Left Siem Reap on a night bus, that picked me up 1AM from the N6 at the entrance of the Roulos Temple group. The bike travels in its bag now, the first time since months... I'm bound for Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), back to Vietnam in a way. A long "stopover" in Phom Penh at 6AM, a new bus and a few more hours. Arrive in HCMC at 2PM, unpack the bike, find me a hotel and stroll arround the city on the bike, mingling with thousands of motorbikes and busses on the crowded streets. Good fun, what a city – compared to Cambodia it seems like coming back into the 21st century.
Heading for Dalat in the mountains to meet my Swiss friend Urs. I'm on the bike again, Dalat is located 300km North of HCM. Almost 100km on the first day in fairly heavy traffic and endless settlements along the road, and another 80 on the second, with the first real mountain ascends since months. Beautiful forests, and pooring rain. At the outskirts of Bao Loc, there is a nice hotel with fancy big rooms in 60/70 ties style, 6 USD including hot shower and WiFi. What a bless after todays ride!
New day – same scenario – rain. After a few miles I give up cycling, decide hitch towards Dalat. 10 USD damage for 90 kilometers for a maniac ride in an overcrowed transporter, banging through villages and coffee plantations in blossom. One more long uphill run through pine forests, then we reach Dalat, a vast city spread over small hills and valleys just before noon.
My friends Urs arrives a little later, and we find us a place to stay in the Peace Hotel, as well as another mate to chatter with at the Peace Bar. Bat is his his name, he's from Australia, always good for a fun chat. A bright full moon at night, we roam around restaurants and bars. Incredibly touching Vietnamese live singing and Guitar playing at the Easy Rider bar, where one can arrange roundtrips with local motorcyclists. Hallelujah! For two days we go arround the buzzing town on rented motorbikes, get lost, climb the LamBien mountain, visit some Japanese gardens and shower under the stunning Elefant Waterfall about 30km outside Dalat. We were really lucky with the weather – always miss the rain showers :-)