DALAT DAY ONE
One of the things I have learnt on this trip is to ask and ask again, no wait, let’s make it another ask. Our bus company told us very clearly that our bus arrived into Da Lat at 7 am. So we figured that at 7 am it is daylight, we can find a coffee shop, have breakfast and wait for check in at our next hotel.
We were wrong.
We arrived at 4 am, in cool windy weather ( not dressed appropriately coming from HCMC’s heat) and in complete darkness with no idea where to go or what to do.
Luckily for us, three British backpackers jumped into a van that took everyone to town and invited us in. It didn’t take long to see that the town was fully closed and nothing would open for several hours.
We asked the driver to stop by our hotel, we knocked and knocked on the door, but everything was locked up. After rejecting our drivers previous attempt to take us to a very budget level hotel we were left no option but to go back and pay whatever they were charging. (When a taxi takes you to a hotel, he is getting commission, and you will pay more than the going rate automatically)
No idea why but when they mentioned the price ($400,000), I said no. LIKE WHY? We are in the cold night air with very limited options, and I said NO? I went into negotiation mode and told them what we were paying at our booked hotel. We hesitated for some time and then he decided to drop the price. Omg what was I thinking? It’s very easy to get into negotiation mode in Vietnam and forget that $100,000 Dong is less than $5 bucks.
He agreed to 250,000 for the few hours we would be there, and we crawled into bed at around 4.30 am.
Once awake we made our way to our next hotel – My Dream Hotel. (no website)
We had read great reviews online, and they weren’t wrong. The staff were super friendly, the lobby was small but welcoming and clean, the room was massive and inviting, and we were pleased with our find.
John was still very ill and his mouth was extremely sore, so our first day in Da Lat meant complete rest for everyone. We did need to head out and have lunch and the owner of the hotel highly recommended a place across the street and up the road. Great recommendation, the food was fantastic, and lunch was cheap.
Venturing out again for dinner and with the weather being cooler, I suggested to John he try the infamous Vietnamese Pho Soup. With a short walk up close to the market we found the best Pho Soup in town (apparently) for just 40,000 Dong we were served an amazingly warm delicious bowl of homemade Pho.
DAY TWO DALAT
Da Lat is known for its waterfalls, hiking tracks, cooler weather and coffee culture. We had a look at a couple of the available tours but with John still not well and us all needing a rest, we decided just to wander around freely ourselves enjoying the stroll.
Not long into our walk we found Xuan Huong Lake situated centrally in Da Lat. A lovely favorite lake for locals and visitors with walking/bike tracks guiding you round. Tandem bikes are available to hire and looked like lots of fun. If you are feeling far less energetic, sitting on the water edge taking in the view and watching a few locals fish will provide lovely entertainment. TIP – as you pass the market, grab fresh fruit to enjoy at the lake.
We grabbed a map and decided to walk over to the “Crazy House”
What a fun place to take kids. If you have a child that has a love of imagery things, goblins, fairies or anything mystical, they will love it at the Crazy House. While not built for that purpose, it is a unique construction with locals rejecting the buildings architecture for many years, but now it brings tourists to the area. Me personally, it brought out my fear of heights.
On the way home we found an excellent Pizza place that did the best wood fire Pizzas and with a blue Texta we left our mark forever.
Da Lat Day ONE
Cost Break Down – VND
Bus Stop Taxi – 20
Hotel – 250
Water – 25
Lunch – 242
Dinner – 115
Bread – 5
Total VND = 657,000 / 22 = $29.86 USD
Accommodation – $10.00
Total USD – $39.86 ($20.14 under budget)
Running Daily Budget Tally – $64.76 over budget
Da Lat Day TWO
Cost Break Down – VND
Water – 5
Fruit – 30
Crazy House Entry Fee – 80
Morning tea – 104
Pizza Lunch – 158
Dinner – 310
Total VND – $697,000 / 22 = $31.22
Accommodation – $10 USD
Total USD = $41.22 (18.78 under budget)
Running Daily Budget Tally – $45.98 over budget