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Cycle Cao Bang 2018 – Cycling the Border Belt

Cycling the Border Belt Cao Bang 2018

Code: VRT06

Cao Bang, Viet Nam


TARGET MARKET Cyclists with good level of fitness and with previous mountain bike experience.  Stages include intermittent short steep climbs and descents and daily distances up to 60km.
TRAIL TYPES RIDDEN Mix of dirt, rocky and sealed roads.  Some sections of hardpacked single trails.


To register for this exciting event, complete and submit the Cycle Cao Bang 2018 Entry Form using the following link:  https://goo.gl/forms/nqeZyfR114sV2dnX2 

Tour Description  

A rare opportunity to mountain bike the ‘border belt’ of Vietnam and China

Come and experience Vietnam’s frontier with China from a mountain bike, taking in amazing scenery and terrain that will take your breath away.  Utilising quiet backroads (for the most part) in the north-east of Cao Bang province, our daily routes will take you through quaint craft villages and onto the amazing Ban Gioc waterfall. From there we will meander back towards Cao Bang city on newly mapped cycling routes.

Organised by Helvetas Vietnam / Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED), the entry fee for this unique opportunity is only 4,095,000 VND* per rider (plus an additional 660,000 VND if you require bicycle hire). This fee will cover all your travel, food and accommodation costs AND includes a 1,000,000 VND donation to a project in Cao Bang that you will have the opportunity to participate in.  With great riding for a great cause, you’ll not only experience amazing mountain biking, you’ll also be supporting CRED’s work in the province to improve the lives of minority families through Community-Based Tourism

* Helvetas/CRED is contributing 1.000.000 VND towards each rider’s entry fee.  Normal event entry fee (without donation) equivalent to 5,095,000 VND per rider.

Enjoy some of the most beautiful cycling routes that North Vietnam has to offer, in an area that is only just opening up to international tourists.  You will enjoy the craft villages of Cao Bang around the tranquil village of Phia Thap, and then cycle North-East to the Chinese border region where you will experience Vietnam’s magnificent Ban Gioc waterfall, falling through the surrounding trees with Vietnam on one side of the river and China on the other.

Utilising sealed and unsealed roads for over 90% of the planned route (the remainder being narrow trails), this is suitable for people with limited mountain biking experience.  A good level of fitness will be required though.


Trip Itinerary

06:00 Depart CRED Office at 298F Kim Ma, and travel to Phia Thap homestay (Bus).
13:00 Lunch at Phia Thap homestay.
14:45 Day 1 Rider briefing.
15:00 Short bike ride around homestay location.
19:00 Dinner at homestay and Day 2 rider briefing.
Overnight accommodation: Phia Thap Homestay


After arriving at the homestay you’ll enjoy a home-cooked local lunch and then have the opportunity to warm up your cycling legs with one of two route options* around the local area.

Route option one is a short loop that takes you along quiet concrete paths and around photo-worthy limestone karsts to a paper-making village, where you’ll be able to have a go at making your own paper using a process that locals have been using for generations.  After putting your skills to the test you’ll take a leisurely ride back to the Phia Thap homestay village over dirt trails and sealed roads.

Route option 2 has you leaving the paper village in the opposite direction along a concrete path before you turn off onto a narrow trail with a number of water crossings.  Winding your way around the mountains you will pass through a village and then start a 15km loop along dirt and sealed roads back to the homestay.  This 2nd route option includes a nice climb to get the legs warmed up.

Note that in the event of a late arrival to the homestay there may not be an option to do the 20km loop.


Day 1 Route Option 1 Map and Elevation Profile

Day 1 Route Option 2 Map and Elevation Profile

06:00 Breakfast and Day 3 rider briefing.
07:00 Travel from Phia Thap commune to Trung Khanh (Bus).
08:00 Depart Trung Khanh on bicycle.
11:00-12:00 Lunch at Ha Vuong hotel
13:00-14:30 Continue on route to Ban Gioc Waterfall
14:30-16:00 Enjoy Ban Gioc Waterfall, Temple and participate in Community Project
Overnight accommodation: Lung Niec Homestay.
  • Additional drinks and snacks are available for purchase from a number of local shops in the villages along the route.


It’s the biggest day of the tour distance-wise.  We start with a 40min bus ride towards the waterfalls to the town of Trung Khanh, leaving behind most of the busy highway that goes to the Chinese border.  After topping up the water bottles and grabbing some snacks we head north out of town, through amazing river scenery and passing rice paddies and water wheels.

Crossing the picturesque Quay Son river near to the Chinese border crossing we then turn south-east along sealed and dirt roads and enjoying a number of small waterfalls along the way to the amazing Ban Gioc waterfall.

After relaxing over a beer at the base of the falls you have free time to enjoy the views and take photos.  From here we will take the bus back up the hill to the new homestay where you can relax or take a short but steep walk to the local temple which offers amazing views over the falls. We’ll also use the afternoon to participate in a Community Project that will directly benefit the local community.



07:00 Breakfast and Day 3 activity briefing.
08:00 Travel by bus from Lung Niec to Trung Khanh
09:00 Depart Trung Khanh by bicycle
1:00 Lunch at Phia Thap homestay
Overnight accommodation: Phia Thap Homestay


Today we say goodbye to the waterfall region and head back to Trung Khanh by bus, where we jump back on our bicycles and ride country roads back to Quang Uyen (with a 7km fast section on the main road where you will need to be extra careful).

Riders can grab a coffee at one of the local cafes in Quang Uyen before continuing along the northern loop to Phia Thap homestay for lunch and accommodation for the night.


06:00 Breakfast and Day 4 activity briefing.
07:00 Depart Phia Thap homestay by bicycle.
07:30 Arrive at Basket Making Village and observe basket making.
08.30 Continue on Day 4 route
10:30-11:00 Arrive at Day 4 ride finish line
5:00 Arrive back in Hanoi (exact time depending on traffic)


This 25km ride along dirt and sealed roads will take in a local basket-weaving village where you will not only see baskets being made, but also have a go at making one yourself. We then continue south until Tu Do where we turn south-west and head down towards Cao Bang.  We finish this last day of riding at the intersection of the back road and the highway, where we will meet the bus and be transported to Cao Bang for lunch.

We then head back to Hanoi, stopping for lunch along the way.


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