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Al's epic odyssey "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

The Vietnamese Central Highlands by motorbike

VIETNAM | Friday, 16 October 2009 | Views [1213]

Delat is quite a small town, quite pretty, but not a lot to do in the town itself. I’d mainly come here as it is the base of a company called Easy Riders, who offer guided motorcycle tours all over Vietnam. I’d arranged a three day motorcycle tour from Delat to Nha Trang on the coast.

 

My driver / guide, Toun, is from northern Vietnam and is most informative about the country, the history and the people, and clearly enjoys showing visitors his country.

 

Day 1 - Delat to Lak Lake

Some of the attractions that we stopped to see included:

·         The Crazy House is a bizarre guest house / visitor attraction in Delat that has been designed by (in my opinion) a clearly crazy architect. You cannot actually describe it, you have to see it.

·         Flower farmer and coffee farms

·         Elephant falls waterfall and nearby pagoda with a giant happy Buddha

·         Silk factory and Silk worm farmer

·         One of the many hill village tribes

 

It’s been a long time since I travelled any distance on a motorbike, and I don’t think I’ve ever spent a whole day on one. After a full day of travelling my bum is somewhere between aching and numb and I could barely dismount at the end of it. I wish my body was the same age as my mind. I felt like I run the 150km instead of being a passenger on a motorbike.

 

Day 2 – Lak Lake to Buon Ma Thuot

 

The second day was a shorter ride than the first, but very interesting as we went down the back roads through the coffee plantations to a fabulous waterfall in a jungle national park. The water was crystal clear and a lot of water, There were two rickety suspended footbridges to cross to the one waterfall. I did the first, being carefut to aim for the planks that looked like they may be able to hold my weight. I only made it three quarters across the second bridge before bottling it and backtracking. I don’t think it would have met any H&S standards anywhere.

 

My guide Toun took me out to eat at one of the local eating / drinking halls. It was crowded with locals and clearly very popular. Toun ordered a selection of dishes including eggplant, which I’m not sure I’ve had before. As I was eating it it tasted a bit crunchier than I’d expected, which was when Toun announced that it also contained a salmon head, including scales, which he’s neglected to mention before. At least we didn’t get silk worms, which he has assured me are delicious.

 

Day 3 Buon Ma Thuot – Nha Trang

 

The sunshine of the past few days gave way to rain but it wasn’t too bad, a steady trickle of warm rain rather than the usual heavy short thunderstorm. It rained for most of the day and it was quite a long haul down to the coast, but on much better roads than we had had up till now. We stopped off at various places along the way including rubber and pepper plantations, hot springs and a fishing village.

 

We stopped for a soft drink at a roadside stall and I received a marriage proposal from the beautiful young stall owner. I was almost ready to accept, but it turned out that she thought that I’d be taking her back to live in Scotland and I thought I was going to lounge away in her hammock at the roadside in Vietnam watching the chickens.

 

After three days in the saddle I’d had about enough of motorcycling for a while. It was a fantastic way to see the real Vietnam, see interesting places off the beaten track and meet some very interesting people. I can see how some people can do the length of Vietnam in this way over a few weeks.

Tags: central highlands, delat, easy rider

 

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