Dalat, Vietnam: A lotta Dalat

We are driving our motorbike at sunset along a winding road atop a high mountain pass. Far below lies a landscape of intensely green rice paddies, dark turned earth, sprawling coffee plantations, forest glades, and copses of fruit trees.

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A panorama of the Central Vietnam highlands spreads magnificently out over the lip of the road. Peak after craggy peak marches over the spine of the country toward the coast, veiled in the smoke that is ever-present in rural Vietnam: the oily blue smoke of the rubbish fire, the dusty brown of farmers’ crop burns.

And still further out, white mists creep over the high distant peaks and fold into the deep green valleys, a blazing midsummer day exhaling into the cool of night.

We are just arriving back to Da Lat after a day riding around the countryside and hiking along the spectacular gorge below the hundred foot tall Datanla Falls ( more about this in the next post.)

For several days previously we’ve been hanging out in town at our favorite coffee shop, Urban Cafe, eating at our favorite restaurant, Chocolate Café, and exploring hilltop pagodas

Dalat, Vietnam. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer
Dalat, Vietnam. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer
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Recycling collector, Dalat, Vietnam. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer
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Downtown Dalat, Vietnam. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer

 

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Super Pagoda Man. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer
Linh Quang Pagoda. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
Linh Quang Pagoda. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
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Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto

 

or driving our moto around the huge lake that takes up the east side of the city.

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One day we climb up a (very!) steep path through a fragrant pine forest to the top of Langbian Mountain, the highest peak in the Central Highlands and the second-highest in Vietnam. The next day we’re navigating the vine-shaped walkways of Da Lat Crazy House (more on these i the following posts).

Night comes on rapidly here in the highlands; tiny lights wink on all over the hills as we re-enter Da Lat and cruise down the narrow alley that leads to our guesthouse.

The time nears when we must leave this beautiful mountain city

Dalat, Vietnam from near our guesthouse. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
Dalat, Vietnam from near our guesthouse. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto

and head back to Saigon to begin the next phase of our journey. Watch for the next posts where we’ll go more into the weird and wonderful moments we’ve experienced here!

To be Continued…

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