05.02.2013 - 05.02.2013
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.
According to many internet threads and the lonely planet (!) one of the best ways to see Vietnam is on the back of a motorbike. But this is a very expensive way to travel! So Tam and I compromised and decided to head to Dalat, in the central highlands, to see a bit more of the country on a one day easy rider tour. So today we set off on a 4 hour bus ride inland. It is the first time we've winged it and not booked accomodation before we get to a place. This was mostly because the place we wanted to stay wouldn't reply to our emails and didn't have a phone number, and we couldn't be bothered to search for anywhere else online! So when we turned up at the bus station far out of town in the late afternoon we hailed a taxi and headed to our preferred choice of guesthouse, hoping they would have a room. They didn't. So we wandered off in search of a home for the night.
Just down the road we found a hotel that was well within our budget and had an OK looking twin room, so we took it. It turns out we're both allergic to our room and the place is completely soulless, but it will do for two nights!
We immediately headed out to find a tour office where we could book an easy rider tour for the next day. We had only walked a few minutes down the road when we were accosted by a group of Vietnamese bikers.... Dalat Easy Riders. They were in the middle of a party to celebrate Tet (lunar new year), but one of the group, Ted, broke off for ten minutes to tell us about their tours and sign us up to one for the following day.
We were then ushered through to the party, sat at the table and given beer and food. Feeling that it would be rude to refuse them, we merrily ate and drank away the next couple of hours with our new biker friends. Weirdly, they all know the names of a number of Welsh football players and kept shouting them at random intervals to prove that they knew where Wales was! They also tried to teach us some Vietnamese, which we struggled with! But it was a very entertaining evening!
We decided to head back to our dusty room before we got completely hammered, thinking that it probably wasn't a good idea to be drunk/hung over on a motorbike the following day!