Bicycling the Mekong-off the beaten path
‘Hello, hello, hello”. You had better get used to saying this as every (and I do mean every) small child and most adults we passed called out to us. I asked Van at one point what the etiquette was regarding photographing people and he said - no problem. Bike trips in Vietnam
Hamilton Family from Canada - Saturday, December 18, 2010
Cycling to Phu Quoc Island via Mekong Delta
This bike tour was a great experience. The guides were knowledgeable, funny, and engaging. This adventure allowed me to understand Vietnamese life in the countryside. If you do choose to bike through this country, I recommend Vietnam BackRoads Bicycle Tours. Here’s the contact information:
Guide: Van the Man
Jennifer Corcoran of 12 people - February 13, 2012
Biking trip from Saigon to Phnom Penh
South of Ho Chi Minh is the Mekong River Delta, a huge stretch of fertile land and water where the mighty Mekong flows out into the sea. We wanted to do a multi-day bike trip at some point in SE Asia, and the Mekong Delta seemed like the perfect place. We were looking to leave from Ho Chi Minh and ride across the river delta to the Cambodian border. After a little searching, we found a stock four-day tour with Vietnam Backroads that could be customized to suit our needs. Even though we signed up for a group tour, it ended up being just the two of us and Van, our guide and the owner of the company. Vietnam Cycling Tours
Deena & Jordan from US
Pedaling the Mekong Delta with Van the man on Nov 2009 -
The reports I had heard from friends about their adventures in the Mekong Delta were largely negative. They had all been dragged on similar whistlestop tours that included little fresh air, uninspiring boat rides and a tedious visit to a candy factory. So, when the chance to see The Delta in a more original and revealing fashion arose, I was raring to go.
Published on Saturday, 09 January 2010 by WordHCMC is the current leader in Saigon’s expat magazine
Biking the back roads of Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta, in the south of Vietnam, is an incredible network of rivers, brooks and canals alongside lush green farmland and fruit orchards. For a flexible and active way to see the stunning landscape off the beaten track it is best to get on a bike! The winding, single-track trails running between the farmland provide a truly unique experience and are much better than sitting on a tour bus. Also, since there are no hills in the delta, it makes this option suitable for all levels of experience. We decided to tour with Vietnam Backroads for a three day trip and they provided a fantastic guide, high quality bikes and were exceptionally helpful in organizing the best route for us.
DECEMBER 27, 2013 - Rebecca O’Rourke
Saigon to Phnom Penh by bike
Our guide, Dat, was stupendous; he is originally from a farm in the Mekong Delta, but because he is the youngest in his family, he got to go to school rather than work on the farm. He had studied tourism and because of his education and connection to this area, he was able to provide us with an abundance of interesting and detailed information. Saigon to Phnom Penh by bike
A Short Jaunt in Vietnam in March/April 2014 - Tamar Granovsky
The Daniels adventures with Vietnam Backroads
The next day, Blake and I had made plans to go cycling on the backroads and countryside of Vietnam. We were both very excited about this adventure and were looking forward to experiencing true Vietnam. We booked our excursion through Vietnam Backroads- whom we would highly recommend. Here is the link if you are interested: Vietnam Backroads
We were lucky enough to be guided by Van- the owner of the company and an enthusiastic cycler. Our adventure began just outside of HCMC city center in Long An province- and so Van, Blake, and I were off! We began our biking journey on single track trails through rice fields, vegetable farms, and sugar cane plantation
Monday, May 28, 2012 - Blake & Daniels
Delta Blues with Vietnam Backroads - A family from California moves to Ho Chi Minh City
Last weekend I ditched the family and ventured down to the Mekong River Delta for a bike tour with a bunch of fellow teachers. We skipped town straight from school and enjoyed the sites (and bumps) of the Vietnamese road system. The short boat ride at dusk made the long afternoon on the bus worth it. After a night cooking our own bánh xèo and sleeping in a colonial palace, complete with an ancient graveyard out back, we found ourselves on the waterways, floating toward our two-wheeled transport.
This entry was posted on June 1, 2014 by Warren & Sarah.
Kris en Martine Meandering the Mekong Delta with Van the Man
Naast al het eten en drinken, hebben we ook nog de tijd gevonden om fietsen te huren aan 1$ per dag. We zijn er recht mee naar het strand gefietst, 7km van het centrum, waar we zalig een dagje onder een rieten parasol hebben gelegen op een prachtig wit strand met palmbomen. Om nog meer jaloers te worden, kijk vooral naar de foto's. :-)
Nu zijn we een vierdaagse fietstocht aan't doen in de Mekong Delta met Vietnam Backroads. Maar dat komt, uiteraard, in een volgende blog.
