26 Jun Cycling To The Bamboo Village in Vietnam
My names Mike and I’ve been lucky enough to live in Hoi An for the past 2 months. It’s a great little place in the middle of Vietnam that I’ve fallen in love with. The culture is interesting and the food is delicious. But the main reason I enjoy living here is for the excellent cycling network.
Once you leave the main roads you’re left with some of the most picturesque cycling you’re likely to come across.
I had an image of Vietnam in my head before I came here and cycling across the rice fields on a late afternoon is almost exactly how I imagined it would be.
The other day I cycled out to the Bamboo Village in the countryside and decided to take a few pictures along the way.
I’ll be the first to admit my trusty steed is not quite up to the standard of bike that I’m used to riding.
For a bike to fit you properly your leg should be straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Mine is almost still at a right angle! But although it’s like wearing a pair of shoes 2 sizes too small, I kinda like it!
It comes with one gear, a basket for your shopping, a dynamo light and an all essential bicycle bell. I’ve been riding it for two months and other than a flat tire we seem to get on well with one another!
What’s more is that it seems to be the only style of bike you can get around here. So it’s unlikely to go missing. Much like my classic “pub bike” I had back in England I’m perfectly happy leaving this beauty around town. Safe in the knowledge it’ll still be there when I get back!
Where To Start From.
For the start of this ride, I was at a place called Dingo Deli. It’s one of the most popular places in town for the expat community. And it’s a great place to start from because it’s so close to the countryside.
I’d arranged to meet one of my friends at around 3:30 pm in the afternoon.
If you go anytime between 10 am and 3 pm your tires will melt to the tarmac and so will you. Those times are best spent inside some of the many restaurants and coffee shops nestled around the old town.
Preferably the ones with aircon or really big fans!
Off The Beaten Track.
The road outside Dingo Deli is little busy but by taking a right just 1 minute down the road will take you to the pleasant countryside that I always imagine when thinking of Vietnam.
The roads become just wide enough for two bikes passing one another and that’s it. Either side of you are the rice fields where you’ll find farmers working away.
If you have something like maps.me you can plot out a route that’s almost entirely on these types of road!
It’ll just be you and the occasional motorbike or cyclist. It’s a bit unusual for tourists to be seen on these roads so you’ll normally get a big hello and friendly wave as you roll past the locals.
The Bamboo Village is a place where everything is made from, yup, you guessed it… bamboo! We went there to make some coffee cups (which make great gifts) but it was pretty cool to see some other the other stuff that had been made there.
There were a car and even some bikes!
After our visit to Bamboo Village coffee cups in hand, we saw a huge bridge connecting two islands. It’s quite a way to the top, made even harder by our squishy wheeled bicycles.
But we pushed on making it to the top for a dramatic photo opportunity. While I was busy looking beautiful a few guys jumped in on the photo as well!
So all in all a great day out was had. We’re in the middle of planning a longer cycling trip in the next couple of weeks. Recently I was able to take a motorbike trip from Hoi An to Hue, riding over the famous Hai Van Pass. We’re planning to do it again but this time on bicycles!
As this trip will be a few days long and we’ll be camping out we’ll need to pack some sleeping gear and upgrade the bikes a little.
Like most countries, the big cities can be a hectic to cycle in, but once you’re in the countryside I personally believe that you can’t this place.
So if you ever find yourself in Vietnam get yourself a bike and get cycling!
Mike McLeish is the owner of the bicycle blog Pinch-Flat. He’s currently taking full advantage of the warm weather in SE Asia, where you can find him weaving through traffic in Vietnam. Follow him on Twitter @Pinch_Flat.