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Hoa Binh Electric Mountain Bike Tour from Hanoi
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Ways to Experience Marco Polo Vietnam
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Reviewed February 13, 2020

This has been an absolutely exceptional trip. I feel that I learnt so much about Vietnam from a variety of perspectives that I could not have achieved in a different way. I am writing a large review here because I did not find too many reviews about the particular trip, I did, and I would like to help others with some extra info:

Guide: Joe and his team have been incredibly attentive, really eager to give me a great experience and to make me feel comfortable and learn a lot about Vietnam. Joe speaks English and explained me everything I wanted to know about Vietnam during the trip.

Bicycle: The bicycle was amazing. I really didn’t know the brand Van Nicholas before but was positively surprised how comfortable the bicycle was. I had to adjust the saddle a couple of times to find a good position initially but ended up without any pains anywhere in my body notwithstanding significant mileage and climbs during the trip. So all good on the bicycle. We had some small misunderstanding regarding the SPD and if I had to bring the pedal or not, so after all I did not have to bring the pedals with me. Anyhow, not a big issue and it was definitely a safe bet to have the pedal with me and be sure that it fits to my cleats.

Bicycle maintenance: The team fixed my tire twice during the trip and always checked my breaks before the ride. If I would improve something about the maintenance, I would suggest to put air in the tires everyday before leaving. In addition, the bicycles got really dirty the first days because of rain, so for perfect maintenance I would suggest to clean the bicycles after the big rain or at least provide the means for me to clean it myself. The chain got very dirty towards the end and it just feels bad to ride a dirty bicycle. If the company invested a little bit in training the driver in bicycle maintenance, he could perfectly take care of the bicycles between dinner and breakfast - but again the bicycle was in good condition and any small issues were taken care of immediately, so the “criticism” is on a very high level already.

Roads: The quality of the roads is spectacular. I would say the roads were better than most roads in Germany or Switzerland. Around Hue, there were a few bumps but really nothing to prevent you from road cycling.

Mileage: I think if you add up all the kilometers as indicated in the itinerary, you arrive at something above 1’000 km. In reality it was some 850, because you do some km by car due to traffic etc. I think it would have been possible to get more mileage if I had asked for it but I was overall very happy with the mileage.

Altitude: In the particular tour that I did, there was some rolling hills and a couple of more serious climbs with up to 10% but overall not huge climbing (never more than 1’000m increase).

Safety: I felt very safe throughout the trip. Joe made sure that we avoided crowded traffic and we took some safety kilometers before and after bigger cities, which was really helpful.

Accommodation: I booked an extra night in Hanoi as well as two extra nights in Hoi An at the end of the
trip with Joe: this was very convenient for me, he selected perfectly located hotels for me to explore the city. During the cycling trip, we stayed once in a homestay and the other nights in hotels. All hotels were good to excellent.

Culture/leisure time: There was enough time for me to see something of the places we visited and the trip included a visit to the Vinh Moc Tunnels and Phong Nha Cave which was absolutely amazing for
me. In Hue, I had the afternoon free and visited the Imperial City. So I definitely got all the main sights covered alongside the road.

Food: We went for an all local experience and Joe made sure that I could try a variety of dishes and ordered something different in every place. The restaurants were all simple, not the typical tourist attraction but very delicious. And I had absolutely no belly issues on the whole trip even though I also ate fresh fruit, raw veggies and lettuce. I am not a vegetarian, but I don’t like meat so there’s was always an option for me to try from the meat dishes but satisfy on the non-meat. However, a real vegetarian should definitely address this beforehand with Joe because the smaller places might not per an be prepared to cook eg even without meat broth. Joe explained me a lot about the food and eating culture and also provided recipes of the foods we were trying, so I will definitely cook my favorites at home. He told me that he is also offering a food trip, so I imagine this could be very interesting to do as well. We went for local breakfast (mostly noodle soup) burn Joe told me they provide bread and jelly/other western breakfast for customers who cannot handle soup for breakfast. I felt that I recovered very quickly from the rides and would say that in large part this is owed to the excellent food with a lot of green leafy vegetables that we ate.
During the rides, there were snacks offered in abundance (including bananas, oranges, GU gels
and CLIFF bars as well as pretty good coffee and of course water), so I felt taken care of really well. Overall, I think in my life I would have been able to try such a variety of foods in very non-touristy places in such a short period of time. I understand that the prices in the places we visited were very low, incomparable to the prices you pay in the restaurants with TripAdvisor ratings.

