Vintage dahhhling! What a what to say Adios to 2013!
There are several companies offering bike tours around Saigon. We opted for the Vintage Vespa tour. The Vespa is such a cool iconic bike, what a great way to see the sights riding on the back off one of these lovingly restored vintage bikes.
I've never been on the back of a motorbike before so I was quite nervous, especially as the traffic here is INSANE!
I'm an experienced driver and I've driven cars around famous crazy roundabouts including "place de la Concorde" in Paris, "plaza de Espana" in Barcelona both busy roundabouts with lots of traffic chaos but as I mentioned last blog entry, the traffic here is something else.
When the guide came to collect us at the hotel to take us to the meeting point I was already sweating with nerves.
As we rode to the group meeting point my driver wished me a "happy new year" all I could think was "eyes on the road dickhead, I don't want to start 2014 as a paraplegic".
Anyway your tour starts with lunch included and a drink at the Zoom Cafe and you meet with the other members of your group. We were 6 people in total. Us two from Spain, Two from New Zealand and two from Sweden. It was great to share our travel stories and tips over a nice lunch.
After lunch we met our tour guide and our drivers - and our Vespas!
At first it's mayhem and you are tempted to close your eyes at the crazy intersections. As a westerner it seemed bonkers to me that they don't seem to have any "Highway Code" or road markings. After about ten mins I relaxed a little as it's clear the drivers are really experienced and the roads actually start to make sense more on the bike than on foot.
It's a white knuckle ride and at times a little overwhelming, but all the while I was thinking "this is the coolest thing I've ever done".
We stopped at various points all over the city in the different "districts" for breaks. We saw the flower market, temples, the fabric markets, china town, downtown, rode along side and then under the river Saigon and the new business district. The tour finishes at the Reunification Palace with a nice group photo and then you get dropped back off at your hotel.
What an amazing way to see the city and "real" Saigon. I would thoroughly recommend this excursion especially if you only have a few days in the city as you will get to see areas and things that you would never see as a conventional tourist.
I love Saigon.