DALAT, VIETNAM: Weirdness at Datanla Falls, Part II

Scenes from the hike along the gorge below Datanla Falls, south of Dalat City, Vietnam.

Overlooking the lower falls. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spen
Overlooking the lower falls. Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer
Butterfly at Datanla Falls. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
Butterfly. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
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Platform shoes. Image (C) Stacy Libokmeto
“Knock. Knock. Who’s there? Nobody!” A fake “minority” house Walt Disney would be proud of! Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
Restricted Area. (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
This is where I’m pretty sure the official told us to go. Maybe he was actually saying, “Only go there if you want to die.” We really need to work on our communication skills. Image (c) 2014 Stacy Libokmeto
Beej, happy to be alive! (c) Stacy Libokmeto
Beej, happy to be alive! Image (c) Stacy Libokmeto
Rapids at lower falls. (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer
Rapids at lower falls. Beej takes a moment from treehugging to take a phot.o Image (c) 2014 Benjamin J Spencer

 

They look plastic, but they're not! Really! (c) Stacy LIbokmeto
They look plastic, but they’re not! Really! Image (c) Stacy LIbokmeto

 

We got some swimmers! (c) Benjamin J Spencer
We got some swimmers! (c) Benjamin J Spencer
(c) Benjamin Spencer
Beej catches Stax secretly relaxing conveniently in front of his camera. (c) Benjamin Spencer

 

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…