Motorbikes are one of the things that make Vietnam because.. well they’re everywhere! In the cities you have to just walk out in the road and trust they will dodge you as if you wait until there’s a space to cross you’ll be waiting forever (!), so a long with this and my love for the Top Gear Vietnam special it was on my bucket list to see this beautiful Country from the back of a motorbike.
Now i haven’t rode a moped myself in Asia before, i know a lot of tourists do and it looks like great fun but i just don’t trust myself and the others around me, plus one of the most common injuries backpackers get is from being in a motorbike accident so it’s just something that i won’t do.
Luckily though, there’s the opportunity to hire a bike and guide from Hue and drive down to Hoi An (and vice versa) where you can enjoy the amazing scenery from the back of a bike with a local who you can trust to get you there in one piece.
We organised the trip with our guesthouse in Hue- Sunny Fine Guesthouse and paid $42 USD in total which we thought was pretty reasonable as it took us about 7 hours door to door with lots of stops a long the way, plus it was our transport from one town to another.
We got picked up at 8:30am by our 2 guides. Tran Van Thinh was the main guide, he has been featured in the Lonely Planet which is a pretty big deal and has some great feedback on TripAdvisor and not only was he a brilliant guide and had done the job for 18 years, he is a Zen Buddhist which i found really interesting and impressive. Throughout the day he told us lots about our Chinese Zodiac signs which depend on the year you are born and told us some pretty interesting things about our life and future. So i basically got a physic reading and a bike tour all in one but hey i’m not complaining!
Most people’s first question when thinking about taking this type of transport is ‘where will my huge backpack go?’, well they have this sorted as they just tie it on the back of the bike and it acts as a nice back rest for you too while driving a long, and on this note i thought we would be on the back of mopeds which i would have been happy with and some people do take mopeds but with Tran we had full on motorbikes which was really cool as they had a lot more power!
The start of our journey was mostly getting out of the city, then we started driving a long side some beautiful lakes and had some photo stops and then our first actual stop on the journey was Elephant Falls, this was a beautiful little waterfall with a swimming area, of course i didn’t swim (i hate cold water) but Steph took one for the team and got in.
After this we started hitting in the coastline which is what i had really been looking forward to and it was absolutely breathtaking. We wound around the roads and got higher and higher until we reached a really great viewpoint with an American bunker from the war on top where we stopped for a bit and took in the beautiful scenery.
Next, we were on our on way into Da Nang which is quite a big city and right on the coast so we got even more coastal views and drove through the city. We stopped for lunch at a local place where the guide comes with all of his tour groups and i felt it was nice that this lady was benefitting from our tourism as it wasn’t a place you would visit if it wasn’t for our guide taking us and we had a yummy, cheap lunch there.
The next activity was to see some Pagoda’s which were on Marble Mountain just behind our lunch spot, after walking up a fair few steep steps a huge white Buddha came into view followed by a gorgeous little temple. We walked a bit more and saw some more temples and view points. There were lots of caves to explore too but both Steph and I were pretty tired by this point as we had been out in the sun for quite a few hours so we didn’t do too much exploring and instead were keen to get back on the bikes!
Now we were onto our last stretch of the journey to Hoi An and this part went way too quickly as before i knew it we were stopping outside our Guesthouse in Hoi An however we did drive by some gorgeous rice paddies a long the way.
We said a big goodbye to Tran and the other driver, we wrote in his guestbook and told him it was a day we wouldn’t forget, he was so excited about mine and Steph’s signs and how good friends we were that he said he wouldn’t forget us either.. bless him!
It was such a great day filled with adrenaline from the bikes and beautiful scenery and it was made so much better by having a great guide (his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact him to do the tour from Hue to Hoi An or a city tour around Hue).
This was truly a day i’ll remember, i would highly recommend doing the journey this way instead of taking the bus, i definitely felt like i was on Top Gear and it was another awesome bucket list tick!