Without giving too much away on the secret tour I cant help myself but write a little about this incredible man and whats he’s upto. First of all he is one funny fucker! You cant help but be drawn in by his charm and cheekiness. I haven’t laughed so hard and learned so much in one day as I did with him. Jokes aside he gives you a real look into Vietnam and the questions every other tour guide wouldn’t answer. Actually the ones they can’t answer.
I feel comfortable revealing a few things that happen on this tour but true to my word to Mr Rot I wont tell his secret. After contacting him directly he will explain the outline of the day, that he will pick you up in the morning at 8am-ish and drop you back in the evening around 6pm or so. That’s it! This I’m sure prevents almost all but the most curious of tourists from joining, which is great because it keep the group small and interesting.
If you want a total surprise now is the time to scroll right to the bottom and you’ll find his Contact details. Otherwise I’m going to let out most of what you’ll get upto over the day.
So, we started the morning with a trip out to the country side for a little bit to eat, we were shown a bunch of different animals like crocodiles, deer, scorpions, these fuzzy funny looking rats and far to many crickets. We were also taken through a small homemade rice wine brewery that made my stomach turn thanks to the smell interacting with my hangover. Turns out breakfast was fried crickets and a potent milky ricewine. I actually enjoyed the crickets, they had been fried with ginger and were pretty tasty! Lets just say the ricewine wasn’t the hair of the dog drink I was looking for but good old peer pressure had me drinking my fill.
From there we headed to a local market where we were taken around to a few different stalls and given explanations on many things I would otherwise overlook. The most interesting of which was the stall of paper objects. We learned that the Vietnamese celebrate the death of their loved ones anniversary every year by burning paper offerings. Paper replicas of things they believe they send onward to their loved ones through this process, everything from horses to ipnones to fake USD. We also tried a lot of street foods that I wouldn’t have known existed, these like the crickets were really tasty despite the way they looked.
From there we headed had a lesson in not being an offensive tourist in Vietnam. For instance, bowing with your hands together in thanks like many do in Thailand is actually wishing someone to the grave in Vietnam. He also taught us a rough guide to bargaining and that bargaining early in the day is pointless as locals believe that the luck of their day in sales is determined by their first sale, there for they will be less likely to bargain with you. Also males will always pay a higher price, which is why he usually takes a woman with him to the markets when shopping for himself. The lessons and time in the markets were mixed in with a barrage of jokes and pranks that had everyone in stitches of laughter throughout our time there.
From there we moved on with a couple stops here and there and a few other little lessons as we went. Next up we found ourselves at a silk factory. I knew silkworms made silk cocoons and then someone spun it but I had no idea what that would look like on an industrial scale. Its absolutely crazy, there are so many moving parts and people that go to into spinning silk without it becoming a huge mess.
After this we headed off to Elephant Waterfalls which is also an incredible sight to see and if you want to get close expect to get muddy, be careful though because the ‘path’ is a maze and doesn’t allow much room for error. Be aware though that there is a lot of rubbish wedged between rocks and roots but this is a problem plaguing all of Asia. Also Be sure to head left at the first chance along the path and go find the cavern where you can stand beneath the raging torrents!
From there we were taken to the middle of nowhere for lunch cooked by some locals and fed until we were more then full. After a morning of what seemed like a usual ‘off the beaten path’ tourist destinations we had a lesson in local customs, traditions, language, politics, history and a true insight to the minority cultures in Vietnam.
It was at this point I started to realise what the secret tour had just started. There are certain factors of good fortune, great values, and a unique personal history mixed in with his charming personality that make Mr Rot the only person who can do what he does and get away with it. These elements add up to why this part is a secret and that for this experience to continue it must stay that way. The days activities to this point and the time I spent with Mr Rot had been fun and educational and would have been a good tour that I would have recommended to anyone. Its what happened next that makes it the best tour I’ve done in Asia. And keeping to my word I wont go into too much detail, what I will tell you is that I learned more then I imagined, I was scared, happy, humbled and adored. I was asked to stay and I was even sold for two antique necklaces. Mr Rots Secret tour will be a day I’ll never forget and a moment in time that I will be forever grateful!