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Ho Chi Minh Trails Biking Tour - 10 days / 9 nights

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Tour: Vietnam Biking Tours
Duration: 10 Days
Descriptions: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Vinh - Dong Hoi - DMZ - Phuoc Son - Kon Tum - Pleiku - Hanoi/HCMC

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The Ho Chi Minh trail was a path that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The system provided support, in the form of manpower and materiel, to the Vietcong, or National Liberation Front, and the North Vietnamese Army, or People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), during the Vietnam War (1959-1975).

The Ho Chi Minh trail was a path that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The system provided support, in the form of manpower and materiel, to the Vietcong, or National Liberation Front, and the North Vietnamese Army, or People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), during the Vietnam War (1959-1975).

The trail was not a single route, but rather a complex maze of truck routes, paths for foot and bicycle traffic, and river transportation systems. The name, taken from North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh, is of American origin. Although the trail was mostly in Laos, the communists called it the Truong Son Road, after a mountain range in central Vietnam. According to the U.S. National Security Agency's official history of the war, the Trail system was "one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century.

Parts of what became the Ho Chi Minh trail had existed for centuries as primitive footpaths that facilitated trade in the region. The area through which the system meandered was among the most rugged in Southeast Asia: a sparsely-populated region of rugged mountains (1,500-8,000 feet), triple-canopy jungle and dense primeval rainforests. During the First Indochina War the Viet Minh maintained north/south communication utilizing this system of trails and paths.

In 1959, Hanoi established the 559th Transportation Group under the command of Colonel (later General) Vo Bam to improve and maintain a transportation system to supply the Vietcong uprising against South Vietnamese government. Originally, the North Vietnamese effort concentrated on infiltration across and immediately below the Demilitarized Zone that separated the two Vietnams.

As early as May 1958 PAVN and Pathet Lao forces had seized the transportation hub at Tchepone, on Laotian Route 9. This had been accomplished due to the results of elections in May that had brought a right-wing government to power in Laos, its increasing dependence on U.S. military and economic aid, and an increasingly antagonistic attitude toward North Vietnam.The 559th Group then "flipped" its line of communications to the western side of the Truong Son Mountains. By the following year the 559th had a complement of 6,000 personnel in two regiments, the 70th and 71st.

This figure does not include combat troops in security roles or North Vietnamese and Laotian civilian laborers. In the early days of the conflict the trail was used strictly for the infiltration of manpower. This was due to the fact that Hanoi could supply its southern allies much more efficiently by sea. After the initiation of U.S. naval interdiction efforts in coastal waters Operation Market Time, the trail had to do double duty. Materiel sent down from the north was stored in caches in the border regions that were soon retitled Base Areas, which, in turn, became sanctuaries for NLF and PAVN forces seeking respite and resupply after conducting operations within South Vietnam.

Day 1
Ha Noi – Ninh Binh (L) (G)
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Day 2
Bus to Vinh. Cycling to Dong Loc junction on HCM trails (40 km+ cyc...
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Day 3
Cycling back to fierce bombarded area: Huong Khe, Khe Ve, Khe Gat, ...
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Day 4
Boat cruise. Afternoon cycles to Dong Hoi town (50 km+ cycling) (B,...
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Day 5
Cycling to Thach Ban, Ben Tat and onto Truong Son national cemetery...
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Day 6
Bus to Rockpile, Khe Sanh combat base, Lang Vei. Pm cycling to A Lu...
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Day 7
Cycling to A Sau (Hamburger hill) and up hill to A Roang, A Tep (90...
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Day 8
Cycling to Phuoc Son (90 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
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Day 9
Cycling to Dak Glei, Dakto battle – field and KonTum (110 km+ cycli...
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Day 10
Sightseeing around tribal villages. Transfer to Pleiku for flight t...
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TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Ha Noi – Ninh Binh (L) (G)
Cycling to Hoa Lu, drive to Hoa Lu to visit the Dinh and Le temples. Later in the day, we cycling to  Tam Coc, a strikingly beautiful region of limestone-cliffs and rice paddies that is similar to the seascapes of HaLong Bay.
We transfer to small boats to explore the caves. Tam Coc, which means "three caves" Tam Coc. Overnight in Ninh Binh.

Day 2: Bus to Vinh. Cycling to Dong Loc junction on HCM trails (40 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
Cycling day along the former trails and stop to visit the famous Dong Loc Juntion where young girls sacrified for the country.

Day 3: Cycling back to fierce bombarded area: Huong Khe, Khe Ve, Khe Gat, Xuan Son ferry (80 km+ cycling) (B,L)
Morning ride along the trails, visit the ethnic villages and experience the mountain life. Arrive Phong Nha world heritage and overnigh in Phong Nha.

