Da Nang, waterfall, Vietnam

I think I’ve found my favorite spot in all of Da Nang, if not Vietnam. A beautiful clean cold waterfall half an hour by motorbike from the city, and half an hour hike from the road.

The day started rather badly. I felt sick and threw up in the morning for no reason and had to rest in bed for a bit before we could leave. We got to the end of the paved road and would have to continue on a steep dirt hill with very narrow track as most of it had been washed off by the rain, creating a ravine full of limestone rocks. The construction guys whom I’d asked for directions from were all doubtful about my ability to make it up on my bike, but my overconfidence pushed me forward. And I almost did make it. But I stopped too soon, lost the gas and the footing, and fell right into the ravine and ate the dirt. I was shaken. Couldn’t even get up right away, just rolled over on my back and let my heart calm itself down. But all in all, I was lucky to get off lightly with only bruises and no fractures.

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We continued to hike on foot, under the relentless heat of noon at over 40 degrees C. The sound of a waterfall nearby became clearer and more inviting with each step. Knowing that it was not the original destination we’d planned for, we still couldn’t resist its calling and took off on a side trail in search of its blissful coolness. The trail down, though shaded, turned out quite challenging given my condition. The dirt was slippery under all the loose leaves. There were very few natural footholds and since I couldn’t put any weight on my left arm and very little on my right knee, I had quite a few close slips.

We couldn’t have asked for a better prize for all the trouble. Not only was the waterfall beautiful and the water icy cold, but the place was empty. Completely. Very rarely could I use that word to describe a place in Vietnam. To our right, there’s another stream coming down to join the waterfall. Its upstream must be where we had wanted to go. The tall straight granite wall lining along the stream reminded me of the canyons at the Narrows in Zion. We’d already cooled off a lot from the breeze just sitting by the stream. Living in Vietnam, you get used to crowds 24/7, and here we were, stumbling upon a place that we could have all to ourselves. It’s hard to describe that feeling of relief and joy; your body and soul being compressed for so long finally having all the space to decompress. No curious eyes. No questions.

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