Those travelling through central Vietnam will surely, at some stage, hear references to the famed Easy Riders. Though the term is now used to describe pretty much any motorbike driver willing to go beyond day-trip distance, the concept started life in Da Lat; the success of the initial Easy Riders group spawned a glut of copycat operators (this is Vietnam, after all), many of which now go under totally different names and, on occasion, are said to be better than the originals.

The machinations of Vietnamese tour operations mean that it’s hard to give any cast-iron recommendations. However, the best place to go shopping for a budding Vietnamese Dennis Hopper is the bottom end of Truong Cong Dinh, where several competing outfits vie for your affections. Most are able to produce telephone directory-size books filled with glowing recommendations, but copying is rife and these are to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Prices range from around $15 a day for a tour of the main sights in the city to around $75 a day for a longer trip, usually including accommodation and entrance fees to sights; feel free to suggest your own itinerary.

The standards and prices of local operators change like the wind, however, there is a simple trick for those planning to go on a long tour – go on a short one first. Spending a day, or even a half-day, with your prospective driver will give you a good indication of what they’ll be like on a week-long trip.

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