One very very tiny minus: I understand that Joe is usually a MTB cyclist and not a road cyclist. Thus, the speed that he felt comfortable with was a little bit slower than you would expect of a road cycling guide (and I am not an amazingly fast cyclist either). However, he encouraged me to go faster whenever I wanted so I was not forced to go slow. Still, my expectation would be that a road cycling guide has a minimum 30km/h average and then accommodates to the group. In any case it was not a big issue and I was happy to have some quiet moments with just me and the road along the trip. Further, I understand that this was exceptional because the guy normally leading the road cycling tours was on leave. So I am happy that they arranged for me to do the trip in any case.

Landscape: The views alongside the roads were breathtaking. We crossed eternal green rice fields, majestic limestone hills, rainforest, long sandy beaches and so many cute little villages where all the children were happy to say hello and everybody just smiled at us. This was just absolutely amazing throughout!

Conclusion: This was a dream trip and I can highly recommend Marco Polo Travel to anyone. I don’t know if this is the standard treatment or if I was just lucky because I did a solo trip, but I felt treated in a perfect way.

Date of experience: February 2020
Thank JRDtravlz
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed January 9, 2020 via mobile

Thank you Joe for being accommodating and flexible on this amazing trip! We had a great time exploring the lesser touristy areas of North Vietnam with amazing scenic trails & epic the 10km single-track with around 1000m of descent!! Would love to come back and nail the single-track again!

Thank Dozzly
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed January 1, 2020

We had an excellent 4-day, 3-night biking trip with Joe Nguyen and crew! We cycled small country roads, village paths, through farming areas and rice paddies, as well as forests and jungles, past small hamlets and villages.... Just a great combination of scenery, local culture, and some cycling exertion. They tailored the trip to our interests and energy level. We stayed one night in a national park guest house and 2 in home stays. The food and lodging overall were great- more rustic than posh, which we liked. We saw almost no other tourists day to day, except at the home stay lodging areas. We really enjoyed the trip overall and would highly recommend Marco Polo and Joe!

Date of experience: December 2019
1  Thank BikingChris
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed August 7, 2019 via mobile

Great ride, best of the big brand bicycles, knowledge of the area. Joe is in the business for over 15 years and all expectations where easily exceeded. English speaking made it very informative about the surrounding nature that was realy astonishing beautiful. All senses were served and I felt sorry the day went by that fast. Certainly not the last time to go with Joe. Just go there, you won't be disappointed. Thanks Joe, see you soon some time 🚲👍

1  Thank DirkjanKolenbrander
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed July 23, 2019

Decided to sign up with Joe for a 1 day MTBiking after reading the positive reviews.

Location was at Hoa Binh, covering village trails, and some off road trails. Unfortunately, due to the July heat, around 40 C or 104 F, we had to cut short our ride as I was overheating. Overall, it was still a good ride with Joe leading the way.

Bike used was a Cannondale Scaple, lefty, which I thought could have been much better maintained. But hey, this is a rental bike, so don't expect too high a standard. It gets the job done.

Joe hospitality was fantastic, we started off with Pho for breakfast before heading to our start point which was about 1hr 40 mins away. Lunch was at a town where we had local fare, which I personally requested and Joe obliged.

I will recommend Joe if you ever want to do MTbiking in Hanoi. But please, don't do it in July.

Date of experience: July 2019
3  Thank EricT3977
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
trekking-vietnam, Người quản lý at Marco Polo Vietnam, responded to this reviewResponded July 23, 2019

Thank your very much Eric, hope doing with you other mountain bike trip in next time ( winter coming)
Regards
Joe

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