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Saigon-Cambodia Bicycle Tour

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  • 2015

    Live guide: English,

    Duration: 12 days

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This challenge entails cycling 500kms past plantations, across waterways and through villages deep in the heart of the lush Mekong Delta in Vietnam, to the dry lands and contrasting sights of ancient Cambodia. You will pass temples and countless colourful pagodas, havens of calm and tranquillity and bustling markets. Your route takes you off the beaten track into the Mekong proper. Few locals will have seen foreigners cycling past, and their interest and hospitality will spur on even the most tired cyclist to keep on pedalling. Your end destination is the town of Siem Reap from where you can explore the ancient city of Angkor. Built from 879-1191AD by the Khmer civilization, Angkor represents one of humankind’s most astonishing architectural achievements and in 1992, the city of Angkor became a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Day 1:Saigon ARRIVAL:
The flight arrives in Ho Chi Minh City, where you will be met and transferred by the  local guides  to a centrally located hotel to relax and have lunch. This afternoon you will receive a full trip briefing and bike fitting. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2:SAIGON-TRA VINH(cycle 55km)(B,L,D)
After breakfast you will transfer a couple of hours out of Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho –the gateway to the Mekong Delta. Today’s ride will lead you right into the heart of rural Mekong. The cycling begins after the ferry journey across the Tien Giang River at My Tho. The route takes you through narrow roads and lanes, past banana plantations, fields of sugar cane, through the lush green landscape of the Delta, crossing rivers and canals by numerous, ubiquitous, fascinating ferries. A section of biking cuts off road onto gravel and dirt lanes, and weaves around hamlets, across water channels and through quite dense vegetation. This makes for superb biking. A final ferry across the gaping expanse of Co Chien River leads us to Tra Vinh, a pretty tree lined town with a large population of ethnic Khmer. Overnight in hotel.
 Day 3:TRA VINH-CAN THO(cycle 82km)(B,L,D)

Today’s route is peaceful, with narrow and very pretty roads all the way to Can Tho. You will begin with a visit to Ba Om Pond with its magnificent lotus flowers. There is plenty along the way to see, from the contrasting architectural styles of ethnic Khmer homes, to the numerous colourful Khmer temples and to the fascinating river scenes witnessed when pedalling over countless small wooden plank bridges and single trek lanes.. Overnight in hotel.
Day 4:CAN THO-LONG XUYEN(cycle 75km)(B,L,D)
Today’s ride is spilt into two sections and is a contrast to the previous day’s ride. After a very early breakfast, you will take a boat trip to the famous Cai Rang floating market before riding on a narrow paved road market to Phong Dien floating market. The route weaves through morning market bustle along the banks of the very busy river. Absorb the sights of endless cottage industries, timber merchants, coconut shredders, small docks loading/unloading rice, and tiny vibrant markets. You will continue by bike on the narrow lane to the main road, which transfers along the highway back to Can Tho for lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will continue riding along a road leading upstream towards Long Xuyen.
 Dinner & overnight in hotel.
Day 5:LONG XUYEN-CHAU DOC(cycle 80km)(B,L,D)
Once more, today’s scenery is completely different. After a short early morning transfer to Tri Ton, the cycling starts to gently undulate and mountains begin to loom as you ride closer and closer to Chau Doc. The presence of Thot Not trees indicates the growing proximity to Cambodia and the local people speak Vietnamese as their second language. This afternoon you will cycle to the Killing Fields of Vietnam at Ba Chuc, where Pol Pot’s regime massacred over 3,000 Vietnamese in 1978. The route loops round to Chau Doc from Ba Chuc along the border, or re-trace back to Tri Ton (depending on road conditions) and ride the rest of the way to Chau Doc along incredible country roads. Those with energy to spare can climb Sam ‘Mountain’for sunset! Dinner & overnight in hotel for your last night in Vietnam.
Day 6:CHAU DOC-PHNOMPENH(no cycleing)(B,L,D)
Depart early for the boat journey up the Mekong River to Phnom Penh (take water, food, book etc for your approx 5hr journey). Once arriving at the pier at Chau Doc you will say Goodbye to your Vietnamese guide & bikes and cruise up the Bassac River for approximately 1hr to the Cambodian border. At the Cambodian border the boat crew will obtain your visas on your behalf (you will need a spare passport photo, fill in a form and pay the approx $24 visa fee). This process will take about an hour. The boat will then continue (approx 3hrs) to take you upstream to Phnom Penh, where you new Cambodian team will be ready to greet you with your new bikes. You will then continue your journey into Cambodia & Phnom Penh. This capital city was once considered one of the most beautiful in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. After lunch at the atmospheric Foreign Correspondent’s Club and you will transfer to Cambodia’s killing fields and a visit to S21, Tuoel Sleng genocide museum. Later this afternoon you will transfer to your hotel where your bikes will be ready for you to fit and check. Overnight in hotel

