Best Cycling in South East Asia

With its varied geography, there is a cycling trip in South East Asia for anyone. Whether you’re catering to a group looking for a relaxed and easy ride through flat landscapes, or a more adventurous one desiring steep mountain climbs and gorgeous views from the peaks, there’s a cycling package to be crafted for your specific requirements in Indochina.

Starting in Vietnam, the most spectacular cycling experiences can be found in the North, though due to the mountainous landscape, the routes can be challenging for older or less fit travellers. Cycling through the valley of Mai Chau or around the forested slopes and waterfalls of Ninh Binh make for great day-trips or 2-3 day excursions.

Cycling Ninh Binh
Cycling through the fields of Mai Chau

For a longer journey, a great idea is to head north from Hanoi to Mau Son, and start cycling from there. On the way your guests will get to enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in all of Vietnam, as they travel along the border to China, before reaching Cao Bang town. From here you can cycle north, all the way to the border, to visit Ban Gioc waterfall, and then (or instead) head down to Ba Be National Park for an authentic look at rural Vietnamese life. If this isn’t long enough either, you can easily extend the trip by continuing from Ba Be to Ha Giang, where the famous motorcycle loop is just as magnificent when done with a push-bike.

For flatter geography and less strenuous cycling, a two week trip from Hanoi to Hoi An takes you along the coast and passes through many of the country’s highlights, like Hue, Phong Nha and of course Hoi An itself. It also makes for an easily adjustable trip, to cater to trips of any length.

Cycling  Hoi An
Cycling past ancient history in Hoi An.

In Laos, two routes stand out among the rest. A northern loop offers challenges and beautiful mountain scenery, running from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw to Oudomxay to Pak Beng and back to Luang Prabang. Meanwhile, a great way to see life along the Mekong in southern Laos is to set out from Pakse by bicycle, and head south until you reach The Four Thousand Islands and the stunning waterfall of Don Khone, marking the border with Cambodia.

On the subject of Cambodia, a popular way to get some cycling in is to visit the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat by bicycle rather than the standard tuk-tuk. This allows your guests more freedom when exploring the ruins, and as the whole area is flat, makes for some very peaceful cycling. For a longer cycling journey through Cambodia, start in Ho Chi Minh City and head west through the entire country, and continue on until you reach Bangkok.

Angkor Wat by bicycle
There is no better way to experience Angkor than on a bike.

Bangkok is also a great start point for two cycling routes. The first is the easiest and takes you through Central and Southern Thailand before reaching Phuket, and the second, somewhat more challenging ride takes you from Bangkok up north to Chiang Rai.

cycling the Samoeng Loop
Cycling the rural roads of the Sanmoeng Loop.

For a higher challenge level, plan a package cycling the Samoeng Loop, in Chiang Mai province. The loop starts and ends in the city of Chiang Mai, and lets your guests discover everything the province has to offer from nature to temples.
Cycling is a great and eco-friendly way for travellers to experience Southeast Asia. No matter the intensity level desired, there will be many routes to pick from, and seeing the region from bicycle allows for much better views and experiences than if travelling by bus, van or train.

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