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Words, photos and video by Caroline Lupini

If the Mekong Delta, a maze of rivers and islands in southern Vietnam, isn’t on your travel list, it should be. Just imagine yourself exploring the area’s wide canals, colorful A-frames and riverboat markets. While many visitors opt to make their way through the delta via boat, there is another excellent way to get some fresh air and take in all the sights and sounds at your own pace, and that’s a cycling trip. Here’s how to do it.

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Vietnam Bike Tours is the company I chose to cycle with, and I highly recommend them. One of the biggest benefits is you’ll have both a guide and a support van, so you don’t have to cycle the full distance between cities if it’s too much.

Start your journey on the island of Phu Quoc and take the fast ferry to Ha Tien. You can bring your own two-wheeler along (or meet your guide and bikes in Ha Tien). On your way, be sure to keep a look out for the stunning rock formations jutting out of the turquoise waters as you float across. When you reach Ha Tien, begin your first day cycling the 87 kilometers (54 miles) along the Vietnam-Cambodia border to Chau Doc. But first, be sure to take some time to stretch on the Delta’s serene beaches and sunny shoreline.

Charming Chau Doc is home to many different cultures and cuisines, dotted by lofted houses and temples. Throughout the town, you’ll see obvious Chinese, Cham and Khmer architectural influences. Take time to explore the many buildings and districts; you can even take a boat to the nearby Cham communities. If you still have some energy to burn, check out the neighboring ecological park Rung Tram Tra Sur for a leg-stretching hike. Chau Doc is the perfect place to relax, re-energize, and get ready for another day on the road.

Your second day of cycling ends 123 kilometers (76 miles) later in the buzzing town of Can Tho, the largest city in the Delta region and a hub for commerce and tourism. A mix of high-rise hotels and small river settlements, this town is a must-stop for a night of fun and relaxation. Don’t miss the famous floating markets, one of the favorites being Cai Rang just six kilometers from Can Tho city center. This floating wholesale market consists of a network of closely docked riverboats which contain fresh goods for sale. Open from 6am–7pm daily, it is definitely worth it to arrive early in order to beat the heat and the tourists. Knowing this, it’s probably best to visit the market on your way out of town. 

Your third day will take you 50 (or more) kilometers to the town of Vinh Long, where you can stay at a small homestay. Vinh Long provides a lush, green escape from the busyness of the previous towns and is the perfect place to end the third day of your cycling adventure. 

ALSO: Earn rewards good toward your Vietnam trip and beyond when you join Orbitz Rewards—joining’s fast and it’s free!

After a well-deserved rest, explore the settlements on foot or by bike. There are even lanes that conveniently serve as biking paths along (and over!) the river, and boats to whisk you away from the tour buses.

If you still have energy left after three long (or short!) days of cycling, you can tackle a bit more on day four before arriving in Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll start the day off with an hour cruising the Mekong by boat. From there you’ll have the option to hop in the van for a leisurely and air-conditioned ride into Ho Chi Minh City, or hop back in the saddle for more rice fields, rice wine, small villages and small roads.

If you decide to end in Ho Chi Minh City, rejuvenate your spirits (and sore calves) with a luxury stay at the chic and stylish Myst Dong Khoi, or if you’re on a budget, give the attractive, well designed Hammock Hotel a try. As the name implies, there’s a comfy, deluxe hammock strung next to the bed in each room.

Whatever you decide to do after you unclip, you will have had an excellent adventure behind you. Arguably one of the best ways to explore the Mekong Delta, cycling is perfect for hitting some great Vietnamese hubs at your own pace.

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Tagged: Asia, Vietnam

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Caroline Lupini
Caroline's passion for travel isn't limited to hopping from country to country, but goes beyond the plane and into her everyday life. She's mastered the points and miles arena which has enabled her to travel far and wide, to 70+ countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and many more. From writing for some of the most highly acclaimed travel blogs and news sites, to speaking at travel shows, Caroline's love of exploring the world has lead her to wanting to help others get out there to experience it too. To find out more, visit Caroline on Instagram (@caroline.lupini) and on her site (carolinelupini.com).

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