Tour de Viet Recon Trip - Feb 2024

Welcome to Vietnam

 Dear Cycling Enthusiast,

We are thrilled to announce a Grand Gravel bike odyssey in the breathtaking landscapes of Northern Vietnam.   Come ride and see the intended 2025 race route, or just treat it as a great cycle tour in Vietnam.   Our course and team caters for every cycling level - relaxed recreational to experienced elite.   Support vehicles are happy to stop as often as you wish, so you can soak in the views off the bike, or challenge yourself.

Get ready to embark on a 9-day, fully supported Reconnaissance Trip.   Cycle as much as you wish over the course, or enjoy the view from luxury transport.  We seek your feedback for the proposed route of the 2025 Tour de Viet - a mixed road and gravel 6-Day Team Race.   TDV intends to develop the event into a 3-week Vietnam Grand Tour.

We also offer the same route (and other routes & locations) for amateur groups, guided touring, club or cycle-team training camps, at your preferred time of year.

Northern Vietnam is renowned for its beauty, people, cultural heritage and seemingly endless diverse terrain.   Thousands of kilometres of undulating and winding roads, mountain passes, lush valleys, meandering rivers and ancient villages beckon.

Led by experienced local & international guides, we will traverse territory few foreigners or Vietnamese have been.   Tempting cyclists to test their ability or just roll downhill, we provide a platform for adventure, freedom and discovery - things largely lost in the modern world.

Beyond the scenery, you will have the opportunity to interact with ethnic groups, such as the H'Mong, Dao and Thai peoples.   Learn about some of their customs and savour authentic flavours of Vietnamese cuisine.

The heart of this event is our commitment to promote and support Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an NGO rescuing Vietnamese children caught in domestic and international trafficking.   By combining our passion for cycling with this noble organisation, Tour de Viet hopes to help lives in desperate need - families from the very areas we travel through.

Keep in mind - if you cannot schedule for this event, we offer guided or customised Recon Trips for private groups or Cycle Team Training Camps.

Your cycling co-conspirators,

Minh Ha  Director,       kevin francis  Vice-Director       Brendon Morrison  Team Enquiries, 2025 Tour de Viet

Day 1: Sat, 24 Feb - General Arrival in Hanoi

Cycling for a Cause and Welcome Dinner

Arriving  in the heart of Hanoi's bustling French Old Quarter, our first evening together begins with a welcome dinner and presentation.   Showcasing the Tour's genesis, purpose and routes, a highlight will be Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, who will share the amazing story of how they rescue Vietnamese children trapped by human trafficking.   We hope this will affirm the purpose behind the journey - to improve Vietnamese society.   TDV Recon participants will be humbly requested to donate $1 USD to BDCF during the dinner.

6pm:  Welcome presentation and dinner

Overnight stay:  Oriental Jade Hotel, Hanoi.

Day 2: Sun, 25 Feb - Stage 1 Thai Nguyen to Lang Son

Tea Farms, Terraced Rice Fields, Rolling Hills

We set off early by bus from Hanoi, past the world's largest Samsung factory, to our race start point - the famous tea plantations of prosperous Thai Nguyen.

A meandering and rolling ride starts us off, to a short, sharp climb over Tam Canh Pass, a foretaste of mountains to come, then we wind and rise through our first gravel sections.   Tranquility starts to envelop, as we leave the city and world behind.   A riverside gravel and secondary road guides us into Lang Son, a charming town nestled amidst low mountains.   Day 1 is a tale of anticipation, making friends, familiarising with a new, strange and inviting landscape as we start to unveil some hidden gems of Northern Vietnam.

Overnight stay:  Four Points by Sheraton, Lang Son

Day 3: Mon, 26 Feb - Stage 2 Lang Son to Cao Bang

History Winding through Mountains

Today, a short, hilly undulating gravel lane leads us away from Lang Son - sweeping bends and thick vegetation drawing you towards the ranges of Cao Bang.   Following an historic road where Viet Minh battled the French in 1950, Cao Bang's picturesque mountains, cascading waterfalls and lush forests lie ahead.    Day 1 and 2's relatively flat course, crests and countryside leave you wanting more, building excitement.

Overnight stay:  Luxury Hotel, Cao Bang

Day 4: Tue, 27 Feb - Stage 3 Cao Bang to Dong Van

Queen Stage - Na Tenh, Khau Coc Cha and Ma Pi Leng Passes

Day 3 marks the first difficult climbing.   After a short 16 km drive from Cao Bang, a river crossing marks our start point.   Ahead, our first large mountain range looms in front, seemingly a guardian for what is beyond, a warning to be wary, but inviting you forward.

