The third part of the $10 Countryside Tour of Da Lat was the Buddhist Pagoda and the Elephant Waterfall. The first part of the tour included the rose garden and minority village and the second part was the silk factory. This half day tour was a great way to discover Da Lat, Vietnam!
The Elephant Waterfall was the reason we came to Da Lat on our Vietnam trip in the first place. The two things we didn’t know about were the fascinating Buddhist pagoda located right next to the waterfall and the challenging climb down to the waterfall itself. But let me start with the Buddhist pagoda!
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is often overlooked by tourist rushing to the waterfall nearby. It is a beautiful Buddhist pagoda with a large statue of Buddha in the courtyard. I wish I could have spent an hour exploring the area but I only have 20 minutes! In addition to the pagoda and statues in the courtyard, there was a beautiful display of flowers with dozens of colorful butterflies fluttering all over the place.
One thing that I love about Buddhist temples is that they don’t care about what you are wearing. I was wearing a skimpy dress (with leggings!) that revealed my cleavage and my husband wore a white t-shirt with green shorts. I asked the guide if it was really okay for us to enter dressed the way we were, and she reassured us that in Buddhism all that matters is what’s inside our hearts not what we are wearing.
After rushing to explore the pagoda, we got back on the bus and drove to the waterfall which is just a few minutes away. As soon a we got there we saw a myriad of stairs and out of breath tourists who just left warning us to wear good shoes. I glanced at my husbands flip flips and my $1 Chinese sandals and shrugged. It would have to do.
The way down wasn’t easy. It was wet, muddy and slippery. Several times, I needed people to help me and we had to make frequent breaks to let people come up the one-way path. What reassured me was the three brides, who all wore sneakers under their poofy princess dresses. If they could handle it, then so could I!
We finally made it down, behind an old man who almost lost the camera that was in his back pocket. It fell out just as he was climbing over a steep rock but we managed to catch it before it was swept away by the river.
Many of the people who were coming down with us stopped at the first viewpoint but we were determined to reach the bottom! Climbing to the very bottom was challenging but offered an amazing view. For the extra adventurous, you can limb onto rocks in the middle of the river and balance on a rock with just the view of the powerful waterfall with the mist spraying over your face.
I had some trouble with my cheap shoes and colorful dress that I didn’t want covered in mud. If I could do it again, I would suggest dressing more athletically and being prepared to get dirty. Maybe even bring a change of clothes. Climbing back up the hill was actually easier than making it down. There was free tea and a tap to wash off our feet at the top. Some of the people in on our tour didn’t join us and I’m sure they regret it.
Don’t miss out on this great experience! If I made it wearing a flimsy dress and cheap shoes while holding my GoPro in one hand, then you can too!
Next up: cricket farm and coffee plantation!