Cyclist' Reviews

If you have ever dreamed of experiencing a National Geographic moment, you enjoy biking, you want to see the real Vietnam, and you want to get off the beaten path then follow ‘Van the Man’ from Vietnam Backroads. See Video Clip. Bicycling the Mekong-off the beaten path. Saturday, December 18, 2010

Meggies family from Canada

We went on cycling tours in Mekong Delta by Vietnam Backroads. Van tailored-made a 4 days trip, from Saigon to Phu Quoc Island. Then we had an another week on beaches in Phu Quoc. We loved biking on the trails of the Mekong Delta and really enjoyed our trip very much. Thanks Van.
24 April 2010

Peter & Malin from Sweden

Good combination of physical extension, interesting combination of cultural exposure & experiences, great food, excellent guide and bikes. We will recommend your services to others. Feel free to send me trip tour updates as you created more tour packages in future. December 22, 2013

Fred Haering from New Zealand < fhaering@hotmail.com>

Thanks to Dat- our tour guide, we had more than just a backroad cycle - this was a full cultural tour including local food. I have life threatening peanut allergies and he guided me with what to eat and made sure I was ok. Great scenery, lots of flexibility to stop when we wanted to take pictures. Dat was able to explain so much to us about the way of life for Vietnamese people, rice growing, weddings, funerals, etc, all the things we saw along the way.

Thanks for an amazing memory. December 22, 2013

Joanne George from New Zealand

Hi Vietnam Backroads,

Thanks, this was amazing. I will rave about it. Now we have done the best bike trip in the world we can retire! Great variety of scenery.

December 22, 2013

Walter Shepherd from Australia <walter.shepherd@bigpond.com>

Hi Van,

Unbelievable trip!
My girlfriend and I were fortunate enough to take a 3-night, 4 day tour of the Mekong Delta with Vietnam Backroads and had an amazing time.

From our first initial enquiry to the moment we were dropped back at our hotel, we were dealt with promptly and professionally.

During our trip we cycled from village to village along the Mekong Delta, getting a taste of local provincial life, eating great food and meeting some amazing people along the way. During this trip we experienced a number of different sides of this region, such the fruit growing areas (stopping off to meet the farmers while they worked and sample their goods), the scenic rice fields of the Khmer people and finally the canal districts.

Our guide Thang, was an absolute machine, taking care of all meals, providing cycling coaching when needed and by simply making things happen (including when a usual river taxi was unavailable, he arranged for a local coconut farmer into taking us across the river in his stocked coconut boat – which was pretty unique experience). Thang was full of information and always keen to educate us on the Vietnamese way of life and give us every opportunity to experience it – a genuinely great guy and a pleasure to spend our time with.

This trip was an absolutely amazing experience – from the incredible scenery each day, the opportunity to experience culture and also experience number of things we thought we never would have (such as buying fruit and coffee from local sellers in the floating markets, watching the sunset from the top of a Mekong river taxi, and eating some pretty exotic food) to the countless kids running out of their village houses to shout and wave “hello” and wave as we rode past – truly unforgettable
I can’t recommend Vietnam Backroads highly enough – for my girlfriend and I this was a very different and unique way to see Vietnam, and experience its culture from the very heart of it. We had an amazing time!

Thanks Ms. Hue & Thang for an incredible experience.

Shaun Hutcheson. December 9, 2013.

Shaun Hutcheson and Karen Rigoroso - <shaun.hutchinson@team.telstra.com>

Hey guys- here is my review of the trip, please feel free to publish it on your website. I'll also be sure to publish it on tripadvisor.com and anywhere else that might be helpful to you. Here it is-

'My wife and I chose the 5 day tour across the Mekong Delta. We had hoped to get to know the 'real Vietnam' and knew that by cycling, we had a good chance of getting to more out of reach places. My expectations were already high for the tour but somehow it managed to far exceed those expectations in what turned out to be a journey we'll remember for the rest of our lives.

