Tet 2000 Tour
Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

Dalat sits high in the Central Highlands amongst pine forests and cool, spacious skies. It could be Colorado and even has cowboys who gallop about town looking for Vietnamese tourists who want a photo. A former French Hillstation, Dalat was also a popular hunting destination.

Our ride from Phan Rang had taken us from the hot desert floor to 4000 feet and it was wonderful to feel the cool air. The next day, Piyush slept in having been the only cyclist to ride the entire route -- about seven hours in the saddle.

Our hotel, the Dalat Sofitel Palace was a recently restored French Colonial Hotel built in the 20s. It is now one of the most beautiful hotels in Asia and overlooks the central lake in Dalat. We were sight to the Vietnamses staff as we parked our bicycles in front of the hotel and milled about in our cycling clothes.

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Over the Top

Sinh as he summits the 10-mile climb up Ngoan Muc Pass on the way to Dalat. He had only ever done it before on a motorbike and hadn't been on a bike the whole tour. Note: He's also riding Alfredos' bike with sandals.

Room with a View

The view from or hotel window at the Sofitel Palace in Dalat. It is easy to see why Vietnamese all over the country travel to see Dalat. As well as cool weather, Dalat was like being in Colorado - including the cowboys who pose with tourists for money.

Breakfast Laugh

David and Tony share some laughs in the Palace dining room before we set off to cycle around the city. David had recovered from the dog crash in Hue by now.

Zen Nap

Next to Vien Thuc's Divine Calmness Bamboo Garden, Dan takes an enlightened nap while Jenny sizes up the monks art.

Dalat Cowgirl

Tired of the bike, Deepa takes a different kind of ride at the Valley of Love in the hills around Dalat. The "Valley D'Amour" is an old French resort now featuring paddle boats and other romance-inspiring attractions.

Palatial Pose

Just before our departure from Dalat for Saigon. Dalat was so beautiful and the Palace Hotel so tranquil, we would have loved to stay a few days more.

All photographs VeloAsia.

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