La Vache Qui Rit in the Pine Forests of Dalat
Compared to my last visit some five years ago, Dalat has a lot more people, motorbikes and cars than before and it’s definitely very noisy.
It was great to leave the city behind for a hike in the pine forests that turned out to be one of the toughest hikes I have done in a quite a while. It was wonderful though. To hear the sound of the wind in the pine trees and of the chirping of birds was music to my ears compared to the soundtrack of honking motorbikes. We saw two big birds of prey from very close-by but they refused to pose for a picture. It was really spectacular to observe them at such a short distance.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch at a beautiful spot with magnificent views. Lunch consisted of lots of fruit, cucumber, tomatoes, French bread and the unavoidable La Vache Qui Rit (the Laughing Cow) cheese. Although we were about 20 kms from Dalat it felt very remote also due to the fact that we met hardly any people during our hike.
After lunch we followed a very steep trail down to a river. We walked through coffee plantations before we crossed the river twice via very dodgy looking hanging bridges. According to my guide local people cross these kind of bridges on a motorbike with 100 kilo bags with coffee beans. Amazing!
Just before the skies opened we got back to our starting point. I was exhausted. My guide, who is 32 years my junior, was very tired as well, which made me feel good.