We finally did what we talked about A LOT and never thought we would do on this trip. We drove a motorcycle from Nha Trang to Da Lat with an Easy Rider tour! We really didn’t think this was possible with a toddler and we’re so very happy we did it anyway. It was a gorgeous ride and all three of us had a really good time. The Vietnam Easy Riders have been around for a long time and their tours are legendary. If you get a chance, don’t miss out on discovering Vietnam by motorbike!
The total ride is about 140km, so very doable in just one morning. As you travel from sunny and hot Nha Trang into the mountains you can feel the air around you getting cooler. Dalat lies 1800m above sea level, so pretty high up in the mountains. It’s a beautiful scenic ride, with spectacular views along the way. To ride on those mountain roads with the wind blowing in your hair gives you this amazing sense of freedom!
Easy Riders, an option with small kids?
We’ve rented smaller motorbikes or scooters quite a few times already during this trip (like when we were in Cat Ba Island), but we never really used one to travel from one city to the other. Usually, we just drive our bike around for a few hours in the morning and be back in our hotel by the time Jace needs to go to sleep. Since we all enjoy our motorbike trips so much, Mau and I talked about what a shame it was that we never traveled longer stretches by motorbike before Jace was born. Especially in Vietnam, there are many people traveling north to south from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City or south to north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi by motorbike. We thought for sure that with all the luggage we were hauling around this time it wasn’t an option for us.
South East Asia by bike
We met many people who traveled parts of South East Asia and especially Vietnam by bike and read about all the Easy Rider outfits. Which made us think about it even more. You can easily spend 3 weeks in Vietnam, or a lot longer if you like. There is just so much to see and the food is amazing. If you’re interested in reading about other destinations in Vietnam, check out this 2-week itinerary. An Easy Rider travel office was located around the corner from our apartment in Nha Trang. We passed it one night on the way to dinner and thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. It turned out they could just send our luggage by bus, while we traveled by bike. And that taking our toddler wasn’t an issue at all. Perfect!
What are the costs of an Easy Rider tour?
Obviously, traveling this way cost us more than if we’d just traveled by bus. But we really wanted to do this and were willing to spend a bit more for the experience. Just to show the calculation: for an aircon bus we would have paid $9 each, so $27 total. For this 5-hour motor trip we paid $45 each, but didn’t have to pay for Jace, so $90 total, plus $10 for transporting our luggage, so $100 in total. Ouch…
But it was an amazing experience, so totally worth the money. The three of us had one bike, just like we normally do when we drive a scooter. Mau driving and me on the back with Jace in the back carrier. Our guide Steven (pretty sure that’s not his official Vietnamese name) drove with a Polish lady on the second bike. She booked a one-day round trip, so would go back to Nha Trang the same day, whereas we would stay in Da Lat. It worked out perfectly. Because of Jace we didn’t want to stop too much on the way over for all the usual activities they had planned (like a rice noodle making facility, a traditional mat weaving demonstration, a visit to a minority village etc.) but because she would take the same route when returning to Nha Trang, she could see all this on the way back.
The start of our trip
We left Nha Trang around 8:30 in the morning, stopped for a drink and some fruit for Jace around 10:00 and then again for lunch at 12:00. By lunchtime we were only about 30km from Dalat. Unfortunately, while we were having lunch it also started to rain. Not just a little rain, but what can easily be described as a downpour. Since we were already pretty high up in the mountains at that point it was quite chilly as well. And it kept raining and raining… We finished lunch, waited for a while, but the rain really didn’t stop and we had to continue.
Rain, rain and more rain
Steven, our guide, brought rain suits and ponchos and we created a little poncho for Jace out of a big plastic bag. With his poncho on and Steven’s motorcycle jacket tied around his shoulders, Jace was actually quite snug and comfortable on my back. So comfortable in fact, that about 15 minutes after we hit the road again he fell asleep! He didn’t wake up until we reached Dalat. Lucky him 🙂 In the mean time we were struggling a bit with driving in the rain. There were little rivers crossing the road and a rapidly running and overflowing orange mud streams along the side. It was quite an experience!
Reaching our destination: Dalat
By 14:00 we were at our destination: Dalat. Finally! We were dropped off at one of the Easy Riders drop off and pick up points in the city. Our bags were supposed to be waiting for us there so that we could get a taxi to our hotel, together with all our stuff. Unfortunately our bags hadn’t arrived yet. As you can imagine, this wasn’t what we wanted to hear after we’d been in a downpour for over an hour.
Mau was soaked because his rain suit was leaking, but Jace and I were surprisingly dry. Luckily we did have our big backpack with Jace’s travel bed tied to it. So we went to the hotel, gave Jace one of my T-shirts to wear, since all his clothes were in one of the bags we didn’t have yet, took a nice hot shower and managed to get him to sleep a bit. At 17:00 we still didn’t have our bags. We asked the hotel receptionist to call the agency, and after a little while a taxi dropped our stuff. We were finally reunited with our bags!
Our verdict: Easy Riders with kids, yes or no?
So what’s our verdict? Is it a good idea to do an Easy Rider tour with kids? We say yes! The logistics could have been a bit better and we could have done without the rain, but all in all it was a fantastic experience for all three of us. We’re very happy we got to see a gorgeous part of Vietnam this way. One thing to note however (not to spoil the fun) is that you might want to check your travel insurance to see what’s covered.