I loved Dalat. Surrounded by pine forests, orchards and mountains with a centre full of French architecture, Dalat is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ in Vietnam, and there are tonnes of things to do and see there.
However, as someone without a driver’s license, I couldn’t make like other travellers and just rent a motorbike myself to explore the area. Instead, I opted for an Easy Rider Tour, and boy how I’m glad I did.
This post will outline my experience with Easy Rider Vietnam – where we went, what we saw, and perhaps most importantly, whether I’d recommend it.
Grab a drink, make a snack and get cosy, because we’re about to get into it.
Easy Rider Vietnam – Exploring Dalat by Motorbike
What is ‘Easy Rider Vietnam?’
Easy Rider Vietnam is a concept popular all over Vietnam, although they originated in Dalat. They are a team of licensed and professional local tour guides who take tourists on epic motorbike tours through the Vietnamese countryside, enabling them to experience the country through their eyes and get off the beaten track a little.
You can either drive the bike yourself or hop onto the back of the guide’s bike (which is what I did). Tours can last anywhere from one day, all the way up to 12, with various routes and itineraries based on your preferences.
My Easy Rider Vietnam tour
I opted for a full-day tour, from 8.30am until 5pm, which cost £25 – a bargain if you ask me!
The highlights of my tour were:
– Elephant Waterfall
– Pongour Waterfall
– Visiting a cricket farm
– Visiting a coffee plantation
– Visiting a silk factory
– Visiting a Dutch flower farm
– Visiting ‘Chicken Village’
– Visiting the Crazy House
I met my guide, Linh, at 8.30am and we kicked things off by speeding off into the mountains, the cool air whooshing past us as the city of Dalat grew smaller and smaller.
Our first stop was a viewpoint that we had to hike up a hill to get to. ‘This is why I said it was a hike, not a walk!‘ Linh laughed, as my friend and I found ourselves completely out of breath halfway up! The view more than made up for our exhaustion though – seriously, the countryside surrounding Dalat is stunning.
We then hopped back onto the bikes and headed to a Dutch flower farm. Owned by a man from the Netherlands, the farm grows a huge variety of flowers, including tulips! We had a small wander round, admiring the vast array of flowers, before getting back on the bikes and zooming to our next stop – a coffee plantation.
Many coffee plantations around Dalat produce the infamous Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee which is made from collecting coffee beans from the poop of palm civets. I’d actually tried this coffee before, in Ubud, Bali, and I tried it again on my Easy Rider Vietnam tour.
However, after finishing our cups, Linh took us to see the animals themselves, and I wished I’d never participated. On the plantation I visited in Bali, we were told that the civets roam around freely in the jungle, but these were in tiny, filthy cages covered in rust, and I hated that they were kept in these conditions for tourists like me.
It’s because of this that I don’t recommend trying Kopi Luwak. By all means visit the plantations, drink the regular coffee or sample the types of tea available, but I don’t encourage you to contribute to the abuse of the palm civets. Vietnamese coffee is some of the best in the world, so you won’t be missing out if you refrain from trying the Kopi Luwak.
Also, Kopi Luwak is really low in caffeine so, yeah, not worth it.
Our next, and one of the most interesting stops on our Easy Rider Vietnam tour, was a silk factory.
We had a tour of the entire factory and learnt all about how silk is made, seeing every single stage that silk worms go through to produce silk. Linh explained everything super clearly, and while I’ve never been interested in textiles or anything similar, it was incredible to see the worms doing their thing and spinning silk!
Next was a Hindu temple complete with a gigantic laughing Buddha (which confused me somewhat), before going to one of the major Dalat attractions – Elephant Waterfall.
Elephant Waterfall is the most popular waterfall in Dalat. Located 30km southwest of Dalat, Elephant Waterfall is gorgeous, and even though it can get pretty steep and slippery on the walk down, it’s definitely worth it, and there is a handrail in place to help you on your way.
Linh then drove us to a local café for lunch. I opted for crispy pork belly, steamed rice and tofu (yum!) and Linh devoured a plate of pig’s tongue – after seeing my curious gaze, he even let me try a little!
However, if I thought that a pig’s tongue was as wild as it would get for me that day, I was sorely mistaken!