Day 4: Boat cruise. Afternoon cycles to Dong Hoi town (50 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
Take a boat to visit the caves and back to bike ride to other central towm Dong Hoi, where you can swimming on the beautiful beach Nhat Le. Overnight in Dong Hoi.

Day 5: Cycling to Thach Ban, Ben Tat and onto Truong Son national cemetery (90 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
Another day on bike saddle, crossing the fierce area in the Vienam war, visit the popular place of vietnamese is the Truong Son National Cemetery that thousands of vietnamese died for the country independence. The connected high way built by French to Lao from Vietnam also a visited destination. Arrive Dong Ha and overnight.

Day 6: Bus to Rockpile, Khe Sanh combat base, Lang Vei. Pm cycling to A Luoi (100 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
Today we go on the DMZ(demilitaried zone); right here we can be on the 17th Paralle that spited Vietnam into 2 countries from 1954 to 1975.
Riding to the remote village belong to Hue for overnight in A Luoi.

Day 7: Cycling to A Sau (Hamburger hill) and up hill to A Roang, A Tep (90 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
This day is also on the former war zone and along trails with beautiful moutain view. Overnight in Prao.

Day 8: Cycling to Phuoc Son (90 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
Cycle up hill to the central highland of Vietnam. The high land with tea and coffee plantations. Overnight in Phuoc Son town.

Day 9: Cycling to Dak Glei, Dakto battle – field and KonTum (110 km+ cycling) (B, L) (G)
Kon Tum has several vestiges of the French colonial period, as well as several tribal villages directly in the suburbs of the Vietnamese-reconstructed town. Among the town's landmarks, there is a Catholic Wooden Church on discrete stilts and a large French-built Seminary which hosts a small museum on local hill tribes. French missionary presence in Kon Tum traces back to 1851. Overnight in Kontum.

Day 10: Sightseeing around tribal villages. Transfer to Pleiku for flight to HCMC or Hanoi (B) (G)
Take a tour around the village to visit the tribal life in the central highland. Free time to explore and buy some souvenir for home. Continue your tour or flight home via vietnam international airport.Hohidaytoindochina.com would like to thank you so much for your traveling with us. We wish you all the best and hope to arrange your next Vietnam tour. Goodbye and see you again!

END OF SERVICE

Inclusion:
•    All transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
•    Accommodation based on twin/double sharing
•    Domestic flight as indicated
•    English speaking guide (Other languages on request)
•    Entrance fees to indicated sights and activities as indicated
•    Mountain bike with disk brakes, helmets, gloves and water
•    Meals as indicated in the itinerary
•    Bottled mineral water during touring days

Exclusion:
•    Drinks
•    Other meals
•    Insurance
•    Personal expenses
•    Expenses for any optional tours or activities during free time

If you do not know how to plan your Vietnam tour and Indochina holiday, please read our FAQ's below to get some information or send us an email at info@holidaytoindochina.com and one of our experienced travel consultants will be ready and happy to answer your questions as well as organise your amazing holiday in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and combination.

How to plan my Vietnam tour/Indochina holiday with you?
1. Send us an inquiry by submiting one of our online forms (Click). Tell us as much information as possible. For example;

  • Please tell us how many people will be traveling with you, date of birth, if you have children, please tell us how old is/are the kid(s).
  • Please tell us your preferred hotels, level of hotel (3, 4 or 5 stars), type of hotel, type of room...
  • Please tell us your type of travel, length of travel and activities that you are interested in. For example; Family with kids, Couple's vacation, Honeymoon, Friends, Shopping, Sightseeing, Leisure and Relaxing, Cuisine & Cooking, Kayaking, Caves & Grottoes, Fishing, Swimming, Hiking, Minority, Adventure & Discovery...
  • Please tell us where and what you want to visit, if you do not know much about Vietnam, just give us your travel plan and ideas.
  • Most of our tour guide are English speaking tour guides, but if you want another language like French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese... we can always arrange. Please tell us what you do you expect from your guides, for example; you want a guide with sense of humor? Good knowledge in history & culture? Male/Female guide? Talkative/Untalkative? Young/Old guide?
  • Please advise if you want breakfast included only or also Lunch and Dinner, and please let us know if you are a Vegetarian, the food you can eat or cant not, if you want local food in local restautants or western food in tourist restantant...?
  • Actually, you do not have to send us all information, but the more we know, the better we plan your Vietnam tour.

2. After we receive your enquiry, one of our professional Vietnam travel consultants reply and send you the suggested tour itinerary as soon as possible.

3. If you accept the suggested tour itinerary (you may modify it till you are satisfied with), we will calculate the tour cost and send you the tour price. If you accept it, please confirm that you would like to book it.

How to proceed to book Vietnam tour/Indochina holiday with you?

