Stray - Dalat to Bai XepSeptember 29, 2015 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F
Xuan Luong Lake dropped away behind pine forested hills as the bus climbed up and away from Dalat. As the road plateaued, we were confronted by a carpet of giant polyethylene blocks, their closely packed grey bodies dominating the landscape. As we came closer we could see these were industrial sized greenhouses where workers toiled at beds of flowers and vegetables. After this the road began to descend, switching back and forth in a way reminiscent of our journey’s through mountainous Laos. At the bottom, the rugged mountainside gave way to a valley of rice fields and the temperature quickly returned to the humid heights we have become accustomed to. Lorries were parked at the roadside as their drivers hosed down the suffocating livestock with jets of water.
Stopping for lunch at the busy resort city of Nha Trang, we were surprised by the many adverts in the Cyrillic alphabet and overweight white skinheads in budgie smugglers roaming the streets, until Wu explained that 80% of the city’s tourists were from Russia due to a military base being located nearby.
Back on the road we ascended along a cliff-side road that snaked its way above the coastline. Crawling behind a convey of north-bound lorries we spied a dilapidated train rolling along its tracks far below. Out on the dark blue sea, a fleet of fishing boats bobbed at anchor, their brightly coloured hulls and flag tied lines giving them a festive appearance. Descending back down to sea level, huge fishing nets hung over the water line as sand drifts, cacti and decaying French architecture littered the roadside. We stopped above one fishing village to look out across its cove of fishing boats, big and small, children playing on the sands whilst adults went about their daily business.
Our destination, Bai Xep, was one such village with only 3000 inhabitants. Smiles and curious eyes greeted us as we walked through its quiet narrow alleyways to our beachfront hostel. The sun was setting but the sand was still warm on our toes as the stress of the long day’s travel quickly unwound to the taste of delicious tuna steak and the sound of waves breaking upon the shore.Read more