Jessica Abrego From: Hewlett, New York, USA
I took a six-day with Thuy and her husband Long from October 19th to October 24th, 2012. I was having a rough time in Hanoi before I met them, but the minute I got on a bike I was much happier. One gets a better feel for the rhythm of the culture in the street than on the sidewalks.
My tour headed north, to Ha Giang, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Cao Bang, and Bac Kan before returning to Hanoi. The first day was a bit rough adjusting to the bike (wear jeans!) but the scenery was stunning. Every day after that I enjoyed being on the road more and more, to the extent that I actually extended my trip an extra day because I didn’t want to rush.
We had good weather most of the time, but one day it poured. Long went out and bought me a rain suit right away. Even in the rain, on treacherous mountain roads, I was never nervous about the bikes or Thuy’s driving. It was actually quite beautiful and strange to drive slowly through the opaque mist, like something out of a movie.
Thuy and Long became my friends in no time at all. We had a wonderful time together: talking, joking, eating delicious food, sharing cigarettes. It was a lovely adventure: we shopped in little local markets, drank with Hmong villagers, bargained for a pig (that we slaughtered in Hanoi and ate at a big welcome home feast at their house), sang karaoke on stage at a Women’s Day event in Dong Van, played with charming little kids, saw an incredible diversity of ethnic groups in their villages, rode a boat and stayed in a homestay in Bac Kan… we even bought two little country puppies for Thuy and Long to keep as pets. (Imagine a pig and two puppies plus three people and five days worth of stuff on the backs of these bikes — what could be more Vietnamese?!)
Seriously, I couldn’t have imagined how great my trip would be. I learned so much about Vietnamese culture and made great friends. I cannot recommend Hanoi Easyrider highly enough: great company, great people, and a wonderful experience all around.
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