After six months and three tours in Hanoi in northern Vietnam, I already know this quite well, but Vietnam is large or rather long and offers enough space for more interesting cycling. Steeped in history and revolutionary it is doing more or less on the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail along which represented the main supply route for the fighting Vietnamese troops during the Vietnam War. At that time, weapons, ammunition and food were brought to the South on heavily loaded bicycles, mostly with 100 kg loaded wheels were pushed by one or two people and also the“ path“ was more of an imaginary line through the jungle as a driveway and ferry from newcastle to amsterdam.
To date, this has of course changed, even though the road condition in Vietnam still can vary from good to dog miserable and we will also carry our own luggage, but the fit in two saddlebags and hopefully pleasantly warm and temperatures not too hot, the cycling through wild landscape, dense jungles, coffee plantations and endless rice fields rather fun to.
Here in Hanoi, the city celebrates are their thousand-year in October 2010, the palaces of the tour starts and then getting to the south, on the way are minority villages, national parks, caves and hot springs, the bizarre rock formations in the dry Halong Bay, Hue, the Cham temples of My Son, the altitude resort of Dalat, at times beautiful beaches and lots of wild roads through the mountains and the sea. Alternately, it goes from the coast back to the actual Ho Chi Minh Trail, but here it is difficult to find in the long nights and acceptable as it pulls us back to the coast and over the clouds pass.
After 2300 km we arrive in Saigon and have traversed the country from north to south. But I have planned 35 days at the moment, possibly even a few to come. Departure would be the weekend of January when I took a look at the new ferry from Dover to Calais.
The stages are between 5o km and 118 km, with an average of nearly 80 kilometers per cycling day. The profile goes from flat to heavy Dutch Mountain in Dalat it goes up to 2000 meters up.
Technically, the climate is very favourable season. It is the dry season and it is the coolest time of the year. At night, temperatures can drop to the north refreshing 12 to 15 degrees, the daily average is 19 degrees in late January with ferry from Dover to Dunkirk. To the south it will be much warmer, this is where the night temperatures in late February already at 24 degrees and daytime temperatures around 30 degrees. So all in all ideal cycling weather and hopefully not too much rain, while in the north it has 12 rainy days in February, it will dry in the south with only 5 days of rain. For equipment that is almost always short pants, but for the evening but then it takes a thin fleece and of course the rain is divide the luggage.
As on all my private tours there is no support vehicle, but after the experience of recent years, the luggage can be reduced to 12 kg, ie, a thin sleeping bag has two rear panniers and since then at it with.