SHE headed back to Vietnam last week - desperate for some warm weather and a need for the tailors of Hoi An! The first stop: Ho Chi Minh City for the weekend. SHE met up with a friend who had never been to this amazing city before so we decided to try something a little different - a Vespa night tour of the city. Now let's set the scene: it's reported that there are around 5 million motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City. That's a lot of traffic. The road rules (compared to ours in Australia) don't seem to exist yet somehow all the mayhem just seems to work itself out. It's not unusual to see motorbikes being ridden the wrong way up a street (and that's not just the Aussies forgetting to ride on the other side of the road). Sometimes riders will take the footpath to avoid waiting at the lights (of course, that's logical right?!). And it's terrifying to be amongst all this. Crossing the road is an adrenalin rush: SHE found it easier to hang around for a couple of minutes to wait for a local and tag along behind them. So given all this it would seem crazy to willingly jump on the back of a motorbike for a tour...surely it's much safer to be contained in a coach? Safe is good.
Well...travel is about trying something different, about stepping outside your comfort zone. As it turns out, this Vespa tour was the coolest thing SHE's ever done in this city! It was a hoot! We were picked up from our hotel, whisked off to a local cafe to wait for others. Watching the world go by from Cafe Zoom was just plain entertaining. After a couple of drinks it was on with the helmet and on the back of the Vespa to our first food stop - of many it turned out! Our tour took us behind the scenes of Ho Chi Minh city - we dined with the locals, zoomed down tiny back streets and into areas SHE would never have discovered travelling solo. Surprisingly, SHE didn't feel unsafe at street level, waiting at the lights, jammed amongst all the other motorbikes and riders. It would never happen in Australia but that's all part of the appeal of this adventure. We laughed out loud at ourselves - and the locals laughed right back at us. We chatted to each other from the back of our bikes - and made some new friends. We visited a couple of local bars - our favourite was reached by walking down a dark laneway, through a building that looked like someone's house, up a set of rickety stairs, and into a tightly packed room that revealed a solo singer performing beautiful live classical Vietnamese music. Completely random and absolutely unforgettable.
There was one more live music venue on the list to complete the night: a little more upbeat where the band bashed out everything from Adele to Oasis; with cocktails on offer this was a cracker! The tour officially finished here but our drivers offered to drop us at a local disco to continue our evening. Another hilarious venue, another story, another time! Hands down, flat out the best night in Ho Chi Minh ever!