Riding a cyclo in Vietnam – 4 best experiences

Riding a cyclo in Vietnam offers a local and authentic experience, particularly in the old cities of Hanoi, Hue, and Hoi An. It is a unique way to explore these historic destinations, immersing yourself in their charm and heritage while enjoying the leisurely pace of a cyclo ride.

What is a cyclo?

A cyclo is a traditional three-wheeled bicycle taxi, also known as cycle rickshaws. It features a seat for passengers at the front, attached to the front wheel, with a driver sitting behind and pedaling the vehicle.

cyclo tour in VIetnam

The history of cyclos in Vietnam can be traced back to the French colonial period. The cyclo was introduced to Vietnam by the French in the early 20th century and quickly became a popular means of transportation. It was an affordable and efficient mode of transport for both locals and foreigners.

Today, while cyclos are still seen in Vietnam, their usage has shifted more towards leisurely purposes rather than practical transportation. They are often found in tourist areas and are used for short rides or sightseeing trips. However, with the rise of motorbikes and cars, cyclos are gradually disappearing from the streets of Vietnam.

In an effort to combat traffic congestion and improve road safety, some cities or parts of cities in Vietnam have implemented bans on cyclos. These measures aim to prioritize more efficient modes of transportation and reduce the number of vehicles on the roads. Despite this, there is still a charm and nostalgia associated with cyclos, attracting many tourists who wish to experience a leisurely ride through the bustling streets of Vietnam.

How to arrange a cyclo tour in Vietnam?

There are two types of cyclo tours that you can choose from for your exploration:

  1. Arrange a cyclo ride by yourself: This option allows you to independently hire a cyclo and plan your own itinerary. It is often the more budget-friendly choice, as you can negotiate the price directly with the cyclo rider. However, there might be some challenges in communication, as the cyclo riders may not speak English fluently. It can also be difficult to decide on the best places to visit if you are unfamiliar with the city. Nonetheless, this option provides flexibility and allows you to customize your experience according to your preferences.
  2. Join an organized tour that includes a cyclo ride: Opting for an organized tour offers a hassle-free and well-structured experience. These tours typically include an English-speaking guide who can provide insights and explanations about the destinations you visit. The itinerary is already planned, so you don’t have to worry about deciding where to go or missing out on important sites. This option ensures convenience and peace of mind, as the details are taken care of, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience without any additional stress.

How much does a cyclo tour cost?

The cost of a cyclo tour in Vietnam can vary depending on several factors, including the duration of the tour, the location, and your negotiation skills. Typically, the price is agreed upon between you and the cyclo driver before the tour begins.

In popular tourist areas, such as Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the starting price for a short cyclo tour can range from around 100,000 to 200,000 Vietnamese Dong (approximately $4 to $9 USD). This would cover a relatively brief ride around the main sights or attractions in the area.

For longer cyclo tours or customized itineraries, the price can increase accordingly. It’s essential to negotiate and agree on the fare before starting the tour to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes.

Keep in mind that these prices are just a general guideline, and actual prices may vary depending on the location, time of day, and individual negotiations. It’s always a good idea to establish clear communication and agree on the price in advance to ensure a fair and enjoyable cyclo tour experience.

4 best cyclo tour experiences in Vietnam

1. Cyclo tour in Hanoi

Hanoi cyclo tour

A cyclo tour in Hanoi is a fantastic way to explore the city’s highlights, especially the charming Old Quarter. You can embark on a leisurely ride around Hoan Kiem Lake, delve into the bustling streets of the Old Quarter for an authentic local experience, and even visit the sights around Ba Dinh Square, which may be a bit far to reach on foot from the Old Quarter. It’s a unique and convenient alternative to walking, allowing you to soak up the city’s atmosphere and discover its cultural treasures.

2. Cyclo tour in Hue

cyclo tour in Hue

A cyclo tour in Hue offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the city’s rich history and architectural gems. You can ride through the city center, visiting landmarks such as the Imperial City, which served as the political and cultural heart of the Nguyen Dynasty. The cyclo tour allows you to appreciate the old buildings, royal tombs, and other historical sites, offering a unique perspective on Hue’s cultural heritage.

3. Cyclo tour in Hoi An

Cyclo in Hoi An

Hoi An is known for its authenticity and old-world charm, and a cyclo tour enhances this experience even more. Riding in a cyclo through the ancient town allows you to feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You can explore the narrow streets lined with centuries-old houses, visit the famous Japanese Covered Bridge, and witness the lantern-lit ambiance in the evening. The cyclo tour in Hoi An adds an element of nostalgia and provides a leisurely way to take in the city’s captivating atmosphere.

4. Cyclo tour in Nha Trang

While Nha Trang is a modern beach destination, a cyclo ride along its beautiful stretch of coastline offers a nice experience. You can enjoy a leisurely ride along the beachfront, taking in the scenic views and the refreshing sea breeze. It provides a relaxing way to appreciate the natural beauty of Nha Trang and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the city’s beach area.

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