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Travel GuideTuesday, 10/10/2006, 02:32

Sidecars go deep in countryside, seaside and mountains of central VN  

If you’ve already explored the downtown area of Hoi An and other parts of central Vietnam on foot or by cyclo, bicycle or motorcycle, and wonder if there are any other ways to travel the region, consider a sidecar tour for your next trip
Sidecars go deep in countryside

Sidecars go deep in countryside, seaside and mountains of central VN  

The quite countryside of Hoi An 

If you�ve already explored the downtown area of Hoi An and other parts of central Vietnam on foot or by cyclo, bicycle or motorcycle, and wonder if there are any other ways to travel the region, consider a sidecar tour for your next trip. Victoria Hoi An Resort and Spa has launched sidecar tours of the countryside, along roads up to the Laos border area and through mountains and rivers of Central Vietnam.

Sidecar tours are for lovers of nature and adventure. Unlike the usual tours whose itineraries often include old houses, temples and shops in Hoi An, the sidecars take you to the quiet country outside of the town.

There, you can visit the tomb of the man believed to help build the town in the 16th century, as well as the little-known peaceful Van Duc pagoda in Dong Na Village. Local monks say the present beautifully carved building was constructed about 10 years ago on the land where a wooden pagoda had stood for some 400 years. The pagoda has an old wooden bell stick, a stone gong and numerous ornamental trees.

Claude Balland, general manager of Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort and Spa, and his staff will take you on a rough dyke path through paddy fields, where you can presently smell the fragrance of the harvest season and take photos of farmers working in the field.

You will also see farmers working on shrimp farms, and herds of cattle and buffalo lying leisurely or eating grass along the path in Tra Que Village, about three kilometers from the downtown area of Hoi An.

There in the villages, girls and boys will offer you their warmest greetings and smiles.

Leaving Hoi An after dinner for an overnight stay at the resort, the sidecars depart for Prao through the towns of Vinh Dien and Ai Nghia in Quang Nam Province. You will travel 70 kilometers of the Ho Chi Minh Highway to Prao, where you can learn about the lifestyle of ethnic groups and stay overnight in the urban area of the province. Wild flowers, roadside rocks and streams as well as adventure await you ahead.

Greenery-laden hills and mountain streams will welcome you on the Ho Chi Minh Highway from Prao to A Luoi of Thua Thien-Hue Province the next morning. After lunch in A Luoi, the sidecars head from the plateau down to the very narrow, winding steep pass called Me Oi (�Oh mother!�) before arriving in Hue. You will enjoy traditional music and songs as well as food specialties in the former imperial city.

The last leg of the four-day tour will take in Thuan An Sea in Thua Thien-Hue and the winding giant dragon-like pass Hai Van, which means �Pass of the Ocean Clouds,� as the peak is in the clouds while its base is close to the sea.

A road stretching 21 kilometers over the pass called De Nhat Hung Quan (�the most colossal frontier post�), winds back and forth to an elevation of over 430 meters above sea level. From the top of Hai Van Pass, you can see Lang Co Beach to the north, Danang to the south, forests to the west and the ocean to the east.

After a lunch on the peak of the pass, you will experience amazement at passing through the clouds, and excitement when traveling by sidecar through the dangerous bends of the road down. Balland said the pass was worth visiting and that it was a real challenge for not only drivers but also adventurers.

The Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort offers the sidecar excursion package at US$924 net per person, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, and drinks at the resort and en-route. 

Balland said he and his staff could accommodate from four to six guests at a time for trips around Hoi An Town and to the Laos border area, as well as other attractions along the hundreds of kilometers to and from the resort.

Balland said the resort decided to launch the sidecar tour in response to the requests of  guests after the success of a similar experimental trip months ago.

You can book a two-hour sidecar tour to the countryside of Hoi An from only US$15 to US$25.

 


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