BackLog: Easy Riders – 6 Jan 2011

We arrived in Nha Trang after a overnight bus ride that actually wasn’t so bad. In Vietnam, the overnight buses have beds that nearly recline completely, so we slept a bit and felt somewhat refreshed when we arrived.

Not the best place to sleep, but also not the worst!

At any rate, we’d hoped that we would have pleasant weather and be able to enjoy the beach, nothing too crazy. The weather turned out alright, but not really ideal, so we decided to just explore the town a bit and then head on towards Hoi An the following day. We did enjoy a spectacular scene from the beach, just as we arrived.

Little did we know, we were about to meet someone who would change our entire experience in Vietnam. In Vietnam, like most of South East Asia, business people, from the lady selling trinkets on the corner to the guys hawking in front of their restaurants, are pretty in-your-face. By this time, we’d become pretty accustomed to ignoring their advances. For some reason, this time, as we walked past an open-air coffee shop and the man inside beckoned to us to have a coffee with him, we accepted.

It turned out Si is a veteran of the Vietnamese Easy Rider scene. The Easy Riders are a group of motorcycle tour guides that traverse the southern part of Vietnam, usually from Dalat north to Hue. By motorcycle tour guide I mean they have motorcycles and you ride behind them while they weave in and out of urban traffic, around hairpin turns on mountain roads and everywhere in between. Suhail and I had heard about them, but not seriously considered doing a tour. For some reason, we liked Si and (although he could have been any run of the mill con-artist), after a bit of negotiation, we decided to take a chance and hit the road with he and his side kick, Thanh.

Before we knew it, the next morning had arrived and we were waiting for them in the lobby of our hotel. We’d paid a deposit the day before and the cynical part of me knew we were going to be stood up. But, the guys arrived right on time and after strapping all of our stuff to their steel horses, we were off. I didn’t even really have enough time to be worried…or, more accurately, downright scared…although initially I was pretty tense!

Suhail and Si ready for our maiden voyage!

Eventually, we learned to just relax and enjoy the ride, which was absolutely incredible. Our four days with Si and Hanh turned out to be the highlight of our time in Vietnam. We have lots of photos and videos, which I am going to post day-by-day, just as the adventure unfolded. Enjoy!