After looking at some stunning photos on the Explore Indochina website, I knew I had to take a motorbike tour in Vietnam. The 8 day tour of the North-East proved to be an excellent synthesis of stunning scenery and challenging roads.
I had very little dirt riding experience before coming to Vietnam and was worried about how I could handle the terrain. The Minsk bikes were light, and easy to maneuver over the rutted roads. Our guide offered some helpful tips as to how best handle the Minsk. After my second day on the road, I felt totally comfortable with the bike and looked forward to more challenging roads. Around every turn there was never a shortage of cows, chickens, pigs, trucks or children in the street.
At the end of each day, I was thoroughly exhausted, and always thrilled to sit down to a delicious Vietnamese meal and a cold beer. The guide’s knowledge of the terrain and language, enabled us to interact closely with the local people without being shuttled to different tourist hot-spots or worrying about getting lost.
Our last night we stayed in a stilt house near Ba Be lake and were warmly welcomed by our "host" family. Earlier that day, we took a boat ride down a river to a large limestone cave not much different then what you could find in Halong Bay. (Minus all the tourists) On the way back, we stopped the boat near a tower of limestone and I was able to climb some gorgeous rock. (Good thing I brought my climbing shoes).
The relationships that theseguys have established with many people along the road truly enabled me to see a side of Vietnam that most tourists never see; and I was lucky enough to see it by Motorbike.
Ari Newman from USA