A cycling, trekking, paddling tour is a great way to see rural Vietnam.
I HAD MY HEAD DOWN. Eyes peeled. Hands poised on my brake levers. Recent downpours had transformed patches of our off-road ride into a slick obstacle course. Rocks and pebbles once encased in the earth had been freed, each capable of upturning my two-wheeler and sending me into the stony, muddy bath underfoot. As I carefully navigated a downhill stretch, an obstacle I’d never encountered before reared its horned head: three huge water buffalo, overshadowing an elderly woman trailing in their footsteps. Hearing the chime of our bells, she looked back and, with a bamboo stick three times her length, assertively steered them as close to the
track’s edge as possible. Even so, the singletrack was dominated by buffalo and we snaked past within arm’s reach of the half-tonne beasts. This was rural Vietnam.
By bike, hike and kayak
We had arrived in Hanoi six days earlier. After meeting our tour leader, Ngoc, “pronounced like door knock”, our group of 13, ranging in age from 12 to 57, was ready to embark on World Expeditions’ “Bike, Hike and Kayak Northern Vietnam”, an 11-day trip.