Firstly, I need to assure whoever may be reading this that Vietnam Backroads as a company is one of a kind. Van pioneered this way of exploring the delta and his routing is just perfect, balancing every aspect of country life day by day with a journey that slowly but surely continues to surprise the rider. Trustworthy and professional, have no doubts about booking a tour with them.

Further to this, it is well worth mentioning that the 'service' elements to the trip are also excellent. My wife and I had our own air conditioned support vehicle, standing by and transferring luggage and supplies out of sight but only ever a short ride away. We also had the luxury of having all minor costs including ferry fares, fruit, lunch, dinner and hotels completely taken care of, something that allowed us to completely relax and fully absorb the experience.

Whilst on the bikes we had expert knowledge at our disposal from our wonderful guide Loc, who would always let us decide how far we'd like to go that day, customising the experience to suit both me (a regular rider) and my wife (someone who only rides occasionally). The pace was never dictated and photos or stops were always accommodated. The paths were usually completely car free and the flat delta made for very smooth riding.

The experience took in more than just cycling too... we were taken on private boats to floating markets, explored mangroves and discovered Temples and history of all kinds along the way. Meeting the wonderful people is something i'll never forget, they are naturally joyful and are openly kind wherever you happen to stop. I can still hear the kids running out to yell 'Hello!' wherever we went!

The Hotels were great, naturally some were better than others but only ever where the city or town didn't accommodate as many tourists- a minor cost well worth paying in exchange for the adventure of straying from the beaten track.

In summary, we had an amazing time. We ate multiple courses of wonderful food, were expertly guided wherever we went, saw places I'd never have imagined and had every comfort taken care of in a land where we were greeted with smiles and hospitality from everyone we passed by.

If you are considering a trip and are not sure, just book it. You won't regret it, and whilst I am certain that all the guides are great, be sure to request 'Loc' for your trip, his kindness, knowledge and service go far beyond any guide that I have ever experienced. Book now before the secret is out!'

Adam and Jeanne. December 4, 2013

Adam Harrison From Britain <adsharrison@gmail.com>

Really enjoyed the bicycle tour. It was nice riding through all the villages. The homestay we stayed at was lovely. Tour guide was attentive and knowledgeable. All in all an excellent tour!
Thank you!

December 11th, 2013

 

Jamie & Shawn McDonough From Australia

Great to see local villages. Can see a lot more on a bike than on a bus. the boat trip was great too. Our guide was very friendly and helpful. We will recommend this trip to others. It was very worthwhile and a highlight of our trip. The homestay was lovely as wete the places we had lunch and rest stops. December 11th, 2013

Deborah McDonough's Party from Australia <deborah.mcdonough@education.tas.gov.au>

Thang is the best guide- very patient, knowledgeable and awesome. The bikes & routes are great. We've learned so many things about Vietnam. We've also done so many firsts ( boat rides , our bikes, eating rice mice, etc). Such an amazing tour. We'll definitely recommend it to friends.

We had a wonderful time. December 4th, 2013.

Karen Rigoroso's Party From Philippines < Karen.rigoroso@team.telstra.com>

If you have a sense of adventure than I would not hesitate to combine interests of sight-seeing with cycling on and off roads. The trip was made more memorable by the knowledgeable guide and friendships formed along the way. I would recommend the tours highly and plan to do another before I head back home.
Thanks, goes out to Anh Thang, Anh Van, and Michael guys.

Tree Pham, December 4th, 2013

Tree Pham From Australia

Hi Van,

It was good to be able to get on the bus to skip a section of the day's ride when it was very hot or an uninteresting bit along the tar road.
The back roads through villages and countryside were excellent, very interesting. The guides were all terrific, also the drivers.
Vietnam Backroads did a great job returning our luggage that was lost by Malaysian Airlines.

Colin & Joanne Burke,
November 10, 2013

Leonie's group from Australia

Hi Vietnam Backroads team,
What a great holiday! As a family group, parents in their late 50’s and two kids in late 20’s, this was a great experience for all of us. After 14 days, 10 days  on bikes, 650 kilometres of cycling, we weren’t ready for it to end. That is the strongest endorsement you can get.

