Tuesday, May 24, 2011

From Da Lat - once called the Paris of the east

We reached Da lat the mountain capital of Vietnam yesterday and drove about an hour on scenic roads beautiful with ornate lamps and flowers and wonderful views of the valley before we reached the palace complex where we stayed in a colonial villa surrounded by the pine forests with a fantastic view of the city lake .  

Met Dr. Lang who is a gentleman par excellence, always smiling and so humble and modest. I would like to add a sentence about the Vietnamese people – They are soft and serene looking people, polite, friendly, always coming forward to help sharing information, not pushy and not at all aggressive even at the commercial points.  From what I saw by large they came across as good human beings J.  Shweta you may know better :-)
It was perfect weather  about 21 deg C when we came out  of the villa signaling a great start to the day.  Started at 8.00 AM, AND THAT WAS EARLY –jet lag with no sleep till 3 in the night.  Tian a young man joined us to get us distracted in Da lat today :-).  Driving thru’ Da lat was like driving thru’ any hill station at 1500m altitude. But this one had its own uniqueness , in addition to being lush green with its many water  falls, tea and coffee plantations , pine forests and the natural vegetation, we enjoyed walking through the streets of the minority tribes - peeking into their homes, chatting with them, clicking the curiously posing kids and watching the ladies weave wonders.

 Hectares of land with green houses for plants and vegetables from gerbra's to roses to carnations to artichokes - name anything and they have it and  export these to a tune of 10 million USD annually.

Ask me what we didn' t see today. It was interesting to watch the kind  of diversity in one day where one hour was totally  different from the other.  A visit to a beetle breeding centre to a rice wine brewery  and to this beautiful water fall that unfolded itself  as  we trekked down a mountain and was totally worth the effort  reminding the fact that nature never ceases to amaze us in its myriad forms.

Women dominated in numbers at all factories and helped us understand the mechanism of extracting silk thread from the cocoons to weaving them into a beautiful cloth .

and the process of making TEA from the leaf to the sip . 

At the dinner we met up with the other members of the conference from different countries and winded up the day with song and music around this warm and cozy bonfire.
Per from our gang singing with other members
I am excited about tomorrow not sure if it is because of the trip into the forest with 30 and odd people from different countries or  to the local market later with Lien a young girl who promised to take me around . This is from Sunday - I could not upload the pics and hence the delay :-).


  1. WOW! What a fantastic day! How wonderful to be looking at tea estates and silk worms and waterfalls all in one day!! Glad that you posted all these pictures for us to drool over.


  2. Shanti...My cousin and I had originally planned to visit Vietnam and Cambodia this September...and then changed plans and decided to visit Europe...Your pictures made us change plans, except it is the rainy season...Anyway will plan the trip to Vietnam soon...and Mytri - we can probably go together...:-)
    Thanks for teh virtual tour...you are indeed having a grand time..:-)

  3. Yes, Shanthi - Vietnamese people are very warm & friendly despite the huge language barrier. Barely 5% speak some english so I have to make my way around with gestures & calculators. You're right about women outnumbering men in the workforce. And they are very,very hardworking. The men love having a beer & smoke from their bamboo pipes while women work & take care of the house..