Don't leave Vietnam without doing this trip. Almost every person that has been through Vietnam will vouch for the "Easy Rider" tour which has boomed over the last few years resulting in almost every Tom, Dick and Harry in Vietnam "qualified" to take you. It was truly breathtaking and has pushed Vietnam up on the list of amazing scenery to see before you die.
Starting in Nha Trang, a coastal city in the Khanh Hao province, we departed on our two day trip. This city, which has become very popular with tourists (especially Russians!) has amazing beaches and plenty of bars and clubs to keep the backpackers happy. We headed north along the coast, taking in the amazing islands and shimmering blue backdrop. On the way we managed to take a look at the many fish farms, paddy fields and fishing ports that are integral to the Vietnamese culture.
Heading North for a few hours, we eventually swung around west into the central highlands before we would head south to Da Lat. This was a real treat as we spent hours dissecting large flat green plain lands that were always surrounded by huge mountainous terrain. The Honda bikes were more comfortable than I imagined and navigated their way up the winding mountain roads quite easily. Although largely quiet on these roads it didn't go without its dangers. The roads were steep at times with plenty of corkscrew type routes up and down the mountain side. Traffic was known not to fully obey road rules either, with horn blowing mandatory. Along the way we got to see very interesting sites and Vietnamese cultures. The crops I was particularly interested by, acres upon acres of cocoa plants, coffee/tea plants, peppercorns vines, banana trees, paper trees and sugar canes. The rich volcanic soil of the central highlands provide the right nutrients for this type of vegetation growth. To match these sights, a visit to the minority groups of Thailand was also a great experience. The Ragley and Mnong groups who live the basic and simple life and have they're own evolved version of the Vietnamese language. These people survive on the basics, such as crop harvesting, animal rearing and hand crafting and don't seem to over exert themselves either, although much of the work is done at the crack of dawn since it gets too hot come midday. I can not over exaggerate how friendly these people were, none of which was in an attempt to get some dollars from westerners.
After an overnight stay by Lak Lake (600 hectares) we took off the next day to complete our trip to Da Lat. Quite the experience this time again as the heavens opened up leaving even our waterproof Irish skin feeling uncomfortable. At this time of the year the rains get heavy and are almost always accompanied with thunder and lightning. Dirty red water flashed over the narrow local roads splashing up the warm water on to my feet and often camouflaging some very large pot holes! We traveled through many villages and local towns here and the same thing applied, school children prancing, tractor drivers smiling and biker traffic swerving and beeping calmly with no immediate hurry to point B. We were wrecked by the time we got to Da Lat, a chilled out French-styled town situated by a large lake. Walking like John Wayne, we said good bye to Mr.Bang, our lead bike man whom I'd highly recommend. The most enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable Vietnamese man I know, although he talks too much! something that we let him know!
Don''t leave Vietnam without doing this, it will cost you around 60 US dollars per day, but there is no price in what you will see and experience.
A big thanks to Nicola for giving me these photos. I lost some amazing pics and HD footage from my phone soon thereafter, thanks to some embarrassing and special circumstances in South Vietnamese city, Ho Chi Minh!
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