Saigon to Angkor Cycling

Trip Length 12 Days
Group Size 4-14
Difficulty
Starting from
$4,349 for REI Members
$4,789 for non-members
Departures Dec 2019-Dec 2020
Mon���Fri 7am���5pm PT

Few cycling adventures can offer the same sense of exhilaration, discovery and immersion as our 12-day Vietnam and Cambodia cycling tour.

Cycling through Vietnam and Cambodia is a very powerful experience. We quickly learn that we are not along for the ride with strangers, but deeply immersed in a cultural experience with comrades. As we set out from cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City, the buzzing energy of the large metropolis fades to the slower pace of rural Mekong Delta. Pass ancient temples, endless colorful pagodas, lively floating markets and tranquil backwater villages.

Where the mighty Mekong and Tonl��� Sap Rivers converge lies Cambodia?s capital, Phnom Penh. Its many wide, tree-lined boulevards add to the allure of the city where Asian and Western traditions meet. As we zip along, we make stops along our northern route to explore the lofty cliff-top ruins of Preah Vihear and catch glimpses of the rare Irrawaddy river dolphin. A couple of days spent exploring the soaring lotus-shaped towers of Angkor Wat mark the end of our journey.

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Trip Highlights

  • 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

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should be comfortable spending 4-6 hours on their bikes on most days over a variety of terrains including pavement and hard-packed dirt or clay. Daily rides range from 18 to 40 miles. 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 a few of our rides include raised narrow trails through rice fields and participants should feel comfortable maneuvering a mountain bike. Heat and humidity of this region can also increase the challenge of the rides. Participants should be in good cycling shape.

  • Road Cycling
  • Cycling

What's Included

Double occupancy accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; all activities, tours and entrance fees as noted in the itinerary; one group airport transfer upon arrival and departure; 27 speed mountain bike and spare parts; bilingual guides; travel permits; support van; drinking water and snacks while cycling.

Accommodations

Hotels, 10 nights; Guesthouse, 1 night

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?�� You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Vietnam's economic and cultural heart, Ho Chi Minh City.

Our trip begins in Ho Chi Minh City, a vibrant metropolis of over nine million people and the nexus of Vietnamese commerce and economic revival. We provide one group transfer from the airport to our hotel. At 3pm our 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 to the Cu Chi tunnels and take a Vietnamese cooking class.

This morning we leave the teeming traffic for the quiet countryside. We cycle along flowing canals, vast rice fields and small villages to the legendary Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnels were an important part of what is locally referred to as the "American War". The Vietnamese used the extensive tunnel system to move their artillery, making it difficult for troops to pinpoint their location. A few short sections of the tunnel have been preserved as national historic sites and provide guests a firsthand perspective of what underground life was like. We lunch on the banks of the Saigon River and then return to Ho Chi Minh City late afternoon.

For dinner, we learn Vietnamese cooking techniques at a local restaurant. A professional chef will guide us in preparing a few signature dishes. All meals Included.

Transfer: 4 hours; Cycling: 19 miles, 2 hours; Terrain: mostly flat.

Day 3

Ride into the rural Mekong Delta past banana and sugar plantations.

We depart Ho Chi Minh City and transfer about two 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 before mixing with the saline waters of the South China Sea. Today's ride 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, fields of sugar cane and through the lush green landscape of the Delta. This afternoon we arrive in the town of Cai Be and cycle to the lovely Mekong Lodge, an eco-lodge set among fruit orchards on the banks of the Tien River. Overnight in the Mekong Lodge. All meals included.

Transfer: 2 hours; Cycling: 31 miles, 3.5 hours; Terrain: undulating dirt roads sections of narrow trail.

Day 4

Cycle by Khmer homes to colorful temples and see life along the river.

An early morning boat picks us up at the lodge and transfers us across the river. Rural scenery lines our cycling route all the way to Can Tho. We cross small estuaries on bridges made of wooden planks and larger rivers by ferry. 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. As the day progresses the landscape changes 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. All meals included.

Transfer: 2.5 hours; Cycling: 37 miles, 5 hours; Terrain: undulating dirt roads sections of narrow trail.

Day 5

Visit floating markets before riding to Chau doc.

After breakfast we catch a boat to the Cai Rang floating market. From here we cycle at a gentle pace, weaving our way through the bustling morning market along the banks of the river. We 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 return to our bikes and pedal along a tiny road leading upstream towards Co Do. From here we 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. All meals Included.

Transfer: 2.5 hours; Cycling: 38 miles; 5 hours; Terrain: mostly flat.

Day 6

Cross the border and travel by boat to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.

