If I thought Nha Trang was a brief stop then Da Lat was even shorter, we we acutely aware our visa time was nearing an end and we had so much left to see in Vietnam. Da Lat was a nice place, a few hours inland meaning a slightly cooler temperature in the day and not quite as intense humidity at night, which is always appreciated.
We arrived fresh off our short bus journey, backpacks strapped on and eager to find somewhere to stay, after walking up a steep hill we found our Happy Hostel and set out for the days adventures.
We headed first for Crazy House, an art inspired house full of staircases leading nowhere, tree branches, curvy walls and hidden rooms. It reminded me of something out of a Disney movie, where the artists imagination has just ran wild. We spent a lot of time exploring the never ending staircases, hiding from each other and getting lost in what felt like a maze.
It felt good to be walking, exploring the town on foot, it was relatively easy to do so, due to the small size of the town. We covered a lot, just taking in the buildings, lakes and crazy drivers, we even watched a local wedding photo-shoot taking place by the lake. I originally wanted to do canyoning whilst in Da Lat, where you abseil down waterfalls and free fall into pools at the bottom, however due to my sunburn it was still painful to shower, never mind have gallons of rushing water pour down on me. I was pretty gutted, as everyone I spoke to had highly recommended the canyoning trip.
Our hostel had 3 young guys in, who we continued to bump into throughout the rest of our time in Asia, with them we headed to The Chocolate Room for dinner, which to my disappointment didn’t actually serve anything chocolatey.. Before heading to Hangout Bar, the only place showing the final Liverpool football match (and the only open bar in Da Lat for that matter), which was a matter of life and death for Andrew. Roxanne and I however spent our evening playing an intense game of scrabble, drinking a mixture of tea, coffee, baileys and rum, whilst challenging an annoyingly competitive English guy and his hammered professionally gloved ginger friend to a doubles pool tournament.
The next day consisted of hiring mopeds and biking to a nature park, the ride was so scenic it was better than the park itself. Surrounded by thick jungle trees, mountains and valleys we made our way down to the park, with Roxanne playing professional photographer on the back of our bike. Once in the park (after some confusion with a local lady who said it wasn’t the park we were after) we walked behind a giant waterfall, groaned as we climbed hundreds of stairs to get a panoramic view, stood and watched the elephants and ostriches, which were both unfortunately there for tourist rides, we also randomly found a horse and camel in the park to watch. Shortly after the heavens opened on us and a giant thunderstorm erupted, leading us to run for cover inside a wooden river-side cafe where we warmed up on seafood fried rice and hot tea. We stayed there for a while hoping the storm would subside, however we decided to face it when it showed no signs of stopping. In our attempt to stay dry we purchased teddy bear covered plastic macs, they bellowed behind us in the wind and did surprisingly well at keeping us dry. With Roxanne on the back of my bike we sped back up the mountain, shivering cold and soaked through, the only sensible option we could think of was to buy a goody-bag full of snacks ready for the hours to be spent reclused in our room.
The hot shower upon our arrival at the hostel was amazing, we all cuddled up in our beds, ate our snacks and relaxed. I wasted some time by wrapping a ball of string around the hostel beds to create a fake laser challenge for us, and also stringy hammocks. The rest of our time here was pretty uneventful, we biked around the town, continued the pool tournament and relaxed with snacks and hot tea as the storms pressed on. We all felt ready to head back to the coast, to hit the beach and feel the heat again, which only meant one thing…we were back on another bus.