The mile high Zen of Tea and Kings

On our second day in lovely Dalat, Vietnam, we climbed higher into the Cau Dat region to visit a tea plantation. Starting at the factory, we got to sample fresh oolong tea and meet the impressive young Taiwanese Vice President of Haiyih tea company. She explained tea production from field management and harvest,  drying and fermenting, to sorting and packaging. The very labor intensive process gave us all a greater appreciation of a good cup of tea! 

   
    
  
For another view of local agriculture, we visited a terraced, strawberry greenhouse operation and sampled artichoke tea while shopping for dried fruit, tea and other local items. 

  

After our tea and strawberry education, we enjoyed a bird’s eye view tram ride to the Truc Lam Zen Monastery at the top of Phoenix mountain. Surrounded by beautiful views and stunning gardens, the Zen Buddhist educational center features many sacred buildings and a training center for devotees. 

   
 
 
 
 

Refueled by another tasty local lunch (including octopus salad and sweet & sour fish), we visited the summer home of the last King of Vietnam, Bao Dai. As the 13th King of his lineage, born in 1913, father of 13 children, with a 13 year reign, we agreed that 13 was his lucky number. The palace, unused and preserved since 1949, was an interesting historical note to end our visit to this highlands area.  

  

  

 

Our guide Ken kept us informed and well fed for our mile high visit to his village. We said farewell to the cool highlands, flying south to hot and modern Saigon for our next adventures.     
   
 

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