Posted by: Talie Morrison | December 21, 2008

Easy Riders!

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For 3 weeks Dianne and I thought we were seeing the “real Vietnam” – but we weren’t even scratching the surface!   We did see a lot, and we did see lots of places that were “off the beaten track”; but it wasn’t until we happened to discover Easy Riders that we started to really experience this beautiful country!

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So we had taken a bus to a town called Dallat – which is in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.   We were looking forward to cooling off a little since we had been hopping from one beach town to the next.  We were approached by a couple of motor bike riders (Hoan and Quy) who were a part of a group which calls themselves “Easy Riders”. And let me tell you – it was the BEST thing that had happened to us!   We signed up for a one day tour on the back of their bikes and it was an excellent tour!   By lunch time, we were ready to sign up for more.   The one day tour was $25/person (that’s US dollars) – which was more than we had been paying for things, but it was well worth it.   And at lunchtime, when we saw what they had to offer, we signed up for 6 more days at $75/person/day.   Up till now, we had been enjoying the fact that travel in Vietnam is very inexpensive.   We were staying at hotels/guest houses that were from $10/night (for 2) to $20/night (for 2).   Throw in 3 meals a day at probably $12/day/for 2 – and maybe a bus or train at $4-5/person – we were having a super vacation for not much money.   So we had to think hard about jumping up to $75 a day (which included lodging but not food).    Well – let me tell you – in hind sight, it was the best money we spent on the whole trip!!!   What we saw with those two guys was nothing short of amazing!

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We toured farms and saw the growing and processing of: Coffee, Tapioca, Black Pepper, Mushrooms, all kinds of vegetables, Cashew Nuts, Coconuts, Cotton, Rubber trees.  We went into Orchid greenhouses, Gladiola Farms (red Gladiolas are big for the New Year’s Celebration!), lots of different flower greenhouses – all were beautiful!  And, of course, we saw lots of rice paddies!  

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We visited many minority villages – villages that are trying to preserve their culture and still enter the 21st century.   They invited us into their homes and showed us the way they live ( made us really appreciate some of our modern ways).   These people were very friendly and open to us.  Of course we had our very own guides in Hoan and Quy – and their being able to speak the language and translate was extremely helpful!

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We saw how they processed and “manfactured” (all by hand) bricks, coconut wood, furniture, cashews, coconut candy, incense sticks, veneer, wood turning, etc.  

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We dined in private homes, on boats, in gardens (even had honey straight from the hive which we spooned out!).   We had lots of great Vietnamese food, beautiful fresh fruit, and (guess what?) lots of rice!  

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So let me repeat – if you want to go to Vietnam and you are anywhere near Dallat, for sure sign up for an Easy Rider tour!   You will not regret it!   And I can connect you with Hoan and/or Quy – who, we think (and of course we are prejudiced!) are the two BEST Easy Riders!  

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So to finish out our trip, we took another boat/bus combo from Vietnam into Cambodia – getting into Phenom Phen in the evening.   Dianne toured the Killing Fields (but I decided I did not want to see them).   Then we took a bus up to Siam Reap and toured Angkor Wat (ancient ruins of amazing cities and temples) catching both the sunrise and the sunset from the ruins.    Then we took another boat to Battanborg – an amazing boat ride!   Then a taxi to the Thailand boarder and then a van to Bangkok.   Even with all the problems that Bangkok had several weeks ago, we cruised right on through the airport and now I’m back in New Zealand.   

I’ve got my backpack packed and tomorrow I head for the hills!   I hope to be in a remote hut enjoying Christmas in a few days!   So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Responses

  1. Happy Holidays Talie!
    Your adventure is so amazing! I love following every post!
    xo
    melissa


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