Today, we went to the Flower Park!
Da Lat is known for growing flowers. The weather up here in the mountains is much cooler, so they are able to grow lots of flowers and plants that wouldn’t normally grow in the tropics. It’s also a welcome change for us tourists – I can’t complain about 23 degree weather!
The flower garden was nice! It was a little hard to enjoy with all of the people taking selfies around – you always feel like you’re in somebody’s way, or have to wait for somebody to finish taking photos. People here take their selfies incredibly seriously – if you do less than 4 poses (all of which must incorporate peace signs) you’re doing it wrong. And because the groups of people are all so big, the photo needs to be taken like 10 times to make sure everyone is in it. If you’re just trying to enjoy the flowers, it can be a bit annoying..
The park had a pseudo-Disney theme to it, with lots of statues mimicking Disney characters. We saw Snow White and the seven dwarves, Dumbo, another Snow White, some horse drawn carriages a la Cinderella, and some more random statues. Tristan informed me that the weird broomsticks holding pails were from Fantasia, which I had no idea about (I never really watched Disney as a kid).
Somewhat randomly, we came across a greenhouse where you could buy plants. They were all super cheap – I wish there were a way to take them home on the plane! They had lots of succulents, which I love. It was like a dream come true. I ended up buying a mixed packet of succulent seeds, I really hope some of them sprout!
The park had some interesting shrubs – some pruned into dragons, dogs, and teakettles.
One of my favourite parts was the rose greenhouse. Here, there were row upon row of all kinds of roses; more than I’d ever seen in one place before. Their colours were vivid, and they smelled so sweet!
Back outside, we wandered around the complex for a few hours. It’s really massive! Most tourists seem to just walk through the flower beds right by the entrance, which means that the rest of the park is calm and empty (and free of selfie-takers!). We had lunch under a willow tree by a pond, and almost didn’t see anybody else the whole time.
The cactus garden was one of my favourites – some of the cacti were huge! It was so different from the flower beds, making it a nice change of pace. Even though flowers are nice too, of course.
Overall, the Flower Park was very pretty. Every flower bed and shrub was pruned to perfection, and the colours were vibrant and striking.
After a long day of walking, we decided to head back into town and sit in a café (one of Vietnam’s favourite pastimes, and we concur). We ended up in a café owned by a guy called Tan, who introduced himself to us. We chatted for a bit, and learned that he was trying to improve his English skills. He offered to take us around the city on a street food walking tour later on, which we did! (despite already being super tired from walking 15 km that day..)
We got some delicious french fries (with a special Vietnamese seasoning), nem nuong (a type of meat and spring roll dish that you roll in rice paper and dip in sauce), and a Vietnamese pizza (laughing cow cheese on rice paper, with an egg and some other toppings – found everywhere here). We learned a bit of Vietnamese, and hopefully taught Tan a bit of English. Language barriers made things a little tricky, but we made it work – once, after trying to get him to understand “corn” for probably 10 minutes, I resorted to using the Emoji keyboard to show him a picture instead. It was a bit unconventional, but it worked!
Unfortunately, we had an early bus to catch the next morning, so we said goodbye after our rice pizza. It was a lovely evening, and a great ending to our time in Da Lat!