The Dalat Dash

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November 23rd 2012
Published: November 23rd 2012
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We have finally slowed the pace a little here in the French built mountain resort of Dalat. At 5000 feet above sea level the weather is cooler, around 24 C and sunny, so we are promenading around the lake and visiting the local sites in a more leisurely way. Earlier we spent each of14 nights in a different bed, not quite as risque as it sounds.

After a visit to Halong Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty with atolls and caves, an overnight train from Hanoi took us up to the Chinese border in the mountains of northern Vietnam where we spent two days trekking, visiting ethnic minority villages and seeing a lifestyle that combines agricultural traditions with the communication technology of the 21st Century, mobile phones and flat screen TV's,in a wooden hut! Following Sapa we've worked our way south along the coast. Another overnight train from Hanoi to Hue where we had one bunk and a stool between us, guess who got the stool! The Citadal in Hue was impressive, and we moved south again to Hoi An encountering a monsoon deluge as we passed through Danang, the bus and hundreds of bikes travelling along a river of rainwater.

The overnight train from Danang to Nha Trang was least surprising because we had the upper bunks we'd booked. What was surprising was the mum, baby, gran and auntie occupying the two lower bunks. Dad was already asleep on the floor, amidst baggage. With no words of english we worked on smiles and gestures and by morning they all waved us off.

We have found that the people are so friendly and welcoming, treating us with far more respect than we deserve! The food has been most interesting and enjoyable for the most part. The range of meats eaten such as birds and dogs are amongst the array of foods on show in the fabulous markets. We have eaten in small cafes frequented by locals but not been brave enough yet to eat at street cafes, not least because of the size of stools and my fear of food poisoning!!We have avoided western alternatives but are starting to crave fish and chips.We came close as we stopped off at the luxurious Dalat Palace Hotel for drinks yesterday but when we realised we would have to pay 25 pounds each when our main meals have averaged out at 5 pounds for two including drinks we changed our minds. In need of a bit of luxury we are flying to Ho Chi Minh City in the morning for our last few days to savour Vietnam before going on to Malaysia.

Off in search of lunch so goodbye for now, Ann and Iain.

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23rd November 2012

Intrepid Explorers
Hi you crazy kids! Sounds like you're having an amazing trip. Hope you didn't eat any dogs.. hot or cold. Enjoying your reports and pics - you're not missing anything here - just damp, grey and miserable most of the time with 86 flood warnings last time I looked! We've got the usual winter cultural offerings on the box - I'm a Celebrity and X-Factor to get us through the long, dark evenings! Have fun! xxx
24th November 2012

It's cold in the UK
Hi Iain and Ann, great to read your news. You certainly seem to have slipped into Vietnamese living. The photos are terrific. Don't forget get to one of the rooftop bars in Saigon!
28th November 2012

Great to see some photos and hear what you have been up to. Can't believe you have been gone 3 weeks already!! Keeping in touch with Kate. Have fun lots of love Sue xxxx
7th December 2012

Great pictures keep them coming. It's very cold here so enjoy!Love Pat & Frank

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