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Hit the road Jack!

Day 2: Dalat to Di Linh

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Day 2: Dalat to Di Linh

Its odd how tiring being on the back of a bike is even when you are not driving but refreshed from a good sleep and breakfast (we decided not to go with the 'bread with fist' option on the menu) we were ready to get back on the road humming 'hit the road jack' which was a firm favourite with Bin and Lan.


We had read that Truc Lam Monastry was a beautiful serene place to visit and so had asked for it to be included in our tour. Dan and I were able to take the cable car which offered great views over Dalat, including Lady Mountain (aptly named due to the twin peaks as you will see in the photo below), whilst Bin, Lan and Sam rode the bikes to meet us there.


It is easy to see why people say you could sit in the gardens of the Monastery for hours. It is so peaceful with the sound of wind chimes and calm and it was lovely to walk around the gardens and the pine forest that surround it. Definitely would recommend taking some time here to find your own little spot and just be.


If you have an idea on how you make a tree grow like this can you let us know...awesome!


Back on the bikes we went through more of the pine forest and around a big lake whilst making our way back into town. It was a great ride and soon we were in the narrow streets of Dalat and stopped outside a house. After taking off our shoes we went inside to find that this local family were making tofu! They supplied tofu to the local restaurants and market and their family had been making tofu for years. As we watched them make the tofu people were coming in to buy it fresh. Made from bean curd the mixture is heated before being poured into slats, wrapped and then pressed to squeeze the water out. After a few minutes it was ready and we were able to try it. I don't normally like tofu but fresh like this it was really good and so I had a couple of pieces.


As mentioned before Dalat is famous for its Flower City and we stopped off at one of the greenhouse tunnels made of plastic and bamboo to take a look at flower farming. There were flowers of all colours and they had so many rose bushes too.


We waved goodbye to Dalat and hit the road...


Next stop on the road turned out to be a place where they make rice wine and weasel coffee. You read that right...weasel coffee...this is where the weasels are fed coffee beans which then come out in their poo, and yes this is then dried and turned into coffee. It is seen as a delicacy and is expensive compared to other coffee. It was sad to see these beautiful animals in the cages being 'harvested' as it were. I do not think they stay in the small cages all the time as we saw a larger enclosure where they could run around but still I felt a bit uncomfortable about it all. The boys gave the coffee a try but I was happy not to be a coffee drinker and able to turn it down. I also somehow managed to get out of the shot of rice wine too!


I was really looking forward to our next stop 'The Elephant Waterfalls!' and after dining like kings on some great local food for lunch we followed Lan to the waterfall and were not disappointed. It was huge and in full flow.


Climbing down to the bottom was a bit hard in places particularly with short legs, a tendency to fall over and paths that had part fallen away. Without Lan leading us I'm not sure we would have gone down on our own or found the narrow path through the Banyan roots to get to a ledge behind the waterfall. The force from the water coming down was so strong that we could not get too close and the power of the spray alone almost knocked my contact lenses out! It was great to be so close to all that power and we got truely drenched.


Continuing to make our way to the bottom we all had the Indiana Jones theme tune in our heads as we clambered over roots and jumped over steps that had fallen away. I left the guys to explore closer to the bottom of the waterfall not trusting my footing happy to just take in my surroundings. It was beautiful!


And of course you can't visit the elephant waterfalls without riding some elephants!


Back at the top of the waterfalls we stopped to look at some traditional hand weaving where the women made silk scarves and amongst other things. It takes up to 7 days to make a scarf in this way and it was hard to make out exactly how it was possible to make the intricate patterns that they did, amazing skill involved. We spent sometime there mainly as I was playing with their little girl who delighted in taking my bracelet off one hand and putting it on the other over and over again.


Next stop was a mushroom farm and I've never seen anything like it. It was almost like walking into a scene from an alien film when you find the eggs of the alien! The mushrooms are grown in plastic bags filled with soil and lime and they need humidity to grow so there are perfect conditions here, evident by the thousands of mushrooms!


As well as being tasty mushrooms are also good if you want to dress up as the B.F.G or an elephant!


The silliness continued as we stopped again to check out another local plant which contains red seeds which are used in Vietnamese cooking called 'curry'. Turns out the red paste inside has other uses as well...


We (sorry I should really change that to Dan) must have looked odd as we continued our journey into Di Linh although we did see some odd sights ourselves.


This was just the beginning of a very fun night in Di Linh with our new friends Bin and Lan. With an amazing buffalo BBQ we shared stories and lots of laughter getting more raucous with the more rice wine and beer that was consumed.


I am not quite sure how to describe some of the hilarious conversations but lets just say it was a brilliant way to end day two!



Posted by doyledan 05:55 Archived in Vietnam

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