Below is a list of some useful, common questions we often receive from our guests preparing to join Vietnam Backroads for a group guided cycling tour. Please read them all, and they will help you to prepare well for your trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. As always, Vietnam Backroads's staff is available to help with any other assistance you need!
1. What we do not recommend using on our biking trips!
Cleats shoes/ clipless pedals are actually a system comprised of special pedals. They help you to save more energy for a long trip but it's not a good recommendation. Speeding is really dangerous if you ride your bicycle so fast on narrow roads through villages.
Do remember! We offer you cycling adventures, biking holidays, and riding on small back roads where you enjoy the beauty of the countryside, historical sites, cultures, history and hidden charm villages.
2. What do we provide on cycling trips!
- Van/minibus to take up all travelers and luggage
- Truck to carry all bikes, spare bikes other necessary things to support your trips on the whole.
- Mountain bikes, helmets, bottles of water, spare bikes
- Bike mechanic
- Cold Water
- Fruits, snacks
- Cold soft drinks
- Facial tissues
- B = Breakfast
- L = Lunches
- D = Dinner
3. What you should bring with you on the cycling trip:
- Lightweight luggage
- Comfortable clothes
- Cycling gloves
- Suncream, Sunglasses
- Mosquito spray
- Helmets + bottles of water if you love to use your
4. For long trips:
- Bottles of water
5. What are clothes/ bags and shoes should you use on daily cycling!
- Comfortable and short or cycling pants
- Cycling sandals/cycling shoes/ sneakers are good but not indoor sandals
- Day bags have to be neat and small; otherwise, they drive you crazy
6. How can I get a visa for Vietnam?
All nationalities require a visa in advance. Most visitors to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country. Visas are exempted for the citizens of the nations, which have signed a bilateral visa exemption agreement with Vietnam. A tourist visa may be valid for 15 to 30 days. Tourist visas can only be obtained in Vietnamese Embassies, Consulates, or Online.
Get a visa online. You can contact the Vietnamese Embassy near you to get it done before you go. You should send your application and photos to a Vietnamese embassy or consulate abroad, which is most convenient. On your requirement, the reply will be returned by post (you must provide stamped envelopes with your name and address).Vietnam-Embassy. Here are the Embassies and Consulates of Vietnam worldwide.
A Vietnam visa is required for most foreigners to enter and exit Vietnam at the three international airports: Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang airport, and Da Nang.
Vietnam visa-on-arrival is obtaining the pre-approved visa letter (visa approval letter) through a travel agency in Vietnam to check-in at the departure airport and pick up the actual visa stamp at an international airport in Vietnam upon arrival.
Most visitors to Vietnam require a valid visa to visit the country and are eligible to apply for a visa on arrival as long as they enter Vietnam by air at one of the International airports in Vietnam.
7. How can I get a visa for Cambodia?
Cambodian visa can be obtained on arrival at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports. The visa fee is US$20. Please bring two passport-sized photos with you for your visa application.
Visa to Cambodia is also available at the border crossing on Thai - Cambodian and Vietnamese -Cambodian border points. Travellers can also apply for Cambodia E-Visa online before they go. Here are nationalities that tourists don’t need to apply for tourist visas when entering Cambodia: Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, and Vietnam.
Get visa online: Cambodia Visa fees are US$30 https://www.evisa.gov.kh/
8. How can I get a visa to Laos?
A 15-day visa on arrival can be obtained at all airports and all land border crossings. Fees vary depending on country – US$ 42 for Canada, US$ 35 for the USA, UK, and most of Europe, and US$ 30 for Australia and other countries. You’ll need a passport photo, an application form (your guide will provide this to you in advance), and US dollars for the visa fee. At land borders, you will be asked to pay nominal (US$1-3) overtime, weekend, and other various costs, the amount of which varies at each border crossing. A visa issued at a Laos consulate abroad is valid for 30 days. When entering Laos with a visa, please, be sure to obtain an immigration entry stamp. Entering the country on only a visa without the proper immigration entry stamp could subject you to fines and penalties.
9. How much are the airport taxes?
- Airport taxes at International Airport in Vietnam:
- Airport taxes at International Airport in Cambodia:
International airport tax is USD25 and USD6 for domestic airport tax. The airport taxes have to be paid in cash at the airport. Travellers, who exit Cambodia by land border, do not require paying for any departure tax
10. How many people in the group do you guarantee to depart?
- A small group: 02 pax to applied to EXCURSION TRIPS and it's less than 8 days
- A small group: at least 04 pax to applied to TOURING TRIPS and it's must above 8 days
Once the booking confirmation is made and agreed upon by travellers and Vietnam Backroads, then your confirmed trip will be listed on the GUARANTEED TO DEPART page, and it’ll welcome more travellers to sign up.
