Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia, which is becoming a popular backpacker’s destination in recent years. Extremely hospitable locals, good food and amazing nature are just a few reasons to visit Vietnam.
500 Kilometers of Amazing
The best way to see Vietnam is on a motorbike. This was the sentence I heard from every other person I had met in ‘Nam. And what did I do next? Go on a motorbike! Alone? Nah, that sounded way too dangerous (but adventurous though).
Random decisions are always the best, agree? Spending a lot of money for them-not that much. Knowing you won’t regret a single dollar spent the very next second – awesome!
Hitting the road
A 65-year old Vietnamese driver took me on a 500 km long way through the central highlands of Vietnam close to the Cambodian border. The area is well-known for its coffee plantations. It is literally everywhere. Plus, it tastes AMAZING. Coffee was actually grown by the French during the invasion in the 19th century. Buon Ma Thuot city is the biggest in Central Highlands and also the most famous for coffee. The best-known coffee sort is robusta, which is also considered to be the best. Arabica and weasel coffee is also worth trying. Weasel coffee is very special. Farmers feed weasels with coffee beans, which they digest and when they come out, they pick them, wash them and finally burn in order to get rid of bacteria. It is the most expensive sort of coffee in Vietnam.
The Not so Pretty Side of Vietnam
Not everything gets that tasty in ‘Nam, which is completely understandable since it belongs to the developing countries of Southeast Asia. What I found interesting, was that they have local markets everywhere. They sell meat, veggies, clothes, toys, anything you can imagine. Usually, they also offer freshly picked maggots and all kinds of bugs or insects. You can choose between fat and juicy ones, or dry and crunchy, whichever you prefer most (if we can talk about preference here). Seeing a dog sliced on the table or ducks killed in front of you is nothing special there as well. At least not for the Vietnamese, I was freaking out. You get used to it, though.
Downsides of Rainy Season
Rain can really mess up your plans. Not in Vietnam! Going on a bike in rainy season with heavy showers, not a big deal. However, the rain did cause a large flow of water, which is why tourists could not swim at the waterfalls due to a higher risk of injuries because of the strong water flow. On the other hand, thanks to the heavy rainfall, the rainfalls were even more majestic, strong and loud.
There is something really special with waterfalls. For me it’s just that – you can see the amazing creation of nature, falling water from different heights, hear the crushing of water at the end of the wall and at the same time feel the cold, refreshing breeze from the water. Almost all of your senses are awakened when you get near. No wonder I am such a waterfall addict.
Careful with the Bikes!
Riding a motorbike is fun, but if you travel by yourself and can not find any candidates to join you, it is probably better to hire a driver. The price will be slightly higher, but you will be able to relax and enjoy the ride + take photos all the time.
Not that I mention how crazy Vietnamese roads are. Roads are pretty empty in the countryside, but you can experience a lot of bumps because the water sometimes just erases a half of the road. Local buses could be compared to roller coasters. The drivers are crazy, but also really good. They can easily drive on the wet mud and get out as well. Plus, don’t expect too much comfort inside of the bus. They are really narrow and have an extra amount of seats. If you’re tall as I am, things may be even funnier. However, I can proudly say I rode on a Vietnamese bus roller-coaster.