo, a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia). Once on Koh Trong, we'll cycle to the island's wat for a special activity: a tree-planting volunteer project begun by a local farmer to repopulate the once densely-forested island with endemic trees. Trip members will have the option to spend some time planting trees or just relaxing and enjoying the tropical climate and beautiful island scenery. Back on our bikes, we'll continue our cruise around Koh Trong, stopping to taste some local fruit en route to our lodging for the evening, the tranquil Sala Trong Guesthouse. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Transfer to Kratie: 5 hours; Cycling: 18 miles; Hours in the saddle: 2; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 8 - Bike through Cambodian villages, surrounded by luminous green fields.
A breakfast of fresh fruit and hot coffee is followed by a short morning ferry trip across the river. We'll disembark at the busy ferry port of Chhlong before escaping down the town's meandering back roads. Flashes of luminous green and rich red earth from the surrounding fields catch our eye and the fragrant smell of lotus blossom from Buddhist shrines fills the air. The many French colonial houses in Chhlong are amongst the most beautiful in Cambodia and invite us to stop for a closer look. From Chhlong, we'll cycle west for 30 miles through the lush landscape and busy little villages containing mosques with miniature minarets breaking the tops of the leafy canopy that adorns the roadside; small Muslim communities that offer an interesting contrast to the colorfully adorned Buddhist pagodas. The day's second ferry crossing transports us to the quiet village of Phnom Han Chay. A small pagoda here houses an 8th century pre-Angkorian temple that sits on top of one of the best vantage points overlooking the vast expanse of the Mekong and surrounding lowlands. We'll take in this awe-inspiring vista as we enjoy a tasty picnic lunch. Later this afternoon, we'll pedal on a paved road towards the setting sun and look forward to a refreshing dip in the swimming pool at our hotel in Kampong Cham. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 57 miles; Hours in the saddle: 7; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 9 - Visit Sambor Prei Kuk; cycle among the Rolous temples.
This morning, we'll transfer by vehicle directly to the outskirts of Siem Reap province, stopping along the way to visit the temple site of Sambor Prei Kuk. One of the most important pre-Angkorian sites in Cambodia, Sambor Prei Kuk is on track to become the country's next UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the Chenla period between the 6th and 7th centuries, the complex contains over 100 well-preserved temples scattered in the forest. The three main sites are linked by small dirt tracks and cooler morning temperatures along with the shade provided from towering fig trees allow us to enjoy a beautiful walk through the jungle. Our excitement builds this afternoon as we transfer to the outskirts of Siem Reap and are dropped off at Roluos Pagoda. We set out by bicycle from this beautiful pagoda to explore the Roluos group of temples – Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko – which date back to the late 9th century (the oldest temples in the area) and are tall peg-shaped brick towers. This is the original capital of the ancient Khmer Empire and we'll spend the afternoon cycling among the temples and gaining some insight into the history of the Khmer people. We arrive in Siem Reap in late afternoon and check in to our comfortable hotel for the next three nights. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 12 miles; Hours in the saddle: 1; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 10 - Bike to Angkor Wat and explore the world's largest temple complex.
As our adventure nears its end, it's safe to say that we've saved one of the biggest highlights for last. This morning we'll cycle or have the option to take motorized tuk-tuks to Angkor Wat – considered to be the largest religious structure in the world (originally Hindu, then Buddhist) and one of the best-preserved temples in the the incredible Angkor archaeological park. Built in the first half of the 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat represents Mount Meru, the home of the gods, and is renowned for its intricate carvings of over 3000 aspara, or "heavenly nymphs" and beautiful bas-reliefs depicting various epic battles and religious events. Over the years, it has become the symbol of Cambodia and is a source of great national pride. We'll have ample time to explore this unforgettable site and appreciate the interpretation by our temple guide. This afternoon's plans call for a visit to the nearby fortified city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. We'll enter Angkor Thom from the south, through an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On either side of the entrance path, a row of 54 gods or demons holds a representation of the sacred Naga snake. After entering the city, we'll continue to the mesmerizing Bayon Temple, located in the exact center of Angkor Thom and decorated with over 200 enormous, smiling stone faces. The Terrace of the Elephant and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. After our day exploring one of the world's great architectural wonders, we'll have dinner in Siem Reap in a restaurant ideally situated near the town's night market, allowing for an entertaining after-dinner stroll. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 15 miles; Hours in the saddle: 1.5; Terrain: mostly flat. Option to travel to/from Angkor by motorized tuk-tuk.
