After spending two days in Hanoi we woke up early to catch a plane to Da Lat. At the airport there was a shuttle service that took us half an hour to downtown Da Lat for only 40,000 baht. The shuttle was suppose to drop us off at our hostel but instead dropped us off at some random hotel. However, we got lucky as there were two “Original Da Lat Easy Riders” waiting at the drop off point. (There are actually many motorcycle tour companies in Da Lat so I have no idea if these are the originals)
They drove us to our hostel (The Backpacker’s Paradise) and waited for us while we checked in. Then we headed off with them for a half day tour of the countryside ($25 usd, but if you pay in baht they tend to give you a better rate)
After the scorching heat in Hanoi, Da Lat was basically paradise. The French used to stay here as an escape from the hot weather.
If you’re concerned about safety, I actually felt pretty safe on the back of Tin Tin’s bike. So it’s no big deal.
Along the country side there were many greenhouses full of roses and other types of flowers. So we got to visit one along the way.
They also took us to a coffee plantation that sold weasel poo coffee. OUUU (Tin Tin told us that the short coffee plant produced better coffee because they were small like asians haha) Weasel Poo coffee is made by feeding weasels the best coffee beans and collecting their poop.
I figured that you couldn’t buy this in Canada so I decided to try a cup of Vietnamese Weasel Poop coffee. I seriously hope they cleaned these coffee beans well. It cost 60,000 baht and came with condensed milk, tea and this amazing view.
The Easy Riders then took us to Elephant Falls. This was my favourite part of the tour. I got to climb rocks, shower in a waterfall, and hang off branches.
The rocks were a little slippery due to the water. While taking pictures my friend almost fell in. :O
By the Elephant Falls there was a temple with the happiest looking buddha ever and a dragon statue that looked like Mushu from Mulan
Before lunch, we visited a silk factory. I thought it was super cool. In order to make silk, the cocoons were placed in boiling water, agitated with large chopsticks, and then put in a large tub. The loosened strings were then threaded into a wheel and the cocoons bobbed in the water as they unraveled. Tin Tin told us that each cocoon was composed of 800 meters of silk.
At lunchtime we were taken to a pho restaurant to eat. There were chickens roaming around and they served snake wine (this is supposed to be good for old men…) and bird wine. The pho was pretty gapped here and since Da Lat was a lot cooler it was nice to eat. My friend also found out he was freakishly burnt while we were eating. He was bright red. The troubles of being pastey.
After lunch we were driven to a small house that was actually a wine factory. If any of you have ever had Chinese rice wine you might remember the district smell it had. That is exactly how this factory smelt. To create the wine they cooked rice and then fermented it in large blue barrels. After cooking it the alcohol eventually evaporated and filtered out into the small plastic jug pictured below. Pretty neat. Although, definitely not the most hygienic way to do things.
We stopped by a rice noodle factory on the way back to the city but because it was late in the day the factory had already closed 🙁 So instead we took a look at workers creating granite bricks. To break them they chipped a hole in the centre and then hit the slab with a hammer.
Our last stop of the day was a visit to the Crazy House. It was nothing that I expected. From the entrance, the building looked small but when you entered it was it was like a huge maze. To me, the building resembled a dead tree with an overgrowth of roots. There were stairwells everywhere and a lot of construction was under way to expand the crazy house.
The architect of this building actually lives here. When I entered the room she was sitting in it was so awkward. It was super quiet and only her and what appeared to be two of her friends were sitting in the room. I didn’t think I was even allowed in there so I just stood like a statute and waited until my friend entered too. I guess she noticed I was standing awkwardly so she told me I could take a picture. Since my phone was dead I had to borrow my friends phone. However, I didn’t notice that she meant I could take a picture of her. So instead I took a picture of the room and ceiling of the room because it was decorated very elaborately. But apparently she was posing for me to take a picture. oops.
At night we headed out to the Dalat Market. Like all night markets I have been to there were clothing, souvenir, and food stalls.
One of the popular dishes in this area was a fried rice pancake (not sure what it’s called though). The pancake is a rice sheet that is cooked on top of a coal grill with wire meshing. I’m not sure what it was filled with but were was egg, laughing cow cheese, sauces and random vegetables and sausage. There are many pancake vendors at the market so look around for a busy one in order to get a good pancake. Ours was located near the large stairwell and we were told that hers were the best. I suggest that you do not purchase food from the vendors on the stairwell because they are not allowed to sell there. So you will sometimes see them run when police come by.
The next morning we headed towards the Big C Supermarket to get cream for my peeling friend. From our hostel it was about a half an hour walk. But along the way we were able to walk by the Xuan Huong Lake and see all the high school students write their university entrance exams. I must say that one kid looked truly defeated afterwards 🙁
The main reason we went to Da Lat was to go canyoning. When we were in Da Lat the area where canyoning normally had been recently taken over by the government. Therefore, it was difficult to find a canyoning tour when we arrived. We booked ours online from Da Lat Passion Tours and ended up being able to go in the afternoon.
We got to abseil down two waterfalls (25m and the washing machines, trek through the forest, slide down rocks and cliff jump off both a 7m and 11m cliff. A M A Z I N G
This is truly a series of highly embarrassing photos that make me look like I’m incompetent and shouldn’t be allowed out of the house. But it was so much fun and that’s all that matters isn’t it?
When we got back we were pooped but we wanted to make the most of our last night in Da Lat. So we headed out to the Da Lat Market for Vietnamese hot pot. Mmmm I love hot pot. The soup was super good!
After walking around the night market and buying my super cute panda sweater we headed back to our hostel to get some sleep before our early morning bus to Mui Ne.