6 Reasons to Cycle Vietnam’s South Central Coast During June-August
Why should Australians and New Zealanders choose Vietnam’s South Central coast as a destination for a cycling tour during the winter months? Let’s look at 6 great reasons.
Vietnam is a culturally diverse country in general, and the South Central coastal region may be the best example of how fascinating it can be. Just a few of the distinct cultural phenomenon you’ll get to experience are:
Whale worship – Locals on Vietnam’s South Central coast have a long tradition of whale worship, seeing them as guardians who protect fishermen and others at sea. There are several whale worship festivals each year, including one in Nha Trang during July or August (in 2023, Nha Trang’s whale worship festival will be at the start of July).
Binh Dinh martial arts – The tour will pass through Binh Dinh province, which is home to a unique style of martial arts known as Vo Binh Dinh that focuses on agility rather than brute strength. You may see demonstrations of this martial art at local festivals.
Bai Choi singing – In Bai Choi, the performers wear traditional costumes and use a deck of cards to guide the rhythm and melody of the songs. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Take a closer look in our post specifically about the culture of Vietnam’s central coast.
The best weather in Vietnam’s South Central coastal region comes during the months of June through August. During these months, the area is usually around 25-30 degrees, which is perfect for cycling. It’s still relatively humid so it’s important to wear breathable clothing, but there will be a nice sea breeze for most of the ride as well.
There are other factors that make Central Coast cycling trips ideal for the Australian winter. Read all about it in our post about the best time to visit Vietnam’s central coast.
The South Central coast of Vietnam is incredibly varied in terms of its terrain. It includes:
The Annamite mountain range, which reaches to 2,000 m at points. The range is covered with forests and jungles that provide a challenging adventure for mountain bikers
Winding rivers like the Thu Bon, Ba, and Da Rang
And, of course, long stretches of sandy beaches, rocky outcroppings, and hidden coves that offer a respite for cyclists
All of these terrains contain villages that have lived there for countless generations and embraced the local landscape.
The Nicest Beaches in Vietnam
Vietnam’s South Central coast is home to most of the country’s nicest beaches. While the seabed in most of the country is heavily sedimented and therefore has rather murky water, most of the beaches at Quy Nhon, Mui Ne, and Nha Trang have crystal clear water. They also boast white sands and coral reefs that you won’t find in most of Vietnam.
The South Central coast is famous for many unique foods, including:
Banh canh cha ca – A noodle soup made with fish cakes and a thick, chewy noodle that is similar to udon.
Bun ca Quy Nhon – A fish soup made with a rich, flavorful broth that is simmered with fish bones, tomatoes, and spices, and served with thick rice noodles, fresh herbs, and lime.
Goi ca mai – A salad made with a type of small fish that is unique to the south-central coast of Vietnam, called ca mai. The fish is marinated in a mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili, and then mixed with fresh herbs, vegetables, and roasted peanuts.
Seafood – The region has some of the freshest and most flavorful seafood you’re likely to ever eat. It’s cheap, too.
Mr Biker Saigon’s guides will make sure the food options on the tour are authentic, delicious, and properly balanced to provide a good diet for cyclists.
Our route planners spend countless hours scouting out a path that will keep off the main roads and steer clear of tourist traps but that will also pass through the truly incredible landmarks of Vietnam’s South Central coast. For example, we’ll pass through three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the ancient town of Hoi An, the My Son Sanctuary, and the Imperial City of Hue. We’ll also see the Historic Po Nagar Towers and the Majestic Hai Van Pass, among other breathtaking sights.
Read more about where to go on the Central Coast in our full post about it.
South Central Coast Cycling Itinerary
Mr Biker Saigon’s South Central coast tour departs from Ho Chi Minh City and ends up in the central city of Hue (pronounced “hoo-way” without the “y” sound on the end). The trip lasts 11 days and includes 7 days of cycling – the rest of the time is for immersing riders in the culture of the area. During that time, the tour will bring you through every type of rugged terrain the South Central coast has to offer – and make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime along the way. Let’s take a closer look at the route we’ll take and what you’ll experience en route.
