Indochina Travel pioneered the first bicycle tours in Asia in 1993, organizing the first bicycle tours, into newly-opened Indochina, Japan, Myanmar and Bhutan, through our adventure outfit, VeloAsia. Since then, we have had over 20 years experience organizing biking trips for small groups of friends, family trips, and organizations, from leisurely cycling for children of all ages, to unique trips such as our Iron Chef culinary cycling tours, and pre-level trips featuring faster, longer riding.
Come bike the breathtaking Japanese Alps, or magnificent Shikoku Island, Tokyo's quiet back alleys, by ebike around Naoshima "Art Island," or the meandering roads north of Kyoto around Lake Biwa; pedal through villages and canoe in the Shan State on Inle Lake and at sunrise on stunning Bagan's temple plain; glide in tandem kayaks on Halong Bay and cycling remote traditional hilltribe areas in Northwest Vietnam; try traditional archery in Bhutan and cycling the bucolic Haa valley and around Punakha Dzong, the symbol of Bhutan; trek with elephants along the Mekong in Northern Laos and cycle bucolic river valleys through jungle and tranquil villages; cycle exotic jingled landscapes of Cambodia and around magnificent Angkor Wat at sunrise, an unforgettable site; mountain bike through the jungles and mountains of the Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand, overnighting at a monastery.
We wrote the book on cycling trips in Asia, organizing the very first tours into Vietnam in 1994, then pioneering trips in Cambodia, Laos, Japan, China, Bhutan, Thailand and Myanmar. Our cycling trips are much more than pedaling and combine our unique cultural encounters, sights, people, and activities of our other trips. Cycling can even be a minor part of your trip, enjoying it where you prefer along with our recommendations. We can even adjust the amount of time and effort to everyone's preferences or abilities, such as allowing dad or mom to ride longer while the rest of the family enjoys sightseeing. Our family biking and kayaking trips for younger children are always accompanied by a support vehicle or boat and every person of your family may engage in as much or as little as they want.
Like many European destinations, Japan offers a full compliment of wonderful cycling journeys from casual half-day spins on local bikes, to two week trips along coast and mountain. Some, such as Naoshima offer a cultural aspect (art), can vary by difficulty, while others are ideal during certain times of the year. Ask us which one may be perfect for you.
Cycling in Tokyo? Yes, a terrific and safe place for a day of biking on the city's quieter backstreets, seeing a unique side of the city in local neighborhoods, but also notable sights including Tokyo University.
See another side of Kyoto, where a half-day or full-day tour will thrill visitors of all ages. Further afield, the Tango Peninsula and Lake Biwa near Kyoto features cooler weather during the warmer months and a chance to experience local Japan by bicycle.
A must destination for Japanese modern art fans, Naoshima is within the vicinity of Kyoto. Newer ebikes make it convenient to explore the large island's art installations and open spaces, pedaling the tranquil coastal landscapes overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. On a longer tour, contnue on riding along the coastline through Setonaikai National Park and passing along Shikoku's 88 temple pilgraimage route (Shikoku Henro), the historic town of Matsuyama and Shimanami Kaido, and one of the most scenic cycling routes in the world, between Onomichi and Imabari. This off-the-grid trip enjoys a hidden Japan most traveler's miss. Each evening, after a day's ride, savor a hot spring (onsen) for tired legs and delicious kaiseki meals at our traditional Japanese inn (ryokan).
READ MORE ABOUT NAOSHIMA ART ISLAND
If you are planning a trip to Japan, no doubt you've read not to miss the beautiful mountains around Nagano, an area also known as the "Japanese Alps." The area is ideal during warmer months to escape the heat of cities. This cycling tour of two to seven days cycles around Hakuba Village at the base of a stunning range of 3,000-meter tall peaks.
Best June through August
There aren't many places in the world as stunning than the sublime landscapes of Northern Laos. From the Vietnamese border near Vieng Xai all the way to Luang Prabang are some of Asia's most picturesque and unpopulated places (below). From short trips in and around Luang Prabang, combined with boating, kayaking and trekking, to one week tours from Vietnam. Pedal back in time in one of Asia's least developed places on tranquil backroads through karst mountains, river valleys, and villages. Encounter enchanting Asian elephants at sanctuaries for a once in a lifetime journey with these gentle giants. Along the Mekong River, greet the elephants as you learn about the care of and to drive your very own elephant, trekking through lush jungle landscapes.
Best mid-October through March
We organized the very first cycling tours of Vietnam in 1993 under our adventure wing, VeloAsia (read Escape Magazine's Biking to Boomtown in Ho Chi Minh City 1994 article on VeloAsia). Family trips are our most popular, but we have and can organize a variety of trips from a combination culinary and cycling tour, local casual day rides in places like Hue and Hoi An, or even outside Hanoi on the Red River, to longer trips up to the high-mountain border areas along the Chinese border, or our two-week cyling trip from Hanoi to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
Cycling Hanoi? Yes, enjoy the more calm backstreets of the city, pedaling out to the West Lake, and into the countryside through local farms to the Red River Delta. Our trip meanders through ancient local villages where we'll stop into tour an old Mandarin home, share tea with a local family, and learn about their large bonsai garden.
