This is a combined blogpost about my adventures after Đà Lạt and some of it is Not for the faint-hearted, especially going down the Hải Vân Pass without any air left in the rear tyre… and popping it again on the AH1!
Asia Australia Travels
Hello from Đà Lạt!
Đà Lạt is a great place in Vietnam, the last time I visited it was end of January (read my previous adventure here)
Now it’s more rainy, but that didn’t spoil the fun.
I did some different things this time which was really nice.
Although i stayed at the same hostel (Dalat Family Hostel) which is a absolute must-do on your trip to Dalat.
They moved locations so now they are able to fit more travelers, without losing the real “family” feeling.
When we arrived Mama Đà Lạt gave us a big hug and immediately ushered us over to the dinner table where there was more food than the actual table could handle.
I ate more in the last two days in Dalat than in the previous week in Vietnam 😉
We were pretty tired by the long journey from Mui Ne, so after a well deserved beer we went to bed (The beds are excellent in this hostel!)
Canyoning, if you have never done this before, it’s really awesome. Basically it’s going down a track in some barren territory (preferably downstream) and on the way down you’ll abseil down some cliffs or waterfalls.
After checking all the equipment and getting explaination on how to abseil down the cliffs we set off into the jungle. We did three waterfalls in total and a cliff-jump from 7 and 11 meters. There was also a natural water slide along the way. After which we got a mini-van back to Mama and the food was already prepared when we got there, and as per the usual was really lovely and more than you could muster to eat.
First off we went into town by foot. That takes about 30~40 minutes but you can see a variety of things along the way, and you’ll get a nice impression of how the Vietnamese people live. The first sightseeing spot was the crazy house and as the name states, is pretty crazy, really weird architecture.
After that we went to the central market for some food and seeing the place bustling with activity.
Now we are off to Hoi An via Nha Trang!
Hello fellow travelers and faithfull readers,
I’m back in Mui Ne! Read my previous post here
At the start of the day or the previous night over a few beers i usually plan one day ahead.
The 5th of June looked like this:
Unfortunatly things will never go as planned…
General tips for travelers in Vietnam (Every tip leads to a great story)
Tip 1: Haggle and know your prices
So at the start of the day, me and Anna decided to rent a scooter and go to see the great things Mui ne has to offer.
First up: Malibu beach! (insert old picture of Malibu from February)
Remember, all rivers and beaches in Vietnam are always free! If somebody is trying to sell you tickets, there must be something wrong (It’s a trap / scam!).
Only… there was something new about the road leading to the beach. A fence! But i just scooted onwards and didn’t pay much attention until some guy started yelling and drove after us.
Turned out that he was selling… I kid you not… “Swimming in the sea tickets” for VND 20.000 per person!
Well after that we laughed, said “No thanks!” turned around and continued our way (500 meter away was a FREE beach access)
Then the next point of interest: The red dunes in Mui ne.
Parking! Parking! Parking! all the guys shouted, park here, park here.
Usually that means paying, most of the times you don’t even know what the price is (you’ll find out afterwards)
What’s wrong with that spot i asked (and pointed to a parking spot at the other side of the road where all the hawkers, vendors and locals parked their scooters)
Oh no, glass and maybe you’ll get stuck in the sand. “I’ll take the risk” i replied.
Without any harm to the scooter we had a nice stroll on the Red dunes.
PRO TIP: Don’t rent a sand-sled from the kids, they really don’t really. Better spend that money on the good stuff!
We continued our way on to the white dunes (about 20km North from Mui Ne map link)
Tip 2: Carry a 2nd wallet in case the police stops you.
So we were cruising along on our little scooter, when all of a sudden there are 3 guys sitting under a tree.
(Uh oh, Police) But just be polite, act nice and nothing will happen. we didn’t do anything wrong anyway and i have my international drivers license.
Which is or isn’t valid in Vietnam, i was about to find out.
The rather unfriendly police-officer stopped me and asked “Where you from?” so i said in my best Vietnamese I’m from Holland…
“Drivers license!” he replied! So i gave my International drivers license.
After checking my license he switched tactic, you were speeding!
But.. Mr. Police officer, if you ever read this:
1. you had no laser-gun, only a batton to hit me with.
2. no police car followed me to check my speed.
3. The speed limit out of city limits is 60km/h (Both you and I know this)
Still he insisted i clocked 46km/h (which might be true i drove around 45/50 km/h)
And he pointed me to a book which had a fine from 1.000.000VND – 2.500.000VND *Vietnamese law!*
Well… probably the law also states that that’s within city borders and that i should get a receipt and my speed should be correctly measured but ok.
I didn’t have a million dong on me. He was oh so generous and made it into 500.000VND I didn’t have that on me neither…
He settled for 300.000VND (15$ or 12 Euro) and thanked me afterwards, ensured it was in my best interest (road safety my *ss!)
