Dalat, Vietnam (the highlands)

Trip Start Jun 26, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, April 9, 2007

another 8 hour bus journey through coffee fields, evergreens and mountains, we arrived in the town of dalat.  at approx. 5000 feet, we felt the relief of the cool mountain air.  a welcome relief after roughly 2 months of constant heat.  there was a nice large lake near the town center with swan paddle boats, lots of bicycles for  2 and several universities in the area.  apparently the universities are located there because the cool air makes it easier to concentrate.  dalat was spared any damage during the war due to a unspoken understanding that it was a place to be preserved.  the fact that many wealthy people owned homes in the area was no small influence either.

we enjoyed our first day by just walking around town and getting information about the hiking/trekking (not sure of the difference) in the surrounding peaks.  we decided to rent bikes to get to the trails and then do our hiking.  the ride was very nice we got out of town and pedaled through the countryside with views of the peaks ahead, rural life, and a few small villages.  we got to the park 6 miles later where we paid our fee and started on our way with a very simple map of the area.  we were told to hike a road to the top where we would find the trails.

on the way up the road we hiked by some guys who had a small fire going and were drinking something (rice wine we think).  they offered us some and we declined but we asked if we could take the trail near them to get up on one of the peaks and they replied positively (we think).  so off we went following the trail which was to become many trails.  we picked our trails based upon their heading and amount of wear.  we had to turn around several times and backtrack to another branch.  i wouldn't call it getting lost just an opportunity to see more of the park.  eventually we made it to the main trail and made our way towards the highest of the peaks.  we ran into a few other trekkers who told us it was only a few more clicks to the top but it would be steep going.  yep!  steep and muddy but we slogged up and reached the peak just as a light rain broke out.

there was no cover up top and so we didn't stay long but there were some great views of the surrounding valleys.  some pristine and some with tiered farms.  but the rain started to intensify so down we went.  as it became a downpour we slipped and slid all of the way down without any bad falls but got pretty wet.  good fun!  the views all of the way down were very nice.

we had a cup of tea when we got down to let the latest wave of rain pass and then we got on our bikes and enjoyed about 5 minutes of dryness before the next drenching.  we were beyond soaked when we got back to town but it was fun and luckily we had remembered our headlamps.

the next day we relaxed before taking the bus to our next destination nha trang
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