Whether you’re after mountain climbs or cruisy flat rides through beautiful scenery, there’s something for every level of cyclist in Vietnam. At first, you might be intimidated by the traffic in the city, but rural areas provide more relaxing rides through rice paddies and inspiring landscapes. Here’s my top eight tips for cycling in Vietnam
Mind the traffic
Ahhh, the traffic. With motorbikes everywhere, it’s difficult to navigate even if you’re an experienced cyclist. If you’re riding in the city, be very careful, ride in a group and if all else fails, get off the bike and walk. Keep an eye out for things on the back of trucks – a friend was almost clipped coming down a mountain by a pole sticking out of a truck.
Enjoy the village life
While you can enjoy decent speeds on the road, it’s a good idea to go slower on the dirt roads if you head to any of the villages. Plus, there are plenty of photo ops, so enjoy the ride! If you’re keen to ride between villages, homestays are a good option to rest at along the way.
Watch for obstructions
Buffalo, potholes, uneven roads and drying vegetables are just some obstructions you might see cycling in Vietnam. Look ahead and keep clear of any of potential hazards. If you can, point them out to other cyclists too.
The best thing about cycling in Vietnam is all the kids out on bikes! They love saying hi to people riding in Vietnam, especially in the country. Give them a smile and say hello!
Bring your own bike
If you’re doing a longer cycle, I’d recommend bringing your own bike. Hire bikes are often heavier and while maintained, still don’t feel the same as riding on a bike you’re used to. Heavy duty tires are a must – a city bike ain’t going to cut it on the terrain.
Wear old clothes
Our cycling gear got so muddy in Vietnam that we had to get rid of the jerseys. Don’t wear white, cause Napisan won’t help here… Take a light raincoat that’s breathable too.
Goes without saying, but you’ll be cycling in very hot and humid temperatures, so make sure you are consuming enough water.
Be careful where you stop
Don’t park your bike and take a break on someone’s front porch – you’ll probably get shouted at.