Da Lat, Vietnam

It has been getting cooler in our part of the world, and it’s making me reminisce our trip to Da Lat this past summer. Da Lat is a highland city redolent of many countryside European cities (or what I’ve seen in photos anyway, since I have never been to Europe) – perhaps that’s why so many westerners come to this part of Vietnam. That and the temperate climate that has resulted in its name, “City of Eternal Spring.”

Ana Mandara

We stayed at the Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa, a verdant and picturesque property. Upon arrival, the staff greeted us in their open-air reception gazebo. It was already quite cool from the rain, so the welcome ginger tea was a nice treat. After checking in, the bellhop took us to our villa by golf cart. The ride gave us a chance to see the enormity of the resort (well, enormous compared to surrounding hotels anyway). Our room was one of a four-part villa; but even then, it’s spacious and comfortable. (See video below.)

While in Da Lat, we also partook in a quick photoshoot with Da Lat Trip. They picked us up, took us to three locations (Ankroet Stream, Golden Valley and a tea plantation) and worked their butt off. I’m talking about carrying a ladder through some rocky terrain down into a river. We got some great images that really captures some of the beauty of this wondrous land!

But take heed, readers: f you’re looking to do something similar, remember to bring comfortable shoes to change in and out of between takes. Bring galoshes if you intend to navigate through a stream. And definitely bring an umbrella – rain visits on a whim!

After a long day of “modeling,” we had a newfound respect for those who pursue this as a professional career and were unpleasantly wet from the rain. The hotel was very accommodating and let us sit by the fireplace in their restaurant until our ride to the airport came. Since we arrived after the lunch rush, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. They opened the high-ceiling door to let in fresh air while we dined on a hodgepodge of canh chua, cá kho tộ, mini burgers and margaritas by the fire. For some reason this memory has stuck with me for the last two days. I can’t forget the comforting feeling of being in my homeland, enjoying food that reminded me of mom’s home-cooking, surrounded by so much beauty and sharing it exclusively with the one I love.

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