If you’ve read the previous blog posts about our First Impressions and the Vietnam Motorbike Scam, then you already know that things haven’t been going too well for us in Vietnam. That was until we got to Da Lat, a little mountain town just a four-hour bus ride from our previous location of Mui Ne. Da Lat is a vacation destination not only for foreigners, but also for local Vietnamese who go there for a honeymoon, wedding, or just to get away. It is also known for its flower, coffee and grape growing business. Grapes equal Wine, so you know we had to try some and it was pretty good, especially for $5 a bottle. The cool climate and rain nearly everyday around two or three o’clock was the first we had seen since leaving New Zealand over five months ago and we welcomed it with open arms. Mornings were usually spent walking through town and down to the fog covered lake where locals with warm coats were exercising, fishing or just returning home from the very early morning market. The market is very big and full of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, flowers, crafts and anything else you need. Looking down on the market from the walkway above is like looking at a Where’s Waldo book and it’s great people watching.
We found this location of Vietnam to be completely different from the others we had been and a much needed break from the constant haggling of vendors we’ve experienced everywhere else in Southeast Asia. No one pressed us to buy anything or even really took an interest in us being there, it was kind of nice. The people that did take an interest in us being there were Mr. Lee and his family at Hotel Camtucau. They were very gracious hosts with their wonderful hospitality and amazing little five-year old daughter Su Si, who gave us a counting lesson in Vietnamese. Mr Lee is also the proud owner of a company called Mimosa Tours, which we used to book our $45USD tour in a car around the countryside that lasted around six hours. We visited a flower plantation, waterfalls, a coffee plantation where we tried weasel coffee (not as good as Luwak coffee in Bali) and a local village (chicken village). It was at Chicken Village that we met Ka Dong, one of the nicest people we’ve met on our travels and a very talented weaver who creates some of the most beautiful textile handicrafts. Being in her workshop was like stepping into a textile art gallery. We could have visited with her and her kids (who were absolutely adorable) all day and will cherish our new friendships with her and her children as well as Mr. Lee and his family.
Thank you Da Lat for the wonderful weather and gracious people that we met. A big thanks goes out to Mr. Lee and his family too. This is the first place in Vietnam where we actually felt welcome.