Dalat - honeymoon capital of Vietnam!

Trip Start Jul 12, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, August 28, 2003

Dalat is a picturesque town in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, well known as a local honeymoon destination because of its cool weather, lakes and surrounding waterfalls. One of the first things we noticed was how rugged up the Vietnamese people were for the weather - while we'd be walking around in t-shirts, they'd be braving the 20-25 degrees Celcius weather in jackets, jumpers and beanies - hilarious! Dalat had a real European feel to it, with winding cobblestone streets and old French buildings, as well as a great coffee shop on virtually every corner. Vietnamese coffee is beautiful and very strong - served in a stainless steel dripper over a glass, and sweetened with condensed milk if you prefer it white.

After a day or two drinking coffee and eating Vietnamese pancakes and pho, we decided to go on a tour out of town with Hiep and Thuy, two 40-50 something local guides we met. On the back of their motorbikes we visited waterfalls, various plantations, minority villages and homes of welcoming local people, eager to give us cups of tea and ask us questions about ourselves, translated by our drivers. One of the villages was called 'Chicken village' as it had an enormous concrete chicken in the centre. The story goes that a village girl was getting married and was asked by the groom's family for a 9 fingered chicken as part of the dowry. She went off into the mountains to fulfill this impossible task and died while searching. So the concrete chicken statue is in her memory (it's no little chick - it's about 5 metres high!).

We also visited various sites in and around Dalat, including the 'Crazy House' which is like something out of a fairytale, with themed rooms carved out of rock (like the Flintstones, or Alice in Wonderland!) built by a Vietnamese woman who studied architecture in Russia. We also went to some Buddhist temples and pagodas, one which had a huge dragon made from beer bottles!

We passed the most beautiful countryside and enjoyed ourselves so much that it didn't take much convincing from Hiep for us to join them on a 3 day Central Highlands adventure...
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