Swan Lake (Dalat, Vietnam)


Dalat is situated 5 hours by road from Mui Ne up in the highlands.  Our cramped little minibus left a lot to be desired, so we were pleased to arrive safely and to stretch our legs.

After a couple of months in the heat Dalat was a welcome drop in temperature. During the daytime the weather resembled that of a European summers day, but it got surprisingly chilly in the evenings. So much so that we had to make the fashion faux pas of wearing socks with our sandals, which is not a good look.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

Wrapping up for the cooler evenings

Dalat is the city where the majority of travellers head off the tourist bus routes, hire a driver, and explore the surrounding highlands on the back of a motorbike. Whilst most people were busy negotiating the cost of hiring an easyrider, we were busy negotiating the cost of taking a Swan shaped pedalo out on the town’s central lake.  Even ‘the boy’ thought that our choice of transport was tame and promptly fell asleep five minutes after pushing off from the deck, only waking as we got back onto land.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

'The boy' was unimpressed with the tame swan pedalo!

For the next few days we took advantage of the cooler climate by walking around the lake, visiting the local park and visiting one of Dalat’s famous sights, the crazy house. The crazy house is a just that, a crazy house built over five floors and made to look like a huge tree house. It has unexpected twists and turns with windy staircases, odd shaped themed rooms, round windows, mirrored walls and ceilings and enormous animal sculptures in the bedrooms. It was unusual to say the least and although the hubby and I had to take it in turns to explore the upper levels of the house, ‘the boy’ was happy toddling around the ornate gardens.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

The Bear room in the crazy house

Our visit to Dalat also coincided with Chinese New Year and the sights, sounds and excitement of this festive time made our visit more fun. Huge red balloons were being sold on every corner, Chinese dragons danced and weaved their way through the crowds and there was a hive of activity around the lake where the major parties and firework displays were being held later that night.

We took advantage of the time of year by booking our transport on New Years Day, considerably cheaper than the rest of the week. After some serious contemplation and feeling a bit disillusioned with our experience in Vietnam we decided to save ourselves many hours of travel on local buses and booked a flight direct from Dalat to Danang. A much simpler solution for us to continue our travel north.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

The balloon sellers on the streets on Chinese New Years eve

Top tip of the day:
Now our baby is faster on his feet we’ve been using his walking straps more regularly. Health and safety isn’t top priority in Asia, so we often find that walkways/paths often have broken fences/walls with hazards the other side. Even if your baby’s not at the walking stage when you set off on your trip, buy the straps before you leave the UK, as they are difficult to find in Asia.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

Learning to use chopsticks

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

'The boy' entertains himself with his much loved car and dinosaurs

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