Day 1 – Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, AKA Saigon
No cycling today
Airport transfer upon request. On your first day in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, you will meet the Mr. Biker team of guides, mechanics, and drivers who will support you throughout your exciting adventure from Saigon to Hanoi. At this point, you will also receive a bike fitting before meeting up for the tour briefing and the welcome dinner in the evening.
Day 2: Saigon – Cam Ranh – Nha Trang
Cycling distance: 50km
You’ll start the day with a flight to Cam Ranh, where your pre-fitted bike will be waiting for you. The ride today will be through the green villages of Cam Ranh with thousands of mango farms on both ways and end up in the beach town of Nha Trang.
Day 3 - Nha Trang - Phu Yen
Cycling distance: 80km
The tour will first head to the Po Nagar Cham towers, thousand-year old Hindu temples that are sometimes called “Vietnam’s Angkor Wat.” Afterwards, you’ll transfer to Hon Gom peninsula, where you’ll cycle past shrimp farms, fishing villages, and kilometers of pristine Vietnamese beaches.
Day 4 - Phu Yen - Quy Nhon
Cycling distance: 65km
Throughout the day, you will see the province’s main economic activity: fishing. In particular, you will get a chance to see the unusual conical (round) fishing boats as you enter Quy Nhon.
Day 5 - Quy Nhon beach
No cycling today
A rest day when you can kick back and relax on the beach.
Day 6- Quy Nhon - Quang Ngai
Cycling Distance: 80km
Day 6 will see a transition from beachside to countryside.The two terrains are equally as scenic, but the shrimp farms and fishing boats you’ll pass in the morning will give way to rice paddies and rolling hills in the afternoon.
Day 7 - Quang Ngai - My Son massacre - Hoi An
Cycling Distance: 60km
This day will include a bit of historical information at the site of the My Son massacre and a lot of scenic beauty as we traverse colorful fishing villages on our way to Hoi An.
Day 8 - Rest day in Hoi An
No cycling today
Hoi An is a UNESCO world heritage site and arguably the most beautiful town in Vietnam, so we’re sure you’ll want to explore.
Day 9 - Hoi An - Hai Van Pass - Hue
Cycling Distance: 100km
We’ll cycle up the mountains near Hoi An to the world famous Hai Van pass. From the pass, we’ll cruise down to the lowlands near Hue and ride the remaining 44km on flat land.
Day 10 - Hue City Ride
Cycling Distance: 30km
Guided cycling tour around Hue, the historical old capital of Vietnam. The day includes a river cruise and a formal dinner to serve as an endpoint for the Rough Riders tour.
Day 11 – Hue departure
More chances for solo exploration of Hue or setting off for another city.
Vietnam Bike Tour Tips for Australians and New Zealanders
As an Australian or New Zealander, here are a few tips you can use to prepare mentally for your trip.
Be understanding of cultural differences – Australia and Vietnam may be only about 5,000km apart, but their cultures couldn’t be more different. If you come to Vietnam with the mindset that any cultural difference is an inconvenience, you’ll probably enjoy your trip a lot less than if you adopt an adventurous mindset eager to explore a new culture.
Stay hydrated – You may think Australia’s climate is humid, but it’s nothing compared to most parts of Vietnam! Remember to drink a lot of water over the course of the day and to take advantage of the country’s many broth-based dishes to stay hydrated.
Get Australian travel insurance – We highly recommend that all our customers get travel insurance before their trip. These forms at Travel Insurance Saver and Insure and Go, both AU-specific sites, are good places to start.
Learn a few words of Vietnamese – The locals in the villages you ride through on your tour will really appreciate it and may even treat you more welcoming because of it. Australia has several cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, with large Vietnamese populations. Community colleges in those cities will likely offer classes, and just hanging out a bit in the cities’ Vietnamese districts is a good way to practice some phrases.
Mr Biker Saigon’s guided tours are all-inclusive, so you don’t have to worry about preparation too much. Still, getting in the right headspace will help to give your Vietnamese cycling adventure a little added flair.
We’re Excited to Welcome You
The South Central Coast tour is one of our favorite routes, and we’ve had some of our best rides with large groups on the tour. In fact, we had a group of Australians and New Zealanders who we’ve dubbed “The Australian Rough Riders” cycle the South Central coast with us last February and we would love to turn it into a tradition. That’s why we offer huge discounts for large groups. We hope to see you riding with us soon.