From Hoi An, we continue to head South along the Vietnamese coast by sleeper bus. Our next stop was Nha Trang, famous for its beaches. It was sunny for a few hours in the morning, long enough to lure us out of the hotel to head to the beach and pop into a beach-front bar for a drink. Then the rains came and we were trapped there for the next 6 hours. This happened two days running. We ended up having lunch and dinner at this place, waiting for the rain to ease off but it never did. By bed time the rain was still being ridiculous, but we had to head back to our hotel, wading through a foot of water on the way. So I can’t tell you much about Nha Trang, apart from the inside of the Louisiane Brewhouse (which is very nice – I recommended the shrimp in green rice).
So we quickly moved on to our next destination, Da Lat, which is away from the coast and up in the highlands. It was very foggy and raining on the drive up, so we didn’t see much of the scenery. But we did see plenty of mini waterfalls spilling into the road, which we had to dodge along with the pot holes and stray cows.
A few years ago someone set up a successful business in Da Lat offering motorbike tours called “Easy Riders”. Now every Tom Dick And Harry with a bike calls himself an easy rider and touts mercilessly for tourists’ business. They spot us as soon as we get off the bus with our backpacks (fresh meat) and insist on escorting us to our hotel even though we try to decline, initially politely but then quite forcefully. We try to lose our entourage but ducking into a shop, but they are waiting for us when we come out. We get to our hotel, and one guy is still waiting for us an hour later when we come back out for dinner. It’s a bit sinister really and puts us off going for a bike tour.
Instead we go on a guided hike through the hills. The hiking place offers an easy hike, two moderate and one challenging. We’re debating whether to go easy or moderate, but because of the wet weather, those hikes are off due to slippery paths and leeches. So, challenging it is.
The hike takes us through coffee plantations and over some pretty dicey looking rope bridges. We cross the warily, holding on to the ropes on both sides, to the amusement of some locals, who then drive across on their motorbikes. We then climb a ridge for some great views and then pass by Tiger Waterfall.
Mui Ne is another beach resort. More chilling out in hammocks, in the pool and on the beach, sharing fresh coconut with a dog and watching what seemed like the whole town turn out to haul in the daily catch.
More photos of Dalat and Mui Ne are on Mr Beet’s flickr page.