First timers in Vietnam; just cycling around!

Fruit stall

Vietnam is such a great place to be in February! Winter back home is dark and gloomy, spring feels so far away…Here the markets burst with colourful produce and the farmers are already tending to their first rice crop, the rice paddies almost shining with the brilliant emerald green of the new leaves.

Fruit stall

Today we rented bikes from a local shop, and made our way to Hoi An’s waterfront to cross the river away from the Old Quarter, towards farmland.

We had one dainty little lady deliver bikes for us… on a scooter. She rode her scooter into town, cool as a cucumber, with our bicycles perched on the seat behind her. And no, they weren’t even tied down. Anyhow, off we were – and taking the local ferry was quite an experience in itself too!

Rows of bicycles

The boat might look a bit rickety, but it was just fine. As soon as we got on the other side, we enjoyed a lovely hour or so serenely cycling amongst crops of corn, peanuts and rice, exchanging greetings with the locals as we crossed paths.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RSkxCqQ0i8&w=560&h=315]

We also sneaked into a local farmer’s home, to see how they grind, mix and steam rice flour to produce rice paper and noodles. Stone mills were traditionally used to grind flour by hand (now the process is eased by machines); rice paper must be steamed then dried off on a rack.

Tools of the trade

Delicious food

With all this talking of noodles and lunchtime approaching, we made our way back to the ferry and the city centre, to return our bikes and sample Hoi An’s specialty: spicy cao lau noodles with pork and herbs – delish! The perfect end to a lovely morning.

Elisa travelled on the Highlights of Vietnam tour.

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