Day 16 Da Lat – Cat Tien National Park (BL) Am: Have breakfast at hotel. Leave Dalat for Cat Tien National Park at 7.30 am. On the way you stop to see Chicken village and Pongour falls for more admiration of beautiful landscapes. On arrival, cross through Dong Nai River to enter the Cat Tien National Park for beginning your wildlife experience. Arrive at the Nam Cat Tien National Park, check in and follow by lunch. Pm: In the afternoon you start walking 8km along the ecologic route: sites of Lagerstroemia Ovalfolia (BangLang), Tetrameles nudiflora (Tung), Cycas rumphii (Thien Tue), Ancistrolandus Tectorius (Trung quan), Afzelia cyclocarpa (Go). After that you are back to the center for having dinner. Overnight at the park. (Optional: You can take a night safari to see the diversity of wild animals and their lives at night) Day 17 Cat Tien NP - Ho Chi Minh (BL) Am: Have breakfast at hotel. This morning you will continue your journey on 9km transfer by jeep inside the park to a junction. Then you go on trekking 5km to the Crocodile lake station. You have a short break at the lake before trekking to the main road again. Jeep picks up and transfers back to the park center. Check out the room. Have lunch at the park Pm: In the afternoon you leave the park, take the ferry across the river, then head back to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, check in hotel. Free to have your own dinner. In the evening you are free to walk around the city and explore. Overnight at hotel.
Da Lat was the welcome speed-breaker in my hurtling journey through the country. A reclusive town embraced within the Langbian Plateau, it was a complete departure from the coastal, tropical Vietnam we had witnessed prior to setting camp here. Till date I have never been able to put a finger on why I loved this caffeinated little town so much. Everything about it was just there. From the little coffee shops to the wafty bakeries. And lazy, winding streets to hidden, pristine lakes. I remember DaLat in the unplanned sojourns into dormant villages and the evening breeze kissing us as we rode into the hills. And in the impulsive change of routes that led us to melancholy graveyards and abandoned warehouses. It slowed me down and brought me back to a way of travel I was beginning to forget.