Before the pig’s tongue had even had a chance to digest, we were on our way to experience another culinary first – crickets!
One of the most bizarre things to do in Dalat is to pay a visit to a cricket farm, and Linh was determined to introduce us to this unusual snack!
After wandering around the farm and seeing the crickets, we were taken to a little room where we were served a plate of fried crickets and lemongrass with a chilli dip – I was nervous to try them at first, but once I got over the ick factor, I pleasantly surprised and ate the whole plateful!
Crunchy, salty, and extremely moreish, crickets are actually very healthy and a very sustainable food to produce!
You can also try Cricket Wine, which is said to be good for bones, muscles and back pain!
We then drove 30km to another of Dalat’s main sites – Pongour Waterfall.
Pongour Waterfall often gets overshadowed by Dalat’s more famous waterfalls, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it may mean that you will have the entire area to yourself, as we did!
Not only is Pongour Waterfall beautiful, but it is really easy to access, without the gruelling jungle hike that often accompanies waterfalls in Southeast Asia!
We then made a brief stop at a mushroom farm before visiting a place known to tourists as ‘Chicken Village.’
While I sometimes have mixed feelings about the ethics of visiting a village as a tourist attraction, the K’Ho villages on the outskirts of Dalat welcome tourism and the villagers like to show their skills to travellers (such as weaving). The K’Ho people were the original occupants of Dalat and its surroundings, until the French occupied the city in the 1920s, and learning about their culture is a must-do in Dalat – lucky for you, if you take part on an Easy Rider tour, you’ll get to!
Chicken Village is named after the huge statue of a chicken that resides there – to learn the story behind it, you’ll just have to go and visit with a guide from Easy Rider Vietnam!
The final stop on our Easy Rider Vietnam tour was the famous Crazy House.
Hãng Nga guesthouse, commonly known as the ‘Crazy House,’ is an unconventional building created and designed by architect Dang Viet Nga.
It resembles a giant tree, with animal-themed rooms including the tiger room, the kangaroo room and the ant room, and Nga says that it was partly inspired by Antoni Gaudi.
In fact, the Crazy House has frequently been listed as one of the world’s most bizarre buildings! Although it is possible to stay here, most tourists visit as part of an Easy Rider tour or independently, paying a couple of bucks to wander around and have a look inside.
My Easy Rider Vietnam tour – the overall experience
I thoroughly enjoyed my Easy Rider tour.
I know that many backpackers turn their noses up at guided tours because they want to do things themselves in an ‘authentic way,’ but IMO, you don’t get much more authentic than being introduced to a place by somebody who was born and raised there.
Not only was Linh the most informative guide ever, but he was also super funny and easy to get along with, which is definitely necessary when you’re spending such a long time with somebody! All of the Easy Riders guides are known to be this way, and this is the reason I recommend going with an official Easy Riders tour rather than one of the cheaper rip-offs.
It’s been 5 years since my Easy Rider Vietnam tour, and it remains one of my favourite travel experiences, and certainly one of my fondest memories of Vietnam!
We got to see a tonne of sights, zoom through the Vietnamese countryside on motorbikes, and make friends with a local at the same time.
My verdict? 10/10!
Where to book an Easy Riders tour
There are plenty of copycat Easy Rider tours in Vietnam and Dalat, which have mixed reviews. While some of them are surely great tours, I highly recommend going with the official Easy Riders company.
The Easy Riders have a fantastic reputation for hiring great guides and providing high quality tours, such as this 2 day tour from Mui Ne to Dalat. An alternative option is to book a tour to Ho Chi Minh City and explore the cities’ best day trips by motorbike.
You can browse their other tours on their official website. If you’re unsure which to choose, just send them an email and they will help you pick, or even create a fully personalised tour for you!
How much is an Easy Rider Vietnam tour?
I paid around £25 for my Easy Rider tour, but there are tonnes of different Easy Rider tours that cater to every budget and preference.
The multi-day tours can rack up into the hundreds, and while I haven’t experienced one of those myself, I definitely believe that my tour was worth the money.
so that concludes my review of my easy rider vietnam tour! are you planning on taking an easy rider tour? let me know in the comments below!
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