Vietnam 🇻🇳 🏍: Dalat, temples of Duc Trong & a new clutch

Distance this section: 140km |Total: 640km

We got going reasonably early in Bao Loc. First up breakfast in one of the cafe’s near the pretty little lake in the city center. Or so we thought… Turns out that cafe’s there literally just serve hot drinks in morning 🤷‍♂️. The funniest thing in most cafe’s in Vietnam are the child size chairs. You are never quite sure if you break one and you sit in an uncomfortably low position. #babychair 😜

Vietnamese coffee

Coffee was introduced by the French in 1857 (see here) and is a major economic pillar of Vietnam with coffee exports only 2nd to rice. After years of rapid output growth, Vietnam is #2 producer worldwide after Brasil and ahead of Colombia.

See here for more info on coffee production.

Drinking the brew here is, however, weird. It is usually served with sweet condensed milk and each cup of coffee comes with its own coffee brewer. Not quite my taste 😐

So we left without breakfast and the firm intention to stop at the next place that sells Pho soup 🍜. We didn’t have to wait long…

Duc Trong temples feat. Vin Minh Tu Vien

The scenery remained stunning and the climate fresh up here on about 1500m. On our way towards Dalat we encountered a huge dam and wanted to see it closer. Restricted area! 🛑

However, during our attempt to reach the dam, we spotted a huge temple and headed in that direction. We didn’t have the slightest clue as to what expected us there… A seemingly endless amount of old and new temples aka just under construction.

In the first temple, a nun took us around. Laura somehow made a little conversation. I just admired the work. Inside the main temple, i think the monch expected us to pray… Well, we wouldn’t know how to! 🙏🙏🙏

We continued to another set of buildings in progress including the temple we had seen from afar. Super impressive on the outside – inside was sadly shut for us. I wonder how long it took to make all this (although in fairness, the use of concrete does speed up things).

By now we had also spotted a huge statue as the center piece of the Vinh minh tu vien temple complex. I don’t know the exact measures, but it is 10x plus taller than me so i guess 20-25m or thereabout. Huge in any case.

Dalat: La Furiosa needs a fix…💉 😷 🏥

It wasnt too far to Dalat and the views remained superb. The bike, however, didn’t feel that good. It moved, but didn’t take gas well and required always high revs to move. Not great heading uphill into Dalat!

On the way i had already checked for oil – low! Maybe it was just that? Well, a certainly overdue oil change was done quickly (4$ including air top up and fastened drive chain). Lets see!

We headed to the hotel and right after to a temple. The bike still didn’t work well. But we had time to explore the temple and nearby lake before heading to the garage again. Turns out ‘La Furiosa’ needs a new clutch. Understandable in her age.

A morning later and the bike got fixed. Felt really good to ride afterwards, especially uphill! Thanks a million. By the way, new clutch & fitting for USD25 😁. Love 🇻🇳

Exploring Dalat

Dalat was originally designed as a resort town by the French as still evident today by colonial architecture. We used our time (not spent with mechanics) to visit the Truc lam Buddhist temple, the pink church, the crazy house, on our way out the Linh Phuoc pagoda and saw Dalat’s Eiffel tower copy.

The crazy house is a gaudi style designed house by Vietnamese architect Dr. Dang Viet Nga (daughter of the 3rd Vietnamese president). It essentially looks like a huge tree house with separate buildings connected by narrow bridges and staircases. Truly extraordinary and a lot more than we had anticipated.

The architects idea, we were told, is to bring people back to nature in response to human destruction of nature over the past decades. Construction remains in progress (since 1990) while she has settled down in Dalat and actually lives in her ultimate big project. If you want, you can stay there by the way.

The objective of the Truc Lam temple complex objectives of the temple is to recreate the spirit of Zen Buddhism during the Tran Dynasty that ruled Vietnam from 1225 to 1400. We liked the trees in all shapes and sizes most.

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The Linh Phuoc pagoda was only constructed from 1949 and features the heaviest bell in Vietnam (8,500km, 4.3m high). Quite a colourful place and, if you decide to climb a few stairs, with great views too.

 

 

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Vietnam 🇻🇳 🏍: Magnificent Bao Loc & Dambri waterfall

Distance today: 205km|Total: 500km

Man it felt nice to leave Bien Hoa and head past the Ho Tri An lake towards the mountains. Many places on the way inviting for stops such as a lovely church (as so many in Vietnam, not that old) in Dong Nai where we spotted a couple taking wedding pics. Of course, we also stopped for more Pho soup! In any case, the most enjoyable day riding wise so far… Bum pain decreasing! 😁

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Laura’s comment: The waterfalls were a lot better than we had imagined. A lot of nature and an amazing view!

Mid afternoon we reached the small town of Bao Loc. How different to HCM! Clean, less traffic, organised. We quickly checked in to visit the unrivalled highlight of the day – the Dambri falls. Wow! Feels a bit like Rivendale in Lord of the Rings 😉

On the 15min ride from town you are surrounded by the coffee plantations and pass by some amazing temples (we didn’t stop for all of them though).

Something, however, wasn’t right with the bike – aka LA FURIOSA – as we named it. Didn’t take power that well anymore… Well, good enough for now.

Vietnamese food

Our main dish remains the Pho soup. A noodle soup to which they add either chicken (Ga), beef (Bo) or pork (Heo). Gets you by though it doesn’t fill your stomach for too long. Below a sample menu (1 EUR = 26,600 Vietnamese Dong).