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Our route

1. Vietnam

Land in Hanoi

Cycle east to Bac Ninh. Got lost 40km

Train and bike to Halong Bay (15km) then cycle over bridge to Tuan Chau for vehicle ferry to n tip of Cat Ba island. Cycled to s tip and Cat Ba town (30 km)

3 nights based in Cat Ba town and 1 night on a tour boat. Stunning scenery, swimming, kayaking -Catbaventures.

Cycled to western port on Cat Ba for ferry to Cat Hai island, then cycled across Cat Hai to the mainland. Cycled to Haiphong, train to Hanoi. Varied attractive scenery. Strong winds and rain (typhoon Hoiyan) 65Km. Broken derailleur!

2 nights in Hanoi (55km) then overnight sleeper train to Lao Cai in the north: short ride (5km) to view the Chinese border, then the arduous climb to Sapa(40km)

2 nights in Sapa Hotel Elite $10 (“top notch holiday”) with the hill tribes and silver waterfall (24km) Magnificent descent (52km) to Lao Cai for overnight train back to Bangkok.

Cycled south to Nimh Binh, beautiful karst scenery, great cycling but rain! About 50km?? Anna Tram hotel, Bich Dong

 Overnight bus south to Hue, citadel city and cycling in valley of tombs (50km) Google hotel $10 and free beer tea and coffee!!

Cycled to Lang Co via TL10 and Phu Dien island. Unbelievable rain! Lang Co beach resort bungalows $40! 70km

Cycled across the High Van Pass ( Top Gear) to DaNang. Still wet. 62km New Moon hotel on riverside $20

DaNang to historical Hoi An and back (68km) then overnight bus to Phat Thiet, the driest town in Vietnam! Wonderful hotel, The Palms, by golf course, $30

Coastal route (78km) to Lagi, Lazy Beach Resort Hotel $40

Cycled coastal route to hotel just north of Loc An,  expensive! $60 5* Tram beach resort 68km

Cycled Lagi to Vung Tau 34km The Offshore 3 apartments $20 behind sex bar (Gary Glitter’s town)

Hydrofoil from Vung Tau to Ho Chi Minh City. Taxi out of the city, close to My Tho, then cycled to Vinh Long on the Mekong Delta on minor roads and between island ferries 84km $10 Cuu Long Govt hotel

Cycled Vinh Long to Long Xuyen on rural roads and ferries 88km Spotless govt hotel $10 next to huge catholic church

Cycled Long Xuyen to border town of ChauHai 84km across islands on minor roads, Hair Chau Hotel $12 Morning fast boat to Phnom Penh city, Cambodia.

Typed out instructions for delta route and have copied them here:

We took Hydrofoil from Vung Tau to Ho Chi Minh City, then a taxi out of the city asap, to west of My Tho/luong thien, which is a town SSW of HMC (£40!!!) near bridge, then cycled to Vinh Long on the Mekong Delta on minor roads and between island ferries 84km, stayed $10 Cuu Long Govt hotel by the river (3 hotels called this!!) Used my maps for route, route 60 goes south ( bridge) over the river by my tho, then at first crossroads we turned right (west) onto 883, to T junction and then right onto 884 to ferry. 884 turns onto 56 to vinh long. Busier than expected for this bit but next day loads better.

Cycled Vinh Long c to Long Xuyen on rural roads and ferries 88km Spotless govt hotel $10 next to huge catholic church. Started west on a1 for 10km then route 80 west to sa doc, where we picked up 848 nw along Mekong. Watch out for left turn onto 994 which goes swto ferry opposite the town. Enjoyed this day.

Cycled Long Xuyen to border town of Chau Doc (84km ) across islands on minor roads, stayed Hai Chau Hotel $12 for 2 nights. Morning fast boat to Phnom Penh city, need to book boat as soon as you arrive. Don’t go on hw91, awful traffic!!
Route: Take ferry back over to 944 but turn left, north, at 1st crossroads. Follow small meandering river all the way to Choi Moi and turn left onto 942 going west to Phu my. You have to cross on a ferry to phu my, and on the other side the road is 954 going n all the way alongside Mekong and then a tributary to tan chau. Turn left onto un numbered rd sw for 20km to ferry to  chau doc where ferries go to Cambodia. There’s a roundabout at this junction I think, check your map. If you cross a canal or reach a bridge you’ve missed it. Great day.

2. Cambodia

2 nights Phnom Penh cycling to sites 60km?? Frangipani 2 hotel, but access to rooftop pool of Frangipani.