Today we journey by boat to the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh. We cross the Cambodian border at a checkpoint on the water and then head northwest on a tranquil voyage. Phnom Penh is majestically located at the confluence of the mighty Mekong and Tonl��� Sap Rivers. Its wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings add to the allure of the city. Here Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way. This afternoon we tour by cyclo, a type of tricycle used in this region for transporting people and goods over short distances. We visit the Royal Palace, Wat Preah Keo and the National Museum before checking into our hotel to freshen up for dinner. All meals Included.

Boat Transfer: 6 hours; Cyclo tour; 1.5 hours

Day 7

Bike along the enchanting Mekong River.

Following the path of the mighty Mekong River, we spend the day cycling through the tropical countryside, passing fruit plantations and traditional Cambodian villages. We break for a tasty picnic lunch in a local setting before continuing to the city of Kampong Cham. Here we can rest our legs for the remainder of the day or head out for a short walk along the waterfront.

Transfer: 1 hour; Cycling: 40 miles; 5 hours; Terrain: mostly flat.

Day 8

Bike along the countryside and Koh Trong Island tree planting project.

Today we put in solid day of riding, covering 40 miles of classic Mekong landscapes. From Kratie, we take a short ferry ride to to Koh Trong Island, a traditional Khmer village situated in the middle of the Mekong River. Koh Trong is famous for its pomelo, a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia, which we'll sink our teeth into as we make our way around the island via ox-drawn cart. At the island's central pagoda we have the opportunity to participate in a special activity: a tree-planting volunteer project begun by a local farmer to repopulate the once densely forested island with endemic trees. We overnight on Koh Trong, enjoying the remainder of the day soaking up the relaxed atmosphere of this beautiful island.

Transfer: 1 hour; Cycling: 38 miles; 4.5 hours; Terrain: mostly flat.

Day 9

Spot Irrawaddy dolphins and enjoy sunset views at a clifftop temple.

Fortified from a breakfast of fresh fruit and coffee, we head out to Kampi, one of the best spots along the river to view the rare Irrawaddy dolphins. We board a local boat with the hope of spotting one of these interesting creatures that bear a resemblance to a small Beluga whale. After dolphin viewing in Kampi, we drive to the town of Strung Treng for lunch before continuing north. Our final destination is the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear, a UNESCO World Heritage Site perched 1,722 feet up on the edge of a cliff with stunning views for miles around. The sunset?s glow amplifies the detailed carvings and lintels as we walk with our guide learning the fascinating history of this remote Khmer temple.

Transfer: 7 hours

Day 10

Explore the remote jungle ruins of Koh Ker and Beng Mealea.

This morning we drive to a remote archaeological site of Koh Ker hidden deep within the Cambodian jungle. Built in the year 922, Koh Ker was briefly the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. The site is massive, spanning 81 square miles and more than 180 different sanctuaries with very few other visitors. Of particular interest is the unique pyramid-style temple which has seven separate tiers and rises 118 feet high?the largest of its kind in the country.

Next we enjoy a beautiful three-hour ride through rolling hills to the picturesque temple Beng Mealea. Laden with massive strangler figs whose roots grip the temple walls, Beng Mealea encourages our exploratory spirit to delve deeper into the ancient ruins, one of the few in Cambodia we?re allowed to climb through. After trekking through the temple and surrounding forest, we transfer to Siem Reap to conclude our day. All meals included.

Transfer: 2.5 hours; Cycling: 36 miles, 4.5 hours; Terrain: rolling hills

Day 11

Bike to Angkor Wat and explore the world's largest temple complex.

After breakfast, we cycle over quiet backroads to explore the massive Angkor temple complex. We visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom, the 54 towers of the Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm?reclaimed by nature?s firm and unyielding grip. As our adventure nears its end, it's safe to say that we saved the biggest highlight for last. Angkor Wat?considered the largest religious structure in the world (originally Hindu, then Buddhist). Representing Mount Meru, the home of the gods, the temple is renowned for its intricate carvings of over 3,000 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. Arriving before sunset, we have ample time to explore this unforgettable site when the light is perfect. Tonight we are treated to a lovely farewell dinner in a traditional wooden Khmer villa.

Cycling: 18 miles; Hours in the saddle: 2.5; Terrain: flat with a small section of trail riding.

Day 12

Our Southeast Asian odyssey ends.

Our adventure ends after breakfast. One group transfer to the airport is provided for those departing today. Or extend your stay in Siem Reap and explore more of the wonders of Angkor independently. Breakfast included.

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.

Bicycles

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 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.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Cambodia Visa (May be Obtained at Border Crossing During Trip)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport
  • Vietnam Visa or VOA Letter (Must be Obtained Prior to Departure)

Contact Us

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 REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.