Buon Ma Thuot where we started the day is at a lower altitude that other towns we have come from so is warmer and less humid than the higher areas have been. It is also the centre of tea, coffee and rubber production. The cool mountain air here is either heavy with the nutty, earthy aroma of the coffee bean, or the sweet flowery fragrance of the coffee blossom
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by the French, and is now the second largest producer in the world (after Brazil) with 97% of the production being the Robusta bean and much of shipped to the UK.
Have you ever heard of the Vietnamese Drip method of drinking coffee? Ground coffee is added to a metal filter, or phin, which is placed on top of the cup. Water is then added, which seeps through the ground coffee and into the cup below. For those of us not a fan of drinking it black it is typical to add condensed milk, a practice started by the French who found fresh milk hard to come by.
Our route continued through the mountains, over two passes on a gloriously winding road with thankfully less traffic than before.
We stopped at one plantation today (with a huge variety of coffee to buy or just try) and Jan was brave enough to try “Weasel Coffee”. If you haven’t heard of it, you can read about it here. Jan you are a braver woman than the rest of us!!
We also managed to stop by a local greengrocer’s (and of course more coffee stops along the road). As well a local “merchant of all sorts” (see above) to see if he might have some air horns for us all to carry in order to compete with the buses!
Internet cafe’s are the norm at home, but in Vietnam they provide hammocks. Who wouldn’t love to see this on high streets at home?!
Marian even found time to feed some bananas to a young elephant at Lake Lak.
The lake is one of the most scenic and beautiful lakes in the romanticized Central Highlands of Vietnam. Lake Lak has an ethnic population and a friendly little town called Lien Son.
From there it was on to Elephant Falls (Thac Voi), named after a large rock that allegedly resembles an elephant’s head . It is the most dramatic in the Lam Dong Province. It was a slippery walk, almost treacherous in places to get to the bottom of the waterfall, but the roar of the water let us know when we were close. And well worth the excursion for the cooling spray that blew into our faces.
The last pic is Rebecca enjoying having safely navigated the slippery walk down!
We also got a chance to see lots of houses today, from those dotted along the road, to those actually in the middle of the lake. It was curious to see floating houses on the reservoir, complete with their own fish farm and satellite dish. Reminders of Lake Titicaca!
Then it was the last few kilometers into Da Lat, a hill station used by both sides in the Vietnam war for rest and recuperation and the beautiful colonial buildings escaped damage as a result.
And it certainly provided the perfect spot for our overnight stay, just look at that view!