A couple of things should make it to your « Vietnam to-do list », Hoi An, the caves, the water puppet theater in Hanoi, Sapa and many others but there is one that we would add to the mix : a Vietnam Easyrider tour.
Over 90% of all road vehicles in Vietnam are motorcycles, and in our opinion (and many months of experience) two-wheeled travel is far and away the best way to see all that this magnificent country has to offer. No tour bus, 4×4 or train can ever compare to the excitement of rolling through this rugged and green landscape aboard a motorcycle.
Of course, not everybody knows how to ride one, and many of those who do would be understandably reluctant to face the perils of Vietnamese traffic alone. Luckily, There is an alternative.
Vietnam is awash with professional motorcycle guides, who collectively call themselves ‘Easyriders’. Most are based in the towns of Dalat, Hoi An and Hue, but tours can be arranged to any part of the country, and you can be assured that you’ll be in safe hands. Easyriders are licensed tour guides, which means not only that they must demonstrate their skill and experience at handling the machine and the traffic to become certified, but also that they will have good knowledge of the sights, the history and the customs. He’ll also undoubtedly know where all the best food is to be found while you’re on the road.
Can you do it if you don’t drive?
Yes. The majority of Easyrider customers are non-bikers, and the sturdy little Honda bikes that they use are designed to comfortably accommodate you on the pillion seat, and have luggage racks fitted to carry your gear so there’s no need to be doing the trip with your backpack on your shoulders. Your only job is to sit back and enjoy the ride, watch the scenery whiz past, and take as many photos are your memory card can handle.
Of course, if you feel like tackling the ride yourself, (and assuming you don’t already have a bike of your own) any Easyrider will be happy to arrange for a rented machine, in which case you can strap your luggage to his and ride alongside. All of the fun with none of the risks (such as breaking down, getting lost, or being accosted by the police) that tend to accompany a solo motorcycle journey. Just be aware that road and traffic conditions in Vietnam can often be appalling, especially once you’re off the beaten track, so I wouldn’t recommend attempting the ride yourself unless you’re confident and experienced with motorcycles.
What itinerary do you usually follow?
Easyriders can be recruited for any journey, from an afternoon’s tour of the local attractions, to a comprehensive circuit of the entire country. One of the guides that we used had just recently returned from escorting a group of travellers on a full 10 week loop! Journeys are always tailored to your requirements, so just tell the guide the things you want to see and he’ll work out the best route. Chances are he’ll know of countless other things along the way that you never even knew were there, Vietnam has innumerable ruins, markets, temples, waterfalls and hot springs that don’t appear in the tourist guides, and it’s for thing like this that an Easyrider tour really comes into it’s own.
One of the most popular trips is Hoi An to Hue (or vice-versa), via the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This takes two or three days depending on the route, and will carry you across the country to the border with Laos and back to the coast again, traversing everything from dense jungle to high mountain passes. Along the route you’ll encounter wildlife, waterfalls, minority hill-tribes, the crumbling ruins at the temple city of My Son, Marble Mountain, and wartime relics such as the Vinh Moc Tunnels and the DMZ.
How much does it cost?
The advertised rate on the official websites (such aswww.vietnameasyrider.com/) quote rates of up to $80 per day. However, negotiating in person can bring those rates tumbling down, often to as little as $25 per day. Haggle to get it cheaper, then haggle some more to get it cheaper still. That’s how things are done out here.
A couple of things you need to consider if you opt for an Easyrider tour :
- When asking for a quote, make sure the hotel and food are included in the price
- Check the weather forecast, it’s not as much fun to drive under the rain.
- Make sure your guide includes helmets to your tour !
- Don’t hestiate to add some activities along the way if you wish to see more.
- The roads can be rough and muddy so bring wrecked clothes and wet wipes with you.
But most of all: enjoy the adventure!
Have you ever considered doing a motorbike trip while travelling? Do you do it often or never? And if you don’t consider it, why? Tell us everything in the comments!
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