When we awoke to our alarm at 7.30am, it meant we had actually had a really decent sleep, which was nice, as recently it felt like we had been having far too many early morning wake ups. We had our day of adventure starting at 9am, so we showered, got changed, and then headed up to the top floor of the hotel for breakfast, which was ok, but decent enough to fuel us for what we had in store.
Once we made it to the lobby, we met Bon and the 7 others joining in on the fun, and we had a room filled with various energies, though most of them leaned towards the nervous. Because today we were all jumping on the back of scoters for a bike tour of the town and surrounding area and attractions. We had all been in South East Asia long enough to know the traffic is crazy, and especially Vietnamese traffic, so most of the fear came out of wondering if we’ll all make it out unscathed.
When we were ready to go, the 9 drivers put their keys into a hat, and we then drew them out one by one to see what driver we would get. Though I saw a key ring that had a skeleton riding a skeleton motorbike, and instead of leaving it to chance, I quickly grabbed it. Funnily enough Mollidy then drew out the bike behind me, so that was cool, as it meant we would be next to each other in the convoy for the rest of the day.
The journey kicked off, and it was a bit of an adrenalin rush as we first drove into traffic, but sadly for me what also dominated my mind was the pain I was in. I have a bad hip and knee, which I didn’t even think about for this bike ride as being an issue, but when sitting on the back of that bike behind the driver, my hip was put into an uncomfortable position, but even more so both my knees felt like they had been placed into mild torture devices.
That aside though it was a real rush weaving in and out of traffic like we did, and about 10 minutes later we were off the roads and onto the back streets which then quickly turned into tiny country roads. Our first stop was to see some locals harvesting rice fields, and the stop after that was to a rice museum where we could see the tools and ways they harvest rice. It was pretty cool, and Mollidy and myself got hand fans which we had been talking about getting for ages, so we aren’t sure exactly why today was the day to actually get them, but we did.
After that we went for another ride, and then got to the first major stop on the trip, which was the royal tomb of the 4th king. The weather was simply stunning today, which also meant the temperatures were soaring, so the whole time we were being taken through the complex, which was pretty big, most of us were more interested in finding shade or places to sit. But it was still a good and insightful tour, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were excited when it ended.
After this it was a short drive to a Buddhist temple where we were served a 6 course vegetarian meal for lunch, and this ranged from some fanatics dishes, to some good ones, to some I just thought were average, but it was filling, and that’s the main thing. After that it was back on the bikes and off to the tiger and elephant arena where the kings of old would put these two creatures against each other for entertainment. Interesting place to visit, but all a little sad when you thought of the reality of it all.
Next stop after this was a local ornate house, which was ok, but could easily have been missed, and then it was onto a Buddhist pagoda complex, and this was pretty cool as it’s still an active place. We saw local students chanting, and even the car the famous burning monk drove back in the mid 60s before he famously burnt himself alive in full lotus pose. After this the trip was at an end, and another 20 minutes on the bike and we were back at the hotel.
We were all exhausted, and as it had all started at 9am, and now it was close to 5pm, meant it had been a full on day, so we were told to take a couple hours off before meeting again at 7pm. It felt amazing to shower, and to lie down, especially for my hip and knees, and we just chilled. Then at 7pm we had the group meeting to find out about what was happening the next day, and what was on the cards for dinner. The whole group went off to one restaurant, but Mollidy and myself chose to hit up a different restaurant.
We caught a taxi into town, and while on the way to the restaurant we were once again offered to buy drugs a few times and in such an open and carefree way, but we kept walking and found the louts shaped restaurant that was situated on the Perfume River, and it was a pretty cool three story place all lit up with changing colours. We made our way to the top open air floor where we ate, and though the food itself was pretty average, we got to watch a lightning storm take place a long way away, and that was pretty epic eating while seeing lightning flashing every 30 seconds. After that it was back to the hotel and to bed, as we were drained to the max by that point.
Today I want to talk about getting massages. You can’t really talk about South East Asia without mentioning this as it’s so cheap, and you do so many physical activities, that getting them just feels like a simple decision. Though for those of you who have never partaken, don’t be afraid, as it’s all very above board. For first timers choose and open air one where you can see other people being massaged. After that when you’re feeling a little more confident, feel free to choose one that take you to back rooms, as this offers more privacy, and once again it’s all still very much non dodgy, so put your mind at ease and just enjoy.