Meet Dat, currently living a life behind bars in Hoi An, Vietnam. What sounds like a tragic scenario is quite the opposite, as we’re referring to handlebars of course! This is the second installation of our ‘Life behind bars’ series. It's a chance for you to get to know the personalities and stories behind our cycle tours.
Let us introduce you to Dat - an invaluable member of the Grasshopper family who leads tours in Vietnam. After working for Grasshopper Adventures for three years, Dat recently moved from tour guiding in Saigon to Hoi An and wants to share some thoughts on what makes Hoi An such a great place to live and to visit.
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" - Saint Augustine.
Dat recently had the experience of a lifetime when he traveled around Vietnam and neighboring countries. After two months in the lovely Lan Ha Bay, Dat was set to return to his home in Ho Chi Minh city when his senior tour guide asked whether or not Dat wanted to pursue another adventure in Hoi An for a month first.
Dat has always wanted to experience life in Hoi An. It is a charming city with an authentic countryside feel and lovely people. Hoi An's tourism industry is one of the most successful in Vietnam, so this is an opportunity to learn from the best.
Most of the hotels and villas in this charming port city there are beautiful and well designed. There, attention to detail is key. Unlike in some other tourist centers where homestays and three-star hotels are set up carelessly everywhere. As Dat talked to Ms. Loan - Grasshopper Adventures Hoi An shop supervisor- he learned how much effort the team has to put in to stand out from the tour agencies that you find every few steps when walking through town. The Grasshopper Adventures Hoi An team prepares every little detail for each tour with a lot of heart.
It is Hoi An itself that made Dat not want to return home, however. The Hoi An Old Town at night is fascinating. All the lanterns you find everywhere light up the city and make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Right outside of the town is the picturesque countryside where people live happily with what little they have. In the cities, you see a lot of people rushing without enjoying the simple things in daily life. The local people here in the countryside near Hoi An are so friendly.
On top of that, the environment is so clean in Hoi An. Well, compared to the 15 million people and 8 million motorbikes in Saigon, Hoi An is like a paradise. You can easily feel the fresh air here. For someone like Dat who lives in a big city, it comes as a relief to be rid of the polluted air and crazy motorbike traffic.
What Dat loves most about being a tour guide? It is the freedom it gives him to explore different perspectives and the world around him. Dat’s favorite Grasshopper tour in Hoi An to lead is definitely the Bike & Kayak adventure. On this tour, not only do you get to experience the Old Town by bike, but you also get to explore the countryside. Tourists who are not familiar with Vietnamese culture will love to stop by the homes of local families to see what they are producing in their homes, and have the opportunity to try local food and rice wine, too! The best part of the day, however, is getting to kayak along the Thu Bon River and see awesome views and local life.
Hoi An has so much in store, even for someone like Dat who grew up in the same country!