On the drive from Bao Loc to Da Lat, I took a few photos of houses along the road that were typical of southern and central Vietnam. Road frontage property is obviously at a premium and the lots are all narrow and deep, so most road front buildings are multi-story with the extended family residing in the back of the ground floor and on the upper two walk-up floors.
Da Lat is a popular tourist town, modern and energetic, but we were ready to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city, having spent several days now in Ho Chi Minh City. Anticipating our needs, Loc booked us outside the city at a beautiful place in the countryside owned by a German expat and his north Vietnamese wife, Zen Lakeside. Our stomachs still unsettled, I enjoyed having a western meal of schnitzel and potatoes. The owners picked some local medicinal herbs (read: leaves to chew up and swallow) for Dale which had her up and about in just a short time. Here’s the view from our rooms:
Our plan had been to stay in Da Lat for two nights, then fly to Da Nang, but shortly after arrival in Da Lat, we got notice from Vietnam Airlines, the government-run airline, informing us that our flight had been cancelled, so we rescheduled to an earlier plane, shortened our stay in Da Lat, and left the next morning, Thursday.
Never one to disappoint, Loc immediately adjusted and proposed an alternate plan for our pre-flight morning with a visit to the Truc Lam Zen (Buddhist) Monastery…
… and then the XQ Historical Village in Da Lat city:
XQ is mainly known for its exquisite hand embroidery art work. It’s hard to describe just have beautiful and intricate these embroideries are. Each and every one is a masterpiece, some taking many months to complete. XQ Village Art Gallery seems to go on and on in labyrinth form. We were given a tour of the facility while the two embroideries we purchased were being wrapped for transport. Without a guide, we could have been lost in bowels of XQ Village for days. (Photographs of the artwork was not allowed inside XQ Village, but I was allowed to take this photo of a work in progress:)
On to the airport, where Loc checked us in.
Taking off from Da Lat, the city quickly turns to farmland:
In the countryside, the houses seem to be mainly built along the roads, the adjacent farm fields carved up into small, irregular parcels.
It was obvious as we approached that Da Nang is a far different place from Da Lat, much more urban and commercial:
We were met at the airport by a new driver and van, then dropped off to walk across the iconic Dragon Bridge over the Han River.
On special occasions, the Dragon breathes real fire! Seriously.