Whilst based on Nha Trang we quickly became bored of the Russian Concrete Jungle (regardless of how nice the beach was). With time limited we decided to book a day trip to De Lat with the True Friends Easy Rider Tour. This is (and probably will always will be) my favourite day trip ever!! Update August 2016 – It still is!!
This was basically a guided tour to De Lat (and back again) with a personal guide whose motorbike you rode on. The trip cost $65 each (about £50).
I am not a great lover of motorbikes and I must admit I was nervous about spending the day on the back of a motorbike of someone I had never met before. But the reviews i had read from TripAdvisor convinced me to give it a go and I wasn’t disappointed.
The total trip length was 150km (75km each way) with numerous stop offs for lunch and sites. The trip started by being picked up from our hotel in downtown Nha Trang at about 7am. We were introduced to our guides (mine was called Jimmy).
Leaving the traffic of Nha Trang we soon stopped off on our first few stop-offs which included local craftsmen of mats, rice noodles and cakes as well as a delightful wooden bridge across the Cai River. Other stop offs before we got to De Lat included a French Colonial train Station, local village hall and several waterfalls and view points.
As we continued along our journey (along highway 723) we entered Nui Ba national park and started climbing the mountains before travelling through Heavens Pass to reach the mountainous City of De Lat.
De Lat is the polar opposite of Nha Trang and one that I immediately liked. Built in the 1890s when Vietnam was still part of the French territory of Cochinchina the city was built as a resort centre in the highlands. The weather was noticeably cooler here and my decison to only bring a vest (bright purple at that) and shorts was soon regretted.
De Lat is famous for the Hang Nga guesthouse or the ‘Crazy House’ and we spent half an hour exploring the building which loosely resembles a giant tree and was based loosely on works of Gaudi, famous for his cathedral in Barcelona.
Our time in De Lat was restricted as we had to make the 75km journey back to Nha Trang. This co-incided with the arrival of a thunderstorm and was quite scary at times. Luckily the guides know the roads very well and we were safely navigated back to Nha Trang!
I loved the entire day and it was like no other I have ever spent in SE Asia. Once Again I must mention how amazing the guides were, I was paired with Jimmy who doubled as the tour leader, he was funny yet informative and had an aura of approachability about him which is essential from a tour guide. They would do anything for you despite having to spend over 10 hours in and out of the saddle.
All together a simply brilliant day and I could not rate it high enough!