After being 5 nights in Nha Trang the weather started to turn for worse and me and Amy decided it is time to say good bye to this sea side resort and move on, so we booked our tickets for the next morning to Dalat. We were told the ride takes aproximatelly 3h and is uphill. Also we heard from the folks who already went a head the day before (with who we went out in Nha Trang). That some girls actually threw up due to roads being so twisted around the mountains - travel sickness. Amy made mental note to take the travel sickness tablets.
Next morning we checked out, everything went without a problem, even though we were worried about the hotel when we first moved in (it had various bad reviews about items being stolen by the stuff). Only hick up was that we couldn't find the travel sickness tablets, so we prepared for the worse. Double sick bags were packed and even a backup plastic bag was taken into my packbag.
The bus to Dalat was a sleeping bus and there were plenty of bunks to choose from, so me and Amy chose the top ones at very front. Amy fell asleep rather fast, and I decided to look outside to see how the ride goes. Well to be fair it was rather slooow and rough ride to Dalat. In beginning we went up hill on the road which looked like surface of the moon, holes everywhere. I thought to myself well if this is how the road is no wonders there are all these accidents and worries - especially as it was raining again. Nevertheless - after a while when we really started climbing - the properly built road started and we started our acent to the hills. The road itself is like grape wine twining between the valleys and on the edges of the mountains moving slowly but surley upwards. Half way through we had a break and Amy woke up, thereafter the fun started, road was really tisted around each mountain and at times we were teetering at the edge of the cliff with drop of 20-50+ meters. At one point I actually felt myself pressing the opposite direction as the bus took one of the curves rather fast and it tilted slightly outwards :) The drops were breath taking, however - it was all ok, occasionally we run out of tarmac road and covered small distances on muddy roads with slight floodings. We noticed that the front door was open the entire journey and since the driver and his assistant were only vietnamese on the buss - we concluded that the door was open merly because if the bus would have actually gone off the road for whatever the reason those two can easily jump out - neat!
The nature was beautifully, you could see clouds forming around mountains and occasional waterdrops right next to the road, pouring away under the it. Coffee plants and flowers were darting on side of the mountains. The entire surface was used up for agriculture, regardless of how steep the mountains were. We could also see few rivers rushing downwards among the valleys we journeyed. At times when I did open the window I realised the air was getting cooler, so I didnt take that many pictures and kept the window closed. Bus ride took total of 5 hours and it was indeed rather windy so to speak with bus constantly turning either left or right.
Amy wasnt sick even once, infact she actually started reading the book. Amy doesnt have travel sickness no more.
First thing you notice when you arrive to Dalat is that its not like other cities in Vietnam. I personally could not really explain it, it was like a resort city without a sea. Locals call it a Honeymoon city - I'll tell you later why. Temperature is around 20-25 degrees and it apparantly doesn't really get any warmer than that. To be fair it was a nice change from all the heat we have had so far.
When we arrived we booked ourselves into Dream Hotel. They offered us a "small" room for $8, which was right down under the lobby. When we went to see it - it had two massive double beds and size of the room was easily like two double rooms. It had rather strong dampness smell and did not have any Air Conditioning - you dont need one in Dalat. They offered the room for $10 with breakfast. We took it.
We were little tired after the journey so we went for a walk on the city. They call Dalat a small city - because it inhabits only 250 000 people. As we were hungry we went to look for some food place, we ended up in a 'Peace' restaurant and ordered ourselves strawberry smoothies. Dalat is renown for its tasty strawberry Amy informed me. We both had a Pho Bo - noodle soup with beef. After we had had some food we ventured to the market just to get to know the city. Not once were we hassled to come into a diner and rarely bothered by bikers claiming to be part of easy rider. Fact is - everyone with a bike claimed to be from easy riders, even cleaners on street. Weather was cool and slightly nippy. I tried to buy some grapes and found out that 1kg of grapes costs 90k dong, and the 200g that I wanted to buy costed 45k - I was too tired to haggle so I didnt bother buying the fruit. I did try it again and they sold it to me for 20k so I bought it from there. We then decided to check out couple of tour providers to see if we can get any tours going.
We decided to stay in Dalat only 2 nights as there is not really much to do in the city itself. The beauty of Dalat is outside of it - the surrounding areas. We decided to book a day tour for the next day and go through all the main point of the area and we managed to bargain in a visit to a minority village. Huan - the guy who arranged the tour said he will also be driving. We then went back to the hotel and hooked up with the folks we met in Nha Trang. One guy, called Andres - he was from Chile said he would like to go on a tour with us as well. We unpacked our stuff and I slept for an hour whilst Amy chit chatted with others. Later we went for a meal, visited a bakery and ended up in a small bar for couple of drinks. We decided to have an early night cause we were still bit tired and also we had to get up early the next day for the tour.
Head over to Part 2 :)