Unable to cycle on flood damaged roads so very rough bus ride to Siem Reap and Ankgor Wat. My Home Villa $25 lovely staff and pool. Rode to Wat 40km total north and back, each day (3 day pass) about 30km getting there and around. 20km Choam village (bike tool stolen from saddle bag)

New road surface hw 67 to Anlong Veng, 124 km, fast and flat. Basic guest house $15, only one place to eat, Shanghai’s, unless you eat dog!!

106km to Prasat in Thailand. From AnlongVeng, cycled west to hw 68 then north to cross the border at O’Smach/Chom Chong (one 200m climb) then Hw 214 in Thailand to its intersection with hw 24 (Prasat, Thailand.). Motel style guesthouse on right entering town $15. Excellent surface again. More traffic (none in Cambodia) but wide hard shoulder.

3. Thailand

37km to Prakon Chai. New motel on left behind main road, $15  signposted. Rural road 4071 to ancient Wat in Phantom Rung national park, pretty but after Angkor Wat…. 40km trip.

North overall on delightful rural roads parallel ish with busy 219 to train station at Buri Ram. 65 km Train to Pak Chong. Arrived late, hotel 50m from station, rent by the hour??!! Superb night food market. Also excellent public pool on side street near the post office.

Cycled to Bobby’s Jungle tours and bungalows on motorway intersection island, busy traffic for 8km but brilliant trips to see 3 million bats (1/2 day) and Khao Yai national park (full day, trek, giant hornbills, gibbons, many elephants, big waterfall, incl one from the film The Beach). Delicious food. Cheap

Train (8km) from Pak Chong to Ayutthaya because of too many main roads.

Temple visits, Old Palace Resort, pricey but popular. Good food. 40km??

Train into Bangkok. Amari airport hotel, £40 but lovely pool, taste of luxury, and free luggage store, incl bikes. Also has bridge from airport and trains into hotel, great for bikes, even when boxed for flight.

4. Hong Kong

No bikes, hiking, in sea, Christmas with family 🙂 Stage 3 of McLeHose trail in new territories.

5. Thailand (again) and free 30 day visa at airport (15 at land crossings)

Early flight, landed 2pm, on bikes north to Ayutthaya, Old Palace again 68km strong n wind

Cycled WNW across wind to Suphan Buri, minor roads, 72km, Songphanburi hotel, pool, huge, bit bizzare, $25

Cycled to Chai Nat, over 100km on quiet road parallel to river and main road. Last 10km on busy 340 road but wide shoulder. Properly weird Boutique Hotel, no tourists here, but pretty away from major roads in the town and by the river. Cheap. Still windy but cooler.

Cycled 60km to Chino Bonitos Hotel in city of Nakon Sawan for new year. Lovely park, no tourists since Ayutthaya.

Train to Phitsanulok, note station 10km out of town. Cheap Li Thai guesthouse, pretty temples.

Cycled 82km on pretty rural roads (invited to a wedding!) to wonderful 4T bungalows with pool ( $20 but cheaper rooms) in Sukothai, 40km to visit lovely temple complex and area. Two punctures on main road, also another cyclist, nails!

 Quick 40km ride north parallel to river to temple gem at Si Satchanali. Home stay, 3 to choose from, tiny village.

East then north again, quiet roads to Uttraddit (70km) train wouldn’t take bikes until late pm so cheap bus to jump to teak town of Lampang. Seeing hills! All cheap guesthouses by river, great food! 2 nights, 20km visiting.

Short train ride to Lamphun, then cycled to Chomthong (50km) on edge of national park for climb up Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. Bansuan Angkaruk bungalows, AWFUL! Forget name but 2nd night, after climb in nice hotel on main road, incl b’fast.

Big climb, 47km each way, 2565m. Hard. Thought I would die!!

Next day 65km to Chiang Mai, stunning riverside road, so quiet, shock to enter city, better inside city wall. De Rachamanka guesthouse, lovely.

One main road to Chiang Rai so took a bus. YHA has a pool (such hard beds!) but road outside turned out to be a motorway! 1 night, then moved to Jansupar Court, best yet, cheap, new, brilliant family, great spoken English. 4 days exploring valley, temples, art, about 120km

Chiang Rai to Thai/Laos border on minor rds, 120km because ferry crossing moved from Chiang kong to new bridge 10km south, then forced to ride north 10km on Laos side to Houayxay.

 

5.  Laos

Easy start, big boat on Mekong to Pakbeng, no prob with bikes but wouldn’t want to do 2 day trip to Luang Prabang.

