Today required another early start as we had to make it all the way to Dalat – we set off just after 8am. Being that it’s up in the mountains, we wanted to ensure we caught the good weather. Dalat has a much different climate to the coastal areas, with lower temperatures and some chance of rain. Also, the roads would be heading “up” and we weren’t sure how the bike would cope with the additional gravity.
The route isn’t too complex and there is a new road in place which reduces the distance to around 130km. Head around 20km south of Nha Trang then turn right. It is signposted, but only just! Just follow the road you join in a more or less straight line until the first signed junction (a left) and from then on, keep going.
It’s a good road – very smooth for the most part. But what makes it is the scenery. It’s simply mindbogglingly beautiful. There was little traffic on the road as we passed through so there was no problem stopping to take pictures now and then. Do note the distinct lack of crash barriers on the mountainous parts though. Staying awake is a very important part of the drive.
We stopped for breakfast at a small cafe before we hit the mountainous areas. Given that we weren’t anywhere near a tourist area, we received a fair bit of attention due to me looking somewhat different from everyone else! Pho Bo was the dish, and we ate it surrounded by a horde of local kids who were waiting for what I think was their lift to school.
As we approached Da Lat the temperatures definitely dropped and there were even a few spots of rain. Fortunately, the heavens didn’t open on us and we managed to find a hotel not far from the lake. Cheap room, good view and a hot shower! All in all a 6 hour journey which wasn’t too bad at all.
We then wandered over to the chopping area so that I could pick up a jumper. It’s fine for walking around, but while riding the bike I was getting a tad chilly. Thao was very impressed with my haggling abilities as I got a sweater down to 120,000D. She said she’d have given up and got it for 160,000D. We also grabbed some fruit and went back to the hotel as the rain started to come down more heavily.
We chilled and watched TV for a bit and then went for a stroll, eventually finding the Peace Cafe with its incredibly genial hostess.
I was tempted to stay up till 3:30am to follow the NUFC v Sheffield Wednesday game on my mobile (via the free wifi) but for some reason I was rather tuckered out!