Our first day on the road! After navigating our way through the city itself, we very reluctantly left Dalat. We had to stop a few times on the side of the road to make sure we had gone the right way around a round-about or to verify that we hadn’t missed our turn, but more often than not, before I even had time to pull out Google Maps, a very kind local would pull up beside me and point us in the right direction.
Once out of the city limits, we began to climb the mountain roads, taking in the sweeping coffee and tea plantations and the hillsides covered entirely by massive greenhouses growing Da Lat’s finest fruits and veggies. We wound our way through tiny villages on the outskirts of town before hitting spreads of full on Asian jungle complete with sprawling trees, vines, and those big glistening rivers that make you feel like you’re on the set of The Jungle Book.
From there the climb escalated and we came over the top of the mountain pass to reveal gorgeous views all the way down to the coast. We glanced smiles and looks of awe at each other as we snaked our way down the mountain sides, feeling the lovely temperate climate of the mountains melt away into that typical Southeast Asia heat. As the road flattened out, we stopped for lunch at a riverside café where we watched a farmer graze his cows on the banks as we ate.
As we continued on our now very sweaty journey, things became a little less serene. We witnessed a dog come so close to being hit by a car that he just barely escaped death, so obviously that was a near day ruiner. Then, a few kilometers later we pulled up to the aftermath of a pretty serious bicycle/motorbike crash that had occurred just seconds before. Continuing very cautiously after that, we came to the flat dry farmland that surrounds Nha Trang and finally made our way into the city.
It began to feel like I was stepping into history with the communist flag hung every few meters on the roadside and big arches and pageantry celebrating Vietnam’s leader ushering us into the city center.
Day one of motorbiking: Check!