Ride the Vietnam Ocean Road - Classic Itinerary
With varied terrain to keep the ride interesting, a network of rural back roads through charming villages, plus seemingly infinite stretches coastline. Oh, and did we mention the delicious food?
This classic cycle route will introduce you to the cultural, scenic and culinary tour de force that is coastal Vietnam. You will explore the rich history and diverse architecture of Hue and Hoi An, ride through seaside villages past bustling fishing ports and cruise the fertile coastal plains. With minimal traffic plus friendly and inquisitive locals at every turn, this is a ride to truly savour and enjoy.
Take a look at the many ways Grasshopper Self-guided tours go the extra mile.
Self-guided bike tour running the Hanoi - Saigon direction along the coast of Vietnam
Arrive in Hue
You will commence your tour in the historic city of Hue, the last seat of Imperial power in Vietnam. A Grasshopper Self-guided representative will meet with you at your hotel to deliver your equipment, conduct a briefing on the road and travel conditions in Vietnam and explain how to use the technology provided. You will then have the rest of the day free to try out the Lynskey Cooper titanium bike and explore this tranquil city with its crumbling Citadel walls, atmospheric Perfume River and colonial French buildings.
Cycle Hue to Lang Co
Once you clear the city limits you will find yourself on country roads with only the occasional passing vehicle. Rice fields will give way to low sand dunes and farmers’ homes will give way to fishing cottages before the ocean finally comes into view. You’ll then experience some rolling hills as you weave in and out of the coastline throughout the day, but there’ll be plenty of delicious Vietnamese food along the way to fuel your ride. Lang Co sits on a slim, sandy peninsula between a lagoon and the ocean with a dramatic mountain backdrop. You can expect to encounter very few other people here aside from local Vietnamese families.
Cycle Lang Co to Hoi An
Today you will have a challenging but scenic climb up the Hai Van Pass. A well-made road snakes its way up the mountain, offering views over the ocean and lagoon below. The majority of the traffic will go through a tunnel, so you can expect to enjoy a quiet road with a relaxed gradient. The descent down the other side is of equal distance and will lead you along a coastal road into Hoi An, an ancient trade town that has withstood almost annual floods and multiple wars to remain as intact and charming as ever.
Cycle My Son
Today you will have a loop ride that will take you from historic Hoi An to the enchanting My Son, a cluster of ruins of Hindu tower-temples that are set amidst a leafy jungle valley. Once the primary intellectual and religious centre of the kingdom of Champa, My Son was discovered by French archaeologists in the 19th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The route will take you across the river and through picturesque countryside, along rural back roads accessible only by bike and hidden from most tourist routes. You will pass small villages and rice fields with inquisitive locals greeting you along the way, before returning to the lovely Hoi An for the evening.
A day of rest will prepare you for the riding ahead and allow you to explore the rich history and diverse architecture of this ancient town. There’s an excellent mix of modern and traditional food to enjoy, plus the beach is just a short ride away.
Cycle Hoi An to Tam Ky
As you leave Hoi An, you'll likely see many of the market vendors bringing in their produce from the surrounding farms. You’ll then ride along a gravel road through a collection of small fishing villages on another peninsula, where fish are farmed in ponds and ocean-winds whip around the homes dotted along the shoreline. With a push from the sea breezes you will continue south towards the next stop, Tam Ky, the capital city of Quảng Nam Province where a delightful hotel and some friendly Vietnamese hosts await.
Cycle Tam Ky to Quang Ngai
Today is one of the few days where you will need to spend some of your ride along Highway 1. Whilst you can expect to encounter more traffic, the road is very well made and the ride will be smooth. You’ll pass through some manufacturing districts before returning to small coastal roads and quaint villages, where seafood is pulled straight from the ocean and cooked for lunch. Once your belly is full, you have a short distance remaining until the university town of Quang Nai and the comforts of your hotel. Along the way you will pass the solemn but poignant Son My Memorial, the site of one of the most atrocious and infamous crimes committed by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War – the My Lai Massacre. The memorial site contains a war history museum, a photograph gallery and an assembly of sculptures constructed in memory of the multiple civilian victims.
Cycle Quang Ngai to Tam Quan
Arguably one of the best days of the tour, today you’ll leave the coast for part of the ride and enjoy some cycling through the hinterland. The route is an intricate set of turns, forks and bends; but the Self-guided app and accurate notes will keep you on track. Expect to ride along canal paths and across rickety bridges, passing plenty of friendly locals working in the fields. For the final leg of your journey you will return to the coastline as you cycle towards the town of Tam Quan, where you’ll spend the night at a cosy and comfortable beachfront hotel that is well and truly off the beaten path.
Cycle Tam Quan to Bai Xep
The coastline today provides some great scenery, as you encounter a couple of steep, but relatively short hill climbs. The early part of the day is a little sparse for villages, but the latter part of the ride showcases some modern day Vietnamese engineering as you pass over an immense bridge spanning a huge lagoon, delivering you into the city of Quy Nhon. Quy Nhon is a prosperous coastal city that sits on a headland with a harbour full of colourful squid boats. It is then just a short ride to your accommodation on the beachfront of Bai Xep, a traditional fishing village surrounded by lush mountains.
Pack Up Day
Should you wish to relax in Quy Nhon, a Grasshopper representative will meet you at your hotel and take receipt of the equipment. Alternatively, if you are ready to leave there are daily flights to Hoh Chi Minh city or a vehicle can be arranged to take you to Nha Trang, a dynamic seaside resort town approximately 3 hours away. If required, Grasshopper Self-guided can assist with booking further accommodation or transport for you.
What's the Riding Like?
Some hilly terrain
8 days riding
Whilst there are a few days with manageable rolling hills, this route is achievable for anyone who cycles regularly as a commuter or recreationally. Most of the ride will be on well-made roads with minimal traffic, or rural back-roads that are off the beaten path.