Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Even though there was some really pretty scenery on the way to Dalat from Nha Trang it was just another long bus ride. When I had booked the bus ticket I had ask if the bus stopped at the Thap Cham Tower since my guidebook said a lot of the buses did and they said of course. The stop in the middle of the bus ride would have been a nice way to break up the long bus ride and do some sight seeing but of course my bus did not stop there.

Dalat is in the central highlands of Vietnam and at an elevation of about 1500 meters it is only a little bit lower than Denver. I figured it might be cold like Sapa had been but it was one of the warmest places I had been in Vietnam so far. The weather was prefect, bright clear sunny and just gorgeous hilly landscape around the town.

I booked a tour that sounded interesting since most of the tourist attractions are a bit out of town and I figured I could not handle all the hills on a bike. We started in a minority village. These are the Lat people and the name of the town Dalat come from their name and language. The French converted these people to a sort of Catholicism and since we where visiting on a Sunday they were all in Church. This is a picture of their church.

We visited the village chief but I had a really hard time understanding his English but he kept telling us his French was much better but that may just be because the French talk fast and he seemed to try and talk English at super sonic speed. I did enjoy tasting the rice wine at the chief's house.

Next we stopped and looked at a coffee field. I had seen a coffee plant for the first time in Hue but was surprise to learn that Vietnam is the number 1 exporter of coffee, just recently passing Brazil. Here is a picture of a plant, which they cut low so they can pick the beans but we also saw a tree later in the day.

Vietnam also grows flowers to export and we visited a green house but I was more impressed with some of the flowers growing along the side of the road. This one makes me think of a poinsettia but I have no idea what it is.

We also visited a tea field, a place where they made rice wine and a place where they make silk. I did not know that the worms that spin the silk are sold to be eaten after removing the silk threads. The guide said that they ladies that work in the place where they spin the silk make around 2 US Dollars a day. I spend about double that on beer a day.

We visited a couple of different waterfalls and following is the one that I enjoyed the most. It was a bit of a climb to get down to the base of the waterfall and when I made it to the base I got drenched from the spray. The spray was really refreshing on the hot day.

After the second waterfall we took a cable car to the other side of the hill and than went to what they call the crazy house. The crazy house is a guesthouse that is still in the process of being built so there are some rooms that are not complete but a lady is designing it and allowing tours to help pay for the building. The name really fits as the place is unique.

I really enjoyed this day tour and was happy I decided to take it but did not do a lot on the following day in Dalat. I walk around the city a lot, set and readed some by the lake and visited the Bao Dai's Summer Palace. Bao Dai was one of the emperors near the end of the French rule of Vietnam and the only thing that really struck me about the palace was that someone needs to clean the bath tubs.

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