Easyriding in Vietnam…

Having spent a few days in Saigon, we took a short flight up to the city of Dalat. The place was a bit of a surprise – very European-feeling and a bit ‘Alps-y’, nestled up in the hills. The climate was lovely too – a fair bit cooler than Saigon, which was a welcome relief. Dalat is well known for coffee (though we avoided the weasel variety – seems an unneccesarily cruel way to produce a cuppa) and easyrider tours. As seems to be the way in Vietnam, once one person has some success in a business, loads of others start doing the exact same thing (that’s why you’ll see streets with rows of pretty much the same shops next to each other), so in Dalat there’s hundreds of folk claiming to be the ‘original’ Dalat Easyriders. It’s hard to know who to choose, but with some help from Tripadvisor, we eventually settled on these guys for our three day trip from Dalat to Nha Trang (you coud do this in one day, but we chose a longer route to see more of the countryside).

We were collected on the first morning from our homestay at 8am and met our guides, Lam and Titi, who were both great throughout our trip. Typically, the morning was overcast and as our bags were loaded onto the bikes it looked like it was going to rain – thankfully, for the first day at least, it stayed dry. Our first stop (at our request – it wasn’t meant to be part of the tour) was the Crazy House in Dalat – designed by a Russian-trained architect, who I believe is the daughter of a former leader of Vietnam. It’s a bonkers place and you can actually stay there for the night. While we could see the idea behind it, the reality was that it’s pretty crappy and bodged together – lots of it is still unfinished. I think if I were an architect, I’d want my buildings to be finished before I began charging folk to see them!

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From there, we headed out into the countryside and stopped at a flower farm – I’ve never seen to many gereberas – absolutely beautiful 🙂 Hopping back on the bikes, we headed further into the Vietnamese countryside, which is absolutely beautiful and peaceful. Our next stop was for some coffee, but not until we’d sampled some home-brewed rice wine – not sure I’ve ever tasted 60% alcohol at 10am before…

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Boz on a bike.

Our next stop was a silk factory, which was a bit like stepping back in time – it was absolutely deafening, but fascinating to see how it is produced – something to think about next time you buy a silk tie.

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Silk factory – it was so hot in here, literally a sweat shop!

From there we headed to Elephant Falls, where we got soaked from all the spray, but had great fun clambering down the rocks to see the falls – you can even pretty much get behind them as long as you don’t mind ending up like a drowned rat…

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Elephant Falls 🙂

Some of the scenery we passed through was staggering – watch the episode of Top Gear where they ride through Vietnam and you’ll see it – Dalat to Nha Trang is part of the route Clarkson & co rode. The bikes were comfy, though you do get a pretty numb arse by the end of each day. On the first night we stayed in a homestay at Lak Lake and then on the second night we stayed in a hotel in Buon Ma Thuot. Rather than prattle on about the whole trip, I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking (apart from to say that, if you’re ever in Vietnam, do an easyrider trip – they’re fab!)…

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Used to be covered in rainforest, now it’s covered in coffee plants :-/
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Purdy.
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These guys pretty much live on the river. Apparently they fish in the morning & day and then get hammered on rice wine (‘happy juice’) in the evening.
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Me n’her at Lak Lake. You can do an elephant ride here: don’t.
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Brick factory. Lisa got worryingly excited about how organised it was.
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Old church that got ruined by machine gun fire in the war…
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Boz being staggeringly bad at rolling out rice crackery things.
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Us at a waterfall – look at how athletic we are in our trainers.
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Another waterfall, no trainers this time.
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And another waterfall, just before it bucketed it down and we got soaked on the bikes 🙂
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Boz in hammock – sitting on the back of a motorbike is surprisingly exhausting.
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Carving dude.
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Tapioca field. Literally the whole field stopped working and came to see us 🙂
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Boz LOVES feeling like a celebrity. In a tapioca field.
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Windy road: nice. Hillside ruined by Agent Orange: not so nice.
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I’m getting one of these when we come home. Sorry mum.
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Titi & Boz!
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Titi, Boz, me & Lam 🙂
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