The route followed HW2w NE for over 100km to Oudomxay where we took a songthagh along HW 2e NE to Hotel Lhakam in a remote village called Muang La. It’s a brand new hotel (cheap) alongside a beautiful river and a wonderful natural hot spring. Nick, the owner is keen for cyclists to stay and kindly provided rags and oil and cleaning fluid.  The next day we cycled along 2e N to Paknamnoi then E to Muang Khua (80km) where we stayed in a guesthouse overnight. Muang Khua is the departure point for boats along the Ou river, five hours of stunning scenery to Nong Khiaw town. We could have stayed overnight, but had enough time to cycle to a guesthouse west along HW1c for 40km to Pakmong. Now we were on HW13 to Luang Prabang, a final 110km push south. Phew!

Our route avoided the rough 80km section of HW13 direct from Oudomxay to Pakmong. Yes a huge diversion, but incredibly beautiful and good quiet roads. We met our Dutch couple again in Pakmong and it had taken them over 3hours to descend the last 30km of this section of road!

Charles found a young Australian cyclist’s blog, roughly a month ahead of us on a similar journey. It takes 3 days to cycle to Vang Vieng and he walked for 3km of the challenging first day climb, south of Luang Prabang (+2135m -1000m). We climbed as high on Doi Inthanon, but without luggage, and not followed by a second day with climbs (+1279m -1993m). The bus stops at a town towards the end of his second day, so reluctantly we bought tickets and boarded the busy bus (plastic stools in the aisle for extra passengers!) But after an hour we got off, at an unexpected toilet stop.

So at midday we made an inauspicious start on our Australian’s 2nd day (+1279, -1993). We cycled for 78km from Kiewmaknao to  NamKhene (hot spring and bungalows) 22km south of Phoukhoun, through the most impressive, spectacular scenery we have ever seen: we felt like we were on the roof of the world!

NamKhene to Vang Vieng 83km, beautiful. Duang 2 guesthouse, cheap and roomy, v clean

Vang Vieng to Ban Phonsavanh, Sensawang motel, 97km

Phonsavanh to Vientiane 56km

Easy stop to collect Myanmar visa, but absolutely nothing to do in Vientiane! Boutique Hotel $35

20km to Friendship Bridge ( get your exit stamp ) to Nong Khai in Thailand. Huan Essen Place, lovely wooden bungalows near the train station and Tesco superstore, but away from riverside guesthouses and restaurants. 10km round trip to unusual sculpture park. Free bike boxes from sports’ shop.

Overnight train to Don Mueang airport, Bangkok for AirAsia flight to Mandalay.

6.  Myanmar

Mostly Followed blog www.mattkadey.com/myanmar-trip-notes.html

Airport to Sagaing 25km, Shwe Pyae Sone hotel $35. Many temples and views

Sagaing to Mingun, 42km return, worth the trip.

Sagaing to Myingyan 96km +329m-328m Eat lunch 1/2 way at Myotha. Kuang Kuang guesthouse.

Myingyan to Nyaung U 70km +147m-152m Bagan Princess Hotel $40 with pool

Nyaung U to Mount Popa 52km +604km-63m Zey Yar Theingi guesthouse 🙁 $45 but nice restaurant next door. 777 steps up to  Taung Kalat temple on ancient volcanic plug, 10km round trip.

Mount Popa to Meiktila 117km +446m-865 (most on decent from Popa) Wunzin Hotel $45

Meiktila to Kalaw. We took the bus! (To ride: 117km +1532m-391m) $25 Shine Hotel

Kalaw to Nyaungshwe (for Lake Inle) 65km +308m-738m Zawgi hotel $35 🙂

Nyaungshwe to train station in Shwenyaung 11km then train to Kalaw, then ride to Thazi. 96km +391m-1532m. Wonderful guesthouse, actually its name. Good $25

Thazi to Kyaukse via small road 12 east of Thazi. Beautiful route but not great tarmac, see blog. Flat, 120km Winlite Hotel with great Chinese restaurant next door $25

Kyaukse to Mandalay, 35km, Royal Power Hotel, central, $45

Scenic train Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin ( if you cycle 92km +1119m-141m). The absolutely wonderful San Francisco guesthouse, set in a garden, close to National botanical gardens.

Train to tiny station 12km east of Gok Teik gorge railway bridge. Cycled back to Pyin Oo Lwin, 79km +843m-1143m. Better to cycle to Kyaukme, stay overnight and take train back to Pyin Oo Lwin next day.

Pyin Oo Lwin to Sagaing 76km +123m-1126m AWESOME!!

