This was a 3 day 2 night tour offered through our hostel that we felt we had to do because it was primarily exercise based. As we all have been feeling like garbage as a result of our heavy drinking and lack of exercise, we decided it was a good time to get our butts in gear. We had an early start and drove to Tan’s Homestay in Mai Chao, surrounded by rice fields and rolling hills. We had a delicious homemade lunch and then set off on a 3 hour bike tour through the villages and rice fields. It was nice having earned the beer at the end of the day! To all of our surprise, none of us fell over either! Haley had a close call, but a close call isn’t a fall! That night we had dinner, which was followed by some local traditional dancing. It was so elegant and peaceful until the last dance where they wanted us to participate. The next thing I knew the music sped up, there were people holding bamboo piled on the ground and we were told to dance through it. I approached it like doing cardio ladders, quick feet and get out of there as soon as possible. Can’t day what we did was anything close to dancing, but it was sure fun and I had a smile on my face throughout. To end it off we were given what looked like an urn with a birthday wrapping lid. Soon to be stabbed through the top with multiple bamboo straws and I was reunited with rice wine! Yum yum yum! After finishing it up rather quickly we all hit the hay as we had a big trek the next day.
On the way to the trek starting point we stopped at a bamboo factory. At this particular one we were able to watch full poles of bamboo be broken down through each step and eventually become to reusable chopsticks we’ve been using everyday here! It was incredible to see all these people working so hard while keeping a smile on their face. It put work life at home into perspective that’s for sure.
We trekked 15km through villages, up and down the hills and through the rice fields. It is yet another in awe landscape whenever you see it. I think my eyes were open wide the whole time. That being said, we were hiking with our backpacks and before we got to the mid point for lunch we were all rather hangry (hungry/angry). The cherry on the top was when our guide said we were almost there and the “almost there” was another 2-3km UP. It was a great time. Once we were fed and watered we were all back to life and kept going for part 2! Needless to say, the beers were deserved and falling asleep was not an issue.
Our last day before heading home we stopped at a river to do some bamboo rafting. It was a lot of fun, but I’ll be the first to say that kennedy and I are a far better kayaking team than bamboo rafting team. It was fun nevertheless and something I have definitely never done.