Vietnam easy riders are nowadays very common. In the past, a person came up with the idea to make a few dollars by taking visitors for Dalat city tours on the back of his motorcycle. I personally know one of the original easy riders, and he told me that the name brand was started by the Lonely Planet or other travel guide. The term easy rider has stuck to this day. I do not profess to have a clue of who the actual original easy rider might be because I have encountered probably a dozen older riders claim to me that they were the original. I have even had a couple of the originals ask to work for me….. huh…. imagine that.
“Easy Rider” has now become a generic term used to describe a person that will for a fee, take you on the back of his or her motorcycle and provide you with a tour into the countryside where few tourists currently travel. You will find them mostly in Hue, Dalat, Danang. Hoi An and Nha Trang. It can be a fantastic way to travel between destinations if you have the time. For example, heading to Hoi An after Nha Trang? Take 5 days to travel to your destination Via Dak Lak, Buon Ma Thuot, Kom Tum, and Kham Duc…. What a time you will have. Along the route, they will stop at farms, factories, and natural wonders. But more importantly, a person will get the pleasure of interacting and experiencing the friendliness of the local life and the
people. Children will run behind yelling hello’s and startled adults will grin and wave as you pass. Most people that go on “Easy Rider” tours go home with tales of it being the highlight of their trip.
For two tears now I have been organizing such tours, but I have to stress that I am not an Easy Rider……… how about a highland cruiser? My tours are very similar, but differ in that I understand what most foreigners want to experience on their off the beaten track holiday. My tours are built as packages, all most all inclusive thereby insuring that the tours are not driven by kickbacks and commissions. It sometimes is frustrating to me to see a young backpacker that has hired a easy rider for a discounted rate but seeing that they will end up paying much more than they realize without even knowing it. For most easy riders you will simply decide on a route and a daily price. Some will include accommodation and some not. You will be responsible to cover your own expenses ( and many times theirs also). Some are very honest people and will give you a great trip, and others will try to get whatever they can by taking you to places where they have pre arranged agreements with the shops, restaurants, and hotels. After all…… in the end you always get what you pay for. If you pay a low price, the rider will try to make up the money by other means.
There are thousands of Easy Riders, and hundreds of websites all claiming to be the real easy riders…. Ignore all the hype. Most of them will offer the world but in the end, they all go the same place and on the same routes. How can you weed out all the bull and find a decent rider? The answer is actually quite simple. Unless you wish to book a specific person or service that you are confident in…… WAIT UNTIL YOU ARRIVE. There are offices everywhere that can arrange your tour starting the next day. There are thousands of people everyday on the streets trying to sell you their own special tour. Many of them will simply don the office jacket if called.
A person should use a bit of cautious skepticism when shopping for a rider. Many are good and reputable, but each has their own personality and sometimes personalities clash. There are also some scammers out there that
promise the world but deliver something quite different than what you asked
for. There are many riders who frequent corners and have books filled with
praise of their trips and others that rely more on a tour operator to send
business their way. Here are a few tips to help for those that are interested
in doing such a trip, but are not sure how to go about it. If you meet a guide on the street, first impressions are important. If there is anything about the mannerisms or speech that make you uncomfortable, politely say no and move on. Consider finding riders through a reputable local tour office and meeting them before confirming. The drivers will be known and accountable if something goes wrong.
Do not make a large deposit! I know of an instance just recently where a 3 day deal was struck, but when the customer went to check and assure everything was well, the unscrupulous guide said every thing was go for a 5 day trip. When the customer stated that was not as planned, the rider
returned 50% of the deposit and ended the deal.
Lastly…….. And very important!!!! You get what you pay for.
If you negotiate a price below the standard rate…. Do not be disappointed at
the quality of your accommodations or tours.
I could go into a tale of what a highland country tour is
like, but how about I show you in Pictures?