A trip to Da Lat


Dalat, also Da Lat (Đà Lạt), located in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam, was originally the playground of the French who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City. Dalat looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Many of its hotels and houses are built in a French style. The city spreads across a series of pine-covered hills, with a small lake in the center and surrounded by higher peaks, making for some lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam. Temperatures are pleasantly warm by day, and quite cool at night, down to perhaps 10C.

Once again, Natalie was one step ahead of me, and had already arrived and booked the hotel before I arrived (gold star missy!)....xing chow mutha fucka!!

Dalat is weirdly described as the 'Paris of Vietnam'. I've never been to Paris but I am guessing it might have looked like this in the 70's on a bad day...it was a quirky place...supposed to be kitsch but I really couldn't see it myself. Still it was nice and cool and easy to stroll around. Plus we found a woman that made damn good cakes. The market was interesting - lots of chickens squeezed into cages, tubs of undulating eels (ew), hairdressers that were also greengrocers...and lots of very random hand knitted items.

The majority of things to do in Dalat are actually outside of the town so we booked a couple of motorbikers to take us on a tour the next day. Our drivers Jack and Dragon (woo I got to ride around mountains on the back of a dragon!) picked us up and helped us change hotel (bit of a mix-up, we were not thrown put) by whacking the huge rucksacs on the front of their bikes. Slightly scary but very nice of them nonetheless!

So we headed off into the mountains...first stopping at a flower farm, where ladies where sat packing up gerberras (My fave. Hint to anyone reading this) to pack off to the flower markets in Saigon...next we stopped at a coffee plantation where I was made to chew a coffee bud...was weird - tasted like paper!!!

We then went onto a silk-worm factory which was amazing...you can walk and see the process from beginning to end...from racks and racks of worms in their cocoons..all the way to the end machinery (all very wooden, basic and LOUD where they weave fabric and scarves etc. I bought a beaaautiful teal scarf.

Then we headed to Elephant waterfalls. I thought it would be a nice thing to stare at and then get back on the bike, but we actually had to climb down the back of the thing! Was good fun..fell down a rock or 2 and Dragon had to drag me up one (on my shins - ow - so ladylike)...behind the waterfall was great - so loud and we got soaked!!!

At the top we walked across to the Linh An Pagoda and went to see the HUGE buddah. He is a big, fat and smiley and is supposed to bring good luck and happiness.

We then went to a 'chicken minority village' - we were not quite sure what this was and had visions of little rejected albino chickens shunned up into the mountains :) But instead it is actually a small village made up of people that until not that long ago, lived in the forests and ate wild animals. It is called the chicken village due to an old folk story. The Government encourage them to come together and live in a community and help fund build the village which looked to be pretty much self sustaining.... it was so simple but it worked.. My favorite but was seeing some kids who had made some pull along toys made from fruit and were having the times of their lives running along with it.

We went for a nice lunch in a proper 'local' restuarant on the side of the road... the owners kids running around excited to have westeners there...out the back (to go to the loo) was puppies, cats, chickens, geese...

We went to another lot of waterfalls where to get the bottom was a toboggan ride, unfortunatly I got a little over excited, went too fast and slammed into the back of Natalie when she'd come to a standstill and gave us both whiplash..and me a nice big yellow/purple seatbelt sized bruise across me boobs. Owser.

Source: Travelblog



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