Photo: Your Easy Rider for the day.

Mr Rot's Secret Tour

Our rating:

The moment that Rot started making naughty jokes about vegetables in the middle of the market, we knew this tour was special. Mr Rot’s Secret Tour is a refreshing alternative to conventional Da Lat Easy Rider tours. And though we left the market in stitches, it’s not all fun and games. The Secret Tour is a window into Vietnamese and K’Ho minority culture.

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Who knew markets could be so fun?

Who knew markets could be so fun?

We have been on countless market tours in Southeast Asia. To our surprise, this ranks as one of the best we’ve ever experienced – not necessarily for the information, which was good, but because Rot made it fun. Life is too short to be serious about squashes. We don’t want to give away too many of the tour’s secrets, but we’re letting the cat out of the bag on this one: the big secret of the tour’s success is Rot himself.

Going down the mountain pass.

Going down the mountain pass.

Rot grew up in a K’Ho minority village, one of 14 children in a family of poor coffee famers. When he was eleven, a family in the city sponsored him and he became the only one of his siblings to attend school, a fact that he always carries with him. A walk through his home village’s muddy streets was a reminder to us all of how much of Vietnam’s 95 million people have simple, hard lives, living off the land.

Before you squeal, crickets are high in protein and minerals which can help chronic malnutrition in Southeast Asia.

Crickets are high in protein and minerals — they can help chronic malnutrition.

Rot is energetic, engaging — and mischievous. It certainly helps that he speaks K’Ho and we found ourselves invited into a woman’s home, a one room wooden hut with dirt floors. A hullabaloo ensued as more and more women dropped in to find out what was going on and to add to the chorus of opinion on every question we asked. The K’Ho are decidedly different than the majority Kinh (who make up 87% of the country’s population), and Rot explained the nuances of the matriarchal society where women must buy their husband, paid with precious family heirlooms. By the end of the visit, we had sold one of the strapping young German lads off to a grandmother for a 200-year-old bowl.

Scenery on route to the village.

Scenery on route to the village.

The full day US$35 tour will have you zipping on motorbike through Da Lat’s gorgeous countryside southwest of the city. There are stops at a few tourist sights such as a silk farm and the Elephant Waterfalls. The tour includes lunch and transport, either riding your own or on the back of average rental semi- or automatic motorbikes.

The big picture.

The big picture.

Mr Rot's Secret Tour
Villa Pink House, 7 Hai Thuong St, Da Lat
T: (0913) 953 300, (063) 381 5667
Admission: $35

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Da Lat.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Da Lat.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Da Lat.
 Read up on how to get to Da Lat, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Da Lat? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Vietnam with Tourradar.

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