The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Disinterested in Dalat

I left Nha Trang in a pretty down mood having had money stolen from right beside me on the beach. I had already booked a quick little trip into Dalat already so I was just happy to be getting away to maybe clear my head and get less angry at the people around the beach. I had purposely left Dalat off my Open Tour Ticket as I was getting many mixed reports on the bad weather it was having(i.e.//non-stop rain). When I got to Nha Trang, I checked again and it looked like there would be a slight break in the weather long enough for me to check it out.

Dalat and Nha Trang are not that far apart from each other. The bus ride between the two was only four and a half hours and went by quite quickly thanks to the multitude of books on my laptop that my friend Kelly had given to me back in Greece. My distraction was good for another reason too – when we arrived in Dalat, it felt like driving into a little French Alps town. The architecture here, more than anywhere else in Vietnam so far, is heavily influenced from the French occupation.

My tour that I had booked was a quick three night, two day trip. Really, only one day was actually doing something organized. I arrived just after lunch and chilled out in probably the fanciest room I had stayed in yet! I still wasn’t quite in the mood to go explore on my own which I am now regretting.

The tour I took the next day was mediocre at best. I was the only native English speaker on the mini-bus(everyone else was Vietnamese), so the tour guide spoke Vietnamese pretty much constantly. Very reminiscent of the Selva Trip in Bolivia oh so long ago.

IMG_4199The first stop was the so-called “Crazy House” of Dalat. The moniker is correct. What they don’t tell you is that the woman that designed it has probably been smoking crack in-between designing the hotel/building. She’s like the Vietnamese Gaudi. I know many guests from my hotel back home in Saskatoon that would be having a hissy fit trying to find their rooms in this place. There’s only about a dozen rooms total(so far) but there’s no semblance of order or direction to get to them.

“How do I get to the Termite Room?” “You go up underneath the giraffe’s legs, follow the winding path up to it’s head. Turn left, cross a thin bridge – the one with the knee high IMG_4207edge – climb some stairs, cross another bridge, go down some more stairs, and turn left at the monkey’s claw.”


The building isn’t even finished yet. The designer is continuously making additions and changes to the hotel. We were given plenty of time to wander and get lost in the maze of pathways. It would totally be a perfect place to play a game of paintball or laser tag. Oh man, I miss laser tag!

IMG_4237The next stop was the Summer Palace for the last king of Vietnam, Dinh Bao Dai. I was a bit underwhelmed of this as it wasn’t a particularly spectacular building. Being able to wander through it freely was pretty fun though. The weather was holding out and sun shining on the gardens around the palace was beautiful.

The tour picked up again and we were taken to the highest hill in the city to look it over and then take the 4km long gondola ride down to the bottom. It was peaceful(and hot), and was a very relaxing way to spend 30 minutes soaring over the mountains and creeks of the town. IMG_4245

IMG_4274My favourite portion of the trip was by far the pagoda at the bottom of the gondola. The complex was absolutely gorgeous with many beautiful buildings and temples. I am just in love with all the rich earth tones that these religious areas use in their buildings. Deep reds, yellows, gold's, are just perfect and give a great sense of serenity. I was worried when I came to Asia that I would get sick of pagodas and temples and wats like I did with Churches in Europe, but that has not been the case. Maybe it’s a bit of a “this is so different from at home” mentality.  Or else they really are just that much more beautiful. There’s a harmony to how these temples are set up.

IMG_4284The visit on the tour to Prenn Waterfall was a bit of a downer. The waterfall itself was nice, but the water was brown and muddy(most likely because of the time of year with all the rains) and there wasn’t much else to do there. They had options of riding an elephant(been there, done that) or an ostrich(My fat ass would destroy it) so for the most part I sat on a bench watching the waterfall and listening to Kelly Clarkson.

The final stops, the “Valley of Love” and the Flower Park were . . . hokey, corny, and really just flat out lame. I know this is probably the harshest I’ve been on a location, but it’s honestly how I felt. Other people may find it charming. I’m just not one of those people.


  1. Woa there pardner - them's fightin' words. Yer talkin' 'bout my (likely/hopefully) future home come next month.

    But seriously, clearly my reasons for planning to settle there for a few months (years?) are very different than your normal traveler. I'm not looking for sights and such, but rather, just a nice temperate climate (nearly precisely like my beloved Seattle), and a smallish city to escape the nutso chaos that is HCMC/Hanoi. (and nope, I'd like a beachside locale even less.)

    Then again, you may be right. I may hate it. In any case, I'm presently knee-deep in CELTA studies here in Saigon, so need to make it through that first, before I head off to see what Dalat is all about.

  2. Haha, it's still a nice town Dyanne. The tour just wasn't what I was expecting. This was also right after I had money stolen from me so I was still in the whole "The whole world sucks" mood.

    I'm betting my opinion would probably change if I went back in a much better mood and state of mind. Let me know your opinions.

    Though I stand by my belief that the "Valley of Love" is completely corny.