- Travel Topics
Vicky and I rode with the Easy Riders for four full days. Everyday we had breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them and saw nearly a dozen different things, all of which provided different insights into Vietnamese culture and history. Here I’ll highlight a few of our favorites:
If you gave me 10 guesses as to how mushrooms can be grown, not one of them would have been correct. When we pulled up to the mushroom farm I was expecting to see a large field of mushrooms – of course. Instead, what we saw were various tents in which soil was hung from the ceiling in packages for mushrooms to grow out of.
Tea With A Farmer
One thing I couldn’t quite wrap my head around was all of the nice houses we saw in the Central Highlands. I was under the impression that Vietnam was a poorer, developing country – who were these people? Politicians? As it turns out they are mostly farmers. At one point while we were observing one of the houses up close, a farmer came out and invited us inside for tea. With Hai and Bin as translators we were able to ascertain that he lived in the house with his wife and two sons, grows coffee, and just last year had his lavish new house built for him on the same plot of land where is old house used to be. It was a really genuine experience to be able to walk into a person’s home and communicate with them. This certainly is not part of every tour and was purely by accident.
Drinks With Locals
On another occasion when we get a flat tire and had to pull over to the side of the road (for the second time), we were invited in to yet another locals house. This time was a bit different, however, as Bin and Hai were busy fixing the tire so Vicky and I were left to fend for ourselves amongst a few locals who did not speak a work of English. Imagine a lot of hand gestures, communal yet inexplicable laughter, and of course, some drinking. Again, it’s really some of the unexpected happenings that make the tour.
Bin and Hai took us to the largest waterfall in South Vietnam. Having never been to Niagra Falls, this was the largest waterfall I had seen in my life, however, what made it extra special was that we were able to climb up into it. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in a waterfall before – at least until now.
Pepper is another one of those plants I completely overlook and use daily but have no idea how it really comes from. Yet again I was blown away. Pepper is actually a vine that grows around trees.
Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Ho Chi Minh trail was a path from North Vietnam to South Vietnam through Cambodia which was a way of transporting troops and supplies to the South during the war. Bin and Hai took us to the edge of the Vietnamese border with Cambodia so we could see the trail path.
It seems that massive, wooden structures (chairs, Buddhas, etc) are quite popular among Vietnamese people, particularly wealthy ones. We had the fortune of being able to walk into one of these shops and catch a snapshot of the entire process, starting with the log, the design, and then the carving. An added benefit is that Hai and Bin are not just guides but Vietnamese people, and as a result were able to explain many of the Buddhist statues/figurines that Vicky and I were accustomed to seeing but had no idea who/what they were for.
One of the neat attractions in Dalat is the Crazy House, named for it’s crazy architectures that looks like something Salvador Dali concocted. It was quite fun to walk around to the different rooms.
Bin and Hai took us to the outskirts of the Vietnamese jungle and we did a small trek down to a lake. Vicky got caught in some vines and had to be rescued (no picture of this unfortunately).
Dinner At Hai’s House
When all was said and done we ended up back in Dalat. Since Hai and Bin live in Dalat they invited us to join them for dinner one last time at Hai’s house with his and Bin’s families. Vicky and I, naturally had nothing appropriate to wear, but accepted all the same. It was the first time in months that we had had a home-cooked meal, since we haven’t done much Couch Surfing since Korea. Hai took me all around his house and explained the different rooms and ornaments and what they mean. As you might have guessed, there are a lot of relics around the house, which are intended to pay respects to their elders.
Note: In exchange for this review we received a partial sponsorship from The Easy Riders, however, all views expressed are entirely our own.
ORIGINAL VIETNAM EASY RIDERS
Head Office: 35 Dinh Cong Trang Str – Dalat – Lam Dong – Vietnam
Office: 54 Phan Dinh Phung Str – Dalat – Lam Dong – Vietnam
Cel: (+84) 0982 11 00 50 (Mr Bin)
Email: [email protected] com – [email protected]
Website: www.vietnameasyridertours.com – www.easyridertours.net