Sunday, Jan. 3rd (Da Lat Day 2)

  • Woke up on the concrete floor of Da Lat Family Hostel’s lobby at 6am to the sound of an alarm going off somewhere amid the mountain of backpacks beside us.
  • Someone eventually managed to find the phone and turn it off, but there was no hope of salvaging any more sleep. Business had started for the day and the staff was busy processing guests as they come down from their beds seeking breakfast, tour bookings, and to check out.
  • We woke up with a few cups of hot green tea then grabbed a day pack and set off to explore the city.
  • Da Lat is not immediately reminiscent of the rest of Vietnam, at least what we’ve seen so far of the South.  It is a sleepy mountain town with architecture and backdrop that wouldn’t seem out of place in North America (probably a remnant of French colonial days).
  • We explored many side streets and walked around Xuan Huong Lake, stopping on a bench half way to share a bag of peanuts.  The views of the lake are breathtaking with rainbow flowers dotting the shoreline and colourful San Francisco-esque architecture riding the hills into the distance.
  • Next stop was the Crazy House, a local tourist attraction that is straight out of Dr. Seuss’s mind.  Partly under construction, we wandered the winding, thorny, ivy covered staircases between buildings merging into secret tunnels and opening up into weird little exhibition rooms: a hotel lobby, or someone’s bedroom, or a porch overlooking the city with a big gong on it.
  • Returned to our hostel to relax for a bit.
  • Dinner was a big family affair (hence the name, Da Lat “Family” Hostel).  Twenty backpacking guests sat around a huge communal table where the staff put out plate after plate of delicious home-cooked food.  We ate our fill and then had to push still further as the banana pancakes started coming out.  Total cost: 50K VND (less than $2.50).
  • I called it an early night while Cory went out to the bars with a big group from the hostel.  He was back before long though; the majority of bars here shut down at 11pm or Midnight at the latest.
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