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The Highlands

Pleiku - Buon Ma Thout - Dalat

After Quy nhon we headed into the highlands to meet some friends in Pleiku. According to LP Pleiku is just a transit town and not worth a stop, but in my opinion it was really nice. We stayed there for two nights and thoroughly enjoyed it.
At night in Pleiku they have a big market where they sell fruit and vegetables. I presume it lasts all night because we were there until 3am and the market kept getting bigger and busier. It was cool to see, smell, hear and taste everything that was going on there. There was a great energy in the place and everyone was really friendly even though they had hardly any English, and we couldn't speak Vietnamese. We spent $3.50 on 8 baguettes, 5 carrots and 18 avocados. Super cheap! Random buys I know, but well worth it.
During the day we walked around the town and found people relaxed and friendly. For dinner we found a cool restaurant, where we had an audience of ten people watching us as we tried to order haha. We ordered goat and ostrich. The goat was standard, but the Ostrich was quite tasty as it was cooked in a pumpkin, so it was interesting, too.
The next day our friends headed off to Quy Nhon and we went to Buon ma Thout. We were hoping to catch a connecting bus to Lak lake, but we were too late so we had a stopover in Buon. We weren't in the town for long but it seemed cool and for dinner we found a restaurant where you could make your own spring rolls.
In the morning we decided to skip Lak lake altogether and head straight to Dalat which is known as the “adventure” capital of Vietnam. It was my friends birthday so we decided to do an outdoorsy activity to use up the extra day there. At around 9pm we went into Viet Horizon tours and inquired about the canyoning. We chose option too which was a longer day and only cost $28.
At 9am the next morning we set off with our two great guides. They both had great English and were really encouraging and fun to be around. Cuong was the manager and was very relaxed and happy. Peter was a university student studying tourism. He was very chatty and enjoyed the opportunity to practice his English
We had a quick safety lesson but we had both abseiled before so we were fine. We did three abseils off smallish cliffs, about 10 metres. After that we had a spot of swimming under a waterfall where the current was just slightly too strong for me. I'm not the best swimmer haha. We also had the option of going down a waterfall which was like a natural slide , so we did that. At the bottom I had a bit of a panic as the suction is strong and then I was pushed in the wrong direction..of course. It was fine though as there are rocks to climb back out and if you're a decent swimmer, you'll be fine. They then gave the option to slide down head first, which I didn't do, but in hindsight I should have as you come up much faster that way for some reason. Then we did a free jump into a pool where you could jump from 11m or 7m. I scrambled down to the 7m and jumped....eventually.
Now comes the exciting, fun, and scary part. Here we had to abseil down a (supposedly) 25m waterfall, in the middle of the waterfall. The rocks were slippy under your feet, obviously, and the water was hitting your legs as you go down. The rope wasn't long enough for the full descent so for the last 4 or 5m you just let go and drop into the water, which sounds scarier than it was. It was great fun.
The last part was the “washing machine” waterfall. You basically have to lower yourself down the rope into the middle of the waterfall, where the water hits you everywhere and you start to spin around. Again you have to drop a little at the end. With the water all around you it's difficult to breathe so you lower yourself quite quickly. Before you let go you have to remember to take a breath but it's difficult. After you drop you come out of the water very quickly so it's fine. After that there were smiles and high-5s all around, and lunch. After lunch we headed back to the city. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
After that we rented mopeds and drove around the mountains, which was beautiful.

Posted by derryfadman 05:46 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam waterfall dalat highlands ostrich ma abseiling canyoning buon thout pleiku

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