Cycling along a dusty track, our eyes feasted on the lush green paddy fields spanning out in front of us.
Just a short journey from the quaint Vietnamese town of Hoi An had taken us past pretty lotus ponds and grazing water buffalo on a beautiful bike ride into the Quang Nam province.
Keen to see the surrounding area, my friends and I had booked onto the Love Of Life bicycle tour.
Following our grinning guide Vinh, we set off on a five-hour excursion, peddling past rice farmers, fisherman and a beautiful Buddhist temple.
Arriving in Tra Que vegetable village, where families have grown fresh produce for 500 years, we were greeted by friendly villagers in their traditional ‘Nón Lá’ hats tending to their crops. As we all dismounted Vinh explained about the different types of sweet herbs and green vegetables.
Next we peddled on to pretty An Bang beach where Vinh passed around a traditional treat of soy pudding and ginger syrup…
With our bikes loaded onto a boat we shuffled up with the other passengers on a gentle river cruise back to the town.
Meanwhile Vinh chatted enthusiastically about the area and its traditions. When I asked if he was married he pulled out his phone to show me a picture of the fiancee he cannot marry until he has appropriately mourned his deceased father.
He explained that when a parent has passed away the custom is to wait three years before getting married. Vinh was two years into his wait and counting down the days to wed his beloved.
‘When a parent gets sick weddings are often arranged very quickly!’ he said.
Disembarking and cycling back into Hoi An we parked up our trusty wheels and were invited into a house for a culinary feast of local delicacies. Afterwards the tables were cleared away and one by one we received blissful foot massages with lemongrass water and eucalyptus.
This was all part of a bargain-priced tour Vinh insists promotes a happy heart and soul – and judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces it would be hard to disagree :)