Bao Loc is a medium-sized city that sits on Highway 20 between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat. Situated in in Lam Dong Province, the Central Highlands of Vietnam, the weather is cool with the fresh air, very suitable for tea and coffee plantation — which the city is famous for.

Getting to this city from Ho Chi Minh is pretty easy. Buses are available every day, you can even book tickets on the same day of your traveling, and it only takes four hours to reach.

We are grateful that we had the chance to visit Bao Loc. During our time there, we were accompanied and hosted by our friends who originally come from the city. They took us to see and touch the lives of the local people there, feel the experience and difference of living outside the hustling and bustling of crowded, big city and listen to the hidden stories they told us of every places we visited.

One of the stories was told by the monks in Bat Nha Pagoda. The name Bat Nha was given to the pagoda in 1995, before the name was Lang Mai (Tomorrow Village). This pagoda is specially built for people who want to devote themselves to be monks — thousands of monks have come from this place.

Endless rows of tea plantations (and even cows!) were everywhere along the way with us.

Again, the perks of traveling with locals are we get to explore the places that will never be available on travel agency’s itineraries. Including learning the basics on how to do “Vo co truyen Vietnam”, a traditional martial art from the 2nd kingdom of Vietnam (hundreds of years ago). It was used for army training, then they use this to study body controlling. The master divided us into two groups; the guys learnt how to fight and the girls learnt how to control the body.

It is not yet a complete highland trip for us before hiking up the hills, seeing the whole town wake up in the morning from the top, planted our own tea trees and climbing up to the second story out of the famous seven storied waterfall.

The last thing before going home was meeting local students from Bao Loc. Campfire in a cold night was fun, and it got way more fun interacting with them. Stories were shared, smiles were exchanged.

Visiting Bao Loc brought us to see a whole new side of Vietnam. It was amazing to be there — one complete package of new knowledge, experience and friends!

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