A Nice City.
Da Lat Travel Blog› entry 37 of 105 › view all entries
The bus entered the central highlands as the day broke. The sun rose beautifully over the dark rolling hills and we entered a valley where nestled at the bottom, lay the city of Dalat. It was beautiful, with a large lake, forests and a weird European/French feel to it. Clear skies and a bright early morning sun but as i stepped out it was cold. Damn cold. I walked and found a hotel, the cheapest being $7 (orginally $9) but sat nicely on a slight hill overlooking the lake. A persistent but friendly moto driver showed me the hotel, hoping that i use his services for the day. There are a famous group of "easyriders" in Dalat (which has now extended to most of Vietnam). They take you on moto rides through the countryside and i have had many recommendations to do this. After settling into my room, handwashing some clothes and watching BBC news, i left the hotel for a walk around the City but the same moto driver found me within a minute. He showed me a small book with written testimonials of previous customers and explained how he was a local driver who is cheaper than the easyriders. They are $20 for the day, he is $12. I took his number and said i would ring him if i wanted to take him up on the offer. The lake was lovely and the center of the city had these great markets. Fish splattering in tubs of water were pulled out and gutted for customers. Crammed wooden cages contained chickens, geese and piglets - unable to move from the lack of space. I called the moto driver, named My (with a squiggly accent mark above the y) and he picked me up. The ride through the countryside was spectacular. I was hugely tired from my lack of sleep on the overnight bus and i drifted in and out of conciousness as we passed rolling hills, coffee fields and colourful flower gardens. The sun warmly shon on my shoulders and dotted cloud cast brief shadows on the dusty red paths. Crossed surging rivers and passed glimmering lakes. Stopped for Pho (beef noodle soup). Outside the restaurant was the most friendly/cute dog who seemed ecstatic that someone was giving him attention. He bit playfully at my ankles and wrapped himself around my legs, and barked at me when i chose to leave. A moto passed with boxes of geese strapped to the side and squealing pigs strapped onto the back. We visited an incredible thundering waterfall. I had tea with village minorities who wove clothing. Visited a quiet silk worm factory. Visited a series of beautiful gardens sitting my another huge lake where i chatted to a local girl. We drove to a cable car station at the top of a hill for views over the city as it began to grow dark. Passed a French Village and an Old Railway station before stopping for good Vietnamese Coffee. I ate an early meal of noodle soup before collapsing on my bed for a movie and proper sleep.