Vietnam Backroads does an amazing job of providing a varied agenda of sightseeing, boat trips and cycling. The cycling itself is varied and just so much fun that each day was a new treat for all the senses. We traveled dirt paths, narrow cement roads, dikes and irrigation bridges in rice paddies, secondary highways with deep potholes and lovely rolling terrain on smooth new pavement. We traveled through villages, where daily life was happening at our fingertips. Dogs slept in the sun, chickens crossed our path, elderly women cycled along with incredible loads, cows were herded, food and laundry dried as we pedalled past doorsteps. We rode over the straw that was laid out to dry on the road, as did all the other traffic as well. We rode by many weddings, a funeral and a murder trial.

My favourite areas were what I called the HelloHello trail. The kids all ride bikes, adult size, to school. If we went by the kids on their way to or from school, they would call out Hello. As we got strung out, me at the end, I would hear the Hello – Hello – Hello – Hello echoing along the way as school kids called out from their bikes, and younger kids ran towards the road to say Hello. In one town, again with me at the back, I happened to look down a side road to see a 3-year old boy running towards me, but still 50 metres back. I debated stopping and turning around, but it was just one of many roadside vignettes that a person could stop and suddenly be totally off track and way behind. Instead, this little boy and I called back and forth for a good 4 or 5 rounds. Our son, 26 years old and 6’3”, was who he really wanted to see.

Adults engaged as well, some of them obviously thinking that we were crazy – why ride a bike when you are a rich foreigner? When we rode by the older generation, I called out xin chao, hello in Vietnamese. This always raised a smile or a glance and sometimes a hello back. Several times we had motorbikes come up beside us and join our pace, while they and their passengers checked us out. We were on mountain bikes and the villagers were on the gearless regular “old fashioned low tech” bikes, resulting in us moving faster than the local bikes and slower than the motorbikes. Several times some of the pre-teen boys would try to keep up. During one attempt the kid’s two bikes knocked into each other, but balance was maintained and all carried on – lesson learned.

Several days of the trip we did not see any other tourists until we arrived at our hotel. The routes were diverse and through very rural areas, and occasionally in more populated zones. Riding down the center of a busy market with no open pavement visible, was a bit nerve racking, until we were right in the midst of the chaos – then it was fun and energizing. Tackling a busy intersection with a traffic circle was intimidating, but we could see that the locals were aware that we were beginners. The respect shown all other traffic is quite amazing and allows the traffic to flow in magical ways. Our daughter rides in Vancouver and reported feeling safer in Vietnam.

We generally avoid “tours” but I have to say that Mr. Van may change our future travel. Backroads  supplies new bikes, with shocks (better than my own bike) breaks every 15 kilometers or so with water, energy drinks, fruit and junk food according to tastes. We tried many different fruits from local markets, custom cut as we waited – all we had to do was eat.  Mangos have never tasted this great. After Harry, our guide, found out that we were hooked on banana fritters, he would show up at the snack stop with a bag of fresh fritters. I have never eaten or craved so much great greasy food! We always felt very well cared for.

Breakfasts are all hotel buffets of varying greatness, all far better than any buffet I have ever had included in a Canadian hotel stay. Lunch was sometimes in a tiny local restaurant, and other times in the huge, built for bus tours establishments. We enjoyed the tiny local, and had some great pho soup at one. Another one served up squid, a bit too complete in its anatomy for my squeamish western taste, but again, all part of the experience. Dinners were sometimes included and for the others we tried to find something local. We enjoyed many very good meals. As other folks have noted, you probably won’t be losing weight on this trip! Our guides were always wanting to make sure that we ate enough at lunch on our big kilometre days. When we ordered our own off the menu, they were always encouraging us to add another dish. The “set menus” usually had spring rolls, one squid, one shrimp, one beef, one chicken, one pork, one vegetable dish, rice and sometime dessert. We were then waddling back to the bikes.

