From Mui Ne, we were packed into a slightly oversized mini van for a 4.5hr drive on the windy roads to the beautiful town of Da Lat. I’m glad Tom and I are not tall or fat because we barely fit into the seats of this bus and our knees were touching the seat infront of us. Needless to say it was quite an unpleasant journey but thank goodness it was just a short one!
Da Lat is a small city in the mountains and sits at 1,500 m above sea level which leaves the weather a pleasant Spring-like temperature. It was a strange but nice feeling to be able to wear a sweater (and even pants at night!) instead of continuously sweating 24/7 like we have been for all of our Asia trip so far. In Da Lat you won’t find any western franchises, western restaurants or hardly any western tourists at all. It is a place where Vietnamese people come to holiday and honeymoon. It is full of small coffee shops, family run guest houses and hotels and local restaurants. It was a nice contrast from the very touristy Mui Ne.
We stayed at Villa pink house which turned out be to an excellent choice. Our room was beautiful and the staff were lovely, we feel felt right at home. Mr Rot, the son of the owners, runs a secret tour which was highly recommended to us by our friends and of course by trusty TripAdvisor! We don’t usually like doing tours as we prefer to do things on our own so we have more freedom, but we had a feeling this was a tour we shouldn’t miss out on. We immediately booked it for the following day.
We had no idea what the tour was about. We arrived downstairs at 8:30am and met the lovely German couple we would be doing the tour with. We were ushered into a mini van by Mr Rots cousin and we were off! I actually can’t tell you what the tour included due to respect for Mr Rot. It simply wouldn’t be a secret tour if I told you the secret. What I can say is we saw lots of different things, didn’t see any other tourists (except for one stop), had an amazing cultural experience, interacted with locals and over all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Mr Rot is hilarious and together he and his cousin run an excellent tour. It was a long and eventful day. We even went out for dinner with Mr Rot and went and watched him sing at a fancy bar, it was a great experience. By 11pm we were well and truly ready for bed. Should you find yourself in Da Lat, this tour is a MUST, even if you don’t stay at Villa pink house (but you totally should!)
The next day we were quite tired from our massive day the previous day so we decided to take it easy. We slept in, had a nice lunch at a local restaurant called Vinh Loi and spent the afternoon walking around the huge lake just outside the city. It was a beautiful, relaxing way to spend the day.
On our last day we decided to check out the much talked about Crazy house. The Crazy house is actually a hotel (that’s still in the process of being built) that is inspired by the famous architect Guadi. It is such a strange building filled with random hallways, steep stairs and weird decorations. To be honest it wasn’t really my cup of tea. For one, it was full of tourists and secondly I just found it really strange. I would still recommend going to see it though!
Next we went to the 100 Roofs cafe that was recommended to us by a fellow traveller. It turned out to be designed by the same person who designed the crazy house and it was just as strange if not more. It was full of rooms, balconies, tunnels and odd objects and decorations. I got the feeling we didn’t even get to explore half of it. It was again, a little weird but it was cool to see and the coffee was delicious.
After all the weirdness we wandered through the local markets. If you are after fake Nikes then this is the place! There were so many and they looked pretty much real if you ask me. There were also the usual suspects such as fruit and veg, meat, clothing and handbags.
Da Lat has a very relaxed vibe to it. It is French colonial inspired, surrounded by nature and full of friendly locals. Many people come here for the hiking and canyoning, so it is also full of adventure if that’s what you are seeking. I really enjoyed my time in Da Lat and being back in the mountains but I didn’t fall in love with it. I am really glad we went there though. Now we are heading down the mountain to the beach. Next up, Nha trang!