You will depart early this morning by bike and head north on National road N5 via the ancient Japanese bridge and start travelling through the Cambodian countryside. You will share the road with light local traffic and get a good sense of what Cambodian transportation actually is. After 12kms you arrive at Prek Phnov and at that junction you turn left onto unpaved roads, passing local villages and rice fields. As you continue along you pass the ancient capital of Udong where the Udong Mountain is still home to many old Royal Palaces. You will pay a visit to one of the remaining stupa’s and afterwards you will ride along the paved road heading north-west to Kampong Chnang. Kampong Chnang is the provincial capital of the province of the same name. The TonléSap River passes by Kampong Chnang home to a floating village located 91kms north of Phnom Penh. The area is scenic and across the river you can find several ancient temples from the Chenla period, such as Samrong Sen and Prasat Prah Srey. You will experience great views of the countryside and meet hordes of local people welcoming you with broad smiles and greetings. Overnight and dinner in Kampong Chnang.

This morning  you will start with a boat transfer (approx 4-5hrs with pic-nic lunch on board) to Siem Reap crossing the immense Tonlé Sap Lake. The Tonlé Sap Lake is the heart of Cambodia and nearly half of the Cambodians live on the lake. It is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia and its biodiversity has put the lake amongst the ecological seven wonders of the world. Upon arrival in Siem Reap you will pass the floating village of Chhong Kneas a bustling trade centre for fish sales and tourism. You cycle 12kms into town before exploring the world largest heritage site: Angkor Wat. You will cycle towards the Angkor complex and cross the check point, from there the loop you take passes by many different styles of temples. The shady roads contribute to a pleasant ride through the complex where literally dozens of temples are scattered around. You stop at Srah Srang for refreshments and enjoy the sights of this former Royal Pool. You then cycle via the temple of Banteay Kdei which is one of the largest in the complex. Most of the massive complexes were built between the 11th-13th century. A little further along you will find yourself passing Neak Poan, a small temple located on the Grand Circuit. Not many people visit here which is great as the crowds are nowhere to be seen. You will continue another 6kms along the Grand Circuit and pass Preah Kahn and eventually the former capital of the Khmer Empire; Angkor Thom with the Bayon Temple in its heart. Finally you head towards the highlight of the day: Angkor Wat! There you celebrate your accomplishment and head back to town for dinner, a fine feast & celebration with traditional Khmer dancing and food in the Apsara Theatre. Overnight in hotel.
Day 9: Exploring the magnificent Angkor Temples by Bike (40km)   [B/L/-]
This morning you will meet both your specialist temple guide and cycle guide and be fitted with your bike. Once you are ready you will begin your cycle exploration of these incredible temples. Today you will focus on the Small Circuit which features temple greats such as: the pyramid of Takeo, the jungle-clad Ta Prohm made famous by the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Tomb Raider’; Sras Srang known as the King's bathing pond; and the impressive Royal City of Angkor Thom, where you will find the Bayon, a temple famed for its many gigantic carved faces smiling beguilingly down at you. You will also visit other important sites in this immense walled city. After lunch it is time to take on the majestic Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building. After being initially inspired by its overall size you will explore in more detail, getting up close and personal to fully appreciate its architecture and intricately detailed bas-reliefs. In the late afternoon you will cycle to an excellent spot to experience an Angkor sunset. After returning to the hotel you are free at leisure to experience Siem Reap’s nightlife which includes many fine restaurants and lively bars.
Day 10: Cycle Roluos and Cruise the Tonle Sap (65km)     [B/L/-]                                    
Today you pedal east on small trails and through pleasant countryside and small villages on route to the hilltop Wat Trak temple. This 12th century temple is away from the well trodden tourist trail so you will almost certainly have it all to yourself! After lunch you continue cycling south to the Roluos group of temples, the oldest of all Angkorian temples. Here you will visit the temples of Preah Ko, and the pyramid of Bakong. From Roluos you ride back towards Siem Reap and upon reaching the river you will follow it to the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest in South East Asia! On arrival at Siem Reap port you will board a boat and cruise to see the traditional floating village of Chong Khneas where you will witness the residents going about their daily life - it is quite a sight seeing a whole bamboo village complete with homes, gas stations, schools, hair dressers, and even karaoke bars floating on a lake. After your cruise you return to your hotel where you are free at leisure for the rest of the evening.
Day 11: Cycle Banteay Srei & the Grand Circuit (70km)  [B/L/D]                                                          
This morning you spin north towards Banteay Srei. This cycle ride is a real delight as you pass through wonderful Cambodian countryside and its friendly villagers. On route you will stop off at a couple of villages to get a closer look at the wooden stilted homes and every day life. One thing you will notice for sure is large black pots in people’s gardens containing a thick light brown bubbling mixture - this area is famed for its sugar palm tree sweets, sure to give any cyclist a much needed energy boost! On arrival at Banteay Srei you will be struck by its delicate beauty. It is an elaborately decorated temple, embellished with floral motifs and scenes from the Ramayana, all carved from pink sandstone. It is said the carvings must have been done by women as the detail is too fine for the hands of a man. You will have lunch at a local restaurant, after which you cycle back towards Siem Reap, and depending on the time explore some of the temple on the Grand Circuit such as: Preah Khan or ‘Sacred Sword’, one of the largest temples at Angkor; Neak Pean surrounded by fountains and ponds; and Banteay Kdei. This evening you will enjoy a farewell dinner and a mesmerising Apsara dance performance.
Day 12: Free until Departure     [B/-/-]                                                                                                        
Today you are free at leisure until it is time for your transfer to Siem Reap / Angkor International Airport to catch your onward flight [flight details to be advised]. You may wish to spend time further exploring Siem Reap’s markets for last minute souvenirs, taking advantage of the towns many good quality massage and spas to ease your muscles after 3 days cycling, or just laze around the hotel pool reflecting on your wonderful memories of the mighty Khmer Empire…

