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Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat December 8th 2012

The weather in Da Lat was much cooler than on the coast and soon after arriving in shorts and t-shirts we were digging out the few warmer clothes that we had from the bottom of our backpacks to keep us warm for the couple of days we had planned to stay there. After seeing some pretty basic places we eventually found a really nice guesthouse to stay in and set about arranging our activity for the next day - a motorbike tour through the countryside with some Easy Riders. Easy Riders were a group of motorbike riders formed in Da Lat in the 80's who began to take tourists off the beaten path on bike trips, either for one day or for a few days, but not long ago split and went their seperate ways. As ... read more
Amazing surroundings
Scott in front of veg farm
Vic in the flower farm

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands December 4th 2012

Here I am in Hue, once known as the imperial capital of Vietnam. We tour around Hue on a motorcycle, scary but the best experience, holding on for dear life with the wind rustling through my hair!!!! My driver obviously was the ring leader and the loudest by far, shouting lets go in Vietnamese!!! We drove down narrow alley ways, through rice fields and ended up having a vegetarian lunch at the local nunnery. I would describe this as one of the best meals of my SE Asia trip, I did not realise that food could taste so good with no meat or fish, yummmmmmmmm Other activities were incense stick making, Imperial Citidel, Emperor's Tomb & rice making. You learn something new every day.... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat November 28th 2012

The drive up the winding roads to Dalat is quite surreal – the landscape changes, the light is different, the air is crisp and fresh and it is like crossing the border into the middle class. We had heard the Vietnamese refer to it as the Paris of Vietnam, where they come from all over the country on romantic getaways to the city of eternal spring, and that it was filled with kitsch and tacky touches, in true Vietnames style. But our experience was quite the opposite. By a fluke, the last room available at Dreams Hotel was the best, and 25 dollars bought us a balcony on the top floor with a huge tub, complete with jet streams, as well as the best breakfast we've had in Vietnam so far, and the friendliest guy in ... read more
a sna(c)k(e) for the road
Heaven!
Fish for sale

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Dak Lak » Buon Ma Thuot November 27th 2012

The next morning in Buon Ma Thuot, while we waited for the bike we indulged in the unexpected middle-class atmosphere and went shopping. After having seen nothing for sale for days except bare necessities (and most of the time not even that), the novelty of fashion proved too overwhelming, and we left empty-handed. We had high ambitions to see Dray Sap and Dray Nur Falls, as well as drive to Dalat, but as usual things took longer than we hoped and after the seeing the waterfalls our shadows became too long to dare to drive any further. We stopped on the outskists of Buon Ma Thout, at a little guest house where we caused a huge commotion again. People were running around, fixing the room, spraying it with air freshener, they unpacked our bikes for us ... read more
Dray Nur Falls
The kids
hot day

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Dak Lak » Buon Ma Thuot November 26th 2012

A new day in our race-to-get-our-visas-renewed, we planned to drive the 200 km to Buon Ma Thuot (or Ban Me Thuot), which meant an early start. We found some delicious street food for breakfast (bo né, beef with eggs, a local specialty, was just what we needed, 4 of them and some delicious local coffee set us back almost 2 dollars...). Winding through the mountains, and now finally getting into the swing of things (though every day it takes less time for our butts to go numb and Sadie's driving wrist to ache), we climbed further and further into coffee country. Whereas before the roads were full of corn and taro root drying in the sun, now every single house we passed was using every available inch of land to dry coffee beans. The towns, also, ... read more
Kitchen
Local tractor
plenty of space

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Gia Lai » Plei Phung November 26th 2012

Our journey south had a purpose, our aim was to get to a town large enough to process our visa extensions in a short amount of time, so we could continue driving around Vietnam. However, since the application can sometimes take a long time, we didn't want to be stuck for several days somwhere we didn't want to be. We were shooting for Mui Ne, but had DaLat as an option. From Prau, we intended to drive to Kham Duc (130 km), but when the road turned hairy again and Sadie's bike was smoking heavily, leaking oil and refused to start, we began wondering if we would have to change our plans. The first mechanic we found scared us into thinking we might have to stay for two days while we fixed the bike, and when ... read more
first visit to the mechanic
second visit to the mechaninc
first problem

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Dak Nong November 25th 2012

Armed with bungee chords, we packed our bags onto our newly acquired (though far from new) motorcycles (an hour-long endeavour) and got heavily dressed in the sweltering heat, in order to both not get sunburned and be decently protected on the road. Joe, our saviour, guided us through Da Nang (and its huge roundabouts and heavy traffic) and got us onto the mountain road that would take us to our first stop, Prau. We knew we had about 40 km left and about 2 and a half hours before night would fall, but nothing prepared us for the road ahead. Beautiful views, winding hair-pin turns, and endless climbs and descents. However, what this translated into for us was a very sharp learning curve. Learning our bikes (and how to ride them), and trying to find the ... read more
Sadie on the road
Øyvind on the road
where are we?

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands November 23rd 2012

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 ... read more
Sleeping on the job
Citadel  in old capital of Hue
early morning wake up on the train

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat November 22nd 2012

We wanted to travel to Dalat to get away from the coast a bit and see a different side of Vietnam. The medium sized city of 200,000 is located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam at around 1500m altitude. The climate is much different from the coast with most days not going above 25 celcius and the evenings getting as low as 10 celcius. Dalat is the honeymoon capital of Vietnam so it is usually full of local tourists. It has also been referred to as Le Petit Paris due to its French Colonial influence that is evident in the abundance of French Colonial architecture and streets of French villas. Our early departure from rainy Nha Trang meant we would get to Dalat in the early afternoon and still have plenty of time to explore before ... read more
Hilly streets of Dalat
Xuan Huong Lake
Train Station

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands November 20th 2012

Our two day bike ride from Da Lat to Mui Ne was certainly a highlight of the trip. Although it sounds very adventurous, really we just hired a guide service that rented us two bikes, provided a support vehicle, and helped us get to the coast by bike, while transporting our luggage as well. Not only were we riding through beautiful country (though admittedly, we would not have minded our fancy road bikes over the clunky, rusty, mountain bikes they provided us with), but we also stopped at some of the places that make the Vietnam Highlands stand out. We visited flower gardens (they export flowers all over Vietnam and beyond), coffee farms, and a rice wine distillery. We had our first introduction to weasel coffee. The beans of weasel coffee have first been ... read more
Flower Gardens
Coffee plant
Weasel coffee.




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