Our group of four did not have any others join in, so we ended up truly spoiled. Mr. Van also joined the group to assist Harry with some route changes. Mr. Van is a true guide and host and manages to take on the tasks that make a difference on a trip. Our son brought a GoPro camera; Mr. Van procured the necessary items to attach it to his own helmet, because it worked better with his, and then gave our son his helmet for the duration of the trip. As we were transferring into a town, I mentioned that I needed to try to get a picture of one of the bicycles with the little cooking fires on the side. He spoke to the driver, took my camera, jumped out and ran after the bike crouching down as he did so the fire would show. It is a great picture, all 4 of them, with the bike rider looking back and laughing at crazy Mr. Van.

The van is new and very comfortable and the driver very skilled. I am one of those folks who kind of worries about the drives on holidays, and that was never an issue with our driver. He also orchestrated our cycle breaks and was often the person custom cutting our fruit. He also acted as bike tech, water man and navigator. We were dissuaded from assisting in the morning set up; the guides and driver had a system all figured out. His amazing driving skill really showed itself when we drove into Saigon. We entered a huge intersection, with at least 50 trucks and probably 100 motorcycles and undoubtedly a few bikes. The entire time we traversed the intersection our view was blocked by other vehicles larger than the van. We were flanked on all sides by other vehicles, never more than 6 inches away. I fully expected a crunch or scrape or a full and complete grid lock. Nothing but slow gradual flow. This is driving you have to be born into.

Wondering if it is for you? You do not need to be a cyclist to enjoy this trip. It helps if you love bikes, but the summer before the trip, I was doing a couple of 30 or 40 kilometre days per week. I switched to a stationary bike when fall set in, but seldom did more than 45 minutes. I was able to enjoyably bike 600 kms, stopping a bit short on some of the longer days and skipping a hill that was reported to be 1500 metres and 17 kms. It was actually 1500 feet and 17 kms. That was fine though, I went with the van and was able to enjoy the great downhill glide. Harry and Mr. Van were always keeping track of me, at the back of the line, letting the rest of my family fly ahead as they are want to do. If you do the full distance, I suggest some hill climbing practice. There were plenty of lowest gear hills, some of them long. There was always so much going on and so much to look at and contemplate that the kilometres flew by quickly. I just saw on the Backroads website that Mr. Van has another route mapped out to try – it is tempting!

On top of this the pre-trip emails and question response is not only very prompt but fun and encouraging. No worries! The trip information was great, and the itinerary matched our days very closely. (I have been on trips where this is not the case.)

A great trip. Great value. Great care and attention. Perfect in my books. October 26th to November 8, 2013

A family of 4 from Canada - McRae <dmcraed@telus.net>

Dear Ms Hue,

Natalie Whitty
This was a wonderful experience which enabled us to see Vietnam in a way we never could have alone. Dat was an intelligent, diligent, caring, truly fantastic guide.
Thank you thank you thank you!
Julian Hichin
Thank you for a fantastic trip. Dat an Cuong looked after us both very well and I feel like I have seen a lot of Vietnam that would not have been accessible to me otherwise. I will certainly recommend Vietnam Backroads to my friends. Dat has been an excellent host throughout.
Thank you and I hope to come back soon!  Nov 1st - 5th, 2013

The party of Natalie Whitty <natalieclairewhitty@googlemail.com>

Mr. Van, I wanted to send a note to tell you how much we enjoyed our Mekong Bike Tour. It exceeded our expectations! Our guide, Thang, was excellent.  He really made us feel like we were a local.  His knowledge and love for Vietnam is apparent, and he shared so much information with us.  This was more than a bike trip, it was a cultural trip though the Mekong Delta that happened to be on bikes.  Thang quickly found out that we love food and he made sure we tried everything.  We have never had such good food on a trip!  Thang also arranged stops along the way to learn about Temples, coconut farming, brick making, rice paper production, coconut palm leaf roofs, water hyacinth weaving and so much more.

Our driver, was also very good.  He was prompt and helpful.

Thank you so much!