The first main feature is a famous 15-switchback ascent of Na Tenh Pass, 500 m from the Chinese border, followed by a mirror-like switchback descent of Khau Coc Cha Pass.   A popular motorbike route, cyclists will impress with using only legpower to summit.   The day demands determination, but every aching ascent owes you a decent descent.   We pass through Bao Lac, towards another of Vietnam's captivating mountain passes.

Ma Pi Leng Pass is up the road, attracting tourists by the thousands - a flying descent to the base deceives you, suddenly you hit a long steep climb, 6-13% in parts.   Your mind is focused on the climb and valley receding below.   You start descending, only to see the road rising again, losing your earlier hard-gained altitude.   Press on, over a false summit, until the final peak and fast descent into Dong Van - a ride you will tell your friends of for years.

Overnight stay:  Truong Anh Hotel, Dong Van

Day 5: Wed, 28 Feb - Stage 4 Dong Van to Ha Giang

Karst Mountains -  From Dong Van to Ha Giang

A 'wake-me-up' climb out of Dong Van plunges into a UNESCO Global Geopark of black and charcoal-coloured rugged rocks around and above.

Our climb rewards the weary with a wonderful series of descents and climbs - narrow roads cling to the mountain, through valleys and narrow passes, each one hiding the beyond.   We have journeyed through a natural art masterpiece at the tail of the Himalayas.   Delightful valleys and villages pass by, then more climbs confront.   Don't fear, fade, fall or fail - this is followed by some of the finest mountain-top and downhill flying one will ever find.

After a challenging descent, a beautiful gentle winding long downhill cruise awaits, until we arrive in Ha Giang city.   You want more adjectives and superlatives to express the emotional effect of the exceptional experience.

Overnight stay:  Phoenix Hotel, Ha Giang

Day 6: Thu, 29 Feb - Stage 5 Ha Giang to Sapa

Ha Giang foothills to Sapa heights

We transfer by bus about 50km to our start - avoiding a busy highway section and making a long cycle leg more manageable.   A mostly flat ride from Ha Giang to Lao Cai presents a chance to catch your breath, chat and admire the scenery.

Following your front wheel, we detour off the main road, through gravel sections into Lao Cai, a vibrant town on the border with China.   Next - the long climb up Hoang Lien Son mountain range to the famous tourist town Sapa, a busy place which adds to your sense of achievement.   Nearby is Fansipan - IndoChina's highest mountain at 3147 m, a fitting place to celebrate a few days,  cocooned within high mountains and high energy.

Overnight stay:  BB Sapa Resort and Spa.

Day 7: Fri, 1 Mar - Stage 6 Sapa / Lai Chau / Sapa

Conquering O Quy Ho Pass - A Breathtaking Finale

Stage 6 marks the final riding day of our remarkable journey, taking us from Sapa to Lai Chau and return to Sapa.

Climbing out of Sapa, we reach our highest point of the trip - 2000 metres at O Quy Ho Pass, one of Vietnam's four most beautiful mountain passes.   Hugging the winding steep slopes, you have time to contemplate while descending many kilometres.   After a loop through Lai Chau, we take in our final gravel section, before the long ascent up to O Quy Ho Pass again, the last stretch allows you to roll down and reflect on the incredible landscapes traversed.

Overnight stay:  BB Sapa Resort and Spa

Day 8: Sat, 2 Mar - Rest Day

Rest Day - Exploring Sapa's Wonders

Today is a free day in Sapa, time to immerse yourself in the town and surrounding mountains.   Discover Sapa's cultural treasures, put your feet up, interact with locals or tell your tall tales of the trip.

Overnight stay:  BB Sapa Resort and Spa

Day 9: Sun, 3 Mar - Return to Hanoi

Farewell to Sapa and Transfer to Hanoi

Our recon trip concludes as we drive back to Hanoi. time to talk again of the experience, think of the future.   In Hanoi, we come together for a farewell dinner, expressing our gratitude for your involvement during our exploration of Northern Vietnam.   Until we meet again, may the wind always be at your back.

Overnight stay:  Oriental Jade Hotel, Hanoi.


Limited to 24 postions, hold your spot with a $500 USD deposit (refundable if position subsequently filled).