Day 11 - Our final ride takes us to the unique pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei.
This morning after breakfast, we hop on our bikes for a final spin to the marvelous temple of Banteay Srei. Approximately 20 miles from Siem Reap along a newly-paved road, Bantaey Srei (the "Citadel of the Women"), is built from reddish-pink sandstone – a material used nowhere else in Angkor – and is considered one of the archaeological park's crown jewels. Best viewed in the warm morning light, the structure was built between the 11th and 13th century and remains the best preserved temple in all of Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art including a variety of truly remarkable bas-reliefs depicting the Hindu god Shiva. After our visit to Bantaey Srei, we'll cycle past a few other small temples en route back to Siem Reap this afternoon and will return to our hotel with enough time to relax and freshen up before our evening meal. Our final celebration dinner at Viroth's Restaurant offers a chance to toast our travelling companions and new friends and reflect back on all the amazing things we've seen during our 12-day Southeast Asian odyssey. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 40 miles; Hours in the saddle: 4; Terrain: mostly flat.
Day 12 - Our Southeast Asian odyssey ends.
Our adventure ends after breakfast this morning. We can join a group transfer to the airport for our departing flights or opt to extend our stay in Siem Reap and explore more of the wonders of Angkor independently. Breakfast included.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions and changes in ferry schedules.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Our trip price includes bicycles perfectly designed for the terrain we encounter during our two-wheeled tour of Vietnam and Cambodia: High-quality, reliable Trek 4500 aluminum-frame bikes with upright handlebars and knobby tires. Should you wish to bring your own seat and pedals, your guides will gladly mount them on your bike at the beginning of the trip.
All accommodations; all meals beginning with dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 12; English-speaking cycling guides; support vehicle; bikes (24-speed Trek 4500 hybrid bikes); boat ticket from Chau Doc-Phnom Penh; sightseeing as noted in the itinerary including entrance fee to the Cu Chi Tunnels and Angkor; group airport transfers.
Round-trip airfare; Vietnam and Cambodia entry visas; travel insurance, excess baggage charges, alcoholic beverages and items of a personal nature. Please bring your own bike helmet.
This trip is rated Moderate . Participants should be comfortable spending 4-7 hours on their bikes on most days (a support vehicle will be available for individuals choosing to occasionally ride for shorter distances). The countryside in southern Vietnam and Cambodia is mostly flat but some of our rides are in excess of 50 miles requiring that trip members be in good cycling shape. Although some rides will take place on paved roads, much of our riding will be over hard-packed dirt and clay. Cycling along these less-developed routes allows us to gain access to more scenic, tranquil and culturally interesting regions of Vietnam and Cambodia. A regular conditioning program beginning at least 3-6 months prior to departure is strongly recommended. Cycling, walking/running and a daily stretching regimen are all great ways to prepare for this adventure.
Vietnam and Cambodia both have tropical climates. Temperatures in the 70s-90s with a high amount of humidity can be expected during the days, dropping into the 60s and 70s at night. We have chosen the best possible months to visit this region giving us the greatest chance of cooler and drier conditions. That said, we are in the tropics where some rainfall is a possibility during any month of the year.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Saigon to Angkor Cycling Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.
- 24-speed Trek 4500 hybrid bicycles with flat pedals
- Small handlebar bag
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Visas for entry into Vietnam and Cambodia (Vietnam visa must be obtained prior to departing the U.S.; Cambodia visa can be obtained at Cambodia border crossing during trip.)
