Dalat is a little town about six hours northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. Popular amongst locals, it’s not as often visited by foreigners. Upon arriving in Dalat, it will be quite clear that it’s a tourist town – one where everyone is bundled up to combat the perpetually cold weather.
What sold me on Dalat was what came back when I typed it into Google images. This is also what led me to Cameron highlands in Malaysia in the past since I don’t carry a guide book and generally pick my locations like a blindfolded fool throwing darts at a map. Since it served me well in the past, I employed the method once again.
Elephant falls was what dominated the search result and intrigued me to visit. I was not disappointed.
Truc Lam Monastery:
This monastery is absolutely beautiful! I was so moved by the peaceful atmosphere – wind chimes gently singing in the background and incense wafting from every direction, that I sat in the temple across from the Buddha and meditated for the first time in over a year. A Vietnamese man seated to the left of me felt the same urge. We made eye contact, smiled, and meditated in unison, his positive energy slightly guiding my way.
Having a BBQ with some locals at Paradise Lake:
Just down the steps from the monastery sits Paradise Lake, where we explored around a bit to wait for the gondola to open again at 1:30. I gingerly made my way to a picnic table where a few locals were preparing a BBQ, smiling warmly, which they returned, to ensure that it was alright for me to walk in front of their view of the lake for a quick photo.
What ensued was one of the highlights of my trip when one of them asked me if I’d like to join them for a BBQ. The answer to this question is always an enthusiastic yes!