After just a few hours stopover in Ho Chi Minh City we enter the night-bus to Dalat, a town 1500 m above sea level in the highlands of southern Vietnam. Climate and temperatures here are different in comparison to most of the other parts of Vietnam. Vietnam is mostly tropical, but Dalat is like an all-time spring place, less hot and humid.
It’s the first time after months that I need to wear a long sleeve in the morning after arriving there. This long time in just hot whether made me even more sensitive for cold temperature, so already 25 degrees Celsius makes me feel cold. Noah is still with us and we get our first Vietnamese strong coffee at a small corner place. Only male Vietnamese around having their breakfast. Looking for accommodation takes just a few minutes, because there is a cheap and nice place nearby and after leaving our stuff we start walking around the city. A lot of Vietnams agriculture products are grown around Dalat and the local market is full of traders selling strawberries and huge avocados. A colorful and lively place.
On our way through the city we pass a strange looking building called the crazy house (website) designed by a Vietnamese architect Đặng Việt Nga and still under further construction. We decide to take a look and we don’t regret it. The facilities are created animal and plant like, sometimes representing growing trees or other natural forms. Steps lead to quite high places and there’s a nice view around Dalat. It’s a lot of fun. Noah is such a nice companion again and his joking makes us laugh all the time.
Seven negotiated a very good all in all deal with our host in the guesthouse including a scooter rent and after having some rest we drive to the nearby Truc Lam Zen Monastery. After visiting the place and finding somebody to ask some questions, Seven decides to spend the next day here to join the daily meditation schedule. Although the area of the ordinated monks is closed for foreigners and lay practitioners and it’s not possible to join all their sessions, Seven enjoys his stay. At the end of the day a leading monk gives a meditation cushion and books about Buddhism as a gift to him. Impressed and inspired he returns to our guesthouse.
I just spend the day walking the streets of Dalat and watching people doing their daily business. Almost everywhere people are friendly and open minded, interested in our background and traveling and it’s not difficult to get in contact. Noah is joining in the evening and we are lucky to find a cheap vegetarian food place serving a variety of Vietnamese flavored tofu and vegetable dishes. Just Delicious!
As Vietnams honeymoon and wedding capital and “city of eternal spring” local authorities try to keep the city center and especially the area around the artificial lake clean and pretty. Almost everyday Vietnamese newlyweds and domestic tourists are posing in flowery gardens around the lake for photographs. In the morning hours locals come here for some exercise and we are happy to have a nice way around the lake for running. It’s not that easy to find a place for daily workout while travelling and there have been many places, where it is just inappropriate especially for women to do sports in public. So I take the chance as often as possible.
The next day we drive to Langbiang mountain just a few kilometers outside of Dalat. An around one hour trek leads upward to the summits, but it’s just Seven and me walking. Most of the visitors take a jeap for the way up and down. We loose the way for some time and walk a little across country but really cannot miss the mountain top. It’s also possible to ride up there on horses and for some reason some are painted in zebra crossing. We spend some time on the top just enjoying the view around Dalat valley and watching a falconer training with his birds.
Five days are over again and I go for the last morning run before we start in direction of Vietnam’s coast and back into heat, humidity, hoping to get some strong wind for kitesurfing.