One activity that we both love is climbing mountains, so much so that we are trying to find one to climb in every city we go to. In Dalat, the best mountain to climb and the one that most people know the most is Mount Lang Biang.
Mount Lang Biang has 3 peaks. The second peak is very popular with tourists as it's accessible by the long, winding road leading up to it. Many touring agencies will offer guided tours to the second peak via jeep or walking. It's highest peak (and the one we were interested in) stands at 2147m. The only way to get to this peak is by hiking, therefore it's not as popular when it comes to the crowds of tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of the beautiful city of Dalat from above. Great news for us though of course who couldn't wait to get to the top!
However, who wants to stop at just getting to the top, turning around and walking back down the way you came? We certainly didn't, so we thought what better idea is there than to camp at the top of the mountain!
We rented a 2-man tent from Viet Action Tours (address at the bottom of the post) for 200,000 VND, which was more like a 1-and-a-half man tent cause that thing would never fit 2 fully-grown men in! Poor 6ft Jac didn't have too good a nights' sleep, however we'll get to that bit later! You can rent a sleeping bag here too for 30,000 VND, our hostel owner was kind enough to lend us his so we didn't have to pay for one, what a legend (Thien at Europe Town Hostel in Dalat - check them out. Amazing hostel!)
We bought food for the trip from the Big C Supermarket. Our lunch and dinner consisted of the same thing - 1/4 of a humongous baguette (7000VND), a tin of tuna (25,000VND), cucumber (2000VND) and carrot (3000VND) made as a sandwich. We also brought a whole pineapple (20,000VND) and a dragon fruit (15,000VND) at the market. We took 6.5 litres of water in total which proved to be just enough at the end of the trip, we took a small 1.5ltr bottle (11,000VND) and a hefty 5ltr bottle (20,000VND) which Jac kindly carried (Thank God).
At 11am that morning, we parked our bike inside a shop just outside of the main entrance to Mount Lang Biang, after having first rode it in and being told we couldn't keep it there overnight. The parking costs 15,000VND overnight as is looked after by the lady who runs the shop, so it's pretty safe as far as safety is concerned! We entered the gate to Mount Lang Biang paying 30,000VND each to get in. Only to be called back by the woman who served us, she gave us back our money and told us it's free if you are taking the path to the top and pointed us to the path just behind the ticket booth on the right side of the fence. Woo! Finally, a bit of nature that we don't have to pay for!
We made our way up the street path, which is quite self explanatory route wise. It's easy to follow - just keep going up! You see some amazing locations on the way up, the route takes you through vast pine forests, open roads and deep jungle settings. We kept following the path until we got to the road, after following the road, we came to a left or right turn. The path to the right takes you to the peak of the mountain, so we headed down it, ignoring the signs saying that you must not be on this path after 2:30pm (2:45pm at this point, someone say bad ass?) and that you are not allowed to camp on the peak of the mountain.... Oops.
After following a really easy path, we came to a sign post that said the peak was 970m away. Someone had kindly wrote on the sign... Good luck. My goodness did we need it! The first 600m was a doddle through the jungle terrain. However, the last 370m throb the thick jungle featured an unbelievable amount of steep stairs all the way to the top. After a few grunts and groans, we made it to the peak, dripping with sweat but ecstatic to see daylight again.
All those stairs and the hard climb suddenly felt like a distant memory as we took in the view from the top. We could see the whole city of Dalat on one side, partnered with numerous other mountain peaks on the other. It was so, so, so beautiful. After sitting down for some much deserved lunch and whizzing the drone around, we set up the camp. Just behind the "Mount Lang Biang Peak" sign, following a path to the right, there was a spot which looked great. It was covered by all the bushes, and was sort-of flat ground.
The next obstacle we faced on our trip was making a fire! As you may know, it rains a little bit in Dalat (for around an hour a day apparently, although we were lucky enough not to have any during our stay). Therefore, a lot of the wood on the mountain-side near us was wet. So Jac had to go back down to around the 270m mark of the dreaded stairs to find dry wood and bought it back up! Top tip - the first place you'll walk through on this route is a pine forest. Here, there is loooooooads of pine needles all over the floor (that make you slip and nearly break your neck every 5 seconds on your way back down the mountain), pick a load of these up and fling them in a bag, along with any other dry wood you find. They are highly flammable and will really help when it comes to making your fire! Plus, we know it's a pain to carry the wood up with you but trust us, you will thank yourself for it when you have to go back down that staircase to fetch some! Luckily, we got a great fire going and loved sitting next to it eating fresh dragon fruit, playing games and chilling out all evening.
The view at night was incredible as well. We saw the clouds settle in between the mountains right in front of us, so close we could reach out and touch them. The whole city then lit up in front of us as it became night-time. The cloud settled in the mountains just in front of the city, so the two of those sights together was just incredible. To top it all off, it was even more so when you looked a bit further up. The stars were absolutely insane, there wasn't one little bit of the night sky that was covered by bright, white stars. Jac and I stood for about 5 minutes in silence before we went to bed, just looking at it all and taking the best mental pictures we could (No pictures could do it justice with how dark it was).
Our nights sleep was erm... A little disturbed. But that's a given, considering we are; On top of a mountain, it's very cold, in a 1.5 tiny-little-man tent, we both had big rocks sticking into our backs and Jac couldn't straighten his legs! Other than that, it was all good!
What was better than 'all good' however, was the sunrise at 6am. Oh my goodness. It was literally the best sight either of us has ever seen. The sun rose directly in front of our tent, beneath it a blanket of clouds settled in between the mountains. The birds made some crazy morning whistles as we sat there and watched it go up. I can't really put this bit into words, hopefully the picture will do it some justice. Let's just say, the whole hike up the mountain would be worth it even just for a 2 second glimpse of that sun rise.
Overall, we had the most amazing adventure camping on the peak of the mountain. We're so happy that we did it and we would recommend any one to do it too. It was so easy to plan and cost next to nothing at 393,000 ($17/£12) for the whole hike. If you are thinking about doing this yourselves, we would love to help and hear from you. Drop us an email if you need any information and most importantly, have the most amazing time!