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Pedal along the backroads

03:59 | 02/04/2012

Biking through Viet Nam's central coastal provinces on backroads is an interesting way to explore beautiful landscapes and traditional life during the summer holidays.

It's a fascinating and enjoyable tour programme, which allows tourists to free themselves from crowds and traffic and wind through the villages along more isolated routes.

"We want to create a trip that highlights the natural landscapes of Viet Nam. Foreign tourists can take their time and really experience country life, since they can stop as often as they like on the quiet backroads," said Ngo Quang Nam, manager of Viet Nam Cycling.

"Tourists feel more carefree on cycling vacations because they don't have to worry about traffic, which is nervewracking for other foreigners who try to drive," Nam said.

He designed the routes for the tours, and said that a trip from Hue to Hoi An would take at least five days with different stages. He suggested that a team of 15 travellers was a comfortable number.

Starting point

Nam has selected King Khai Dinh Tomb and Duc Son Pagoda near the Huong River as the departure points for the bike tour.

Travellers can stop to snap photos of farmers planting vegetables near Huong Canh Village.

After visiting Thien Mu Pagoda, tourists will cruise on the Huong River and tour the royal palaces. A lunch in Hue will help the group refresh themselves after a 30km ride in the morning.

"We also have a van and a truck to carry passengers and bicycles if they need help. If someone on the team is exhausted from biking, they can get in the van," Nam explained.

The travel agent said he sometimes guides the tours as well.

In the afternoon, the cyclists travel 20km from the Hue suburbs along the Nhu Y River and wind through Thanh Thuy Village, the most-visited fishing village in the area.

The second day from Hue to Lang Co will be a coastal trip as riders cycle along pristine beach of Thuan An, home to fishermen and dotted with aquaculture centres.

Fresh seafood will be on the menu for lunch in Lang Co Town, and tourists will be invited to join in the cooking and preparation with their hosts.

"It's very interesting because tourists are excited by new cuisine that they have never seen before. Yet they also feel like they are at home," said tour guide Nguyen Van Quan.

A night stay in the beach town will ease a full day of riding, before they take on the next challenge.

The third day will test their skills and power as they cross the 24km Hai Van mountain pass that links Hue and Da Nang.

The climb is made worth it by the sweeping vistas at the top, where riders can gaze down at a train snaking past the foot of the mountain.

During the 30-minute break on the top of the mountain, tourists can touch clouds and breath fresh air for an unforgettable experience.

Nam O Village in the suburbs of Da Nang will be the second stop for lunch.

Travellers will keep riding from Da Nang to Hoi An where they will spend the night.

The fourth and fifth days of the tour are left open for travellers to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An.

"We arrange a 50-km route for each individual group, depending on their desires and fitness level. Hoi An is the most popular destination for domestic and foreign visitors because of its historic architecture and culture," Quan explained.

He said the cycling agency also organised routes in other provinces such as Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Nha Trang and the Mekong Delta region.

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