Riding Easy

They were everywhere, surrounding me and I could barely get air.

They were in a village, somewhere in the central highlands of Vietnam.  They were schoolchildren, about 30 of them in total - all eager to have their photo taken, to view it on the digital camera screen, to squeal with delight.  They did not care if I was crushed in the process.  I could not get the grin off my face.

It's the end of day two of my seven day motorbike tour from Hue to Dalat.  As a passenger sitting behind a very safe and experienced local rider, it's all about sitting back, enjoying the fresh air and taking in the scenery.   Even the mist and rain has not spoilt the experience - it's nothing that a few plastic bags and a purple poncho won't fix.

Once you move away from the built-up areas, it becomes a overload of green.  From the high coastal passes and into the highlands, it is green, green, green.  If I was ever in doubt that Vietnam still has huge areas of untouched natural environment, this trip has proved otherwise.  Having already seen the hillside US army base remains outside Danang, a traditional ethnic community village hall, the Ho Chi Minh Trail and a couple of hydroelectric dams, in addition to the natural scenery, I am being visually spoilt.

It should be compulsory to tour Vietnam by motorbike - I can't think of a better way to experience the spectacular coastline, jungle-clad mountains, rivers, villages, pineapple picking, tea and rice plantations and of course, the people along the way.

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