- A large group size: 08 – 14 pax. The numbers of travellers are limit depended on the small group OR large group that you and Vietnam Backroads have singed.
If there is not any traveller, join in your trip at the last minute! You then enjoy a private trip without any extra charge.
11. What hotel categories & types of accommodation do you provide on the entire trip?
Each detailed trip on the website shows the hotel's names for a whole trip with its tour price, but travellers can require changing hotels they wish! It depends on hotel categories! We will revise the tour price
a. There are three different hotel categories
- 3 – 4 star hotel category
- 5 - star hotels category
- Travelers can require to stay at 5-star hotels in big cities as tourist destinations, and your requirement will be made but not in downtowns or somewhere are not large cities and not tourist places because this place has no 5-star hotels and luxury hotels.
- Do remember somewhere is not a tourist place but countryside, scenery and removed villages are beautiful places to discover. Foreign travellers usually rarely are seen by locals
- Travelers can take the same trip and select to stay in different hotel categories.
b. Rooms types:
- We provide travellers with a double room for a couple
- We provide travellers with a twin room (two separated bed) if you are the same genders
- There will be a triple room for a family with three people.
- If you wish to have a single room for your own! A single accommodation must be charged.
- We can also arrange 5 - star hotels for some people who are looking for luxury accommodation
- We can also arrange 2 – 3 stars hotels for some people who are travelling on budget accommodations
- Who travelled alone and joined in the trip and wish to have room shared – twin room! If the group size is an odd number, then you will have a single room without charge.
Vietnam Backroads Company Limited reserves the right to offer alternative accommodations with similar standards if the accommodation has been overbooked or already fully occupied in advance.
12. Is there internet access to all the accommodations on the trip?
Internet technology in South East Asia Country has been developing fast, even in rural villages where daily cycling through. All accommodations on the entire trip have internet access, in home-stay in countryside villages as well.
It’s effortless for travellers who use a smartphone to accesses the internet on daily biking.
- Vina Phone, Vina mobile phone, and Viettel Telecom provide 4G internet sim cards with different gigabytes and amounts of money.
We recommend you use a Viettel sim card because it belonged to the Vietnam Army. Its mobile antennas are built from big cities to forests and borders, so internet access and mobile networks are excellent.
13. Which ages to join in your guided cycling tours?
Kids must be eight years old at the minimum, and they can ride on regions with flatlands and the Mekong Delta region. Teenagers can join in a long trip. We welcome all people ages 18 – 65 years old.
14. What type of bikes do you use? Can we bring our bike?
We use a brand new mountain bike and hybrid mountain bikes all are lightweight and good quality bikes
- Trek and Giant MTB bikes wheel size: 27.5” x 1.95. We use these bikes for more off-road cycling on the dirt track, paths, and countryside back roads
- Trek and Giant hybrid mtb wheel size: 700c x 33/38. These bikes are suitable for a long trip. These bikes use gravel tires as they are ideal on the back road and off-road single track. Primarily, these bikes give you an easy and more comfortable ride to serious hills and undulating paved roads. In general, hybrid mountain bikes equipped with Rockshox XC30 – 100 mm travel is the best choice.
15. Here are what we provide on our guided cycling tours:
- We provide helmets
- New bottles of water for a long trip. More than seven days
- A New cycling jerseys of Vietnam Backroads and Saigon Bike Shop – a long trip. More than seven days, so you can bring your bike if you make a long trip! Then bike hired cost is not applied on this trip
- Handlebar bags, spare parts and spare bike, helmets, bottles of water, first aid kits, tool kits, pumps.
16. Can I use a pedal cleat on my trip?
You can use pedal cleats on your trip, but it is highly recommended for a long ride and long trip. Pedal cleats are not to be recommended for cycling through Mekong Delta because there are many bent single tracks, dirt tracks, and small bridges through canals, villages, and local markets where they are swamped on small paths
17. What clothes and cycling gear do I bring on my trip to Vietnam?
Vietnam is a tropical climate with warm weather all year round except the winter season in northern Vietnam from late November to February. We highly recommend you bring lightweight clothing, sun cream, gloves and sleeves, sunglasses, and mosquito spray.
Suppose you do a long ride / long trip! You should bring something with you: your cycling shoes or sneakers, shorts, pedals, cycling meters, camelback/hydration cycling shirt, and shorts. Also, many people prefer to bring their seats (saddles), seat posts, pedals, and helmets, especially for long trips. If this is the case with you, be sure to bring these items. We advise you to bring your water bottle for a long journey. Handlebar Camera Mounts & Water Bottles: We suggest that you bring your camera handlebar mounts and water bottles with you for long trips
18. Do you provide fully support vehicles on the whole trip?
All your luggage, suitcases, and day bags will be safe on our private vehicles on daily cycling.
