After arriving in Mui Ne earlier that day, we spent a few hours at a local restaurant called Ngoc Suong (the food was average, but it had a nice view of the sea), before waiting for our bus to Da Lat at 4:00 pm.
Punctuality is key
Our booking confirmation email told us to get to the An Phu Travel office one hour before the scheduled departure time which isn’t uncommon when traveling by bus in Asia, but it’s not usually necessary to actually do so.
However, it was a good job we made sure we were there in plenty of time for this journey as the bus arrived 20 minutes early.
At 3:40 pm, the lady who worked in the An Phu Travel office came and told us to sit on the stools outside the office and within one minute, the bus arrived.
There were already plenty of people on board and we were very quickly ushered onto the bus while the driver threw our bags into the luggage compartment and promptly set off before we’d even had the chance to sit down. No wonder they tell you to arrive so early when the drivers are clearly in a huge rush!
On the road to Da Lat
If you’ve read any of my other route reviews in Southeast Asia, you’ll know that we’ve become more than accustomed to the drivers here, so it was reassuring to know that this particular driver on the way from Mui Ne to Da Lat was no different.
The bus itself wasn’t anything fancy, but it did the trick and was efficient enough at getting us from A to B in Vietnam.
We stopped multiple times throughout the journey to let people off in various villages along the way and before long, there were plenty of free seats available so my boyfriend and I spread out and took two seats each so we could get comfortable.
Despite the incredibly winding roads and questionable driving skills, the journey itself was quite pleasant and there were plenty of admirable views to enjoy in the mountains.
At 5:15 pm, we stopped seemingly in the middle of nowhere at what appeared to be a local family’s house with several toilets and a few snack stalls. We stopped here for around 45 minutes so everyone could use the facilities, stretch their legs and enjoy the views. There was a lake just behind the rest stop, surrounded by beautiful mountains and it reminded me somewhat of the views we saw on our South Island road trip in New Zealand last year.
It was beginning to get dark by the time we set off again, so there weren’t many more views to enjoy, so I just sat back, attempted to relax and tried to enjoy the rest of the journey. Thankfully, the roads were incredibly quiet as the driver seemed to be in such a rush and even when driving up and down mountainsides, he rarely hit the brakes!
I’ve always considered people in Southeast Asia to be relatively bad drivers, but after seeing this particular driver navigate some of the steepest and most winding roads at incredibly impressive speeds, I’m beginning to think that they’re actually incredibly skillful after all.
Thanks to the driver’s manic driving, we arrived in Da Lat a good 25 minutes ahead of schedule, just after 7:30 pm. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a Vietnamese SIM card and there wasn’t any free Wi-Fi around so we couldn’t order a Grab taxi to our accommodation and instead we had to make the 20 minute uphill walk to get there instead.
Overall, the bus journey from Mui Ne to Da Lat was pleasant enough and apart from some pretty chaotic driving habits at times, we arrived safely at our next destination in Vietnam to explore the city of Da Lat for a few days.