It was a wrench to leave Da Lat and the Dalat Palace Hotel. It’s a spectacular colonial building high on a hill overlooking a lake, very reminiscent of Geneva. The hotel has log fires in the bedrooms, fortunately not lit, and a magnificent dining room where we enjoyed a superb meal. Again the hospitality was superb and we were looked after very well.
Before leaving, most people took a quick taxi trip around the old French quarter and a visit to the market. Getting across the road on food was the most nerve wracking bit of the trip so far!
The first 75Kms of the drive to Ke Ga was a trifle tedious along the highway choked with traffic, relieved only for some by a detour to another waterfall. Many missed it because the sign to it had been removed but it proved a useful stop for some minor running repairs, or a catch up on the route book as Lorraine did above.
Then blissfully, we turned left and took a winding 46Km country road through the highlands; a thin strip of mostly single track, winding up hill and down, around and through vertiginous valleys heavily wooded and planted with coffee.. It was a glorious drive and ideal conditions for classic cars.
The first notable stop for a few of the team were the Lien Khurong Falls. A deluge of muddy water that is some 200 meters wide and crashes over a vast escarpment of jagged rock. Bizarrely the entrance to the falls is through a shop front, down a flight of concrete steps and then through the cafe owner’s house! It was a long steep metal staircase that led down to the river, snaking through banana trees and bamboo.
Not so bad on the way down, but a killer on the knees coming back up. So some of us opted to skip this one and take the opportunity to do some fine tuning!
Or to find a novel way of keeping our heads cool, like David above.
The advertised “Banyan Tree” coffee stop was closed for early travellers but opened for later arrivals and offered not only spectacular views but another opportunity for some fettling to a couple of cars.
The cafe is named after the famous Banyan Tree that it stood beside, note the past tense as the tree is sadly no more. The owners of the cafe are a husband and wife, the former offers a side business in motorbike maintenance, while the latter deals with the refreshment. No English is spoken but ordering with sign language was pretty straight forward!
The recycling of plastic bottles is taken very seriously in Vietnam, which might explain the “guard” dog?!
The less said about this loo at one of our coffee stops today, the better.
There was time at one of the coffee stops today though for our guide, Tracy, to sing happy birthday to Debbi
Some cars today needed a bit more cooling off in the heat than others!
The terrain eventually flattened out, and cresting a rise we eventually could see the sea.
The last part of the drive followed the coast, with a continuous strip of resorts and hotels along the beach until we arrived in paradise; the Princess D’Annam resort.
The evening was memorable for being Debbi’s birthday, our first on this trip (word is there may be a couple more to come), celebrated liberally in the bar before a barbecue lobster dinner beside the beach. It doesn’t get much better than this!