Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Dalat - Vietnam's Romantic Alpine Retreat: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

After leaving the Flower Park we were back on our motorbike, heading due west to find a temple.

Stopping by the roadside to admire the scenery.

Before long, we spotted the temple we were looking for: Chua Linh Phuoc!
This temple is one of the most magical places either of us have ever visited. It uses very surrealist, mosaic designs that reminds me of some of the architecture in Barcelona. If Antoni Gaudi had been a Buddhist, this is what he might have built.

This long, slender dragon was weaving its way through one of the temple's courtyards.

We climbed up to the top of the pagoda, which provided some great views of the nearby countryside.

The temple also features the world's largest Buddha statue made entirely from flowers.
You can even go up and touch the flowers, and witness up close the craft and attention that went into the statue. But as amazing as it is, it's not even the temple's most impressive Buddha...
...That title would go to this bad boy.

Having visited probably our favourite Buddhist temple in the world, we could easily have ended the day there and been happy. But we had another spot on our map that we wanted to cross off, so back onto the motorbike we went.

As we headed south we passed through dense pine tree forests.
Angela tried riding the motorbike herself for a bit.
There are lots of waterfalls in the mountains surrounding Dalat. We visited Datania Falls, though in order to get there we needed to ride an old-fashioned rollercoaster.
It was almost like one of those mechanical toboggans that let you control the speed.

After some speeding through the forests, we arrived safely at Datania Falls.

The next day, we did some more exploring on motorbike, at one point coming across this quaint little railway cafe.
The inside of the train cart was decorated with vintage postcards and photos reminiscent of oldtime USA, and there was country and bluegrass music playing while we ate. It all made for a very charming lunchtime meal!

We were going to visit another waterfall that day, but unfortunately a storm came and it didn't stop raining for hours on end.
We had to ride back home in the rain and save the sightseeing for another day.
The next morning, we had a bus to catch, but we had enough time to briefly explore Hang Nga Guesthouse, also known as the Crazy House. Designed by Vietnamese architect, Dang Viet Gna, the guesthouse incorporates many fairytale-like design elements such as mushrooms, vines and spider webs. Rather like the temple we saw two days before, it has much in common with the designs of Barcelona's famous architect, Antoni Gaudi.
There are these winding, beanstalk-like stairwells that take you to the top for some fantastic views over Dalat.

Inside one of the guesthouse's fantastical rooms.

Exiting through tangled vines.
After leaving the Crazy House, we boarded our bus for Nha Trang.
We were sad to say goodbye to Dalat. It had such a unique, charming character, and there were so many fun places to see nearby. Above all, though, we relished the dramatic change in setting that it provided. On Phu Quoc we'd been riding from one tropical beach to another, and in Mui Ne we'd been hiking across humid sand dunes; now it was as though we'd been transported to a romantic, breezy town in the French Alps. It felt completely removed from everything else. We could have stayed for weeks if we had more time on our visas, but alas, we had too many other places to visit in this long country that never stops surprising us with its variety of different landscapes.

No comments:

Post a Comment