Vietnam: Dalat Crazy House and Long Bus Rides

Despite my best efforts with my bug net, I have a pretty terrible sleep. I wake up before my alarm and am unable to make myself rest anymore. I’ve been sleeping so well everywhere else, but perhaps I can attribute it to the intense heat that covers most of Vietnam. Dalat is in the mountains, and maintains a comfortable temperature. I believe it was 25 yesterday. It’s a nice break from constantly feeling like you’re melting.

Alas, we didn’t budget our time very well and don’t have the time for another day in beautiful Dalat. Today we travel back to the coastal beach strip of Vietnam; this time to Mui Ne.

Our bus doesn’t leave until noon, so we’ve got the whole morning to squeeze in another activity or two. We have breakfast at our hostel under the pretence that it’s included in the room price. We find out when paying, that this is not the case. We still only pay 90,000 dong ($4) each for our nights mosquito-y accommodation and one meal. Can’t complain! It’s also a pretty decent breakfast, not just some toast with over processed jam. We each get two sunny side up eggs, a baguette, a green tea and a cup of fresh homemade yoghurt.

We walk across town to the “Crazy House” which was apparently built by the daughter of one of Presidents of Vietnam. This lady was creative to say the least. Maybe a little drugged out, I can’t be sure. The Crazy House is a maze of staircases, faux-stone, and faux-tree root covered concrete that intertwines itself around a series of rooms. You can stay in the rooms overnight, but I don’t even want to know how much it would cost. Some walls are coated in gold flake, and designed to look like the inside of a cave. Other sections have wooden themes and look a little hobbity. Many of the sitting areas are teeny tiny, and I feel like Alice in Wonderland crouching through the doorways while exploring the house. We spend half an hour wandering around and climbing the winding staircases before we think we’ve seen everything. One can’t really be sure, because there are so many different pathways to choose. Some of them take us up pretty high, where we can get a nice view of Dalat.






We walk back to the hostel and wait for our bus. It comes half an hour late to pick us up, and takes even longer than expected to get us to Mui Ne. As per usual it’s packed with 20 people instead of the should-be 15. Our ticket says that our arrival time is 2:00, but we don’t arrive until closer to 6:00. We had planned to try and catch the sunset from the sand dunes tonight, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.
People in the aisles of the bus

Finding accommodation in Mui Ne is harder than excepted. My Lonely Planet book lists many places for 6 and 7 dollars a night, but even when we arrive at two of the same places listed in the book, their prices are suddenly $10. No one is willing to bargain. It’s the low season I don’t understand how this is possible. On our 5th or so stop to find a room, they quote us $8, which is better but still not great. We go in to take a look and find rat poo on the ground, a bathroom door handle covered in rust, and no bug net in a place that I can assure you, will have a million bugs. It is right on the beach though, I suppose that’s a plus. It’s hot, getting dark, and we’re both tired and hungry, but I have a bug net and will be able to sleep anywhere. Tamara says she doesn’t mind staying either. Reluctantly, we hand over our passports. While I’m in the bathroom changing into some lighter clothes, I see more rat poo and can hear animals scurrying around in the walls. I see an actual mouse. If I was paying $2, this wouldn’t bother me, but $4?! No. We had passed another guesthouse a little further back and wrote them off for charging $10, but I didn’t try to bargain. I apologize, but tell Tamara I don’t want to stay, this place sucks. We collect our passports and go back to the $10 guesthouse, I manage to bargain them down to $8, (with a struggle) and they show us to a much cleaner, bug net-provided room.
It’s still not the bargain accom I was hoping for, but it’s better than paying the same to sleep in a room full of rat poo.

We get a cheap dinner, which makes me feel a little less annoyed by everything, and then go for a beer at a bar with live music. An old man playing an electric piano and doing a surprisingly good job of covering American classics. There are maybe a total of 10 other people in the whole place. This is the problem with the low season. No humans! We go back to the room for an early night.

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