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Descending Cliffs in Dalat

Descending Cliffs in Dalat

Another week, another absolutely fantastic excursion to a new and exciting part of Vietnam. This past weekend’s adventure? A mini-trip to Dalat, a chilly European-esque mountain town located about four hours north of Saigon–so delightfully refreshing and pretty darn cool. I swear, every new place I go to in Vietnam, the more I fall in love with this gorgeous country. Have I said that before? Have I also mentioned that I’m never leaving? Okay, good. Great. Kisses, y’all, I’m living here five-ever.

All jokes aside, it was an incredible weekend–definitely my favorite excursion by far. We left on Thursday evening on a night bus … to be quite honest, it was the low point of the trip. The night bus was exciting for about the first ten minutes of our very first drive to Nha Trang–then we all realized it’s actually a huge pain in the butt and kind of sucks. You don’t get any sleep, you’re dehydrated, crabby, and feeling totally gross … but it gets you there for $12, which is kind of worth it, I guess. I’ll stop complaining. YAY NIGHT BUS!!

We arrived to Dalat bright and early at 5AM on Friday morning. We were completely shocked to discover that it was a chilly 60 degrees out. After being so accustomed to hot and humid Saigon weather (and just disgustingly hot Southeast Asian weather in general, literally kill me) it was so strange to pull on my favorite J.Crew sweatshirt and actually want a hot cup of coffee. I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s going to be like stepping off a plane to an ice-cold Dayton winter … I’m probably going to barricade myself in the house, not talk to anyone, and just cuddle with my dog on the floor for a week. Yeah, that’s a good plan. I’m such a lovely sociable person, obviously.

ANYWAY, (oh my gosh I am the reigning queen of tangents) we arrived to our cute little hotel, called the Pink House, and all took naps in our gloriously soft queen beds. I woke up at noon to a gorgeous balcony view; then I slipped on my comfiest cold-weather clothes and clambered down the creaky winding stairs to meet everyone for an afternoon spent touring the city. I had heard that the best way to see the city was by motorbike, so I hopped on the back of one and enjoyed the pretty sights and cool breeze. We all grabbed a quick dinner and were in bed pretty early … we had two very long days ahead of us!

Saturday morning I was up at 7 AM, getting dressed and enjoying a quick, yummy breakfast (with hot coffee!) before our “secret tour” with our hotel owner. My allergies made me feel quite stuffy (hello high altitude, I haven’t missed you AT ALL), but the piping hot coffee cheered me right on up. Then we all hopped on the backs of a fleet of motorbikes and headed for the mountains … literally! The whole day was absolutely amazing–we walked around little villages,  toured a local market and a silk farm, ate fried crickets … and mostly just enjoyed the incredible views. Our hotel owner had actually grown up in one of these local villages and spoke the dialect, so we got to interview some of the local women … it was overwhelming and slightly uncomfortable, but such a wonderful learning experience. Afterward, we sampled local fruits at our hotel owner’s home and then embarked on the 2 hour journey home, finally arriving at 8PM. We were exhausted; I had some pizza and went to bed.

The following morning we were up bright and early again, this time to go canyoning. To be honest, I didn’t exactly know what “canyoning” meant–I assumed hiking and maybe some swimming. I was in for quite the shock when I realized that it was a whole lot of climbing … have I ever mentioned that I’m terrified of heights? Well, I am. We got into our harnesses and helmets and I was totally freaking out. I watched each of my friends repel down the first waterfall and I was wondering (per usual with most of my choices in Vietnam so far) what the heck I was doing. But as I jumped off the cliff into a beautiful rainforest oblivion, I was completely exhilarated. It ended up being a hilariously fun and very brave day … but I was so happy that I embarked on this little adventure and tested my fears. I’m continually growing as a person, every day I spend here, and I absolutely love it!

That evening, we relaxed at the hotel (I had a little catnap) and then took the dreaded night bus home. Not the best ending to such a fabulous weekend, but oh well. From this point on, our semester is just flying on by: this Wednesday, we leave for a weeklong trip to Thailand, immediately followed by a two-week excursion to the north (Hanoi, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Halong Bay)! I could not be more excited … and exhausted. But there’s no complaining to be done here–I am having the time of my life!!

Stay posted!!

roomies and I absolutely loving Dalat


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