- One piece of luggage, wheels and a retractable handle are recommended
- Daypack or carry-on bag
- Luggage tags and locks
- Security wallet or money belt
- Light jacket and/or windbreaker
- Long pants or below-the-knee skirt (for temple visits – see “Things to Consider”)
- Long sleeve shirts (sun protection)
- Sun hat
- Cycling jerseys, short and long sleeve
- Cycling shorts
- Cycling raingear, jacket and pants, waterproof and breathable
- Cycling gloves
- Headband or sweatband
- Cycling socks
- Cycling shoes (see “Things to Consider”)
- Walking shoes or sandals
- Sport/cycling sunglasses
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Water bottle(s) or hydration pack
- Insect repellent
- Face mask or bandana
- Camera + memory, batteries, charger
- Electrical adapter plug/converter
- Ear plugs
- Reading and writing materials
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Laundry bag, cord and soap
- Bike rear view mirror
- Bike computer
- Heart rate monitor
- Saddle (without the post) or gel seat cover
- Favorite energy snacks / electrolyte drink mixes (recommended)
Things to Consider
- Always pack essential items such as your REI Adventures trip final bulletin, passport, money, eyewear, medications and a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- We recommend bright-colored bicycle clothing for visibility and safety.
- Always test your clothing layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding.
- If you are not bringing a shoe and pedal system (optional), you will need a shoe designed for cycling or cross training to be used with the provided flat pedals. Consider these features: lightweight, closed toe, designed with stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer as you pedal. Stiff soles protect your feet while riding and support the full length of your foot to reduce cramping and fatigue.
- If you bring your own saddle, please bring only the seat and not the seat post. Seat posts are not universal and will likely not fit the bike you’ll be riding. You are welcome to bring a gel seat cover for use on the provided saddle.
- Formal attire is not required at restaurants. Comfortable, casual clothes are appropriate for sit-down meals. We suggest bringing slacks, shorts that are mid-thigh or longer, below-the-knee skirts, or summer dresses in fabrics that are easy to wash and wear.
- Temple visits require modest dress. Long pants, a below-the-knee skirt or a sarong should be worn rather than shorts or a tank top (shoulders should be covered). Some temples may be more lenient, but your modesty will be appreciated.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.
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Displaying reviews 1-2
- Exceeded Expectations
- Group Camaraderie
- Once in a Lifetime Experience
Comments about REI Adventures Saigon to Angkor Cycling:
We truly enjoyed being close to the people along the way. A bicycle trip gives you a more personal experience. The culture is different than our Western experience so come with an attitude of learning and understanding and a big dose of humor.
- Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
- Active Adventures, Destination, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Why did you choose this trip?:
- Having never been to SE Asia, I thought bicycling would be a great way to experience the culture, and it was.
- What was the highlight of your trip?:
- Meeting the peoples along the way, they were friendly and fun. Language was not a barrier as good will and humor go a long way. The local food was exceptional as well.
- What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
- Make sure you pack for the weather, you will sweat so bring a few extra changes since laundry is not always an option.
- Activity Level
- Group Camaraderie
- Once in a Lifetime Experience
Comments about REI Adventures Saigon to Angkor Cycling:
*Although the guides were very careful about the food we ate, More variety would make for a better experience.
*Some stretches of road in Cambodia were long without much visual interest. I would consider changing the course to avoid more traffic and perhaps include some type of interaction with the locals.
*Guides were great!
*Make the night in the bat cave, I mean "Pagada", more comfortable. With the fans frequently cycling off, waking up to all the bat excrement and us unable to wear our shoes, Not Great!, but does make for a nice story.
- Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
- Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Why did you choose this trip?:
- Ankor Wat has been on my bucket list for a while. I had considered doing the trip on my own, but having the opportunity to see Vietnam and Cycle was an added bonus.
- What was the highlight of your trip?:
- With a couple of friends on the last day, we took an excursion to Banteay Srei. This was an amazing structure. What it lacked in size it made up for in detail an craftsmanship. It was nice to find something a little bit off the beaten path.
- What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
- Be prepared for begging and especially aggressive marketing by children. As the guides advised me, giving money to them keeps them from going to school. If you want to help, think long-term.