Kris, RJ and Bella Prescott

Kris Prescott party of 4 <kristineprescott@hotmail.com>

Hi Vietnam Backroads Bicycle Tours,
Mr Nghi is an excellent guide. He meets us every day with a smile and was available at all times. He’s an excellent cyclist and always ready for a hard & challenging ride. He was attentive to our needs and accommodating to special requests. Our driver Thao is also a very good driver, very safe and always prompt. He also kept the van very clean and supplied with drinks. The quality of the food choice overall was excellent. Some of our very best meals were arranged by Mr Nghi in small villages for our lunches and gave us a great insight into the culture. If we had any constructive feedback, maybe the van could sometimes be closer on long rides and maybe the guides could be supplied with modem mapping technology like GPS or smart phones, for the most efferent routing and use of time. This is one of the best trip we have ever taken and our first bike tour, and we are extremely happy with experience. We have many wonderful memories and photos. We would highly recommend Vietnam Backroads to our friends. We are already looking forward to our next trip with Vietnam Backroads. 24 Dec 2012 - 04 Jan 2013.

Aaron and Laurence from the US. <aaronbenay@gmail.com>

Very good routes, good mix of urban/village area, poor/rich and farming villages.Good activies (crocodile, fish farms, boat rides, markets and flooting market)
The food on the set menu by the restaurants was very good (restaurant where guide chose menu, less good. Prefer if he translate Vietnamese into English menu, then we choose(even ifthis means price increase)
Bike excellent packing up of tour very good, professional services eg. Baggage handling.

Junior guide Dat has very good English - shows great promise 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 Sep 2013

Sarah Byrne <sarah@abfw.co.uk>

Ms Katie:
I have enjoyed every minute and have been very impressed with all  the staff. From when i booked, I always had very quick responses to my emails. Our guide, Nghi was very knowledgeable  and did everything. He could make our stay as enjoyable as possible. Thanks you very much! Our driver was excellent too!

Mr Luke:
Very enjoyable tour, well organized and got to see lots of things we  would not otherwise have seen on our trip. 20 -21-22-23 Step 2013

Katie and Luke from UK

I was just looking at our photos and everything from the bike trip from Saigon to Hanoi.  The pictures are awesome and we keep talking about how great it was to see Vietnam on bicycle. Everyone is very impressed with our stories and experiences.  We really had a wonderful trip! Thank you so much. Vietnam Backroads 03 Mar 2011

Randy & Yaacove from America

Hello Hue,

We are back in the flatlands, in Holland. We have wonderful memories of our trip in Vietnam, we are very happy about the holiday. This was the first time we were on a biking holiday and we were very impressed by the smooth organisation of Vietnam Backroads. We are very happy about every aspect of the holiday and don't know anything we are not happy - not even when we think very hard on it.

To be specific we are very happy about:
- the information before the trip (website, e-mails, adjustments on standard program).
- the bikes were of high quality and well maintained.

To be honest we were a bit worried about it in advance as it is so important for the quality of the trip. Even when the bike size was not correct for me on the first day it was solved the next day with a larger framesize.
- the mechanical skills of Van and Trang. They continously optimized the bikes for us.
- the routes and the maps by Van - they were really the backroads of Vietnam and we never had to bike on the busy and dangerous highways. The routes were easily adapted to the circumstances (longer or shorter trip). Combined with the mechanical skills this is for us the most unique features of this company.
- the chosen hotels. The only hotel which fell al little out of tune was the one in Hanoi.
- the information Trang gave to us about the history and culture of Vietnam.
- the safe driving of Mr. Huang. In a way we were always happy to see him as we knew that he would have fresh water and fruits for us ready. During transfers we felt always very safe.

One advice for booking the flight tickets: ask for the names as given in the pasports, since a change can cause problems at in checking for the flights. Another thing is that one request for not taking any more pictures of your guests should have been enough, and three requests is too many. We're happy to recommand your company to anyone who wants to cycle in Vietnam. We're certainly to return to your company one day to have another trip in Vietnam or Cambodia

Best regards, 23 May 2012.

Jos & Monique from Netherlands

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