Dalat Easy Rider Club
After over 20 years and tens of thousands of customers, the Easy Riders have gained a considerable reputation in Vietnam. The riders are a motley crew of motorcyclists. They’re fun, confident, kind and - likely the reason they have a near flawless TripAdvisor rating - genuine human beings.
The Dalat Easy Rider Club (the official headquarters located at 66 Truong Cong Dinh street, not to be confused with countless imitators dotting Dalat) is a hub of activity - especially late night partying that ends in mountains of 333 and Tiger cans creating a boozy mosaic on the table. Yet, the group of riders is professional as can be in the morning: organized, cheerful and informative. Hangovers be damned.
You know those eclectic little coffee shops where they let people write comments on the walls? Dalat Easy Rider Club boasts dozens of warm reviews from tourists all over the globe. Often, there is mention of partying with the riders. The guys can drink, and they’re not afraid to pull in strangers from the street to join the party for a bit of rice wine and beer.
The Dalat Easy Rider Club tours themselves are customizable adventures. You’re not going with a stiff guide who mutters a pitch through a series of semi-interesting sights. Your easy rider is very well informed, down-to-earth and easy to mingle. You jump on the back on a roaring motorcycle and ride twining roads edging mountain valleys and steep rock faces to a series of memorable destinations.
On their official site, they have two set tours listed: a city tour and a countryside tour, priced at $22 US and $26 US respectively. These are far from your only choices. Actually, most clients choose their own routes, and are quoted beforehand. Your rider then picks you up at your hotel, or you can simply meet them at headquarters (we’d recommend heading over to Truong Cong Dinh for a peek at their wall of comments and amatuer art).
City Pass Guide has been good friends with long-time Club head honcho Rocky, a former kickboxing champion and fluent English speaker. He loosely leads his crew, without being hierarchical: the riders embrace their freedom, as wish to keep it that way. Indeed, everyone here has his own idiosyncrasies and habits. These are guides you’ll remember, and they easily eclipse the actual sights you’ll see. Which are oftentimes beautiful or fascinating, to give Dalat credit.
We hopped on with one of the newer members, - a slick, shaved-headed young rider with a cool grin. Our first stop was the tofu factory, which you can read further about in the link. He explained the couple who was making the tofu has been married for nearly 30 years - and the pots they used to cook the tofu are as old as their marriage.
Next we rode out to a flower farm, which wasn’t as charming but still pretty to look at. The facility is simply a large greenhouse-type area where thousands of flowers are grown. Dalat is the biggest distributor of flowers in the country, and these facilities are plentiful. This was closely followed by a visit to a local residence that grew and packaged flowers as a family business.
The next stop was more interactive - Dalat’s famous silk factory. You can see the entire mechanized process up close and personal, walking up to the machines and cocoons and witnessing the intricate process firsthand.
We jumped back on our motorbikes and headed over to Mr. Loc’s civet farm, one of the infamous “weasel poop” coffee production facilities throughout Vietnam. We had a cup with Mr. Loc and headed back towards the city, stopping over at Elephant Falls to grab a lunch at a nearby local restaurant, ending the tour.
The Dalat Easy Rider Club is an exhilarating and personal way to discover Dalat, and considerably one of the best tour operators in the country. As Hunter S. Thompson would say: Buy the ticket, take the ride.