Da Lat: The Wellington of Vietnam

Our bus trip from Nha Trang to Da Lat was awful. The road is really steep and twisty, and our driver threw us around the corners with reckless abandon, passed slower vehicles on blind corners, and pumped the brakes instead of slowing smoothly. I managed to hold my stomach contents until the last 15 minutes. We’ve decided not to spend more than two hours on a bus for the rest of our travel.

Da Lat, though, is beautiful. It is hilly, lush, and green. Instead of rice, it produces wine and strawberries (although it seems NZ strawbs are superior, as we have seen signs for them!). The temperature here is a comfortable 25 degrees. And, only two weeks into our trip, and we finally have some sunshine!

Da Lat also feels a little bit less ‘scammy’, as it is more of a holiday destination for Vietnamese than for foreign tourists. There are very few touts, and we feel like we can trust the people here a little bit more.

Today, we visited the ‘Crazy House’, a series of ‘houses’ with very unconventional architecture. It was pretty amazing! It still functions as a hotel, although I don’t think you would want to try to find your room at night after a couple of drinks…

For lunch, we had obviously found a place that was infrequently visited by Westerners… The locals stared at us while we were eating. The owner came out and sat with us for a while. He asked Matt how much Matt’s shoes and sunglasses cost. He then picked up Matt’s sunglasses from the table and tried them on, then asked if he could buy them! Usually it is the other way around. It was an uncomfortable but not negative experience.

Later, we walked around the lake to the flower gardens. They were good for photos but not really our thing, the pollution was noticeable and they weren’t as impressive as we had expected.

On the way home, we stopped by an icecream restuarant (aptly located on Pasteur St). I have been craving icecream since we left New Zealand! I had a delicious but unusual green tea and red bean sundae. Da Lat seems to be full of icecream stores and we might have to try another one tomorrow.