riding a bike, revisited

Da Lat Travel Blog

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so far, vietnam tops the worst traffic rankings for me by far... even in smaller cities like nha trang or dalat the kamikaze motorbikes are everywhere... so what place could be better for picking up my motorbike driving skills if not vietnam? last time (= first time) in laos that i've tried i fell flat on my face, and there was no traffic. today, add a passenger on the backseat and the day couldn't be more interesting!

well, as i am writing this blog entry, it should be clear already that at least my life and my arms are unaffected, even the suicidal passenger behind me is still alive. in fact, i didn't even crash!

i am in dalat now, sapa of the south, a 20 degrees (less at night) mountain retreat of the kings (in the good old times), domestic tourists (i.e. honeymooners) and a few international ones.
6 hours opentour bus ride away from nha trang. i'm a bit disappointed, the weather is great & cool but the city itself has no flair at all... i thought of some kitsch, pink hotels and other stuff... but the only thing so far were the swan-boats on the lake and the big cinderella castle like resorts around it.

there is the dreams hotel in town... top rated on travelfish, in lonelyplanet and recommended by the hotel in nha trang. i arrive in dalat and surprise surprise, it's the ugliest/cheapest looking place i've been so far in vietnam. just when i stopped doubting travelfish reviews, ah well... maybe dalat just isn't a back/flashpacker budget town. i don't really see the benefit of coming here anyway besides the nice temperatures.

my daypack is falling apart and i need a new one asap.
.. go figure, there is one town in vietnam that isn't full with (counterfeit) backpack shops and this town is dalat apparently...

the sights around dalat are best visited on motorbike so i teamed up to see the former king's palace, a temple, a flower park and a waterfall... the waterfall was the best thing i've seen so far in vietnam. not because of the waterfall but there was a ride down to the waterfall in small carts with own accelerator / brakes! damn that was the best fun 30000 kip can buy you!

the bike ride was fun... order through chaos best describes traffic rules here... no rules but everyone alert and watching his surroundings or if not watching at least honking until everything moves out of the way. i adopted the honking strategy quickly as i've learned that nothing keeps the road clearer than 2 tourists on a motorbike non stop honking and with fear in their eyes. there were even some easyrider feelings coming up on the highway (only to be stopped by two overtaking busses on crash course with you of course). great fun, will do it again so i'm skilled enough to master angkor wat on my own two wheels :-)

flickr set: dalat
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Da Lat
photo by: Biedjee