After lots of riding on days 5-7, we finally got the chance to stay put for a few days in Da Lat, a bigger city up in the mountains. While we were here, we spent our days exploring the city, drinking coffee made from weasel poop (yup, you heard me right), camping in the pine forests and of course, eating as much food as possible.
Weasel Dropping Coffee
As I’m sure you’re dying to know what the hell weasel poop coffee is, we will start with that. First of all, this is the rarest coffee in the entire world. So rare that a kilo of the stuff sells for $900. It was first discovered back when the Dutch controlled the area and forbid their coffee farmers from drinking the finalized product. While working, the farmers noticed within the weasel poop, there were coffee beans. They started taking home the weasel-waste coffee beans and brewing it themselves. Turns out, it’s actually pretty good and now this stuff is selling for hundreds of dollars.
Da Lat is one of the few places in the world that produces this coffee, so we visited the farm to have a taste for ourselves. They have 300 weasels on site that go to town eating coffee berries when they’re in season. The whole process is somewhat complicated, but in a nutshell, the weasel eats the coffee berries, they shit out some coffee beans which are then dried, roasted, and brewed into coffee. After the tour, we were lucky enough to get a small cup of the poop coffee for $4.50. Josh says this was probably the most expensive coffee he’s ever had, but I’m pretty sure that my quad non-fat mocha latte from Starbucks costs the same amount. I guess it’s pretty sad that it’s possible to drink the rarest stuff in the world for the same price. Come on Starbucks.
The Waterfall Roller Coaster
On day two, we visited the Daltana Falls, which are accessible by an alpine slide/roller coaster type ride. Being the child I am, I had a blast going down this. We attempted to take a GoPro video of the trip down, but as usual, I forgot I was holding it and the video came out like crap. Oops!
Exploring the City
As always, we spent some of our time just riding around the city. We both really enjoyed Da Lat and it was nice to escape the oppressive heat of the southern coast for a little while. The climate up there almost reminded me of home and it was nice to see familiar fruits, vegetables and flowers at the markets. Da Lat is known for this and we could definitely see why. Everywhere we turned, there were vendors selling fresh vegetables, homemade jams and more.
One of my favorite experiences in the city was visiting Quan Chu, which is an innovative spin off of a typical Vietnamese BBQ restaurant where you choose your meat and you get to grill it at your table over hot coals. I guess it’s pretty similar to a Korean BBQ, but this place brought out a blazing hot stone that we got to cook our “choking beef” on. The dish gets it’s name because of the spicy smoke it produces when you throw it on the grill. Everyone that is unlucky enough to be engulfed in a billow of it can’t help but cough because of the spicy fumes that burn your nose and throat.
Camping in the Pine Forests
After two nights in the city, we headed to the outskirts of the area, which are covered in beautiful pine forests. We decided to rough it for the night and after some searching, we found a perfect spot up on a mountain. Unfortunately for me, getting up the hill was quite challenging and I succeeded in catching my foot in-between a rock and the bike pegs which twisted my ankle. Not a great beginning to our camping adventure, but the beautiful views and peacefulness of the empty forest made the whole thing worth it.
Da Lat to Nha Trang
After camping in the pine forests, it was time to hit the road again and we headed off to Nha Trang, another coastal beach town. This was our best ride to date. We were originally going to head back the way we came and ride up the coast to Nha Trang, but we decided to take a mountain road that headed right into the city and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made so far!
Stay tuned for our stories from Nha Trang and a couple days packed with riding down the scariest highway in the world.