Dalat is a cool town – really! Like Cameron Highlands and Kalaw, one of the primary attractions of Dalat is the weather. It has a highland location, so it isn’t sweltering like most of the country.
The bus from Saigon to Dalat took a bit six seven hours. If you are wondering if I am sick of buses by now – I am, oh I am. As I write this, I’m facing another brutal overnight bus. Given how sick I am of buses, I planned to stay in Dalat three nights, especially since I didn’t get into town until 7 p.m. or so.
My first night in Dalat was a quiet one, but nobody goes to Dalat to rage. I settled into my hotel, the Tranh Long Guesthouse. My room had a fridge, but it didn’t work, and it had a TV, but the remote didn’t work. Oh well. I liked the staff, because they pretty much left me alone and didn’t try to sell me any tours or add-ons.
The next morning, I rented a motorbike for five bucks and looked around town. My first stop was Crazy House, which was a zany architectural goulash filled with needless staircases and weird guest rooms. I like places like that, so it was enjoyable. It seems they are far from done here, as there was a lot of construction going on.
Next, I set out into the countryside. I visited a temple and then got lunch at a little roadside joint, pho noodles and chicken.
Regarding Vietnamese food – am I missing something? Everybody I’ve met before I got here raved about it, and several people have told me it’s the best food country in Asia. I would actually rank it last of the 13 Asian countries I’ve visited, even below culinary lightweights like Myanmar, the Philippines, and Cambodia. The beef is really fatty, and some of the chicken I’ve had has been borderline inedible because it was so rubbery and/or undercooked. In my opinion, Vietnamese food shouldn’t even be in the same conversation as Thai, Lao, or Malaysian.
Anyway, I headed to Datanla Falls next. This series of waterfalls was a fun place to hang out, even though it was largely a tourist trap for the domestic market. Since Laos and Cabodia are so poor, they don’t have a lot of domestic tourism. Vietnam has tons though, which was refreshing. The falls featured a roller coaster and a cable car as ways to avoid walking up and down the steep hills.
When it came time to return my motorbike, I decided to go against my original plan and book a bus for the next day. I felt like I saw most everything I wanted to see in town, although it would have been a nice place to spend another day to enjoy the weather. I hadn’t been to the beach in weeks, so it was time to hit up Nha Trang.