Saturday, Jan. 2nd (Mui Ne to Da Lat)

  • Overshot our 7am alarm by an hour (classic) but felt better with the extra sleep.
  • Packed up our bags and grabbed a final omelette breakfast at our hostel.
  • Took our motorbikes to a mechanic for a quick tune up to get them highway ready. For 20K VND (<$1) the mechanic tightened everything up (including chains, breaks, and pegs), oiled the chains, and adjusted the tire pressure.
  • We were still waiting on our friends from Montreal, Ben and Julia, so we decided to go to Nginh Phong for one last famous banana pancake covered in sweet, condensed milk.
  • Our friends from the kiteboarding school, Hong and Justin, saw our bikes while passing by and came in to say a final, final goodbye.
  • We changed restaurants to meet up with Ben and Julia and ran into our local friends Niem, Alex, and Tuan for another final, final goodbye.
  • Minutes away from leaving, Cory pulled his bike around and ended up with a flat tire. We all settled back down at the restaurant while he and Ben took their bikes to another mechanic for repair (Ben to have his surfing rack adjusted).
  • Finally, 3 hours over schedule, we hit the road!
  • The sun was shining intensely as we pulled out of Mui Ne but it was soon replaced by the crisp mountain air a few kilometres away. The winding road through the mountains was empty which made for some very fun driving, and the the foliage frequently opened up to give us sweeping panoramic views of the valleys below with rice and coffee fields dotting the hillsides, all fading into a blue ocean backdrop.  
  • We arrived in Da Lat around 7:30pm, nearly two hours after dark.
  • Checked in to our new home, Da Lat Family Hostel, where we were immediately led to a table and fed a free dinner spread of rice, noodles, eggs, vegetables, and piles of fruit.
  • Music was blaring and people were in and out of the building nonstop which took us a bit by surprise after our last 38 days in a relatively subdued beach town.
  • Unfortunately the hostel had way overbooked and our reservation for 2 beds no longer existed. We ended up spending a fitful (but free) night sleeping on blankets on a concrete floor in the common area, along with 15 other people.

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