From Mountain To Sea - How To Ride Your Bike From Dalat To Nha Trang

With its beautiful beaches and luxury resorts, Nha Trang is a great place to lay down your hat for a while. Six kilometres of uninterrupted coastline make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, but that's not even the best thing about Nha Trang. This coastal city lies in south-central Vietnam close to the idyllic mountain town of Dalat in the central highlands. That means you can lie on the beach in the morning and take in breathtaking mountain scenery in the afternoon— who says you can't have it all?!

There are several ways to get from Nha Trang to Dalat. You could take a car or a bus, it's simple enough. But to get the most out of the trip, there's only one real choice. It has to be a motorbike road trip! Driving from Nha Trang to Dalat is one of those unique experiences you'll remember for the rest of your life, treat yourself to the adventure!
Photo: vnexpress.vn

If you embark on this trip, you'll need a good, reliable and comfortable bike to take you on the 134-kilometer (80 miles) route. If you drive non-stop, it could take as little as 3 hours to leave Nha Trang's beaches for Dalat's mountains. However, there are too many tempting stops along the way. In reality, the drive ends up being around five blissful hours. It's truly one of the most incredible road trips Vietnam has to offer.

The drive starts easy. Burn rubber on the well-maintained highway going out of Nha Trang. Leaving Nha Trang is the easiest and the fastest part of the trip. You'll feel the breeze as you blast down the road and the city opens up to majestic plains stretching as far as the eye can see.

Soon after, you'll start ascending, climbing up into the mountains. This is where things get genuinely stunning. Words can't do justice to the lush mountain forests, winding roads, blue skies, and bright sun that welcomes you into the hills. You'll be pulling over every 15 minutes or so to take in the crazy beautiful view and snap some photos to remember the experience forever. Steep climbs, tight hairpins, tunnels, and rapid descents are all part of the route.

Preparation is key. As you ascend, the conditions change rapidly. The weather can be quite treacherous in the mountains. Be sure to bring some dry and warm clothes with you. A rain poncho and some waterproof shoes are also a good idea. Dalat lies at an elevation of 1,500m so it’ll be considerably colder than Nha Trang.
Photo: zingnew.vn

You can go from sunny and warm, to cold and wet within five minutes. Being prepared for this will make your trip more enjoyable. Thick fog can also be a problem, reducing visibility down to three feet. When this happens, stay calm and reduce your speed to about five miles an hour. Stay close to the side of the mountain and keep driving. Do not stop. Use your horn when coming around the bend and entering/leaving a tunnel to make other drivers aware of your presence.

The rolling fog gives the landscape a certain mysterious quality, bringing to mind thoughts of ancient Vietnamese folktales that tell dragons and fairies. It's definitely worth your while to pull over somewhere safe to take in the foggy landscape; thick fog can genuinely spark the imagination.

Along the way, you'll drive through idyllic Vietnamese mountain towns. Conditions in these towns are quite old fashioned; life moves a little slower there. Most people are farmers or earn a living catering to tourists. These towns are sparsely populated and offer an excellent opportunity to stop for a drink, a bite to eat, or to top up the tank of your bike. These towns are certainly a sight to behold and are well worth exploring a little bit.

As you get closer to Dalat, you'll notice many greenhouses and an abundance of agriculture. The French colonists built Dalat back in the early 1900s. Intended as a mountain retreat for those who suffered in the Vietnamese heat, today it still serves as a place where people go to escape the hustle and bustle of modern-day life.

Once you've made it to Dalat be sure to freshen up and sample some of Dalat's famous coffee. Sip your coffee and look over your road trip photos to relive the experience all over again. Simply wonderful.

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