We got up at the crack of dawn in Mui Ne in order to catch the 7:30 bus to Dalat. Originally, we figured we would just catch a taxi back to the bus stop (Sinh Tourist) , only to find that there were no taxis in sight as we walked down the road. As we walked in the general direction of the bus stop in hopes that one would show, a random local bus pulled up, asked where we were going, and told us to jump in. It cost us 9,000vnd ($0.42 USD) each to get to the bus stop, and we were very grateful for it, considering we didn’t see any taxis on our way there.
Once there, we had a couple banh mi for breakfast and waited for the bus. The bus that came was mid-sized; smaller than the large sleeper buses, but bigger (and less hellish) than the janky one we were on from Can Tho. The drive was 5.5 hours of bumps and hairpin turns as we ascended into the gorgeous Central Highlands region of Vietnam.
We were dropped off in the middle of town, at the doorstep of the Dalat Central Hostel. We still do not know if this is just where the bus stops in Dalat or if the hostel has some kind of arrangement with the bus company, but we were offered a private room for $10 as soon as we set foot off the bus. The room was nicer and cheaper than any other room we had stayed in thus far in the trip, and it couldn’t have been more convenient, so we decided to go for it. Note: We had an excellent time staying here and highly recommend it. The staff is great, speak very good English, and are extremely helpful!
The receptionist recommended a bakery down the street, so we decided to try it out for lunch. The bakery is on the ground floor, and there is a restaurant attached on the second floor. The food at the restaurant was nothing special, but the bakery is huge, cheap, and offers a plethora of unusual baked goods. We picked out several that looked interesting and took them with us to enjoy next to the large and beautiful Xuan Huong Lake in the center of town.
After going for a long walk around the lake and stopping back in the room for a little relaxation time, we headed back out into the city to visit the Dalat Night Market. Here, you can find all sorts of street food, clothing, and crafts and on Saturdays and Sundays, they block off the street to turn it into a Walking Town.
After we had gotten some street food and sat down on the steps to eat, we heard a commotion down in the market. We looked down and saw people running and frantically stacking up the chairs and tables they had set out for patrons, as if to hide the fact that they were selling food there. Presumably this was because of the police car driving by, but we were unable to figure out what exactly the issue was. Once the police car drove off, everything returned to normal, though we were admittedly a little bit rattled by the event!
Dalat had already become our favorite city in Vietnam, that we had visited thus far in our journey. The mountain air, friendly atmosphere and promise of adventure had us reeling to spend several days here, not to mention our lovely hostel staff and all the delicious, cheap food. The city of Dalat had officially put itself on our list of potential future homes.
Minibus to Can Tho bus station: 18,000vnd ($0.84 USD)
Breakfast: 60,000vnd ($2.80 USD)
Bus to Dalat: 238,000vnd ($11.10 USD)
Lunch: 108,000vnd ($5.04 USD)
Pastries: 75,000vnd ($3.50 USD)
Dinner: 40,000vnd ($1.87 USD)
Beer: 14,000vnd ($0.65 USD)
Water: 10,000vnd ($0.47 USD)
Accommodation: 214,362vnd ($10.00 USD)
Total Spent: 777,362vnd ($36.26 USD)