The Da Lat Countryside tour was an amazing experience worth the $10 per person that we paid for it. The first part of the tour included a quick stop at the rose garden, where we got to see our first avocado tree! After that we visited a very unique minority village that also happened to be home to terrifying looking spiders the size of my palm!
The rest of the tour included a silk farm, Buddhist pagoda, elephant waterfall, cricket farm and a coffee plantation that specializes in “weasel” coffee. But I’ll tell you more about that in detail next time…
The rose garden stop was short and it was the part of the tour that I was least excited about. It turned out to be pretty fascinating because we got to see the rose fields that produced hundreds of thousands of roses that would be making their way all over Vietnam! Turns out that Da Lat is not only famous for their coffee, avocados but also roses.
Growing roses is no easy feat as they require constant care, spraying for pests and they need to be constantly pruned. The fields had the separate areas for roses of different color but the pink ones were the most popular. We watched the employees carefully tend to the plants and the entire place smelled like heaven!
On our way out, the guide pointed out an avocado tree. I had always pictured an avocado tree to look like a small bush growing a handful of fruit. Instead, it was a towering tree weighed down by dozens if not hundreds of ripening avocados! It was beautiful and mouthwatering, that was when our guide told us about Da Lat’s secret delicacy: avocado smoothies!
Next we went to the minority village that is a feminists dream come true. Not in a gender equality way but as proof that there is some balance in the universe… in this village, gender roles are reversed! Women are in charge of working, mostly on coffee plantations, while men stay home and raise children.
The men in this village are only allowed to marry once. Even after their wife dies, they must remain widowed. However if a man dies, his wife is allowed to remarry and have more children that her new husband will be in charge of raising.
We only spent about 15 minutes in the village, taking some photos and listening to the guide translate while a woman showed us a coffee bean bush and explained how we can tell if the bean is ripe. We were all gathered around under a large tree and I lost my focus the second I looked up.
The tree was completely covered in spider webs. It wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t noticed the monstrous spiders, the size of my palm, crawling all over the tree. Above us. I’ve been known to shriek when surprised, but when I’m terrified I go mute. I was mute and wide-eyed when I pulled on my husbands sleeve and pointed up.
Even though he’s been known to scoop up spiders with his bare hand to throw them out of the apartment, even he looked scared. The more we looked around, the more spiders we saw. When we finally moved away from the terrifying tree, I asked the guide about the spiders.
She reassured us that although they are poisonous, they never bite people. She also told us that for some reason, you can only find these gigantic spiders in this one village. During the drive to our next stop, the silkworm farm, the guide pointed out several spots where there were hundreds of spiders. They had spun their webs all along the power lines. *shudders* I’m guessing these villagers have never seen a mosquito in their lives!
Next up: silk factory farm!