We took a tour with our hostel, Mr. Vu’s motorcycle tours; we made a lot of stops all around the countryside of Dalat.
We started at a manmade lake, Tuyen Lam Lake.
We visited a local village called the “Chicken Village” – the people there had a story about a young couple from different clans who had a story similar to Romeo and Juliet, however the couple was sent into the forest to find a large chicken with 9 toes. The couple failed to do this and died while looking. The clans decided that this was a waste and would forever allow marriages between the different clans. To remind themselves they erected a large 9-toed chicken in the village.
Many of the minority villages have a significant christian population, leading to interesting juxtapositions.
There were several places we stopped to see some of the agricultural products grown in the area – the year-around mild climate makes for a unique area to Vietnam. These included mushrooms and carrots, and flowers and coffee, that we would see later.
Next we went to the Pongour waterfall and swam in the water. It was a beautiful spot. Since it is dry season, we could see rock through the waterfall and we could walk on the rock where the riverbed is during wet season. On our walk back to the bikes we met a friendly puppy.
We had lunch; Megan really liked her ginger chicken (also had some turmeric). Chris had some good vietnamese ‘pancakes’ and pork. Chris promises he will be able to reproduce the ginger chicken when back at home (Megan is hopeful)!
Then we went to Elephant Waterfall. We also walked down the the bottom of the falls. Climbing through some of the rocks to get there was fun, and at the bottom we walked through a short tunnel to come out on the back side of the waterfall. The spray of the water was great!
The next stop was a silkworm rearing house and weaving factory. We got to see the silkworms eating the mulberry leaves, and watch as the cocoons were unspooled and turned into thread. The weaving was accomplished on a loom run on punchcards.
The Linh An Pagoda was different than most of the pagodas we have seen. We even saw a man carving statues while we walked around.
We had some crazy coffee! Even Meg drank it. The coffee plantation also had a farm with weasels (civets) which eat the coffee fruit (spitting out the skin) and swallow the seed whole. The resultant excrement is dried for 6 months, after which the husk is removed, and the coffee seed inside it removed and roasted. The taste was very good, quite deep but not bitter. (Nope, still tastes bitter, per Megan.)
We also stopped to see a flower farm. Da Lat is known as the city of flowers due to its climate. It can grow flowers all year around.
We stopped at the crazy house, but decided we had seen enough that day (and would go to a different, crazy building the next day.)