|Next stop, Dalat, which is actually Da Lat.
The guide books all hinted at a local trend going on in the form of "Easy Riders", tour guides who show you all the sites on the back of their bikes. We thought we wouldn't get roped in (always they try and get you when you step off the bus), so we went into town and followed some lady into her hotel (good price good food). Here we met Mr Hien. Our plan was to do self guided tours, but in this case we went with the "what the hell approach" and let him give us a city test tour.
We went first to the Dragon Pagoda. Another monastery but with the theme of dragon (meaning strong and mysterious), all the while Mr Hien telling us how his tours are better because he gives us information where as other tour guides only show you. That seemed to be his theme for the day, trying to big up his tours, including how he was the first to start this type of touring. It does seem to some extent his claims check out, but with a little web browsing there is also some controversy. But, we were having fun, so who cares.
After this we went to a French catholic church, on stilts!! Not really, the main hall was built on top of a basement to represent it being on stilts, the locals wouldn't let them do it otherwise.
This was followed by a stop at the museum of local history, it focused mostly on the indigenous tribes (they call them the minorities here). Shortly followed by an old cog train station with Russian and Japanese trains.
Next came a bigger and much more well presented monastery, with real monks doing what monks do (Jen doesn't know). Afterwards came a waterfall viewing with added bobsled ride come roller coaster. It would have been more exciting if the stupid couple in front didn't stop to take photos.
We would have visited the crazy monk (who isn't a real monk) but he was out and had locked his door. Instead we went to the crazy house. A concrete maze not too far from what people would call Alice in Wonderland.
All in all a fun day, but not without some consequences. The man and his second have been trying to push on us a 3 day tour which leads into the heart of the country side. We have heard from all accounts that this is the best thing to do and is well worth it. But is it? £450 is a lot for 3 days and our confidence is having trouble on these 2 (even if they are legit and nice). In the end we told them we couldn't afford it, but instead we settled for one more day spent in the outskirts of the city, a local country tour if you will. That's for tomorrow, lets hope its just as good as our city tour.