bike tours, a new tourist attraction"
Le Van Sam, Vietnam News
Ho Chi Minh City
- Two groups of European tourists, mostly from
France and Belgium, took part in two trans-Vietnam
bicycles tours, with the 36 participants blazing
a new trail in Vietnam’s burgeoning tourist industry.
The tours were
organised jointly by Belgium’s Southeast New Adventure
(S.E.N.A.) and the Vietnam Yang Travel Agency
(VYTA), a branch of the Railway Tourist Company.
the oldest being 65, were all bicycle enthusiasts,
and many of them had conquered the world’s highest
The first group
left HCMC on January 8, first going to the tourist
resort of Dalat on the central highlands, where
they visited some of the beautiful landscapes
which the region has to offer.
From Dalat, through
the Ngoan Muc (Belle-vue) pass they went to Phan
Rang coastal region where they visited many towers
built by the Champa. The following day the group
travelled to Nga Trang City, visiting Dr.Yersin’s
tomb and the Oceanographic Institute. Along the
central coast of Vietnam, the tourists stopped
to visit many scenic areas and historical vestiges
before arriving in the old imperial city from
Under the program,
the tourists stopped for rest after every 100
kilometres of cycling usually at cities or busy
From Hue, after
enjoying a pleasure cruise on the Huong (Perfume)
River and visiting the tombs and shrines of the
kings of Vietnam, the tourists went by train to
Hanoi and then Ha Long Bay.
Some of the group
had decide to stay to take part in the "Return
to Dien Bien" trip. Mr. Hendrick Marcel,
director of the Southeast New Adventures, the
man who was frequently at the head of the cyclists
group, said: "This will be the best chance
for us to test our strengths at the 1,050 metre
high Pha-Din pass. We cycled through many passes
in the world but at the speed of tourists. Moreover,
Dien Bien is so well-known and we want to come
there to prepare for our cycling tour to Dien
Bien by the end of this year."
The cycling group
which left HCMC in February had a chance to welcome
the Lunar New ‘s Eve on Sa Huynh beach, in Central
Vietnam. They ate rice cakes, set off fire crackers
and sang the Vietnamese song "Spring in the
city", which the guide Ms.Le Hang had taught
On the first day
of the New Year, the group left for Quang Ngai
on their bicycles which were now decorated with
apricot flowers made by paper or nylon. On the
way the group was stopped by some locals who presented
them with real apricot flowers.
One cyclist, Christian,
was overcome by the warmth and kindness of the
local people. He kissed the flowers, parked his
bike and then ran back to the group, allowing
each one to kiss the flowers in turn.
a musician, was so moved by the scenery that he,
his wife and other members of the group composed
songs. Each of them was about various localities
the group had passed through. The group learnt
the songs quickly and sang them as they cycled
is the final part of a song about Ha long:
"Vietnam les cyclos ne sont plus que tourists"
"Vietnam les cyclos sont bien sur un peu
"Vietnam le p’tit train les emporte vers
Ha Long et ils n’auront plus le plaisir des pistes
qui faisant tres sauter leur trefound."
There were also
poems composed by other cyclists. Mrs.Martinne
wrote "Le Vietnam and Le Hang" and Mr.Hendrick
Marcel wrote "Doux visage du Vietnam".
All the 36 participants
of the two journey had the same remark: "The
more we travel through regions in Vietnam, the
more we have close friends. We meet sincere eyes
and smiles on our ways. Besides, Vietnam is a
treasure of culture difficult to be found again
in other regions." This remark was made by
writer Lemenceau J.Claud on behalf of the two