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Easy Rider Tour Vietnam Part 1

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You may have noticed that Vietnam has involved a lot of tours. First we did the tour with Sapa Sisters. Then there was the tour of Hanoi, then Halong Bay, followed by the tour in Hue, and most recently the tour in Hoi An. All of those, however, were but warm-ups for the biggest tour Vicky and I have been on since our trip began; A four day motorbike tour through the Central Highlands with the Easy Riders.

We had heard about these exotic motorbike tours even when we were in China. Travelers, recently from Vietnam crossed the border and raved about their multi-day experiences traveling through off the beaten paths of Vietnam with knowledgeable locals. They are private tours – one traveler, one local, one motorbike and as far as we know, not offered anywhere else in the world.

Many companies offer Easy Rider tours. For example, you may remember the cyclo man from our earlier post in Hue who offered us one. That said, there are many posers, so to speak, and if Vicky and I were going to be spending four full days on a motorbike, we wanted to go with the presumed best. We found the Easy Riders like we find many of our tour companies – through trip advisor, where they had perfect ratings. We contacted them and agreed to begin our Central Highlands tour in Dalat.

We woke up around 8am from our hotel and patiently awaited our guides. We were expecting a Mr. Bin and Hai to meet us. Not before long two men walked through the door. We immediately knew these two came for us. Not just because they were on time, of course. Bin had an air about him that smelled of a modern day cowboy – black boots, black jacket, a pair of a dusty jeans and a black hat to top it all of. He was the true personification of an Easy Rider, which, not knowing what an Easy Rider was at the time, I imagined to be sort of Hell’s Angel, if they had a presence in Vietnam that is. I’d say Hai had a much softer appearance if not for a pair of killer sideburns I didn’t know Vietnamese people could grow. We sat down for a cup of tea before heading out.

Bin is not a man of few words, in fact he’s quite the opposite. He took us through the history of the Easy Riders, the company, and our planned itinerary. Hai seemed quite happy to let Bin discuss the details while smoking a cigarette through a long stemmed filter. When all was said and done we grabbed our helmets, leather gloves (in Bin’s case), and ascended our thrones on top of the motorbikes.

Our first stop oddly enough was a flower farm. Apparently Vietnam exports a lot of flowers, particularly from Dalat. Frankly, I was surprised that flowers are exported in such large quantities. How do these survive the journey?

flower farm

Next up – a coffee farm. Unbeknownst to us before our arrival, coffee is extremely popular in Vietnam, perhaps more so than tea. Undoubtedly the French played a part in this. Still, I had yet to see a coffee plantation (or any plantation for that matter) during our travels. In fact, as the tour went on it became widely apparent that I had little clue as to how any plant grows.

coffee tree

We parked our bikes and without hesitation walked straight into the farm. I half thought that a disgruntled farmer was going to come barreling out with a shot gun yelling at us for trespassing. Hai took us around, talking as we went. Apparently coffee sells for quite a lot (compared to other Vietnamese products) and there were multiple kinds. He took some beans off the stem and showed them to us. They smelled…like coffee. What surprised me most of all is that many of the farms were simple households, not large plantations. As we drove further we say many instances of coffee beans drying on some family’s individual property.

drying coffee

We boarded the bikes and, after probably about another 20 minutes, arrived at our next stop; a silk factory. This time Bin took the reins and showed us around. This was, without a doubt, one of my tour favorites. Once in Korea we had been served silk worms for dinner, but outside of that we didn’t know much about how they were used.
silkworms

The factory is a collection of pulleys, levers, and massive machines which separate and collect the silk from the worm pupae. Later, it’s dyed and made into cloth. There were dozens of Vietnamese workers manning this factory – an entire assembly line.

silkworm factory

silkworm factory

We had one more stop before lunch at Elephant Falls, which as you can guess is a very picturesque waterfall.

elephant falls

Bin and Hai were great about giving us a bit of privacy when the time was right, and let Vicky and I wander off a bit ourselves to see the waterfall up close and discuss the previous sites. We lingered there for a good half hour before gearing up for lunch.

Lunch Day 1 Easy Rider Tour

As I mentioned before the Easy Riders do everything with you and lunch is no exception. It’s important to note that lunch and lodging are not included in the tour, yet in many ways this is preferable. I often find that when lunch is included in the price, it creates an incentive for the tour to economize on the food. On the other hand, the Easy Riders have an incentive to take you to a good cheap lunch, since they eat there as well and the bill is split between everyone. We heartedly enjoyed all the meals they took us to; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a time for conversation and cultural exchange. Since the Easy Riders do tours around all of Vietnam, they are experts about the country’s history and culture, however, they are also regular people with wives, children, and parents and were very open to talking about all things personal. While the farms and factories are fantastic, it’s really these personal interactions that I remember the most.

