Our first full day in Dalat, apparently the Romantic city of Vietnam. We needed to send a parcel of goods home that we had acquired from our market shopping spree in Ho Chi Minh. It cost us a tad more than we were hoping at £60 but I suppose that's what to expect with 5kgs of bags!
We decided to spend the day exploring Dalat and booked onto the Canyoning tour the next day with Sinh Tourist at $30 each which was the cheapest we found.
The city of Dalat was really quite something, the architecture was so different to anywhere I'd been in South East Asia before and I loved that! The centre was pretty quiet during the day in comparison to what we experienced the night before but crossing the road was still a life and death situation with all the hundreds of mopeds and motorbikes on the road. Although pedestrian crossings exist here, they don't really in the sense that they are just seen as random white lines in the road. I'm sure most of the Vietnamese don't actually even know what they are for! Unfortunately, every time you want to cross the road, you just have to go for it, but very slowly, or you literally will just stay there all day! I'm not very good at it, but thankfully Matthew is getting into the swing of things!
We found a cafe called, 'Bicycled Up', which Sarah recommended. It was really quirky with old antiques and old bicycles hanging from the walls. Unfortunately, they only sold drinks and we were starving so we headed across the road for some food in a lovely little restaurant with a balcony that overlooked the hustle and bustle below. Nicely fed and watered, we wanted to see one of the temples in Dalat, the Linh Phuoc Pagoda. We realised we only had an hour before it closed so dashed into a taxi. The beautiful Hindu and Buddhist temple was made out of smashed colourful china; plates, cups and bowls I'd imagine! It looked amazing and so different! After an hour or so of exploring the huge temple, we headed back.
Later that evening, we found a lovely little pizzeria where you could write on the wall. Matt and I both wrote a little message each so we hope we can go back one day and see it! The food was amazing and we finished off the evening with a drink back at Bicycled Up.
The next day was the famous Canyoning tour that seems to be a must whilst staying in Dalat. Sinh Tourist picked us up bang on time (as per usual) and collected the others on route. There were about 10 of us on the tour which was great as everyone was super friendly! Once at the Canyoning waterfalls, we were taught how to abseil. When I say taught, they showed us once... we practiced once... and that was it! Then straight onto the first task, a 30 meter high waterfall! Everyone was nervous as it was pretty damn high and very fast flowing! I really enjoyed it at the start, while the rocks were lovely and flat, but then 10 meters down, the rocks turned into jagged points with small crevices that my leg kept slipping into. In addition to this, the water from the waterfall was now crashing down on my head so I couldn't see a thing! With my leg trapped in a crevice and me swinging from side to side as water crashed down onto me, I honestly thought I was going to snap my leg off! I thought to myself..."I must have taken a wrong turn?!"
Safely down at the bottom, with all my limbs in tact (just), and looking like a drown rat, I joined the others who thankfully all looked the same. That abseil actually just made me more nervous for the next! We had to climb some sharp rocks in order to reach the dry abseil point, but on my accent, I messed up completely and fell down hard onto a sharp rock beneath me! Screaming out in pain and wanting to go home, I was pretty certain abseiling was NOT my cup of tea! In all honestly, I was rubbish at it!
In total, we did two waterfall abseils and two dry abseiled, all of which I muttered, "Oh my god, please don't die!", pretty much the whole way down! We did also do quite a few cliff jumps which I actually really enjoyed so that was good! It wasn't until the end of the day that I realised we hadn't actually ever been asked to sign some sort of safety waiver which to be fair, do exist in Asia, but clearly not in Vietnam. I doubt health and safety is even a thing here! Oh well, I survived! We were provided with a gorgeous lunch of baguettes, cheese and meats before heading back to the hostel. What a day!
We had to move on to another hostel for our last night as Dalat Backpackers were full. We walked 2kms with our huge bags to Tiny Tigers which was just as nice and in a completely different side of town which was great. The owners yet again were so friendly and welcoming, I think Vietnam must have the nicest hostels in most of Asia! My insect bite was starting to look a little nasty again, and when a hard ball of green and black stuff fell of it, mum convinced me to get it seen again. As all the hospitals were closed or didn't speak English, that would have to wait until Nha Trang, our next destination.
That evening we ate at a lovely modern Italian (they are big here) called Vong that overlooked the city centre. Our meal was one of the best yet so I would definitely recommend that to any fellow travellers! Our bus for Nha Trang was leaving early the next morning so we headed back to the hostel for an early night! Dalat has been the biggest surprise for me so far and I loved experiencing everything it had to offer!