After we (Dave (Irishman), Sabrina and Luisa (Germans), the people I met on the bus to Da Lat) had breakfast, we rented a moto right away, and went to explore Da Lat. The nice hostel lady showed where we could go on a map, and marked every road we had to take and everything we had to see. After her speech, the entire map had turned green because of all the markings. Ah well, there certainly was enough to do and to see! The first stop was a fairytale-ish setting. It was called ‘crazy house’ and it’s a guesthouse that doubles as a tourist attraction. We were amazed by everything there was to see, and we enjoyed every second of time we spent there. The entire crazy house consisted of a few buildings, and besides walking around on ground level, there were usually stairs and paths that connected the houses which were high up in the sky. Because Dave was terrified of heights, we ended up walking those small paths and stairs as often as possible.
The next stop was a huge and impressive waterfall, where we spent a while wandering around, and we also had some food there (which was rice, and very very boney chicken).
After the first waterfall, we were supposed to go to another waterfall, but we agreed that we had seen enough waterfalls these last few weeks/months while traveling around, so we decided to go to a nearby pagoda. After exploring the pagoda, it started raining while we were walking around the pagoda’s ‘garden’. We decided to go for cover, as did quite a few Vietnamese famlies. There were some ancient Vietnamese ladies, that asked me (in fluent Vietnamese) how tall I was, and they explained that they liked our noses (appartently Asians have relatively small noses, and would love the bigger western noses). It was an interesting conversation. After the rain had stopped, we went to the next sight, which was the flower park. All the different flowers and colors and everything was nice, but after a few minutes, I had seen enough of it.
We ended up the day at the big market of Da Lat, where you can buy about everything you want to buy, and then some. And there, I had Vietnamese pizza for the first time. And I wish I had it sooner! Don’t expect anything like a pizza, it’s more of a snack, but it’s very tasty! I have no clue what they use to make it, but I have to try to figure it out, because it was too good.
After the market, we went back to the Family Hostel, because it was time for the Family Dinner. The hostel hosted an all-you-can-eat dinner every night for only 50k Vietnamese Dong (which roughly translates to 2 euros or 2.5USD), which more food than any mortal could ever eat. And it was delicious! So every night, I rushed back to the hostel for the dinner, because nowhere else I could get that much food for that price.
That night I joined in on the pub crawl. The first bar was horrible, but the second bar was magical. Like the crazy house, but then on the inside. On the outside of the bar, you couldn’t really see what was going on inside, but as soon as you got in, you felt like you walked into a fairytale. Everywhere on the walls were things to see, and every time you looked, you noticed another detail. It was amazing.
After getting lost for an entire night, we walked back to the hostel. It was a 20 minute walk, and not extremely straightforward, so on the way there, we ended up meeting people searching for the family hostel. We started off walking with 3, we ended up walking with an entire group.
The next day I hadn’t made any plans, just like the people I was talking with during breakfast. Luckily, a Dutch couple had seen pictures of a nearby waterfall that looked pretty amazing, so we decided to go there with a group of 5 from the hostel. The only downside was that the reception of the hostel warned us about police traps that were around there, and that we might have had to pay a 2 million Dong fine to get through there, which we didn’t really like. So we ended up going by bus (and taxi, and another taxi, because of the horrible connection). But in the end it was all very much worth it! What an amazing waterfall!
I can imagine it is even more beautiful after the raining season, because then there’s probably more water rushing down, but even now, it was great! The rest of the day we spent sitting around the waterfall, talking and listening to music. On the way back we crammed ourselves on the back of motorbike-taxis, which was funny, but sitting on a scooter with 3 adult men was a little too cozy.
Luckily we got back just in time for the dinner, so I once again ate way more than I should have. And then another night of getting lost in the 100 roofs café (AKA the maze), just because it was an amazing bar (and because it was the last night in Da Lat for the Norwegian guy that joined on the waterfall trip, so we had to say goodbye to him).
Originally, it was the plan to go to Hoi An the next day, but I recalled a conversation I had in Phnom Penh just in time. I had to promise someone there that if I would visit Da Lat, I would do the secret tour. So I did. And because it’s a secret tour, I can’t tell too much about it, but I ate cricket, rat, many weird fruits, saw the ‘elephant’ waterfall and had the time of my life. So, I would say that everyone that is even close to Vietnam should just come here already and go do the secret tour!
After the secret tour I ended up at the dinner table once again. The family dinner was always ended with banana pancakes. And those were annoyingly tasty. After I had eaten more than I should have, I still had to finish at least one entire banana pancake, just because they were delicious. By the way, the people that worked at the hostel were really friendly too! Constantly joking around, making conversation with everyone and just generally cool people. And the owner of the hostel was completely crazy. If you ever want to see an old Vietnamese lady sliding down the rail of the stairs, you have to get to the Family hostel.
And that was the end of my stay in Da Lat already! Packed my bag in the morning, took the bus to Nha Trang (a Vietnamese beach city, pretty much occupied by Russia, judging by the amount of Russians) in the afternoon, and got to the bus to Hoi An in the evening.
And that’s where the story ends now. It’s currently afternoon in Hoi An. I arrived here early this morning, checked in to a hostel, and went to a tailor straight away. Supposedly, Hoi An is famous for its tailors, so if I would ever want to get a suit made, I should do it in Hoi An. So I did that. For the one time in the year where I should wear a suit or something. I’ll figure out the practical part later. But it’s never bad to own a custom tailored suit.