If you like to ride on the roads, I really don't recommend you the motorcycle or scooter. They can drive amazingly e.g. in Ho Chi Minh City, you might find kilometers long 5 row motorcycle queues and to pass the street needs Strenght! Just step on the street, don't get back, just calmly walk and the millions of drivers just pass you from left and right! It's amazing!
But, to be safe, just follow this guy and take a silent roads with bicycle! And live you kids at home (second photo seems quite scaring: no helmet but the mask!).
The Dalat Flower Festival is probably the biggest event is held in this city every year during the winter (January ?) That is a good reason for celebration and special decorations in the temples and other sites in the city.
As Dalat is up in the mountains, it's a perfect location for growing coffee. When I was travelling on the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat, we started to climb up into the hills and I noticed that, wherever there was some flat land be it in a field or even on concrete areas outside houses, there were large areas of coffee beans being dried in the sun. This activity went on for miles along the side of the road so coffee must be a big cash crop in this area. BTW, you have to try the coffee in Dalat - it's fantastic!
When visiting various districts around the highlands we would see schoolchildren riding bikes to and from school. Usually in groups they would stand out in their white uniforms, particularly the girls in their long white dress.
It amazed me how they kept their uniform so white in the dustry conditions, no oil or grease marks from the bike chain. The girls always wore face masks to avoid the fumes from trucks and motor bikes.
One day we saw a girl and boy sharing a bike, the girl on the front seat and the boy perched on the back doing the peddling. Now this beats opening the car door as a gentlemanly act.
This is where the local people meet at night. The market is a hive of activity, many of the stalls have changed from the day market and there is a different range of of goods to buy, including locally made handicrafts, clothing, toys etc.
A feature of the night market is the the local people socialising and having their evening meal. It is a totally different than our Western culture, and in some ways I believe much better as it creates a community. All the locals looked very happy.
The atmosphere and colour of the night market should not be missed. Every few metres you will see the local women preparing a variety of meals, amazing you how they can produce hot pots, cook corn, kebabs etc on basic equipment.
There are so many designs of dragon found in Vietnam’s pagodas. It could be due to the fact that Chinese influent in Vietnam is strong prior to French colonial.
This trip to Vietnam is almost a dragon hunting trip. I have taken almost 50 different designs and usage of dragons during my 16 days in Vietnam.
I will most likely to include a dragon travelogue in near future.
Same as in most of Asia a tea is the local tradition in Vietnam as well and often you will be offered it for free, it is the part of the hospitality here, so just be polite and enjoy it.