On the overnight cruise around Ha Long Bay I met a South American woman currently teaching English in Thailand. She is traveling extensively around S-E Asia and it seems that people strategically do this – have a home base and income in Thailand and branch out every chance they can get. One golden tip she gave me was using Easy Riders!
Easy Riders is a tourism service that offers you hands-free, map-free, and generally hassle-free motorbike tours around Vietnam. You pay a single fee that is determined by where you want to go (multiple places or direct to one) and you have an experienced, English-speaking motorbike chauffeur! I wanted to see 3 places in Da Nang and I forgot the quote for all of them, but it was too expensive so I opted for Monkey / Son Tra Mountain and Hai Van Pass with the Easy Rider and to go to Marble Mountains on my own. It was the best decision and I’m so glad I went for it instead of borrowing a bike and going it alone (on my practice run I lightly crashed into a parked car lool) because:
- I lived to tell the tale, completely intact!
- Didn’t need to stress about directions and gas
- Had both hands free to take photos/videos and spread them out like I was flying lol
Highly recommended you call these guys if you’re travelling through Vietnam, especially if you’re backpacking! They could act as your transportation service to your next destination as well as your tour guide. Motorbike traveling throughout Vietnam is super popular because of the highways that stretch from the North to South covering diverse and beautiful landscapes – and now it’s not exclusive only to bikies. I understood the romantic and adventurous appeal of flying free on roads from place to beautiful place as you please, but I did get tired after a while of the constant noise of wind and motor and butt getting sore.
Regarding Monkey Mountain – in short I don’t think it’s worth it on a tight schedule (whereas Hai Van Pass is a MUST). The photos are pretty much what I saw from the lookout, and it’s nice as well as the gentle sloping drive up through sub-tropical forests, but not a must-do. It was quite hazy during the day so visibility wasn’t so good. If you want to trespass you can ride all the way up to the old American signalling base, but obviously not recommended. Monkey Mountain is named after the various exotic species of monkeys that reside there, some very rare, but unfortunately we didn’t see a single one. I heard that there are tours that specially focus on wildlife spotting/photography and would recommend that if you’re interested in seeing them. I doubt any would venture anywhere near the road considering how loud motors can be.