Da Lat, Vietnam. Mountains, wine, and a cat called Mau

3rd – 8th September 2014

I had to choose between another beach destination or Da Lat, an inland mountainous region with beautiful scenery.  Of course I opted for the mountainous region, as much as I love beaches I probably love a mountain’s views and the challenges they possess even more so!

The climate in Da Lat was a lot cooler, so much so that for the few days I was there I could straighten my hair again! 

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On the first day I was there, I discovered a café with a cute black and white cat, which I soon found out was called Mau. Also, here in Da Lat, due to their climate they are able to grow lots of vegetables and fruits, and they even produce their own wine! So I spent each and every night in there, drinking the local white wine at 60p a glass, bargain, and the cat headed for my lap every night!  Cat and wine fix all in one!!

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I went on a countryside tour in a 7 seater car with 9 people in it.  Wasn’t uncomfortable at all!!!

A flower farm

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A poor monkey chained up a tree, he was enjoying some moon cake someone had thrown up to him.

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The monkey’s owner

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The lady of the house and their kitchen

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A zig zag stitch spider again!

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As we were driving into this little village, I noticed something that nightmares are made of…hundreds of large dangly spiders hanging from the electricity lines!!! Grouped around some of the main poles were so many of these I couldn’t count them.  I couldn’t get a photo from my cramped back seat position in the car, but when we did stop there were a few I could get a photo of.  I was a bit disappointed because there were many more on the previous lines I’d seen! Maybe that’s not a bad thing though!!

Bear in mind this is an electricity line, so is quite far away (for size reference of the spider. i.e. HUGE!!!)

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Loads of them! All hanging and waiting to drop on your head!!)

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A nice countryside view after all them horrible black dangly things!

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Weasel poo coffee (yes it is as it sounds)

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And here’s the poor weasel who poops for a living…

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And the coffee it produces (at a very expensive £1.80 a cup, (by Vietnamese and backpacker budget standards!) I didn’t bother trying, but then I don’t like coffee either! A cup of this coffee elsewhere in Vietnam sells for around £20!!!)

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Da Lat is home to the Easy Riders (motorbike tour guides for the day)

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Some cute stripey piglets

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A silkworm factory, these ladies get around £6.50 a day to work here!

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The silkworms are boiled first

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The silk thread produced

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Nothing is wasted in Vietnam, the silkworms are used for food.

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Could do with getting the cobweb duster out!

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A cute little boy

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The Big Happy Buddha

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And here is my food challenge of the day!

Trying a local delicacy – deep fried crickets!

A visit to the crazy house, which was a maze of quirky staircases and passageways
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View from the top
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In my little cat cafe I met a great couple of guys, a father and son from Israel, Noam and Ran.  They invited me to go with them on their walk up Langbiang Mountain the next day, and I enthusiastically accepted!

It was a great day, walking through forests and up onto the highest mountain in the area.

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A local Vietnamese ‘zebra’!

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And here’s one they used earlier!
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Noam, Ran, and me
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Our guide
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The face of pain!
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We summitted!
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Me and Cobby at the summit!
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Cobby feeling quite proud of himself!
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Picnic at the top
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Panorama
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After this I caught up with the guys later on and we came across a cafe with a guitar,  Noam was a fantastic player and had a huge library of songs up his sleeve, to which me and another girl sang along to, whether we were in tune or not!

I had a crazy (thankfully only five minutes) ride with this guy!
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On the Sunday I booked an Easy Rider trip, which is a ride on the back of a motorbike wherever you want to go.  I had met the guide in the cat café the other night, and he was a fascinating and interesting guy.  He took me around the winding mountainous roads, through the countryside, and we visited some beautiful waterfalls along the way.

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My guide and rider, Stefan
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A cute dog that followed us down to the waterfall
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Cool roots
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Looking the part!
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On nearing lunchtime, my guide Stefan stopped off at a house, and invited me in.  It turned out to be his sister-in-law’s house.  They didn’t know we would be turning up, but when we arrived there was a table of five or six men, a huge pot of fish soup and rice, and plenty of rice wine going around.  They welcomed me into their Sunday afternoon get together, and I can honestly say that so far this has turned out to be my most authentic experience yet.  They made sure I was well fed, and extremely well watered!  Mainly with rice wine and another strong liqueur which they had brought out.  It was brown in colour and they said to me it was herbal, and so I tried some – extremely potent!  Stefan said to go easy on this stuff, although it is deemed a little rude not to accept each toast of the drink (ie, by downing a shot!) but I got away with some smaller shots….I had a motorbike to keep myself upright on after all!  I’m thankful I noticed that Stefan declined any alcoholic drink!

The Sunday afternoon crew!
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The brown stuff
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This guy was a right character, especially after all those shots of rice wine!
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Heading off home on his motorbike!
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More waterfalls
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Forgot to get a pic of him on his bike before it rained, not quite the same in his poncho!
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A few market pics!
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Any clue as to what these could have once been?!
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A very 1970’s looking chicken swan on a boating lake!
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More caged birds 😦
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How lovely to capture a shot of this one in the wild!
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Mpre cute dogs
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My celebrity status was obviously pretty high in Da Lat, I had people coming from everywhere running up and asking for pics!!
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