Vietnam Backroads Lonely Planet
we did some wonderful bike trips with this travel agency and we loved it. Recommended operator that runs small-group, multi-day cycling tours of the delta backroads. http://mekongbiketours.com
Mekong Bike Tours in Vietnam
The 06:00 flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City was cheaper than the day-long train. Although train journeys in Vietnam are a wonderful way to see more of the countryside, we decided to pass up this particular one. We had to catch a bus to Cambodia the next day and I refused to compromise one particular outing in the south of Vietnam.
It wasn’t the Cu Chi Tunnels, the war history or the city life of the capital. It was a sentence I found, somewhere deep into a string of blog posts and travel articles about the region. It read: Cycle the backroads of the Mekong Delta.
The day started with a quick stop at a tiny baguette shop in Ho Chi Minh City for a cheap, on-the-go breakfast (apparently the French didn’t take their recipes with them when they departed). The van headed to Tan An town on the city’s outskirts. We parked along a nondescript dirt road. Three boys were happily playing marbles in the sand.
We mounted our bikes and peddled after Van, our guide, who grew up in these parts. The road ended and a narrow, cement pathway lead in between single storey houses flanked by farmland
This is the Mekong River Basin, an extensive region that crosses into both Cambodia and Thailand. According to the Mekong River Commission for Sustainable Development, the agriculture here provides food security and livelihoods for approximately 60% of the Mekong River Basin’s population. Although there is a definite trend toward commercial agriculture, especially here in Vietnam, currently subsistence and small scale farms dominate. The people here are poor and live simple lives, close to the earth.
Most visitors to this area head straight to the nearby Mekong Delta, known for its floating markets, islands, and boat-based transportation. The farmlands don’t see a lot of visitors and the only way to get around is to walk, take a scooter, or cycle along the web of single track paths that connect these farming communities.
Learning the lingo is important. When you’re passing someone from behind and you don’t have something to honk, you shout “Wah-wah, wah-wah!” so they can get out the way.
Up until now, Vietnam involved many bus rides, an overnight train and two days on a junk boat, so powering forward using our legs is both a relief and a treat. Behind the handlebars there isn’t any glass, wood or metal separating you from your surroundings. We are able to tread considerably lighter in discovering it.
The farms are devoid of noisy industrial or mechanised equipment. Life is quiet and slow. Clusters of farming families have grouped themselves together in communes, announced by archways over the road decorated with colourful flags. Each commune starts with a tight group of houses, a garage doubling as a general store, and open fields thereafter. Ornate Buddhist tombstones contrast the predominantly flat, green landscape.
The different communes farm different types of produce. We cycle through the fruit commune with its abundance of sweet watermelon before heading past rice paddies so bright we take off our sunglasses to make sure it really is this green. We wave at shy children and friendly women, standing behind hip-height gates.
We could smell the herb commune before we saw it. By now the sun is blazing, but interspersed with blots of shade and mediated by the steady, warm air on us as we cycle. The sky is thick with humidity and infused with the fragrant, spicy smell of coriander and chives. So simple, yet such an all encompassing delight found in a single foreign moment.
It seems idyllic, but these farmers don’t have it easy. Vice news reports that, although the Mekong River Basin supports Vietnam’s massive rice export business, prolonged dry seasons and sea-level rise brought about by climate change, is pushing saltwater from the South China Sea deeper inland, compromising farmers’ irrigation channels. Some farmers have already given up. I only saw the rose coloured version of the countryside, but I’m happy I was able to experience at least that.
When I think back to the Vietnam trip, I don’t think first of the sandstone islands of Halong Bay or the Japanese merchant houses of Hoi An. I think of us and Van on our bicycles, taking a peek at a rural farming community going about its day-to-day life. Cities around the world are starting to move back to a culture of conscious eating and traceability. We care about the origin of our food. Vietnam is so famed for its local food and all I had to do was hop on a bicycle to see the source of those endless buckets of rice, ginger, bok choy and water spinach.
I booked this day trip through Vietnam Backroads. This story only tells of the first half of the day. The second was spent exploring the Mekong Delta. Visit http://www.vietnambackroads.com/ for
Biking Mekong Delta Vietnam