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Da Lat and the Elephant Falls

Posted by Admin in category of Vietnam attraction
 

So off on Friday on the coach to Da Lat which took over 8 hours. Once arriving in Da Lat we had been told it was a beautiful by everyone. But when you arrive quite late in the evening it did not feel beautiful at all – it felt like Ho Chi Minh

 

The only first saving grace was the hotel we booked into was great and the hotel owners were fantastic.




It is very different landscape to Ho Chi Minh, is really beautiful

So off we go exploring with the girls to try to find what is the easiest and cheapest way to see the waterfalls as this is what Da lat is famous for and also some grub as we were hungry. Anyway after finding some grub which to be honest was our worst in Vietnam, I was even more depressed! As it was now a lot colder than Ho Chi Minh which I must admit I had read about but even I did not expect to need a fleece – thank god the Girl Guide in me brought one with me (always be prepared).

We got a few prices for a tour but they all included going to places that to be honest we have already seen i.e. how they make coffee, rice plantations but when you book a tour this is what you expect as they have to try to sell you stuff on the way around.

So going back to being prepared I did not pack any walking shoes and the Lonely Planet guide clearly tells you to see the Elephant Waterfalls at its best you need to go down a hazardous path and sometimes you can go behind the falls but you need goat like agility. I don’t think flip flops are up to this so bang goes the Girl Guide theory. So off we trot to find some sort of shoes I can use to go down to the falls in – after a bit of negotiating I get my self a pair of Converse trainers for less than £6 – so now I don’t feel too bad about not getting my Girl Guide badge for being prepared, ha ha

Anyway decide that we will book one of the tours we negotiated a fair price for and what happens, the place is closed – by this time Da lat is looking really bad.



Mike with the girls – had to hide his modesty after splitting his trousers in a compromising place!!


Whilst going back to the hotel really fed up I notice a backpackers cafe and said lets look there for a tour as it should be reasonable and good as backpackers do not take any crap. Low and behold we get a bespoke tour which includes both the Elephant Water Falls and the Datanla Falls plus a trip to the Crazy House (more on this later) and also removed the trips to the coffee and rice plantations. So now feeling a little better about Da lat as before all I could negotiate in the other tours was the Elephant Waterfall.

Up the next morning and off we go on the tour and once we got to the Elephant Waterfalls the games began. You know the Loney Planet Guide mentioned the path was hazardous and you needed goat like agility if you wanted to get behind the waterfall. Well all I can say is that was being kind! The path, did I say path was none existent it was full scale slippery mud and a sheer but we did it with a little mishap with Mike’s tearing his trousers in a most inappropriate place, ha ha.

So we get to the bottom of the falls and yes with goat like agility we get behind the falls it was amazing. I can honestly say I have seen a few waterfalls, ie. Niagara and even been in the Devils Pool at Victoria Falls where you hang over the top of the falls and this was up there with that. So now we had to get back up which was as scary and as hazardous as getting down.

So back in the van and off to the usual silk factory where they tell you about making silk and low and behold at the end of the tour they do not try to get you to buy some silk, hallelulah!. After lunch we go to the Crazy House which was designed on the same lines as Gaudi’s apartment in Barcelona. It was designed by Dang Viet Nga who studied architecture in Moscow and took inspiration from Gaudi it certainly is a crazy house.

So off to the next Datanla Falls we go. These are not supposed to be as spectacular as the Elephant Falls and it says in the book you can take a bobsled ride down to the bottom so this sounds a bit like a theme park ride but different all the same.



Inside the Crazy House


Tips for Vietnam
Before go to Vietnam, you should apply Vietnam visa on arrival, about Vietnam visa fee between $10 – $32

So like big kids we decide to book the bobsled ride down and what fun that was as I was in the front and when you are hurtalling down at speed all I could do was scream “I am going to die” and “no, I am really going to die”. This amused the girls in front and to be honest both Mike and myself. The falls were ok but to be honest the bobsled ride was better.

Did my first impression of Da lat change, Yes it did, Da lat is a beautiful part of Vietnam extremely green and hilly and completely different from the South East.

Anyway after another night in the hotel we are back on the bus to Ho Chi Minh. First bus had no AC so we had to transfer to another bus and after 8 or so hours we end back up at home (well, after staying in one hotel for 3 weeks it feels like home).

We are back at the disabled orphanage today which I am really looking forward to seeing the little ones even though you know they will not recognise you. We have two new volunteers with us today Tom and William which should be interesting.