Events

VIETNAM CYCLE CHALLENGE

12th-20th April 2024!

We are so excited to announce the current itinerary for the Vietnam Cycle Challenge 2024.  As with any international challenge of this nature, details are subject to change, and we will keep this page up to date as details are confirmed.

This Vietnam Cycle Challenge will take us on an incredible route around the country, full of bustling towns and cities, remote rural insights into the lives of the locals, and breathtaking scenery. We will combine parts of the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail with some great coastal and inland riding, with good quality roads to get the most out of the experience.

As you can see from the map of the whole route below, we will be covering nearly the whole width of Vietnam almost up to the border with Laos, beginning from the green dot in Hue up to Dong Ha, round to Khe Sanh and onto Da Nang and finishing in Hoi An.

Click to enlarge the images on this page.

 

Day 1 – Friday 12th April 2024 – London to Hanoi

Today we set off on our challenge, meeting the rest of the team, Sarah and Emily from MAG, and the wonderful guide and medics from Action Challenge at Gatwick Airport before flying from the UK to Hanoi via Doha.

Flight details: 

Qatar Airways (QR330): London Gatwick (9.00) to Doha (17.35)

Qatar Airways (QR982): Doha (19.55) to Hanoi (07.20, Sat)

 

Day 2 – Saturday 13th April 2024 – Hanoi to Hue

We land in Hanoi and take a domestic flight in the morning onto Hue. After a little time to relax, there will be a bike fitting and briefing to prepare for the first day of cycling tomorrow, after which we will have a welcome meal to mark the start of an incredible journey.

Flight details: 

VietJet (VJ567): Hanoi (11.40) to Hue (12.55)

Hotel: White Lotus Hue Hotel

 

Day 3 – Sunday 14th April 2024 – Hue to Dong Ha

Difficulty: easy

The cycle challenge begins!

 

This morning we wake up early for a good breakfast and then start our ride directly from our hotel. Today the route is almost completely flat and makes its way along parts of the coastal road. We head north, stopping for lunch before Quang Tri and then onto our hotel in Dong Ha.

06.30: wake up

07.30: breakfast

08.30: begin the ride

At the 82.5km mark, we arrive at our hotel for the evening.

Hotel: Muong Thanh Dong Ha Hotel (no website)

Strava: Hue to Dong Ha

 

Day 4 – Monday 15th April 2024 – Dong Ha to MAG project and Khe Sanh

Difficulty: moderate

 

This morning we will head out to a MAG Vietnam clearance site in Quang Tri province, where they have been working to remove and destroy unexploded bombs since 1999. It promises to be a very moving and inspiring experience, and is the perfect opportunity to share pictures with your social media network to boost your mid-ride fundraising.

After our programme visit, we will begin the day’s ride. The first 55km will be on mostly flat roads, along which we will stop for lunch, and then in the afternoon at 57km we start on the first hill of the ride.

Once we have reached the top of the valley, we continue our ride all the way to our rural country accommodation in the town of Khe Sanh. This was a former US marine base and site of the infamous 1968 battle of the same name.

07.00: wake up

07.30: breakfast

09.00: meet the MAG Vietnam team

11.00: start the ride

At 43km, we will have lunch in Krong Klang.

At 78km, we will arrive at our hotel for the evening.

Hotel: Thai Ninh Hotel (no website)

Strava: Dong Ha to Khe Sanh

 

Day 5 – Tuesday 16th April 2024  – Khe Sanh to A Luoi

Difficulty: Moderate or tough

 

For our toughest riding day, we start with a 10km downhill ride to the Dakrong River. There is spectacular scenery today as the gently rising road takes us up the valley, along what was considered the southern part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Here we enjoy a quiet road with rolling terrain.

At the 77km point we have a sharp OPTIONAL climb (where we can end the ride and transfer to the hotel), or you can opt to cycle the hill and then ride the last 20km into A Luoi, the remotest town of our journey. This point is marked with the red I above for your reference.

07.00: wake up

07.30: breakfast

09.00: start the ride

At 43km, we will break for lunch.

At 79km, the decision is made to end the ride and transfer to the hotel, or continue onto 105km with the climb.

Hotel: Thang Quang Guesthouse

Strava: Khe Sanh to A Luoi

 

Day 6 – Wednesday 17th April 2024 – A Luoi to Hue Lagoon

Difficulty: moderate

 

Today we come off the Ho Chi Minh Trail and head east across almost the full width of the country and back towards the coast at Hue. There are some downhill elements in this so we will ensure we have a good briefing on safety whilst tackling downhill riding before the day starts. It’s important we all take this seriously.

The 102km ride through the middle of Vietnam is on back roads until we meet Highway 1 as it crosses the Perfume River, just a few kilometres south of Hue.

From here we will have lunch on the outskirts of the city and then head south along flatter roads for the last 30km as they wind their way to our hotel on Hue Lagoon at Phu Loc. We are staying at a waterfront hotel, on the biggest lagoon in all of Southeast Asia!

06.30: wake up

07.00: breakfast

07.30: start the ride

At 66km, we will break for lunch.

At 102km, we will arrive at our hotel for the evening.

