February 9, 2015

Hoi An Vespa Tour: A Different Perspective

By Noemi Gamel

For the last seven months, with the exception of the time we rented a car during our three weeks in New Zealand, we have been exploring the different towns we have visited on foot. We occasionally take a car (or tuk tuk!) to a particular site, but for the most part, we go to restaurants, town centers, and tourist sites by walking. While this is great exercise and allows us to experience the local culture in a slow, intimate setting, it also means our radius of exploration is rather small. We decided to do something a little different in Hoi An, the foodie capital of Vietnam. We went on a Vespa tour. This is exactly what it sounds like. Four young men on Vespas picked us up from the house we rented in Hoi An, we climbed on the back of the bike, and then off we went! 

As soon as the Vespa took off with me clinging to the passenger handle for dear life, I thought I had made a mistake. The Vespa rode a lot faster than I anticipated. Even though I was not the one actually driving it, I felt unstable and wobbly. I was afraid we would hit a pedestrian or car. I kept having visions of Kara or Tristan’s Vespa crashing and the kids flying off onto the street. My pediatrics training came back to rear its ugly head with full force! Fortunately, none of my fears came to pass. We all wore helmets and our drivers were safety-conscious. After we left the city, we explored the countryside, including the rice fields and small fishing villages near Hoi An.

We visited a family that made sleep mats and another that made rice crackers for a living. They graciously allowed us into their homes and shared their way of life with us. Our guides also took us to a local Vietnamese coffee shop and then we had lunch at a seafood restaurant on the beach. By trying a different mode of transport, our world opened up. We saw places and met people we would not have done so if we had stuck to our typical routine of walking and occasionally taking a taxi to a further destination. Our Vespa guides/drivers were nice, funny, and professional. If you are ever in Vietnam, consider trying a Vespa tour. You will not be disappointed.