Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dalat

Finally my wish for the trip to Dalat came true. I had a chance to get to the City of Love, of pine trees, of dream, of mimosa flowers and of sadness. I was so lucky having spent 4 days there.

Before leaving, I made a list of tourist attractions around the city I wanted to visit and found their locations on Google Map as well as on a tourist map. I also had some information about the weather in Dalat, which helped me to choose what kind of clothes to wear: nice weather, cold in the early morning and in the late afternoon but hot and sunny from 9 am to 5 pm. So I decided to take some T-shirts, 2 sweaters and some short trousers.

My plane landed late in the afternoon. Lien Khuong Airport was new, just opened before Dalat Flower Festival in December 1st 2009. The road from the airport to Dalat was new too. That was why it took only half an hour to get to the central by taxi.

I made use of the time in Dalat to explore the city. I not only visited all the places on the list but also some unplanned ones, around 15 places. :-). The best way to travel around was by motorbike. At first, I rented a bike but it was not a fun ride for me: a 'fragile' lady on winding and steepy roads. :-). Every place was worth visiting: Night Market, Central Market, Xuan Huong Lake, Central Cathedral, Flower Garden, Train Station, Bao Dai's Summer Palace, Crazy House, Truc Lam Buddist Pagoda, Tuyen Lam Lake, Cable Car from Truc Lam to Robin Hill, Valley of Love, Camly Waterfall, Datanla Waterfall, Prenn Waterfall, Domaine De Marie Convent, Lam Dong Museum, Lake of Sight, Linh Son Pagoda.

Dalat made great impressions on me. The city was beautiful and clean and flowered. The air was fresh. The people were friendly and must be artists and love gardening. Houses were nice. Prices were reasonable (actually cheap). I did not see any traffic policemen or traffic lights in streets. Incredible.

Two faint hearted things I tried in Dalat were riding a cable car from Tuyen Lam Lake to Robin Hill and riding a coaster in Datanla Waterfall. Exciting but really adventurous for me.

However, I found a bit disappointed when Xuan Huong Lake was waterless (it was drained because they were building a new dam) and so was Camly Waterfall, when the motorbike renter charged us 100,000 dongs for scatches I did not cause and when a waitress looked hostile serving a meal and when a taxi meter ran too fast. :-(.

On the way to the airport back to Hanoi I saw some mimosa flowers, a symbol of Dalat. Only in Dalat in Vietnam did you see this kind of flowers. They were brought from France and could grow here. The flowers reminded me of the song Mimosa. A nice song.

I hope in the future I will have another chance to return to Dalat.