R: Our blog updates might not be quite equalling those golden moments you are being showered with in the land of Team GB – a Murray gold, no less! – but we hope you’re still enjoying our tales from the trail.
It’s with genuine regret that we’re not back home just now savouring what is clearly an incredible Olympics; but we shoudn’t be greedy, I guess. We’re trying to follow it here in Vietnam but the coverage is patchy: our TV mainstay is Star Sports Live, which as an Asian channel naturally focuses on this region’s athletes – so we’ve been watching a lot of table tennis, badminton and archery!
So although not back home just yet, we’re there in spirit: Go GB!
Anyway, back to the trail…
S: Eager to leave behind the mayhem, madness and heat of Ho Chi Minh City, we caught an early morning bus out of town. A stiffening eight-hour bus journey took us northeast to Dalat, a cool town perched 1,500 metres above sea level in Vietnam’s central highlands.
As we stepped off the bus we were welcomed by a crisp breeze and the scent of a fresh spring day. Dalat’s temperature tends to remain within 20-25C during the day. A welcome change from the humid 30-plus we have been used to over the past five months.
It wasn’t just the climate we were pleased with; we were warmly welcomed by two local Vietnamese men who offered to take us to our hotel – free of charge. After having been scammed by our taxi driver in HCMC (he charged us treble the fair), we had our wits about us. We exchanged pleasantries with the two men as they showed us to their motorbikes.
It turned out these guys were part of Dalat’s ‘Easy Riders’, local tour guides who know the areas in and around Dalat like the back of their hands. Richard and I climbed onto the back of their motorbikes and were whizzed off to our hotel. Peter, the original Easy Rider with 35 years experience, showed us his comments book. It was filled with commentary from individuals and groups who had taken a sightseeing tours with Peter. Packed with praise and recommendation, we signed ourselves up to a day’s tour of Dalat on the back of two motorbikes.
After a day of rest and relaxation it was an early morning start at 8:30am. We met our guides Star and Thien, who clipped on our helmets and asked us to jump on the back. With the snapping wind blasting on our faces and the great open road ahead of us we were off.
It was an action packed day where we…
Took in the views
Discovered Dalat’s passion for bloom
Spun a silk yarn
Witnessed a waterfall
Rubbed the belly of a giant laughing Buddha
Got dark and damp with some mushrooms
Visited an ethnic minority village
Went mad in the ‘Crazy House’
For $25 each this was a fantastic way to get off the beaten track and into the countryside. Having seen the diversity of Dalat and its people we can’t help but give this town our praise. Dalat is a hotbed of agricultural innovation, made more tangable by our ‘Easy Riders’ – Star and Thien.
Star and Richard
Thien and me
Since we enjoyed the ‘Easy Rider’ experience so much, we have decided to extend it by travelling to our next destination, Nha Trang, by motorbike. Located on the east coast of Vietnam, Nha Trang is southern Vietnam’s premier beach destination. With our helmets firmly clipped on, we head off today on the great open road…