After breakfast at the hostel, Rob and I hit the road bound for Bidoup Nui Ba National Park. Winding through some of the countryside we passed on the canyoning tour, we stopped to take photos of the amazing country. Da Lat is the veggie growing capital of Vietnam. The markets in town had strawberries, artichokes, huge avocados and more. Leaving town, we passed the fields growing everything. Greenhouses stretched as far as you could see.The main stop of the day was Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, 5 km off the main road. Sadly since we were unable to contact them the day before, we weren’t able to get a guide to visit one of the minority villages in the park. Instead, we did their 3.5 km waterfall hike. The rangers were extremely nice and gave us a little map. Most of the hike was through pine forest reminiscent of back home, although were water was plentiful, more jungle-like vegetation flourished. As with more modern/foreign national parks, land use is not just preservation. We passed houses, a fish farm and a coffee plantation. Returning to the visitor center, we crossed their riverfront plaza (still under construction) to the restaurant building. It was deserted except for 3 people working there. We chose a table out on the patio next to one already set up with a tablecloth and utensils. That one was reserved!? We ordered the rice plate of the day, which was a pretty amazing meal for 40,000 dong each. It came with a bowl of soup, rice, veggie and a fish steak. As we received our food, the group from the waterfall sat down at the reserved table and along with a few other people including the man working the visitor center. They had ordered a feast. I couldn’t read the menu, but it seemed like they had ordered many of the things priced per kilo. Also, they had a case of Tiger Beer (Bia). Rob and I debated whether they were all employees taking lunch and couldn’t decide. A couple of them were definitely were park staff.
The rest of the drive to Nha Trang was beautiful, even better than the drive to Da Lat. Getting into Nha Trang was a bit hairier as Google directed us down a couple tight alleys with oncoming traffic. We made it at last to iHome hostel in time for their free beer hour.