- Small group: 02 to 04 people.
There is an A/C van- Mercedes Sprinter 16 seated support riders on the entire trip. This van will take up all travellers, luggage, and bikes. There are four rows of seating for passengers on the A/C 16 seater van. Two people sit on each row. The third row is for luggage and suitcases. The last row of seats will be folded up, so all bikes will be uploaded here.
- A medium group size: from 5 to 7 people
There will be two vehicles to support riders on the entire trip. One 16 seater van to take up all riders, luggage & suitcases. Another small truck to carry all bikes, spare bikes, tool kits, iceboxes, and related equipment
- A large group size: 08 to 14 people
One minibus to take up all riders, including luggage & suitcases, and one truck to carry all bikes, spare bikes, water, cold drinks, and snacks. Icebox, although plenty of snacks, fruits, cold water, and soft drinks available on the minibus
- A group has more than 15 riders and more than 20 people
We provide two vans, one minibus, and one truck to escort large riders and help ensure their safety. Our pro guide will motivate a team with support vehicles to bring the best services to riders.
19. Travel Insurance:
Vietnam Backroads does not provide travel insurance. We strongly advise you to purchase your travel insurance. All our cycling guides are licensed and well-trained with first aid, and we have a first aid kit in the support van.
Lightweight suitcases - will go into A/C van/minibus or compartment of the minibus. All of your luggage will carry by a support vehicle. Small bags: day bags to contain personal things that you can use journey camera and Go Pro, sunscreen,
Double-insulated Plug-in, 220V
2 pin power sockets - 220V
22. Money: Vietnam đồng
There are two types of banknotes in Vietnam, both cotton and polymer, with various values and designs currently in c. The lowest value of banknotes in Vietnam at present is VND 1000 (around 5 cents), and the highest value is VND 500,000 (around US$23). Banknote in Vietnam has two sides which often carry national symbols. The front side of all banknotes contains the image of President Ho Chi Minh.
VND 500.000 is around US$22
VND 200.000 is around US$9
VND 100.000 is around US$4
VND 50.000 is around US$22
The rules of roads
Here is something you need to know before your adventure trip with Vietnam Backroads
Country roads are very narrow and bendy. There are many forks and crossroads in rural villages, but there is no traffic signal or traffic sign. Plenty of small concrete bridges without rails and holders. Bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles are the primary means of transport in rural areas. Women and kids are very slow riders but men and teenagers riding too fast. The handlebar is too long in comparison with the width of paths/paths.
01 - Do not ride to close front rider
02 - Never block the path/road when you had stopped
03 - Do not ride off concrete paths. It’s intense, and you could get a fall.
04 - Ride with the traffic on a small back road!
Please, ride on the ride side of roads and stay on a single line. Do remember, you are in Vietnam, not in the UK.
05 - Ride on a single line on country roads is save
06 - Whenever you stop to capture photos for any reason.
Do not stop so quick; say louder; stop, stop so that cyclists coming up from behind, they could hear you so they could stop in time, or they could pass you on your left-hand side. Once you stop, please, placing your bike on one side of the road as not to block the traffic (country roads are too narrow)
07 - Do not take a photo when cycling
08 - Do not turn your head back when you are biking
09 - Many little wooden/ concrete bridges have no rails and holders
you should walk better than ride! Path, track, and country back roads are also very bendy. You should ride slowly and keep riding on the right side to avoid bicycles, and the moped comes from the opposite direction.
10 - If wooden and concrete bridges are too small, narrow without rails and holders! Please, get off your bike and walk over.
11 - Most of the bridges in the countryside are very high in proportion to their length so that boats could get through. (Bridges are not too long but too high).
It would be best to balance your riding on your bike by moving your body rearward when you ride on a bridge slope. (go down from the top of the bridge) Do not use the front brake. The front brake is the left-hand brake
12 - Once you noted that some mopeds are coming up from your behind!
Please, do not turn your head back; keep cycling slowly and stay on the right side of paths/country back road so locals who were riding bicycles/ mopeds have more space/ room so they could pass you (front riders) safely on your left hand.
13 - How do you have safely pass a local riding a bike/moped in front of you?
It’s challenging and complicated for you to pass them! 14 - Sometimes, you come up from behind local riders riding their bicycle or mopeds very slowly in front of you, and they are also riding in the middle of a narrow path/ track. In case of this, you should say louder, “WA…WA… WA… (I’m passing you) other word is “ZO…ZO…ZO”. Then you can see locals on bikes/mopeds begin to slow down, and they keep riding on the right side to give you more space/ room so that you could pass them quickly and safely on your left hand.