Monday, 21 June 2010

Dalat - The Roof of Vietnam

Dalat is certainly a different presentation of Vietnam. Today was all about exploring this new side.

We slept like logs last night after the lack of sleep the night before. Waking up around 9 we headed to the bakery; one result of the French influence in the area is fantastic cake stalls and bakeries. We bought fresh baguettes and fillings for lunch and cakes and pastries for breakfast. Scoffing down the pastries with much enjoyment, we were on the motos by 1030.

We headed south, and within 5km we came to the Tuyen Lam Lake - it was a fantastic sight - a mix that is rarely found: dragon boats floating around in a highland lake.

From there we headed down the huge mountain pass that leads up to Dalat and onto the highway that leads toward Ho Chi Minh City. We continued along this road for a while; looking for the "Chicken Village" - a village with a giant chicken statue in the middle of it. Sadly we never found it! That was a bit of a shame as it sounds pure comedy.

Instead of dwelling on the lost chicken search we went further down the road to the Gogah Ecopark. The main feature of the park is the impressive waterfall, and the canyon that you can climb down into. We had lunch at some tables overlooking the waterfall. Also in the park are a series of "Old Vietnamese Houses", these were slightly less impressive; more a series of shacks, we didn't dwell on them long and got back on the road.

Continuing further south we couldn't find the second waterfall that we were hoping to see and had to turn back as we were now 55km from Dalat. However, on the way back we saw a signpost to Bao Dai Falls that were 12km off the main highway.

The falls were well worth the detour and the precious petrol though. They were absolutely stunning. We were the only people there and it seemed like a hidden beauty. The falls must have been 100m high and 60m wide. The water seemed incredibly powerful and we took videos to demonstrate it. It was also possible to clamber a long way down towards the foot of the falls; which gave even more of an impressive angle. We left the falls feeling that it was well worth the 24km detour even if we were all looking a bit bow-legged by now and still had 45km to go back to Dalat.

We took it reasonably slow on the way back to the highway; it seemed that the falls had been a hidden beauty as the people working in the paddy fields around the road seemed shocked to see white people. Back on the Highway we stuck to a steady pace to try and conserve fuel - having to put 1/2 a litre in each bike to try and keep them going. As we ascended to Dalat the temperature fell dramatically and we urged our bikes up the 10km ascent, with the little fuel they had left.

Back at the hotel our minds and bums were grateful that we had finished the day - the concentration of riding 130km in Vietnam on a moped is intense! And the seats aren't exactly a feather cushions. It had been a very enjoyable day though, with some spectacular views again.

This evening we are going to find a good restaurant and perhaps sample some of the local wine and coffee.

Dalat certainly shows the amazing diversity in Vietnam.

1 comment:

  1. I do hope you mean cake stalls not cake stools!