There will always be something mesmerizing about a rice field. Flooded pools of sprouting green as far as the eye can see. Workers in conical hats staggered asymmetrically throughout the field. Water buffalo in the distance and cranes balancing on one leg. The way that the blades of green flutter with the wind, a subtle response of a single blade that becomes epic when replicated by millions. The scene is agrarian but distinctly Southeast Asian.
Hoi An is easily one of the most picturesque cities in Vietnam. You have probably seen photos of the colonial-style Old Town painted pastel and strung with paper lanterns. But did you know that just 5km beyond the town is An Bang Beach? The laid back beach is the perfect place to rent a chair and chill for the day, but the real fun is in getting there. Rent a bicycle and go cycling in Hoi An to see parts of the region that many tourists miss. Rice fields. Vegetable farms. Local homes.
Sound alright? Then here’s a guide to one of the prettiest little day trips from Hoi An including best spots for bicycle rental Hoi An, and a self-guided cycling route from Hoi An to An Bang Beach. And if you’d rather go with a local guide, scroll all the way to the bottom and you can set up your Vietnam tour on Bookmundi or with a local operator.
Bicycle Rental in Hoi An
You can rent a bike or motorbike on just about every corner of Hoi An. Rentals start from 20,000 VND ($1) for a bicycle or 150,000 VND ($6) for a motorbike. But if you’re eager to plan ahead, here are a few spots you can look for bicycle rental in Hoi An.
Most villas and homestays will have a fleet of bicycles that you can borrow for the day for free! Ask at your front desk. If this isn’t the case, walk down any street in the city and you’ll find fixed gear bikes for rent. They’re not all in amazing condition, but they should be sufficient for a ride to the beach or around the town.
Where to Find It: Varies. Look for this perk or reach out when you’re booking your hotel.
Motorbike Rental Hoi An
Motorbike Rental Hoi An rents both bicycles and scooters. Reviewers consistently praise their prices, quality, and service.
Where to Find It: 62B Đào Duy Từ
THE ALTERNATIVE TO HALONG BAY
Self-Guided Cycling Tour from Hoi An to An Bang Beach
Difficulty: Easy // Duration: 1-3 hours // Distance: ~10km
Cycling from Hoi An to An Bang Beach is super easy. You really can’t go wrong with any route, but here’s ours.
The Old Town of Hoi An can be a bit chaotic to cycle through. You can either walk to the edge of town or bike down a less crowded street as you exit the city.
Head northeast outside on Cua Dai. Turn left on Lê Thánh Tông and keep going straight – this is where you’ll first hit the rice fields. Go straight until you hit a dead end, turn right, and follow the path. To avoid the main street, turn right when you see signs for Tra Que Vegetable Village. While Tra Que is not necessarily a full-scale farm, it’s a worthy detour with lots of neatly organized gardens, a restaurant, and homestyle cooking courses.
Continue north until you get to Hai Bà Trung street. Ride over the bridge and stay straight until you hit An Bang Beach. There will be a group of people shouting that you can’t bring your bike on the beach, but they’re just trying to sell you a bike parking spot. To avoid the crowds, cut left along the small path running parallel to the beach and keep riding until you find the quiet alleyway that most appeals.
Most establishments along this road offer free bike parking and cheap chair and umbrella rental (40,000 VND / $1.50). You can order snacks or buy beers and enjoy your day at the beach.
The route back is the same way you came, but it’s even more beautiful around sunset. You’ll see water buffalo grazing and farmers tending their field and the sun will turn the grass every shade of gold.
Best Bicycle Tours of Hoi An
If you want a more in-depth experience or a local guide, there are plenty of operators running cycling tours of Hoi An. Their itineraries are quite similar, but the level of service, bike quality, and inclusions will vary.
It’s quite easy to book locally, but you can book ahead of time by using a site like Bookmundi or GetYourGuide or emailing the operator directly. Here are a few of the best-rated operators in Hoi An with recommendations on which cycling tour to book, pricing, and links to more reviews.
Urban Adventures | Urban Adventures has tours in major cities around the world, but their locally operated branch in Hoi An has nothing but awesome reviews. Their Private Boat & Bike with Sunset BBQ is at the higher end of the spectrum at $85/person but this is worth the investment if you want a private tour and an excellent local guide (Book from $85)
Heaven and Earth Bicycle Tours | Heaven and Earth gets consistently great reviews. They offer a fairly-priced Countryside Tour every morning and afternoon, but the best part of traveling with Heaven and Earth is the Vietnamese guide who will provide local context that you’d miss going on your own. (Book from $24)
Grasshopper Adventures | Grasshopper Adventures seems to be the other reigning champion of bike tours in Hoi An. They offer day tours and multi-day tours all across Asia, but their best itineraries in Hoi An are their cycling trip to My Son and Hoi An Food Tour by Bike. (Book from $37)
Brent EllisonJanuary 18, 2020 at 4:33 am
Your post tugs at all my Asian heartstrings and takes me back to my bicycle rides along quiet roads lined with rice-fields out from Solo, Central Java long ago. Thank you!
Taylor RecordMarch 11, 2020 at 1:16 am
It sounds like an amazing way to grow up, Brent! I wish I could have experienced it back then.