To catch up with the first three instalments of our trip, click here.
Having been to Da Lat on my last visit to Vietnam, I was well aware of what to expect. A cooler climate, lots of coffee and pastry as well as a very limited array of activities were on the agenda. As it happened, James wasn’t really that arsed for the main reason people come to Da Lat – canyoning – and seeing as I’d done it before we decided against it.
We did manage to do something other than sit around drinking coffee all day (just about) as we paid a visit to the ‘Crazy House’ which is…well, I don’t really know what it is to be honest. The best way to describe it would be as a half-finished, sort of hotel thingy which reminded me a lot of something out of a fairy tale. I’m pretty sure a picture would tell you more than I could.
Quite literally everyone we met along the way that was biking through Vietnam had gone out of their way to tell us how brilliant the drive from Da Lat to Nha Trang was – so you could say we were ever so slightly excited for this one.
With that said, it didn’t go quite to plan from the first minute as my usually-reliable City Maps 2 Go app (which I would recommend to any traveller – not just those biking Vietnam) decided we’d had it easy enough so far and sent us on a wild goose chase down loads of back roads. We finally made it on to the ‘new’ highway after about half an hour of faffing around trying to get the hell out of Da Lat.
As you’ll be able to see in the video below, the start of the road isn’t really a road as there’s still a lot of construction going on. For the first 20 minutes or so we found ourselves dodging potholes every two seconds and driving mostly on sand. Things could only get better, right?
And get better they did. Apart from a brief panic when we thought the cops may be pulling us over (see video below), the rest of the journey was an absolute dream as we climbed even further up in to the hills and at one point found ourselves well and truly up in the clouds. It was absolutely bloody freezing and we even had to pull over to get our jackets on, although this only lasted about half an hour as things quickly heated up on our descent!
On the way back down we truly saw what all the fuss was about, as the 45 minute or so descent treated us to some of the nicest views we have ever seen. There were times when we had to pull over and simply admire what was around us – it was absolutely breathtaking. I don’t think the pictures or the video will really do it much justice, but you’ll hopefully get the gist.
We arrived in Nha Trang in great time, where we decided to set up camp (stay in a hostel) for a few days to recharge before the long ol’ trek to Hoi An. As a side note, on the way in to Nha Trang we found ourselves getting pestered by guys on bikes trying to drum up business for the local hotels. Now, I feel like I’ve seen almost all there is to see when it comes to silly motorbike behaviour in Vietnam, but this really takes the cake. As you will see from my reaction in the video, I got a little tired of it…
Click here for an absolute nightmare of a next leg: Nha Trang to Quy Nhon!