While we were in Da Lat, Vietnam, we decided the best way to maximize our only full-day there was to take an Easy Rider tour. Our homestay (Lam Vien Homestay) called up some reliable drivers for Pete and I and we paid $25/person for the whole day (not including lunch). It was a great way to see a lot of the area in a short period of time. Here’s what we saw on our tour of Da Lat.
They first drove us to a scenic spot where we took pictures of the lush hillside smothered in greenhouses.
Our guides explained that most people in Da Lat are farmers, since the climate and soil provide ideal conditions for many plants, including flowers, coffee, and vegetables. The French introduced the idea of greenhouses and it caught on fast in the area.
They drove us to a couple places to demonstrate the flower business. First, we saw a house where people were packaging up the flowers to be exported. I thought this was really interesting, since (for some reason) it never occurred to me that we could get our flowers from overseas. Next, we got to walk through a green house that farmed all types and colors of flowers.
Weasel Poop Coffee
One of the things Da Lat is known for is their amazing coffee. Our drivers took us to a coffee farm that offered great views (see the featured image at the top).
This farm specialized in Weasel Poop coffee. From what I understand (don’t quote me on this), the weasels can only digest the outside layer of the coffee plant and not the coffee beans. This means they poop out the coffee beans, which the people collect & put into a big machine that takes off one more additional outer layer and leaves the usable coffee bean.
Pete and I tried the Weasel Moka and the Weasel Cherry.
Rice Wine & Crickets
Next, they took us to a spot that seemed to exist solely for tourists. This place (house?) had all kinds of crazy stuff.
First, we saw how rice wine was made and were peer pressured into drinking the “happy water” before noon.
Then, we saw all the animals. To name a few, they had creepy crocodiles, roosters, deer, porcupines, guinea pigs, and crickets.
They explained that they farm crickets as food: they provide great nutrients for a very cheap price.
After the tour of this place, we imbibed some rice wine that was much more delicious as the first, as it had been fermenting for much longer. This was necessary, since we then sat around a table and chomped on crickets (I’ll write about that experience in a future post).
Honestly, I have no idea which temple we saw, but it was really peaceful to walk around as there were no other tourists and lots of gorgeous trees.
We saw Elephant Falls, which was pretty cool as waterfalls go. However, it’s definitely the most touristy and not the most impressive waterfall in the area.
Tip: If you have a little extra time and money, you could also ask your guide to take you to the further waterfall (Pongour) for an additional price.
Our guides drove us to a silk worm factory, which was a very interesting experience.
They gave us a brief lesson on the life cycle of silk worms, which included live creatures from every stage of life.
I really like how they utilize every part of the silk worm; nothing goes to waste. They use the cocoon for the actual silk, and they save the animal inside and sell it as food.
Pete tried it and said it was pretty weird, so I abstained (crickets were quite enough, thanks very much).
“Chicken Village” (K’Ho minority village)
We stopped to tour what our guides called a minority village. They explained how these people live very simply, in a matriarchal society where the entire extended family lives on one shared plot of land.
We had a fantastic, packed day with our Easy Rider tour. Our day was pretty typical for this type of tour, but we didn’t see Crazy house or Truc Lam Pagoda. You can definitely customize your tour if there’s something specific you’d like to see (ex: mushroom farm; cat poop coffee). If you’re interested in doing this type of tour, I suggest checking out Travelfish’s page about these tours. They have lots of good information about single and multi-day tours.
Have you done an Easy Rider tour? Did you experience other crazy things that we missed?