Dak Lak Province – Our Favourite Region in Vietnam. Part 1. Taming the Bike
Русская версия Would you like to see real Vietnam, not some resort like Nha Trang? Would you like to see how people live there, what is a Vietnamese village or even a Vietnamese wedding, to learn to communicate without any common language? Then you should visit Dak Lak province and its capital Buon Ma Thuot. We loved this place in Vietnam most, although we spent only two days there. Within this time, we managed to visit Buon Ma Thuot per se and a nearby waterfall, this story is dedicated to; a separate story will come out on visiting the elephant hunters village too.
Buon Ma Thuot. How to get, where to stay and rent a bike.
We came to Buon Ma Thuot from Ho Chi Minh by local budget airways. As in Ho Chi Minh , you can get from the airport to the city center by taxi only; in the city we checked in the hotel. Then our adventures started. The hotel hostess did not speak English at all, and, what is more – did not want to. For instance, in Thailand , even those who do not speak English, are open to communicate with signs, while in Vietnam and China many just ran away with horror on their faces as soon as a foreigner addresses them. The Buon Ma Thuot hotel hostess was of this particular nature, she was completely closed for communication, while we desperately needed to rent a bike. In the nearby auto-repair shop, at the beginning, they could not understand us too, and realized what we wanted only after we drew a bike (although it looked more like an ant). But they could not help us either. Then we went to the most expensive hotel in Buon Ma Thuot, and on the way found a billboard: Motorbike rent in Buon Ma Thuot: 0916-36-4779 . We spent some time trying to get the manager of the hotel on which the billboard was to call this phone number, and, miracle!, after 10 minutes the first Vietnamese in Dak Lak speaking English arrived by our bike in ten minutes. This happened 3 hours after we started our search. Along with the bike, we got two helmets, some insurance, a business card, and a broken military compass. Since we did not have a GPS, further we needed to find out where to get a map. The woman explained that we can buy it in the bookshop, and then we made a big mistake, not asking where the shop was.
Everything started from the beginning. We were coming up to different people, asking where the bookshop was, tried to show reading, turning pages, and other signs of books, but the Vietnamese were giggling and running away. Finally, we meet a group of schoolgirls, who shouted “Hello, how are you?” to us. We immediately stopped them and did not let away, untill they finally told us where the shop was. We bought a map!
Another issue on our way was riding a bike. Victor’s experience was that of riding, first, a self-made bike and, second, Java bike for 20 meters (followed by a fall). Nastya was less experienced even as a passenger: a day before she had had her first bike ride with our new friend from Ho Chi Minh . The first ten minutes were extremely difficult, but soon Victor caught the balance, and Nastya stopped jerking from the cars beeps.
Vietnam by motorbike.
Being more experienced today, we should acknowledge that riding a motorbike is not as pleasant in Vietnam, as, for instance, in Thailand. In Vietnam, the roads are much worse, the bikes are in the poorer condition, and the biker is a low-class in the common traffic. The most difficult moments we had were when finding ourselves in between two trucks, which as if did not notice us at all.
As we spent half a day on looking for the motorbike and a map, we decided to go to nearby Gia Long waterfall, 52 kilometers one way. On the way, we saw a wedding, just look, how much fun people have in the middle of the day!
Judging by the fact of how often the Vietnamese pointed with fingers at us, independent tourists riding motorbikes are not frequent here. Meanwhile, we were enjoying the views.
Gia Long waterfall.
Finally, we reached the Gia Long waterfall (entrance fee – 30000). It turned out to be really beautiful, as surroundings too.
Food and places to eat.
We saw the minimum we planned, and the day was finishing, so we started driving back home. On the way, we decided to stop to have a snack in a village café with a great view.
The waitress nodded happily when we pointed at the noodles, showing that she understands us. Then we tried to show that we want some meat too, and played a cackling chicken, showing his comb with our hands. The waitress nodded again and brough… rice with eggs. Well, the egg’s father once probably cackled too.
In Buon Ma Thout we visited another café to have a dinner – it was typically Vietnamese, with very small tables and chairs.
Also, the town has a great biker bar, and we felt like real bikers after the first 100 kilometers by bike in our life!
That was the end of our first day in Dak Lak. The next day we were much better prepared and more confident and went to Buon Don village. There the elephant hunters traditionally live and then get buried in a scenic graveyard.
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