6. Dalat – Misty Mountains and Phallic Garden Gates

We took the bumpiest bus journey to Dalat, up winding mountainous roads with the Vietnamese method of driving – no method at all. Bums were in the air for most of the trip and as we climbed the steepest part of the mountain, the minibus gave out. Cue the old driver trying to push start the vehicle (and our guilt at hesitating to help). He even had to shout at the city checkpoint to keep the barrier up since we couldn’t stop without breaking down. The unexpected stops, however, did give us more time to check out the astounding landscape – picture the Misty Mountains from Lord of the Rings.Dalat (28)

Dalat is a quaint town, a world away from the South Asian cities we had visited previously. Resembling a French Alps town (due to the French colonising the country in the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century), it rained the whole time.

The town is spread around an enormous lake, which we walked along once the rain took a breather. The lake was surrounded by old locals who seemed amused by the sight of us (don’t ask why, we were pretty used to people staring at us by now), but what amused us was the gate to the flower garden.

Dalat (3)

The “flower” garden

Like, seriously? The designer didn’t even try to be subtle.

Moving on from the gardens, we check out the Crazy House – a part-Gothic, part-Disney and part-nature house. So much fun, especially watching Liz struggle along the roof high walkways that had stunning views of the town.

Calling it a day, we return to the hostel. The hostel staff were so friendly, run by a family, which included their dog Guffy who of course was attracted to me (let’s say I’m not particularly fond of dogs). After sleeping on a rock-hard bed with my backpack as a bed buddy, we left for some beach therapy in Nha Trang.

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