Having recently returned from Southeast Asia on our 15 day Journey to Angkor Wat tour, Clare Bailey tells us about one of the highlights of her trip – cycling through the Vietnamese countryside to Tra Que village where she discovered age old farming practices and tried her hand at cooking tasty local cuisine.
They say you never forget how to ride a bike and that appears to be true. Considering I hadn’t got on a bike over 15 years and my last attempt was an unmitigated disaster I was actually very nervous about the idea of riding from Hoi An to Tra Que village but it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip.
After a slightly wobbly start, I was soon enjoying biking through the bustling streets of Hoi An in convoy with the group, dodging the odd moped or two. Getting out into the countryside, we caught a glimpse of rural life in Vietnam and it made a refreshing change to the hectic hustle and bustle of the Vietnam’s towns and cities. Biking at a leisurely pace through tiny villages and across lush green fields, we made several stops for photos en route, as we passed farmers drying rice on the side of the road and riding on bullocks through streams.
By the time we reached Tra Que village the guide had to practically pry me away from my bike, I could have happily rode all day. The great thing is that the following day is free and for those that want to independently explore the area on a bike and perhaps head to the beach, they can be hired for approx $3 per day from the hotel. What a bargain!
Tra Que is a quaint farming village on the outskirts of Hoi An. Here we donned conical hats and brown smocks and headed to the fields with the local farmer to learn about traditional methods of farming and have a go at hoeing and watering the fields ourselves. Don’t worry if you have an aversion to manual labour, you’ll get to pose for some wonderful photos in full Vietnamese farming gear and you’re not expected to actually do any work.
After tending the fields we sat down to soak our feet in buckets of warm scented water and there was the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing foot and shoulder massage. Just what all fake farmers need after an easy day’s work!
Replacing our conical hats with chef’s hats we topped off our village experience with a hands-on cooking demo. The highly amusing resident chef taught us how to make some really tasty Vietnamese omelettes and we then had the opportunity to cook up our own lunch, which involved much hilarity, flaming pans and tossing of omelettes with bean sprouts flying in all directions! Definitely a lot more fun than my usual mundane cooking at home.
To find out more about Clare’s trip to Vietnam, please email her at Clare@onthegotours.com.