  • When you decide to book your Vietnam tour/Indochina holiday with us, please send us your full name (name on passport) for hotel and domestic flight reservations, and your international flight details (in and out) for airport transfers.

How to pay the deposit and the balance?

  • Deposit: When the booking is completely confirmed, we will send you confirmation details including confirmed itinerary, invoice, voucher. Then you are required to send the deposit which is about 30% of the total tour cost (can be less). You can pay by credit cards (via onepay gateway, pay online), wire/bank transfer, western union. The deposit is used to pay the flight tickets, hotels, train tickets in advance.
  • Balance: You can pay the outstanding balance 2 weeks before your arrival, or you can pay us on your arrival in Vietnam by credit cards, cash (AUD, USD, EUROS, VND...)
  • More about credit card payment via OnePay: ONEPAY - ONLINE PAYMENT GATEWAY (VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX & JCB ACCEPTED)
    Like PayPal, OnePAY is a payment gateway but specialized in Vietnam where the PayPal has not yet reached. This is a perfect and the first payment processor which gains reputation among clients about its efficiency and timely friendly support.

    OnePAY in cooperation with biggest bank in Vietnam - Vietcombank which has been implemented this service among many tour operators in Vietnam.

    OnePAY is approved by MasterCard for this payment collection on the behalf of us. OnePAY uses SSL Verisign® over internet transaction under 3D-Secure program by respective creditcard companies so you are free from worries your card information disclosed. OnePAY payment portal also meets standards of international financial system such as PCI DSS of PCI Security Standards Council, 3D-Secure of Visa, MasterCard and JCB.

Note: Before coming, please make sure you have all travel documents such as; confirmed tour, invoice, flight tickets..., especially the visa to Vietnam and Indochina is done.

What about tipping?

  • The tour guides and drivers expect tips, but it is not mandatory. You can tip more or less, or nothing that depends on the serviced provided. We recommend that you trip the tour guides; US$ 10 - 15  per day anddrivers: US$ 7-10 per day. Tipping at restaurants, tuk tuk, cyclo, taxi..., our tour guides will give you the advice.

Do you offer any discounts?
Yes, we offer discounts for;

  •  Family with kids and children < 12 years old
  •  Disable people
  •  People of old ages (> 65 years old)
  •  Repeated clients who have the second trip with us
  •  Travel in big group of friends, families (the more people, the cheaper the price is)
  •  We offer big discounts in low season (May - September)

Is there any charge if i change my travel dates, tour itinerary, hotels...?

  • We are happy to work on your requests, and will not charge you any money for all extra work. However, if it is too urgent and the date is too close, the hotels or airlines may charge you some money, in this case we will let you know.

What is the latest time that I can make my reservation?

  • We suggest you make reservations at least one month before the departure date. If you decide to travel to Vietnam/Indochina from October to April which is peak season, we recommend that you make the reservations two months (at least one) before your departure date. Late reservations can not be guaranteed for the availability of domestic flights, hotel rooms, etc. However, we can accept urgent booking, just 1-2 days before arrival. Things are possible at Holiday to Indochina.

What about Cancellation policy?

  • In case of cancellation, we will not impose any charges if we are not being charged and possible to get refund from our suppliers but if our suppliers apply charges for cancellation, you will have to pay those charges that apply. Cancellation policies vary, depending upon the type of service, the time of year, and the reason for cancellation. We will pass on to you all details of any cancellation policy with our transparent reply upon demand.

General cancellation charges that applied by travel services in Vietnam and Indochina.

  • Domestic flights: 25% of the fares
  • 3 star hotels, train tickets, no charge if you cancel 3-5 days before your arrival. (FIT)
  • 4 star hotels, 7 - 10 days before your arrival (FIT)
  • 5 stars hotels, 10 - 15 days before your arrival (FIT)

However, in peak season, we may have to pay the hotels one month before your arrival to secure the booking, and in this case, the cancellation policy will be based on the hotels' cancellation plolicies.

Can we get refund?

  • For the unused services, Holiday to Indochina will refund you.

How do I get a visa?

  • Vietnam Visa - For those who would like to avoid the perhaps lengthening visa procedures with their local Vietnam's Embassies, the service of  Vietnam Visa On Arrival is available for help. It is legitimated and supported by the Vietnamese Immigration Department. We recommend that you choose visa upon arrival, as picking up visa at the Vietnam int'l airport/border is quite simple, easy, no additional charges and no fail.

Steps to obtain Visa on arrival
a) Please provide the following information for us to apply for your visa.

  • 1) Full name on passport (male/female)
  • 2) Passport number
  • 3) Date of birth
  • 4) Nationality
  • 5) Date of arrival
  • 6) Date of issue
  • 7) Date of expire
  • 8) Please make sure that your passport is still valid for 6 months

b) How long does it take?

