|Silent grandeur: Bát Nhã (Heart of Perfect Wisdom) Monastery is a must-do stop in any Bảo Lộc visit. Photo news.zing.vn|
by Mộc Miên
800m above sea level, Bảo Lộc is not as hot as Sài Gòn or as cold as Đà Lạt. Instead, the little city has an average temperature of 21-23 Celsius degrees all year round. Little sunshine, much rain and a lot of fog typically color a week in Bảo Lộc. This combination, mixed with natural beauty, vibrant culture and famous tea, make the small town a poetic destination.
How to reach Bảo Lộc
Bảo Lộc is 180km northeast of HCMC, 110km from Đà Lạt, and 100km from Phan Thiết City. From HCMC , the 5-6 hour ride costs VNĐ210,000/ticket on an open bus.
Hiring motorbikes once one has arrived in Bảo Lộc is not so easy, however, due to its undeveloped tourism industry. Some hotels offer motorbike services, but others do not. However, tourists can travel around the city by taxi.
Many consider the dry season—which lasts from December through April— the prime time to visit Bảo Lộc. Clearer skies allow tourists to sip their tea and savor the sights in their fullest glory.
Most hotels in downtown Bảo Lộc are located in Trần Phú St., near many of the city’s restaurants. An average hotel costs only VNĐ100,000 – 150,000/night.
Right there, tourists can hire motorbikes at the price of VNĐ80,000 – 100,000/day to zip around the city with convenience
Dam B’ri Waterfall
The Dam B’ri Waterfall Tourist Site boasts splendid falls, crystalline lakes, a recreation area and primeval forests taking up thousands of hectare.
With a height of 60m and a width of 30m, Dam B’ri is the highest and the most majestic waterfall in Lâm Đồng. White columns of water drop down into white foam, casting off a curtain of fog. On sunny days, rainbows shoot out of the blue pools and white mist.
|Falling mist: Dam B’ri is the highest and most majestic waterfall in Lâm Đồng. — Photo news.zing.vn|
At the foot of the waterfall, you can cross a small, mossy bridge. From afar, the bridge seems to come straight out of an ancient kung fu story.
In late October and early November, purple blossoms unfold everywhere, and the area becomes even more poetic.
The road leading to this site is well-maintained; tourists can easily visit by motorbike or taxi. Tourists should note that Tâm Châu Tea Company employee buses can offer a lift free of fees.
Tâm Châu Tea tree hill
Known as the city of tea, Bảo Lộc lays claim to the largest concentration of tea trees in Central or South Vietnam. B’lao tea (B’lao being the old name for Bảo Lộc) is incredibly popular among tea lovers. Less bitter than its Northern counterpart, B’lao tea is more arid and fragrant.
|Fields of green: Tâm Châu is the most important tea tree hill in Bảo Lộc - the city of green tea. — Photo news.zing.vn|
Tâm Châu Tea tree hill cannot boast the long history that Cầu Đất Tea tree Hill in Đà Lạt can. However, the beauty of its sites and the taste its tea lure many travelers. Imagine an early morning when the sky is still misty. As the sun rises, the first light hits the morning dew kissing the tea leaves. You walk along the road, embracing the lake and drinking a clear, fragrant cup of tea. How does it feel? Tâm Châu Tea tree hill offers moments like this. Moments like when your bus runs through the hill roads, and you open the windows and suddenly get hit by the air full of tea.
Bát Nhã Monastery
Bát Nhã Monastery is one of Bảo Lộc must-visit destinations. Its name, (“Bát Nhã” means Heart of Perfect Wisdom), hints at its sense of ethereality. The quiet splendor offers sights to see, a Buddha to make offerings to, and even guest rooms to spend the night. The monastery is tucked away in a gorgeous pine forest, and its water comes from the forests’ clean streams. Follow the streams and you will find a waterfall lying behind ancient trees. Be sure to keep quiet here; the monks often come to the waterfall for meditation hours.
Linh Quy Pháp Ấn Pagoda
Unlike the quiet Bát Nhã Monastery, Linh Quy Pháp Ấn Pagoda is part of a bustling scene. The pagoda has big gates, evoking the Gates to Heaven.
Quán Chiếu Đường (Quán Chiếu Hall) is popular in part because of its architecture. Its interior boasts big wooden poles and golden lanterns, hallmarks of ancient aesthetics, inspires legions of photos. Quán Chiếu Hall is often crowded, so tourists should come on weekdays to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere. The pagoda also proves itself a prime place to catch the sunrise and sunset.
Bảo Lộc has some feature dishes. In the morning, we recommend bún riêu (local crab noodle) by O Lan. It’s a big bowl of noodle, crab, tofu and an especially crispy pig meat dipped in golden color.
From noon to night, enjoy Thuận Thành rice pot at the crossroad of Trần Phú and Lý Tự Trọng streets. The rice is cooked with sophistication and put in a clay pot that keeps everything warm throughout your meal. The warmth and flavors suit the breezy Bảo Lộc weather.
Once you travel from this crossroads toward Bảo Lộc Lake, you will find other nice dishes, especially sweetened porridge by cook Thảo Uyên. Her best porridge, made of chestnut and lotus seed, will far surpass expectations.
Bảo Lộc is not a tourist city like Đà Lạt, but that fact brings with it a sense of peace and green space. Slow down, sip some tea, and enjoy your stay. — VNS