Witness a disappearing way of life, cycling the through small villages and towns outside of Hanoi, and then the stunning Mai Chau River Valley, home to collection of colorful, traditional hilltribes situated beneath dramatic karst scenery. Our cycling route meanders along village foothpaths through local farms and villages, staying at a comfortable eco-lodge.
Our most popular cycling tour we've organized well before Anthony Bourdain shone a spotlight on Vietnam's incredible cuisine. Equal parts cycle and cuisine, this trip takes in farms, markets, cooking classes, fish sauce and other food producers, amazing street food, local cafes, and fine dining, meeting chefs, and others involved with creating one of the most delicious dishes in Asia.
Our most comprehensive and challenging Vietnam cycling tour pedaling all the way from Hanoi to Saigon, exploring the best of Vietnam and places other travelers rarely venture with several days along the country's most beautiful route - the Ho Chi Minh Highway (below). Plan your custom trip from 8-14 days. This trip can be modified for all levels of cycling.
Vietnam's picturesque northern mountain ranges reach up to 8,000 feet, featuring scattered hill tribe villages, stunning views of terraced rice fields, and river valleys.
Pancake flat and unique for riverine culture, the Mekong Delta is a short distance from Saigon. Explore endless landscapes of emerald rice fields, exotic islands, tropical fruit orchards, small farms and villages, witnessing life along the Mekong and it's hundreds of tributaries.
This pair of Vietnam's most interesting and favorite towns on the central coast are also ideal for cycling. In Hue, explore the ancient Imperial capital and serene Perfume River, cycling into the countryside to royal tombs and pagodas. From Hue to Hoi An, ride some of the country's most beautiful landscapes and the Hai Van Pass, a gradual 8-mile long road without traffic which from the summit takes in incredible views of the coastline. In and around Hoi An are local villages, farms and a beautiful beach to cycle around and build an appetite for some of the best dining in Vietnam.
Best June through August
We delight in delighting children, of all ages. Southeast Asia and Japan, in particular, provides unparalleled thrills for children, teens and young adults. Our past family favorites are cycling and elephant trekking in Northern Laos, kayaking on sublime Halong Bay, and cycling the Red River delta, cycling the Mekong, cooking and cycling in Hoi An, Vietnam, cycling Kyoto and Tokyo's backstreets, sunrise cycling through the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia, soaring by balloon after a sunrise spin over the Bagan temple plain in Myanmar and cycling through hill tribes in the Shan State around scenic Inle Lake, cycling the picturesque Haa Valley in Bhutan, and the sublime river valleys around and in Luang Prabang, Laos, the secret jewel of Southeast Asia.
Halong Bay is the geographic highlight of Asia, the karst wonderland best viewed up close from a kayak on the placid waters which are perfect for beginners. After hours paddling on Halong, join your on board chef to learn the fine art of fruit and vegetable carving. Other remarkable places for paddling include the renowned marine parks of Southern Thailand, canoing in Inle Lake in Myanmar's Shan State, and secret tributaries of the Mekong River we know of north of Luang Prabang.
From Sapa in the Tonkinese Alps, Kalaw in the Shan State, along the Nam Ou river in Northern Laos and in remote Yunnan, there are still untouched, picturesque places in Asia offering leisurely to serious multi-week treks. Encounter enchanting Asian elephants at camps within Thailand and Laos for a once in a lifetime journey with these gentle giants. In northern Thailand’s lush jungle setting, make friends with the elephants as you learn about the care of and to drive your very own elephant, trekking through lush jungle landscapes.
Cycling the Land of the Thunder Dragon "Nothing could be more striking than the pristine, haunting beauty of the landscape of Bhutan, or the atmosphere of peace and sacredness, which pervades the land from end to end." —Tibetan lama Sogyal Rinpoche
Anyone who has traveled there will tell you the most striking thing about Bhutan is how completely untouched it is. The remote country remains one of the world's most exotic places, a pristine and timeless place of high-mountain splendor and culture largely unchanged by the outside world. Cycle the tranquil Haa Valley on a day trip or longer tours taking in the popular highlights and lesser known ones, along with unique activities, with emphasis on ancient customs and personal encounters.
Pedaling the exotic and surreal stone temples at dawn is an amazing and exceptional experience, not to be missed. We can organize half- to three-day trips in and around the temple complex, taking the most magnificent temples, but also surrounding places, small villages, lakes, farms, rivers and jungle.
It may seem a new destination, but our Myanmar bike tours have been running since 1999. We were the first North American company to set up shop and organize trips in Myanmar and have since hosted hundreds of delighted travelers. Of course, Myanmar is now first on everyone's bucket list. What's to know? Though recent troubles have given pause to touring Myanmar, there is peace and calm upcountry around the regions we bike, in and around Bagan and the Shan State. Enjoy tropical jungle rides, few tourists, enchanting ruins, warm welcoming smiles, rustic villages, magnificent ruins, delicious meals, and tranquil roads with no traffic — high adventure! Come cycling through Myanmar in areas closed off to travelers for over the last forty years. Our Myanmar cycling trips are not limited to the classic route, but always changing and organized to your preferences. The festival season, like Bhutan, at a fascinating time to travel and includes Inle Lake for the Fire Lighting festival in November or traditional boat racing during the Phuang Daw Oo festival (Myanmar's largest), in mid to late October.