From the Hills to the Delta

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To beat the heat and humidity of southern Vietnam, we headed to the hills of Đà Lạt for a few days before heading back south to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta region.

After arriving in Đà Lạt we met up with our friend Che (who we originally met in Phong Nha) and the group of us hopped on our bikes to explore the old French colonial hill station, a term commonly used in Southeast Asia to refer to resort towns used by colonial rulers to escape the heat. Đà Lạt had the perfect weather to joyride around the hills. We got to see beautiful scenery and to visit the various pagodas and viewpoints outside of town, including Trúc Lâm Temple and Linh Phuoc Pagoda, which is decorated in mosaics of broken glass and pottery.

The French do love their Eiffel Tower.
It is good, but "Đà Lạt pizza" ≠ real pizza!
Đà Lạt's climate supports different crops than the rest of the country (like strawberries), and the countryside is filled with greenhouses full of blooming flowers and lush plants.
The Linh Phuoc Pagoda

After Đà Lạt, we had a brief stopover in Can Tho to see the famous floating markets along the Mekong River before we crossed into Cambodia. We took an overnight bus from Đà Lạt to Can Tho and arrived pre-sunrise at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am. Literally the only good thing about this was that tours of the floating markets start at 5:30 in the morning which we would never have woken up for otherwise. We boarded the small boat with bleary eyes and spent the next several hours suppressing yawns as we rode past boats selling various fruits and vegetables, explored small offshoots of the river, and visited a rice noodle factory.

Our sleeper bus actually arrived an hour early, which normally would be great... unless you were sleeping.
Our guide made us all bamboo bling while driving the boat.
You can tell what each boat is selling by what is attached to the pole as shown in these pictures.
This boat only sells coffee. Yes, please!

Even though Can Tho is the biggest city on the Mekong Delta, there isn’t all that much to do. After a few days we headed up to the border town of Châu Đốc for a night before catching an early morning boat to Cambodia.

One last bowl of noodles before leaving 'Nam!

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