What's Included:

Viet Nam

-English Speaking guide(2). 02 English Speaking guide regarding group from 10-20 participants, 03 guides if group from 21 to 35 participants, 04 guides if group from 36 participants up)
-Private air-conditioned vehicles for transfer and back up as itinerary (small van is suitable for route in Mekong delta)
-Local boat trip to visit floating Cai Rang market
-Local bike hire and spares (front suspension mountain bikes)
-Speed boat ticket Chau Doc-Phnom Penh
-Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner). Special dinner: Welcome dinner in Indochine Restaurant
-Drinking water for cycling days
-Local fruits, soft drink and snack for cycling days
-Sightseeing admission fees
-Local ferry tickets
-Motor bikes backup for cycling day Ben Tre-Tra Vinh on narrow route (02 motorbikes if group from 10 to 25, and 03 motorbikes if group bigger than 26)
-Accommodation in twin sharing room in 3-4 star hotel with daily breakfast. Note that the check in and out time in hotel is after 12p.m

- English Speaking guide(2). 02 English Speaking guide regarding group from 10-20 participants, 03 guides if group from 21 to 35 participants, 04 guides if group from 36 participants up)
-Local English Speaking guide for visit of Sieam Reap
-Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer
-Private backup vehicle as itinerary
-Local bike hire and spares
-Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner). Special dinner: Welcome dinner in Indochine Restaurant
-Drinking water for cycling days
-Local fruits, soft drink and snack for cycling days
-Sightseeing admission fees
-International flight reconfirmation
-Accommodation in with daily breakfast. Note Note that the check in and out time in hotel is after 12p.m

What's Not Included:

Insurance ( strongly advise you to purchase trip insurance before traveling)
Tip for guide and driver ( it is volunteer and up to your satisfactory of the trip).

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