Total cost per person (Hanoi residents POA).   $60 discount if you are an observer /  don't bring bicycle.

$2800 USD (single rooms)

$2400 USD (share / double / twin rooms)


  • Nine (9) nights 3-5 star Hotels
  • All breakfasts & Welcome + Farewell Dinner 
  • Full luxury transport for you + BYO bike 
  • Experienced tour and bicycle guides (VN + Australian)
  • Bicycle Mechanic
  • Photographer


  • Lunches & dinners during the trip (TDV will suggest suitable lunch, dinner or drink venues, for you to make your own way or enjoy as a group, at your own cost)
  • Free Pre or Post Tour guided (unsupported) club ride/s from Hanoi on request (40-120km flat, rolling or mountain routes of your choice
  • Pick-up/transfer to your hotel in Hanoi


Other services available:

  • Visa Application Assistance $45 ($25 for 2 or 3-month Tourist Visa, $20 processing fee)
  • Transport for 1-4 people + bike/s from Hanoi Airport to Hotel $45
  • Bicycle unpacking + assembly $35, disassembly + packing $20
  • Accom. for extra night/s in Hanoi  - Hotel options and prices available on request


Whether you need a visa to enter Vietnam depends on your nationality and the duration of your stay. Here's a general guideline:

  • Visa Exemption: Some nationalities are exempt from visa requirements for certain periods of stay. For example, citizens of several ASEAN countries, as well as certain European countries, can enter Vietnam without a visa for stays of up to 15 to 30 days.
  • Visa on Arrival (VOA): For citizens of countries that do not qualify for visa exemption, you may be eligible to obtain a visa on arrival (VOA) if you are arriving by air. However, you need to apply for a visa approval letter online in advance and then obtain the visa stamp upon arrival at one of the international airports in Vietnam.
  • E-Visa: Some nationalities are eligible to apply for an e-visa online, which allows for a single-entry visit of up to 30 days. The e-visa must be applied for in advance through the official website of the Vietnam Immigration Department.
  • Visa from Embassy or Consulate: If you do not qualify for visa exemption, VOA, or e-visa, you will need to apply for a visa at the nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate before traveling to Vietnam.

It's essential to check the specific visa requirements based on your nationality and travel plans before your trip to Vietnam to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.


In November, South Vietnam typically experiences warm and humid weather with occasional rain showers. Temperatures range from around 25 to 32 degrees Celsius (77 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). While it's generally sunny and pleasant, there may be short bursts of rain due to the tail end of the rainy season. It's advisable to pack lightweight clothing, sunscreen, and an umbrella or raincoat for any unexpected showers.

Dalat experiences cool and pleasant weather due to its high elevation. Temperatures typically range from around 15 to 24 degrees Celsius (59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, with cooler evenings. November marks the end of the rainy season in Dalat, so you can expect relatively dry conditions with occasional light showers. The cooler temperatures and lower humidity make November an ideal time to visit Dalat for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

For traveling in South Vietnam and Dalat in November, it's advisable to pack a variety of clothing to accommodate the different climates and activities. Here's a suggested packing list:

  • Lightweight clothing: Bring breathable, moisture-wicking clothes for the warmer weather in South Vietnam, including shorts, T-shirts, and dresses. For Dalat's cooler climate, pack long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a light jacket or sweater for the evenings.
  • Sun protection: Don't forget to pack sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the strong sun, especially in South Vietnam.
  • Rain gear: While November generally sees lower rainfall, it's still a good idea to pack a compact umbrella or a lightweight raincoat, especially for sudden showers in Dalat.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Bring sturdy walking shoes or sandals for exploring cities and trekking in Dalat's scenic countryside.
  • Insect repellent: Mosquitoes can be present, especially in more rural areas, so pack insect repellent to avoid bites.
  • Travel adapter and charger: Ensure you have the appropriate power adapter for Vietnam's electrical outlets and bring chargers for your electronic devices.
  • Personal medication and toiletries: Pack any necessary medications, along with toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, and a first aid kit.
  • Travel documents: Don't forget your passport, travel insurance, flight tickets, and any necessary visas for your trip.
  • Camera and accessories: Capture the beautiful landscapes and memorable moments of your trip with a camera or smartphone, along with extra memory cards and batteries.
  • Light backpack: Bring a small backpack or daypack to carry essentials like water, snacks, a map, and a guidebook while exploring.

By packing these essentials, you'll be well-prepared for your travels in South Vietnam and Dalat in November, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.