Imagine waking up to people preparing breakfast, cockrels sounding the morning alarm, the smell of fresh food and a waft of clean Mountain air flows up through the bamboo floorboards. Imagine awakening yourself with a hot shower, just a few feet from rice plantations, where the morning mist begins to roll down from the mountainside as the sun begins to warm the craggy peaks. This is just one morning’s experience on the North Mountains Vietnam Motorcycle Tour.
After breakfast, you throw your kit on and start the engine of your Honda CRF250 to get it warmed up before setting off. There’s no need to worry about maintenance, this was taken care of the evening before, whilst you sat and drank beer and talked about your days experiences riding though bamboo forests, lakes and waterfalls and ate freshly cooked food with the homeowner.
As you ride through small villages, often along narrow trails, some concreted surfaces that run through the rice plantations, unfamiliar sounds, smells and sights are in abundance. Emerald green rice fields line your path like giant football pitches.
Men and women can be seen carrying out back breaking work harvesting rice, ploughing the fields the traditional way with buffalo and sloshing about up to their ankles in mud and water. It’s hard to imagine they do this daily for hours and hours at a time to earn a pittance, enough perhaps to feed their children the basic nutrients.
As you climb higher on trails and tarmac roads through the mountains the temperature drops to a more familiar and more comfortable figure. Looking out across the breathtaking scenery, you feel like you’re on top of the world for a moment. Taking a brief stop for some photos it’s time to head along some more trails and onward to the next village.
Children wave frantically as you pass, happy souls jump with joy to see you, dressed in little more than a pair of shorts and tshirt, covered in dirt and mud but smiling proudly, to be free to play as they wish.
As you negotiate the next bend, you weave in amongst the wildlife, the chickens, birds, buffalo poop and even mopeds whizzing past. Its an electric feeling, a feeling of pure freedom, adventure and worldwide travel. You wouldn’t ever get that feeling sat on a deck chair on a beach!
Life is a joy when experiencing the culture of Vietnam. The humble gestures, the generosity of the locals and the sense of being welcomed with open hearts fills us with the most pleasant of feelings. It’s an experience difficult to put into context and one that can really only be sensed and experienced by being there in person.
For many, myself included, it offers a whole new perspective on life. Some feel so humbled by the experience, that it changes their way of life upon returning home. For others, it’s a lesson, an education in being grateful for what we have, and to remind ourselves, sometimes, less is more!
To join the experience on the all inclusive motorcycle tour to Vietnam, you can find out more by clicking here