Vietnam road trip: Saigon to Hanoi on a Honda Dream – Part 6

IN July-August 2010 Jo Lane travelled 1700km from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi on a $300 scooter. This is her story… 

[if you’ve just joined us, you can read Part 1 of the series here]


COOL, verdant with flowers and vegetables, dripping with waterfalls and sprinkled with minority villages – it’s no wonder Dalat is a favoured destination for most people who come to Vietnam. There’s a lot to do and see here and my three days passed in a whirlwind of sights, sounds and colours. Here’s a photographic gallery to best appreciate Dalat experiences.

This is a fairly common sight in Vietnam, and this man arriving in the central Dalat market area was typically laden with ducks on his motorbike.

Linh Son pagoda was not far from my hotel and featured an enormous bronze bell and some industrious monks busy at work in the gardens.

Dalat literally drips in flowers but one of the best places to see them in full glory is at the Flower Gardens, full of plenty of kitsch stuff like men dressed as cowboys, giraffe statues eating trees and so on, but there are plenty of budding orchids, cactus, hydrangeas and more to enjoy.

Strawberry produce is a feature of the central highlands and one day durinng my rounds of the city I came across enormous greenhouses where they were being grown. But you could see the fresh produce everywhere or purchase strawberry jams, syrups and wines and even an extract for tea.

The Datanla Falls are located at the end of a lovely walk down through pine forest where this man was harvesting honey from bees.

At the Prenn waterfall you can actually walk behind the falls. It's located about 15km outside Dalat.

The Chicken Village is about 18km from Dalat and so named because of this giant concrete statute sitting in the middle of town - I kid you not. The Chicken Village is located off the main highway to Nha Trang and home to the Koho minority. The Koho people are a matriarchal society and the women's family give the men a dowry when they marry (the women actually ask the men to marry them too) and the men go to live with their bride's family after the nuptials. The statue was built to honour the death of a girl who died searching for a nine fingered chicken for her dowry to marry a young man in the village.

Kalong from the Chicken Village told me how girls learn to make Koho products from the age of about 13 or 14. They make up to 20 items as part of their dowry and can be 6-8 hours a day at work. Kalong spoke excellent English that she had learned from tourists, was 30 years of age, and had had a baby almost every year since she got married at 25 - she was expecting another in a month. She said women in the village were named with the prefix Ka (or Kha - someone might know?), and kindly called me Kajo.

Apparently Dalat's farms supply a lot of Vietnam with veggies and this doesn't surprise me given the amount of produce I saw and the number of greenhouses around the city.

Village near Lang Bian mountain on a wet day. Horses roamed the streets freely.

This woman served the best coffee I have had since coming to Vietnam on a wet and soggy day when Beauty and I had battled murderous muddy village paths up near Lang Bian mountain. She had a store near the base of the mountain and I bought the blend she made of three kinds of coffees - here she is measuring some out for me.