Hotel: Vendana Lagoon Resort

Strava: A Luoi to Hue Lagoon

 

Day 7 – Thursday 18th April 2024 – Hue Lagoon to Hoi An

Difficulty: tough

 

The final day of the cycle challenge!

This morning we will transfer 22km along the coastal roads south to Dam Lap An Lake, where our bikes will be waiting for us, and start cycling along the beautiful Lang Co beach. After 8km we reach the last real test of our 5-day challenge – the intense 10km climb to the top of Hai Van Pass. As this is the final day of an immense physical challenge, this climb is optional and we can transfer you to the top of the hill ready to start the rest of the day’s ride to Hoi An if you would prefer.

Here we will be rewarded with stunning views of the coast and of Da Nang and Hoi An. Before the descent we will have a full safety briefing before enjoying the downhills as we get back to sea level and the lovely flat roads through/around Da Nang to end at our final destination – Hoi An. After crossing the finish line, we will end with lots of celebrations, good food, and the chance to explore the town!

06.30: wake up

07.00: breakfast

07.30: transfer 22km to the route

08.30: start the ride

At 45km, we will break for lunch at Da Nang.

At 75km, we will cross the finish line and finish the ride!

Hotel: Vinh Hung Resort

Strava: Hue Lagoon to Hoi An

 

Day 8 – Friday 19th April 2024 – Hoi An to Hanoi and Doha

For those leaving on the planned group flights we will leave early to transfer to Hue airport in time for our return flight to Hanoi and the UK.

Flight details: 

VietJet (VJ566): Hue (13.30) to Hanoi (14.45)

Qatar (QR977): Hanoi (19.30) to Doha (22.55)

 

Day 9 – Saturday 20th April 2024 – Doha to London

Flight details: 

Qatar Airways (QR329): Doha (01.35) to Gatwick (06.45)

Today we land in the UK and have to bid goodbye to the team and what has been an amazing challenge and a life-changing experience.

Please note that these are complicated logistical itineraries, and they remain subject to change. The routes, the distance and the height gains given are subject to final confirmation one month prior to departure. Times are also subject to weather conditions and general timings of the riders on the challenge.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RIDES

LIFE ON THE CYCLE

What is a typical cycling day?

On cycle days we wake early for breakfast at our accommodation and then begin cycling. We cycle on average 75+km per day over 7-9 hours with regular breaks to fuel-up on snacks and fluids. After a lunch stop en route, we spend the afternoon cycling until we reach our accommodation where we secure our bikes, freshen up and have the evening to relax. Every evening the Team Leader gives a briefing about the following day, with information such as the topography and any ‘hot-spots’ to look out for.

How fit do I need to be for the challenge? 

This challenge requires a good level of fitness and we recommend that everyone trains to ensure you are prepared. We will provide a training guide in due course and would recommend a mixture of training in the gym and on the road – getting used to being on the bike, road and weather types which is vital. As well as being fit you need to feel comfortable cycling and being around other road users.

Who supports the ride? 

Alongside MAG staff, we are always accompanied by an Action Challenge Team Leader and two medics who will meet us at the airport and who will accompany us for the entire trip. There will also be a full ground team of fully qualified local guides with the group at all times. All cycle repair equipment will be provided by our local team and back up vehicles will be with us throughout the challenge.

Do I need to bring my own bike?

No. Bikes are provided by the ground team.

Do I need to bring bike equipment?

You must bring a helmet with you on challenges, and it is imperative that this is worn at all times. If you wish to bring your own saddle or peddles with you, you may do. However, standard ones are provided. There will be at least one if not two water bottle holders on your bike, but you will need to bring a water bottle with you – please check your kit list for anything else you may need. Branded cycling jerseys are provided.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN VIETNAM

What are the road conditions like?

The condition of Vietnam’s road network has greatly improved over the last decade, with 66% of the main highways deemed ‘average’ to ‘good’. There have also been vast improvements to rural/local roads.

What is the time difference?

The time zone in Vietnam is BST + 6 hours.

Visas & entry

In accordance with the UK Government’s travel advice here, British nationals can enter Vietnam for up to 45 days for tourism and transit without needing to apply for a visa.

Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure date, has at least two blank pages, and is in good condition with no damage.

Vietnam has lifted COVID-19 related entry requirements.

Customs

Vietnamese law requires everyone to carry photographic ID at all times, so you should bring a photocopy of your passport and visa in your day bag on the rides. These will then be kept on our support vehicle to keep them safe but easily accessible.

Currency

Vietnamese currency is the “Dong” (VND). While the Government mostly discourages the use of foreign currency for regular transactions, US dollars are still accepted in many hotels and larger restaurants. As much of our stay will be in quite rural areas, it is definitely advised to exchange some money into Dong before entering Vietnam or at the earliest opportunity.

Vaccinations

You can see a summary of vaccine considerations for Vietnam here, you will need to ensure that you speak with a medical professional or travel clinic – such as Nomad or MASTA –  about vaccines for Vietnam, as you may be required or encouraged to have some.

For those of you who travelled with us last year or who have travelled to the region recently you may only need booster vaccinations.

You can find general health advice for travel to Vietnam on the NHS Fit for Travel website here.

*****

This page will be updated with more information as and when required, but if you have any questions in the meantime please feel free to email emily.macgregor@maginternational.org or sarah.tavener@maginternational.org.

*****