Sagaing to Mandalay Airport 25km

7. Southern Thailand

Overnight train to Surat Thani, then 77km rural road to Don Sak ferry port and boat to Nathon.

Nathon to Bo Phut to meet friend, 17km, superb  Samui Heritage Hotel B1200 with pool Exploring 30km Island View bungalows north of Choeng Mon, stunning beach, 1000 Bahts. Excursion to An Thong Marine Park

27km to Nathon port, ferry to Don Sak

77km back to Surat Thani. K Park Hotel B1080 inc breakfast and pool (fantastic pool, can pay separately B50). Don’t miss Sunday food market.

Surat Thani to  Chiew Lan reservoir, at Khao Sok National Park, 75km. +20km hilly exploring. Mali guesthouse B800 Awesome meal in restaurant next door.  3hr boat trip, very scenic but 45min tea break!!

4624km…

 

Reservoir to Khao Sok National Park on route 401. Stunning scenery, excellent road and quiet. 50km a highlight. Many guesthouses, slept in the trees at Arts Riverview Jungle Lodge B100, good food and gt swimming in the river. Park Ok, the accessible part is mostly bamboo forest.

Khao Sok National park to Khao Lak, 70km, started on 401, delightful scenery, little traffic, then rural road 4090 for only 1km to a right turn heading north for 8km before turning west to the coast. Quiet, scenic 🙂  White sands beach for v quiet pretty resort.

Not even 10 km to Khao Lok town, Banana bungalows, cheap and cheerful, with a pool. Booked speed boat to Similan Islands, swam with turtles. Awesome!

Khao Lok to Phuket, 85km, eventually found cheap bungalow by the airport, surprisingly quiet.

20km from west coast to Ban Rong port on east coast along pretty 4027. Don’t go to James Bond Island port to NE unless you want to add 12km!!

Ferry Through limestone islands to Ko Yao Noi, a quiet protected island in the middle of  Ao Phang Nga marine park. So chilled, hammocks and sunsets… 24km concrete perimeter road. Bungalows on eastern shore.

Ferry from eastern jetty, Tha Khao Pier to Tha Len pier on mainland, so attractive but 25 km from Ao Nang. Romantic bungalows, v clean with a lovely pool.

Ao Nang long tail boat to Railay beach is worth the cost, make sure you climb up and down to Princess Lagoon.

Ao Nang to Koh Lanta, 85 km. there is a 2 hr ferry from Ao Nang but we’re here to cycle, 85 km plus 2 vehicle ferries. Route 4 manageable, Sunday and a wide shoulder but not enjoyable. Much better once on 4206 SE to Koh Lanta.  Hot. Departed 7.30am arrived midday (beat the ferry!) Scenic Bungalows, turn right at 7/11, Khlong Dao beach, fantastic beach, excellent food at night market in Ban Saladan. Hired moped to fully explore the island.

Ferry to Haad Yao, another quiet port for ferries far from any services! Cycled to Kantang, 28km, no great distance but so hot!! And roadworks. Found only hotel, clean, basic, near station.

Kantang to Thung-Wa, watched dragon races. Hot!

Thung-Wa to Pak Bara and ferry to Koh Lipi (longtail to beach). Stunning

Koh Lipi to Langkawi in Malaysia. One night inKuah (port) then Favehotel Cenang beach

Ferry to Kuala Kedah (grim port).  Coastal route to Butterworth and ferry to Georgetown

Highlight cycle across world’s 2nd longest bridge, 17km to mainland. Busy roads to Parit Buntar, and short train to Taiping, delightful park town.

Train Taiping to Ipoh, then cycled to base of Cameron Highlands south of the city.  A huge climb, +2559m, tot the Copthorne hotel  apartment (cheap but haggle) at Bringchang.  Visited Tana Rata, tea plantations and forest.  Awesome descent

Cycled back into Ipoh for train to Kuala Lumpar – traffic too much to ride safely 🙁

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


5 Responses to Our route

  1. Julian

    You were spotted on your bike a couple of months ago by Sophie Rodaway!

  2. alun Edwards

    Well done to you both!! An amazing adventure. Sounds absolutely stunning. Welcome back to Blighty.!

    • suzannehopwood500@gmail.com

      Hi Alun, yes it was wonderful, back at work now, both busy with 6 months’ worth of jobs! Memories fading fast!!

  3. cesar lucero

    hi, Suzanne, is ceasar, and Cirilo White truck drivers from Mexicali, sorry my english is not very fluid, but gongrats for your long trip you are amazings good lock in your adventure in mexico. besos y abrazos para los dos.

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