  • It will take 2-3 days (Normal process), 01 day (Urgent process) to get the “Visa Approval Letter” which we will send you via mail. What you need is to print it out and take it along to get the stamp at airports/borders

c) Get the stamp

  • Upon arrival, you will need to fill in a certain form with your personal information, get the stamp and visa will be done. For this process, you will need to prepare 02 photos (4*6) and $45 USD each in cash which is stamping fee.

Do our tour guides and drivers have meals with us?

  • The guide and the driver in each destination will dine at the same restaurant as yours. But, they will not join you unless you invite them.

Where can I change our money into Vietnam currency?

  • We advise you to stop in any Vietnamese bank during the tour (Our tour guides will take you to the bank), you can exchange money at your hotel, but the exchange rate is a bit lower than the bank's exchange rate.

Can I use credit cards in Vietnam?

  • Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, Diner's Card, American Express and JCB can be used to purchase goods in large shopping malls and stores in the big and medium cities, to pay for hotel rooms and for meals in some of the fancier restaurants, and to buy plane tickets with them.

Note: If you are to travel to those small cities or even remote rural areas, only cash in Dong can be used.

Do I need to bring my medical record with me?

  • Yes, we suggest you take your medical record with you in case that you need it in the event of an emergency, and please also take with you your doctor's name, address and phone number, emergency contact name and phone number, and your insurance company's name, address and phone number.

When I finish my tour in Vietnam, if I still have some local money, what can I do?

  • Upon leaving Vietnam, if you still have some local money, you can change them back to foreign currency with your passport and the exchange memos given by the banks or money exchange counters. So please keep those exchange memos well whenever you change money.

Private Guide & Transfer
Holiday to Indochina offers private tour packages across Vietnam and Indochina; During the tour, you will have a private tour guide, private driver, and an air-conditioned vehicle escorting you at every destination you travel across Indochina. This will provide you with maximized personal care, security, and flexibility.

Tour Guide:
Holiday to Indochina does understand that a good tour guide will make your Indochina holiday a beautiful time and tour guides who work with us are well-paid, experienced with a university background, eager to exchange our culture, lifestyle, knowledge...with travelers, and have a great passion for their country and understand the personal touch. At every departure, you’ll be escorted & assisted until you have checked in and passed through the security checkpoint. All of our tour guides in Vietnam and other Indochina area are locals. Knowing the area well, they are good at guiding you around and telling background stories of the tour sites, as well as showing you the secret spots for best photos. If any change of itinerary is needed for unexpected reasons, your private tour guides will be more than accommodating in suggesting alternatives to ensure that you always have a wonderful experience

Note: In Sapa or some mountainous areas, we may use local tour guides who come from the ethnic groups like H'Mong, or Red Dao as they know better than anyone else about their land, culture, customs and habits...

Holiday to Indochina's requirements for a good tour guide:

  •  5 years of experience working as a tour guide
  •  Guiding does require more than just hanging out in the sun. Guides must be friendly and good with people, organized enough to keep groups or people on schedule, quick on their feet and ready for the inevitable snafus that arises.
  •  Must be an honest broker of their services and able to take criticism.
  • Should be qualified at some level in health, health care or first aid.
  •  Able to relate to people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.
  • Clear speech and good hearing.
  • Must not be a alcoholic or No-alcohol during working time or anytime when on tour.
  • Tour guide is a nurse to take care of visitors, a boss to keep the right itinerary, a teacher to give information, an ambassador to introduce our country, an entertainer
  • Must be on time every time. Being late or delay is unacceptable.
  • Check flight tickets, train tickets, meals, weather... to make sure things are in order and inform local office if any changes that might effect the tour.
  • Solve problems with care when there is dissatisfy. Argument should be averted by courtesy.
  • If any change of itinerary is needed for unexpected reasons, your private tour guides will be more than accommodating in suggesting alternatives to ensure that you always have a wonderful experience.

Transportation:
Holiday to Indochina guarantees to offer the best means of transport during your holiday in Vietnam and Indochina. The safety, comfort and security of our customers come first. We use only the latest modern cars, vans, coaches and all our drivers are full time workers, government licensed in the tourism industry with at least 5 years driving experience. We are fully in control of our quality and service as we own our vehicles.

Holiday to Indochina's requirements for a driver:

  • Our drivers must have good driving skills with at least 5 years of experience
  • Our drivers must keep the vehicles clean,
  • Our drivers are not allowed to hear cell-phone or smoke, chat, drink when driving.
  • Our drivers must be friendly, helpful.
  • Our drivers are not allowed to take you to shops unless you ask for.
  • Your vehicle in each destination is air conditioned, insured, clean, and regularly maintained.

 

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