This is possibly one of the best tour companies I have found on my travels. This post isn’t sponsored by the way. Just sharing as service. I found out about Vietnam & Cambodia Vespa Adventures via Twitter, which I mostly ignore usually. (Bad I know.) I tweeted said travel writer back and forth, after reading a fabulous review, and it was on my radar for our trip. My travelling companion (sister) was a little bit skeptical. No, we were not riding the bikes ourselves. No, we were not going to die. Yes they had insurance. All those TripAdvisor people could not be lying, surely? Absolutely not!
Tour 1: Country Side & Islands, Central Hoi An
On arrival in Hoi An, we booked into The Country Side and Island Tour around central Hoi An. After a morning meeting at Cafe Zoom (appropriately named) we met with our guide, and had a tea before setting out on a circle around Hoi An to see village life.
Our first stop was a boatyard, where locals were making HUGE fishing boats, to order. This work is highly skilled in Vietnam, and the labourers get paid around $30 per day. No photo sorry, but my sister was astounded at the lack of occupational health & safety standards on the site, being married to a health and safety man. Saws and shit everywhere. Escaping unscathed, we then scooted of through the rice fields to a visit a family temple, where four generations of family meet every year during Tet, Vietnamese New Year. It is part of the tradition for all families to return from all over Vietnam every year, to learn about their ancestry. We then stopped in at a weaving centre, before making rice paper ourselves (and eating it).
This is real rice paper, mixed with rice crackers (made from said rice paper). Dipped in soy sauce, it is the most amazing crunchy heaven carb on carb experience I have had. After stopping for coffee, we then finished off the tour in a beautiful open rice field for lunch, just the four of us, where we got fed some more food. (I’m sensing a theme here…) The experience took us around four hours in total by the time we looped back into Hoi An. We did not see any other tourists. It was so freaking HOT, the best part of the tour was just watching life go by from the breeze on the Vespa. We scootered through rice fields, over bridges and villages, where locals were drying rice on the road or going about their daily business. One thing I noticed, especially on the tour, is that everyone has a role in Vietnam. Old or young, there seems to be no ‘mens’ work or ‘women’s’ work. Everyone just works. I was also humbled by our tour guide, who shared a lot of herself on the journey about tradition and the generational shift that is occurring.
Our tour friends from Hoi An had been on the Saigon Night Food Tour and highly recommended it. So, high on the experience of tour 1, we decided to book into the one in Saigon. I have two words. Motorbikes and FOOD. Some of the best of the whole trip. Now, in Saigon, or Ho Chi Min City, there are an estimated 7.4 million motorbikes and people carry everything they own on them! Fridges, families of five, glass panes, you name it. Arriving in Saigon to a storm, we were initially skeptical and a bit scared of heading out on a Vespa into the rain with 7 million crazy scooter drivers. We should not have worried.
Our drivers picked us up, dressed us in wet weather gear, before easing our nerves with a couple of beers at Cafe Zoom, (the Saigon version), then we zoomed through the streets of Saigon and SOMEHOW SURVIVED. It alarms me how motorbikes, cars and buses, all merge with no real rules, but everyone somehow gets through. (They give you beer at every stop to stop you freaking out.)
The next part of the tour, is all about food. We stop at a local seafood restaurant to taste spicy crab claws, mussels and soup, before going to a PANCAKE place. Vietnamese pancakes are a protein on protein type of thing, where egg is mixed with prawn or pork and then mixed with heaven, mint, coriander and bean shoots.
Suitably full and drunken, we finish off the night by having ice cream at candlelit bar, before moving onto a club, where we have cocktails and boogy onto the Vietnamese version of Justin Timberlake. We absolutely loved it and would absolutely have never had such an experience on our own in Saigon. One of our buddies had done the tour seven times!
Going to Vietnam?
Love and adventures, Ashleigh XXX