Well.. then it was on for the White dunes. Nothing special if you ask me, just a good excuse for renting out Quads and Jeeps.
But here is a picture of the infamous white dunes anyway!
The fairy stream was really cool, except for the sunburn we both got from driving and walking in the sun all day.
PRO TIP 2: Use sunscreen and loads of it, always have some extra around when you go on a tour or doing activities on a scooter or walking.Then it was just relaxing and chilling by the pool in our excellent hostel Mui ne Backpacker village
after dinner a stroll on the beach, and now the rain comes pouring down in
The beachfront isn’t anything special unfortunately, more trash and filth than anyone would like to see…
Now it’s off to Dalat!
Woke up at 7:00 had a brekkie. Then got to the bus at 8:30. Our tour guide and some other vietnamse passengers did some acapella songs though the bus mic.
Now it’s of to the first stop: a 200 year old pagoda. The Vinh Trang Pagoda.
Then went on the bus, gone to the Coconuts candy factory. Had lunch after a quick horse ride. Then saw a competitive battle of catfish catching. Then into another boat to go to honey tea and we held a boa constrictor.
Then into the traditional canoes.
Then we had some fruit with traditional music (our tour guide joined as well) the last song was if you’re happy and you know it… clap your hands.
Back in the boat… got a monsoon on our head. And back in the bus. Then it was time for the biggest surprise of the day.. the hotel: excellent. Fast WiFi, shower and a bed!
After some beers and a delicious Beef (Bó) BBQ with a lovely pepper sauce it was time for bed.
Day 2: started off with the biggest confusing breakfast ever. I didn’t quite catch what the options were… so I went like: noodles?!? And our waiter was like: Noodles! And I was like: Noodles?!? And so we got noodles instead the rest of the restaurant which all got fried eggs…
Then I was dying for some coffee. So in my best Vietnamese I ordered two black coffees, only forgot to add the word for Hot. So we got ice coffee instead…
Let’s see how the rest of the day will shape up. Our singing tour guide Minh will come pick us up any minute (7:00)
So after a short bus-trip, we got into the boat and got squashed like canned sardines… there isn’t much legroom and mandatory swim vests aren’t helping for the comfort level.
But after a short trip we arrived at the biggest floating market in Vietnam. All boats had their anchor buoy replaced by the items they sell (sweet potato, durian, pineapple ect.)
After that we went to a rice noodle factory to see how they are made. They cook 80% rice powder with 20% starch, then they make a flimsy pancake which dries in the sun for 5hours then gets cut up to Noodles.
Went back on the boat to go to a local restaurant/ weird farm. Where they sold frogs, rat, pigeon, snake and other local delights. But… pretty common on this trip, we weren’t really sure what we where doing from 9:30 – 10:30 early lunch?!?
Now we are Oscar Mike (On the move) again in our little snug fit boat.
Basically to go and have real lunch and keep faffing around until the bus shows up…
Now (13:00) we are on the way back to HCM city.
Ready to pickup laundry and on to the next adventure… Mũi Ne!
Well well… we’ve arrived in Vietnam. But… the flight was faster than the process at immigration.
Arrived from Singapore on 30 June 2016 @ 16:40 ICT (local time, GMT+6)
Already prepared our forms and VOA ( Visa-on-arrival ) I didn’t bring a photo for on the Visa (but that wasn’t any problem in Hanoi)
Queue was really quick and so everything went smoothly up to that point. Only the stamping fee is $25 and… we forgot to bring dollars… (no problem I thought, there must be a handy ATM close by)
Well… NO! No ATM… and the customs officers didn’t understand. Plus I got charged $5 for a digital photo… 😭
No money… no honey!
Well Vietnam is one of the country’s in the world where you can exit the airport while the customs officer keeps your passport, ignore all the scanners, walk right though security to find out that neither of your bank cards work… then you walk back, though a one-way opening door (just wait for another passenger to go out) bypassing security again (no questions asked) skip up the steps and go back to customs… where they don’t understand you.
Lucky for me I have Anna. So Anna went and tried, same journey. But had no clue about the exchange rate. So had to rely on the girl at the currency exchange counter. Which said $50 was 1.000.000 VND and after going back to security found out that it wasn’t enough.
Then because of totally not understanding us (English m*therf*cker, do you speak it?!?) I was grounded at the visa desk, not allowed to pass. And Anna was forced to pass immigration because she already acquired a visa.
Luckily nobody was paying attention (Vietnamese style?) and she was able to sneak past security again to go to the ATM again, get me the rest of the money. Finally was able to enter Vietnam with my passport.
Because it took two hours our bags were at lost and found… but finally we managed to get our free two beers at the Vietnam Saigon inn
So everyone going to Nam… bring your dollars in cash for the stamping fee and save yourself some trouble!!!