Bike Riding & Cooking Classes in Hoi An, Vietnam
I’ll be honest, I was so very nervous about getting on a bike in Vietnam. I knew it was coming… the whole reason I was in the country was for my friends’ wedding, and for her hen’s party for some crazy reason she decided she wanted to risk life and limb by getting on a bike and navigating the chaotic, bustling streets on two wheels. I just prayed we would be given helmets!
It turns out I truly had nothing to worry about. Once I was on the bike and weaving the way through the dusty streets, everything surprisingly seems to slow down and become quite peaceful. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our Vietnam Bike Riding Adventure Begins...
The day began with the whole group meeting outside the cooking school in Hoi An. There were about a dozen ladies waiting to ride and it was early, we had only just finished breakfast and the streets were still quiet. While we waited, a truck pulled up with a huge collection of bicycles on the back, and two men started offloading them. I was pleased to see each bike had a helmet attached!
Our friendly guide gave us a quick run-down of what we were going to see that day, and after a quick practice ride and adjusting of seats, we were off. There were actually four guides with the group, and they rode their bikes alongside us making sure everyone was ok and that no-one was falling behind. Once we were away and pedalling, everyone relaxed and started enjoying themselves, and the calm and friendly guides really helped with this.
Navigating the Traffic in Vietnam on a Bike
Watching the Vietnam traffic, it’s hard to imagine that it was a peaceful experience, but it really was! The locals were obviously very used to tourists, and even though there was a lot of traffic everyone kept a respectful distance from each other, and as long as you guided your bike with confidence and didn’t do any drastic moves, it really was very safe and loads of fun.
Our first stop was the Central Markets, a crowded and colourful hive of activity with rows and rows of exotic fruits and vegetables, whole and freshly ground spices and a vast array of other Vietnamese cooking ingredients. The locals were bargaining hard, and we wandered through open butchery sections and past endless stalls of fresh fish caught that morning – it was messy, slippery, and quite strong on the nose! I could only imagine how the heady fragrance would change as the day heated up, and I was glad to be visiting in the relative coolness of the early morning.
Next Stop: Vietnamese Kitchen Farm & Rice Paddies
Back on the bikes, we headed out of town to a kitchen farm to see where and how all the tasty Vietnamese herbs and vegetables are grown. We had been riding for a while by this time, and the delicious smell of fragrant herbs and spices was getting everyone’s tummies rumbling.
After our visit to the gardens, we continued on our bikes along winding paths through vast rice paddies, passing the occasional buffalo and farmer going about their day in the fields. It was a very hot day and we were all supremely grateful for the frequent water stops along the way.
Next Stop: Vietnamese Cooking School
As much fun as the bike riding was, we were a bit hot and weary when we headed back into town and returned to the cooking school. Once inside we were served delicious and refreshing Vietnamese drinks, I highly recommend trying the lychee and ginger! Once we had all cooled and refreshed ourselves, it was time to start our cooking class. For two hours we were given live demonstrations and then guided through hands-on preparation of dishes including Hoi An Crispy Pancakes, Rice Paper Rolls and Cau Lau. After each dish was prepared we were allowed to eat it, so our hungry bellies were slowly and satisfyingly filled up as the class continued.
Bikes & Cooking: A great way to experience Vietnam and Hoi An
Thankfully at the end of the class we were given the recipes so we could try the dishes again at home.
Our group was tired by the end of the day, but everyone unanimously agreed it was a fantastic experience that was unique, not only to Vietnam, but to Hoi An itself with the traditional dishes we made during the class. The guides were friendly and helpful, the bikes were in excellent condition (with helmets!), and of course the Vietnamese food always delicious – even when cooked by inexperienced chefs like us!
Check out our 3 day / 2 night Classic Hoi An trip here.
Want to find out more?
Want to find out more about independent and meaningful travel adventures to Vietnam from Australia? Here’s some links that might help:
- Find out more about Vietnam travel: inspiration travel advice and more
- Month to month guide: Check out our month by month guide covering the Best Times to Visit Vietnam
- Ready-made Itineraries: View Vietnam ready-made adventure and meaningful travel itineraries
- Build your own itinerary: Create your own Vietnam adventure with our bite size trips
- Contact us: Contact a friendly Rickshaw Travel Vietnam expert