You don’t have skydive out of a plane to be a daredevil. You don’t have to eat strange bugs or worms to be an adventurist. You don’t have to act all crazy and shout Whoo-Haa! like a Geronimo madman, to invite a little devilish thrill into your life. Sometimes, adventure and danger can fit into the simplest and most ordinary things; and if you’re a solo traveler, occasionally it’s the simplest things that can feel the most dangerous!
1. Cross a Vietnamese street.
Ready for a death wish? Offhand, crossing a Vietnamese street can like a feat for daredevils, but I assure you there’s a simple trick to it. Just go slow and with caution. Use the lady in the photo and video as an example. Do it with a group first and then you know what? When no one’s looking, try it on your own!
Video of an old lady crossing the street and then of me crossing the street
2. Rent a motorbike to sightsee the city or countryside.
In Vietnam what else is there to do?Motorcycle madness (read my experience here) is in full swing as the culture’s predominant mule. Streets in larger cities like Hanoi and Saigon can feel stressful and manic; unless you’re an advanced driver, why not start small? Rent a bike in one of the smaller towns or villages where you can enjoy easy motoring. There’s nothing like exploring a town’s map or local countryside on your own terms via motorbike. Moreover, you feel at one with nature, free and need I say, empowered?For advanced riders seeking a cross-country trip: why not book a tour with Easy Riders. 20 years in the service of handling motorbike tours, I hear they’re pretty incredible!
3. Ride a xIClo
Hop aboard, take a one hour ride through the streets at the pace of Old Vietnam before the modern motorbike arrived. What’s so dangerous about riding in bike-pedaled pedicabs? Aside from breathing exhaust fumes, perhaps not much. But unfortunately, these age-old vehicles may be extinct soon. Due to the fact they add to the traffic problem in heavily touristy areas, Vietnam is closing in to ban them from operation.
4. Ride threesome on a motorbike taxi.
Motorcycles are Vietnam’s modern-day station wagon– families toting babies and children (3-4 to a chair), two men moving a dresser bureau…! Why not experience what it’s like to be a Vietnamese family? Hire a motorbike taxi, step in and have a laugh as you gain insight into what it’s like being a third wheel!
5. Eat the street food
“Avoid the street food! ” people say; yet some travelers do it and live to tell its tale. Street food is a big part of local culture and the fast food preference of hungry Vietnamese. Cooked on the spot, you can cop a squat on a plastic foot stool and peruse through menus, ranging from a cardboard sign to a grease splattered one page carte du jour. While I can’t guarantee the food being better than restaurants or that practices are always sanitary, it offers front row ground-level seating to the popular local spectator sport of street watching!