Asia | South East Asia | Vietnam | Central Highlands | Da Lat (Dalat) – The Villages
Dalat is plonked right in the middle of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Its a six hour bus journey from Ho Chi Minh city but the scenery was incredible so no one minded. Again the hostel arranged the bus for us and the bus arranged the hostel in Dalat.
The hostel we were staying in tried to put us onto a guided tour of the highlands as well but at this stage we were sick of buses and touristy trips. The hostel receptionists suddenly got a lot less helpful when we started asking about where we could hire out mopeds and do our own thing.
Luckily there are a lot of local guides around who are very happy to help you out if you want to get off the beaten track a bit. They sit around outside the hostels and wait for backpackers. They all have these notebooks which hold accounts from other tourists of the trips they went on with this guide. General instinct said that these boys were a bit dodgy and probably looking to rip us off, but as we found out that wasn’t true. After much negotiation we hired one of them – called Hien – for a two day trip right into the heart of the highlands, staying one night in a village beside Lak Lake.
Hien had a motorbike so the plan was to hire out a moped and one of us could sit on the back of the motorbike with Hien and the other could ride the moped. Neither myself or Ollie had ever been on a moped before, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem – they’re very easy to drive.
So off we went. The highlands were much cooler weatherwise than HoChiMinh and the scenery was just amazing for the two days. Hien used to work with the Americans during the Vietnam war so his English was very good. The roads were terrible though – mostly just dirt tracks but they did the job.
We passed through loads of small villages. Each of these villages spoke a slighly different language and had their own culture and way of doing things. There is a law in Vietnam stating that a family cannot have more than one child, but these villages don’t take much notice – with some families having as much as 7 or 8 children.
We stayed the night in a village hostel, We didn’t get much sleep though because of the dogs + roosters who didn’t seem to realise that night time is time for sleeping – not time to make as much noise as possible ………..
but it really was a fantastic two days – I’d definately recommend it to anyone heading to Vietnam.
Anyway after arriving back to Dalat we had to start thinking about returning to Ho Chi Minh City as our flight back to Tokyo was in two days. We had booked the bus but the receptionist at the hotel had made a terrible mistake and booked us for the wrong day. The bus was booked out for the next day so we were going to have to brave the public transport system (better known as the kamikaze bus fleet).