In the afternoon Bin and Hai took us to some of the minority villages to see how they live. Vietnam has over 50 minority groups, which comprise several million people. Each of them speak their own language (usually in addition to Vietnamese) and have their own unique heritage. As one would guess, they are generally the poorest class of individuals. Still, the children always seemed in good spirits and quite happy to see us.

Minority Village

While we were driving we came across a large lake that had houses on it. Bin explained that fishermen and their families actually live on the water in these floating abodes.

fishing village

After only the first day, Vicky and I had seen more farms, natural landscapes, and minority villages than we had seen in all the previous days combined.

view

As we were driving to our hotel something unexpected happened; a flat tire. In many ways this only added to the authenticity of the tour, but in other ways, it delayed us on the side of the road for about an hour.

flat tire

What’s off about this?

Luckily, Bin and Hai had some friends in the area (we weren’t that far from the hotel) and they were able to call them to come and pick us up. Vicky and I ditched the motorbikes for a bit and took a ride in a new import sedan to our guest house where we waited for Bin and Hai to arrive.

Our delay didn’t cut into dinner. On the contrary, we wined and dined for about 2 hours. Our first day had lasted from around 8AM to 10PM. We retired to our separate quarters, excited about what the next days would bring.

Note: In exchange for this review we received a partial sponsorship from The Easy Riders, however, all views expressed are entirely our own.

Logistics

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

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12 Responses to Easy Rider Tour Vietnam Part 1

  1. Is that a bowl of Thai chilies next to the meat? Those things are so spicy! Do people just eat them plain?

    It’s so cool the fishermen just live on the water!

    Elaine January 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM Reply
    • Looks like it – I don’t remember seeing ANYONE eat them. Thai food is by far the spiciest food I’ve had to date!

      Dave and Vicky January 15, 2013 at 9:49 PM Reply
  2. Hi Dave and Vicky,

    I only recently discovered your blog but already it has been a huge inspiration to me. I have been going through your archives of old posts and seeing how you have gone through planning the trip to now actually travelling is awesome. I hope to follow in your footsteps very soon.

    Keep up the amazing posts.

    J From Travel on Inspiration January 16, 2013 at 5:32 AM Reply
    • That’s awesome J, can’t wait to begin reading your blog as well!

      Dave and Vicky January 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM Reply
  3. Looks like a good tour – did you guys feel safe on the bikes though? I know loads of people rent bikes themselves or do similar tours in Asia, but the idea has always freaked me out – I can’t decide whether that’s just me being over cautious though.

    Amy January 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM Reply
    • It does take some getting used to but after awhile you realize that the riders are extra careful. Plus we had super big helmets (full head and face), and the company insures its passengers

      Dave and Vicky January 17, 2013 at 9:19 AM Reply
  4. Would you suggest to start Asia trip from Vietnam? Or is it better to start off from China?

    Extreme January 23, 2013 at 4:41 AM Reply
    • Both are viable options but in most cases I’d imagine you’re planning on going South, which means if you start in Vietnam (Hanoi) you’re probably not going to make it to China. You could start from the South of Vietnam go up through China then back down into Laos, but it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense…

      Vicky January 23, 2013 at 7:04 AM Reply
  5. That looks really cool. Would love to tour Vietnam on a motorbike (ever since that famous Top Gear episode).

    TammyOnTheMove January 29, 2013 at 12:26 AM Reply
  6. I’m about to embark to Vietnam on December 6. Not sure how long I will be in Vietnam, but I’ll make full use of my 1 month tourist visa stay. I can’t help but seem to agree that Vietnam requires a lot of tour bookings just to see places. I guess it’s the only way to see the country really efficiently. Of course I’m on a budget of around $40-50/Day. Definitely want to do Sapa Trek, Ha Long Bay cruise. And after reading the easy rider tour, I’m really inspired to do this. I’m going from North to South. I see that you started the tour from Dalat, where did the tour end? Also, how much does it cost per day for the motorbike guided tour?

    Ian November 28, 2014 at 9:58 PM Reply
    • Apologies for missing this comment and not respodning in time. I hope you enjoyed your trip and were able to take an Easy Rider tour!

      Vicky March 12, 2015 at 12:21 PM Reply

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