Dalat is a little place in the highlands of Vietnam, the Vietnamese go here as a honeymoon destination although it does lack the Paris atmosphere. Me and what's his name had decided to have a few days off the alcohol as his beer belly was getting a bit much so we found ourselves watching DVD's in the hotel around 9pm for three nights. Sad you might think, but it was a nice change.
Our plans for Dalat were: taking a tour with the easy riders and absailing/ canyoning.
On Monday 20th Nov we arrived for our full day tour with Stephen and Mr Hien. Stephen and Mr Hien were both fighting in the South Vietnamese army during the war and luckily for us where the founding members of the easy riders. The easy riders can only be described as a motley crew of rough arse DIY tourist guides, we cannot recommend these people enough.
A tour with the easy riders involves travelling on the back of a vintage style motor bike seeing the real Vietnam, well off the normal tourist trail. Stephen and Mr Hien spoke very good English + french, and explained to us about the war and the devastating effects which it is still having on their country. We saw coffee plantations, the crazy guest house and learned all about how silk was produced and then made into clothing ect. After a hard morning cruising on the back of the bike we wen't for a spot of lunch, accompanied with plum liqure whilst mingiling with the locals.
After the tour we ended up in the Peace cafe where all the easy riders hang out. (it was like walking into a pub on Scotland road, only Vietnamese style). We stayed for a few drinks and took part in a little friendly slanging match. Good fun! (see pics).
Anyone planning a trip to Dalat, Must go on a tour with the easy riders. Tours can be from 1 day to 20+ depending on you, they will take you where ever you want to go in Vietnam. This also includes advice on places to eat and stay for good prices. Although; BEWARE of the fakes! You will know when you meet a real easy rider and they are only in Dalat!!
Tuesday 21st Nov we started the day being taught how to absail correctly, the way to position your feet on the rocks, walking/ jumping and the correct way to use the harness and ropes. After the teaching session we were ready to absail down the first rock which was only a mere 20 meters high, ha ha. After some gentle persuasion James wen't first. The look on his face as he was slowly walking over the edge, he looked like he was about to p**s his pants. We both reached the bottom in one piece; delighted with our accomplishment.
After absailing down another 15 meter cliffe edge we came to the water slides. You are probably thinking now (as we were), 'water slides in the mountains.' These were not man made water slides, these were big water rapids; with rocks underneath them.
The way these water slides were discovered was when the local Vietnamese were fishing, one man fell in down the rapid and did not hurt himself on any rocks. Straight forward as it may sound, there was a way of doing it. A safety helmet and life jacket, both orange; we looked like two baked beans! The first slide you had to lie on your back, hands behind your head and bum tucked in. The second was more or less the same but hands streched out and down head first. (see pics)
After lunch it was time for our first absail down a waterfall. It was alot harder than the dry ones as it was really slippy and the pressure of the water gushing in your face. (see pics) It was great, definetly will be doing again. (up for it Ant?)
The last cliff for the day was the one which involved the canyoning (jumping off big rocks), the one I most dredded. We absailed partly down the cliff until we reached a ledge which was 10 METERS high(30 feet in old money) where we then had to jump off into the lake below. I had no choice but to jump, I could not back out as I promised James I would. I don't know what it is, I am not scared of hights or even the fall. it is the actual jumping. I was standing on the ledge taking deep breaths and my whole body was shaking. James having gone second was bobbing about in the water below; egging me on telling me not to look down. I took a few more deep breaths, closed my eyes and threw myself off (the way we were not supposed to) slapping my behind on the water below; but I did'nt care cause I was too busy being all chuffed with myself. Yet another great day!
Hello everyone it's time for a rare diary entry from the whats his name. As Danielle was saying about the 2 meter jump,(only messing it really was 10) I am really proud of her but boy was it hard work. 40 mins of me and the rest of the group trying to coax her to jump and her standing up on the ledge shaking like MOHAMED ALI standing at the north pole with nothing on, finally we got lift off alls we heard was a loud scream then this star shaped person falling, then a loud splash. When she finally surfaced she swam over to me and said that she is ready now for a skydive in oz, I think she might need sedating before I can get her to do that jump, hope everone is o.k back home,
next stop the beach resort of Mui Ne.