Dalat, also Da Lat (Đà Lạt), located in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam, was originally the playground of the French who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and of what was then called Saigon (now) officially known as Ho Chi Minh City.
The hill town of Da Lat has long been the most popular location in the region for getaway holidays since French colonial times. Many people call it ‘Le Petit Paris’ and the town even features a mini-replica Eiffel Tower in its centre! Situated on a plateau 1,500 metres above sea level, this retreat town offers a good change of atmosphere with a refreshingly cool climate while other cities in Vietnam can be very hot and humid especially during summer. Trousers and jumpers are needed if visiting Dalat from November to around March as temperatures hover at about 10°C. Da Lat is famous for its wide variety of flowers, vegetables and fruit from its surrounding farmlands as well as countless nature sites; its beautiful landscape, evergreen forests and minority villages. The area’s main sources of income are from agriculture and the tourism industry but the city is also very proud of being an education centre that produces multi-field professionals each year including doctors and architects (Dalat University alone has more than 13,000 students). Therefore there’s a good chance that visitors will meet with young, enthusiastic and friendly Vietnamese from every corner of the country here.
* Ho Xuan Huong (Hồ Xuân Hương) aka Xuan Huong lake, center of town. Open daily, all hours. No admission fee but rental fees vary if you want to boat. Approximately 5km in diameter, this lake was made after two dams on the Camly river were destroyed during a storm in the 1930s. Now, Xuan Huong lake is one of the main draws of Da Lat, and you can see honeymooners and locals strolling its banks. Many nice hotels have a view of the lake. The lake was drained in 2010, but is now filled again.
Hằng Nga guesthouse (Vietnamese: Biệt thự Hằng Nga), popularly known as the “Crazy House” (Vietnamese: Ngôi nhà quái dị), is an unconventional building designed and constructed by Vietnamese architect Đặng Việt Nga in Đà Lạt, Vietnam.
Described as a “fairy tale house” (Hằng Nga, Vietnamese: 姮娥, is the Chinese goddess of the Moon), the building’s overall design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured design elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. Its architecture, comprising complex, organic, non-rectilinear shapes, has been described as expressionist. Nga has acknowledged the inspiration of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in the building’s design, and visitors have variously drawn parallels between it and the works of artists such as Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney. Since its opening in 1990, the building has gained recognition for its unique architecture, being highlighted in numerous guidebooks and listed as one of the world’s ten most “bizarre” buildings in the Chinese
- Da Lat market filled with local specialities: strawberry jam, fruits conserves, avocado, artichoke.
- Nha Tho Domaine de Marie:(on Ngo Quyen, 1 km from where Hai Thuong and Ba Trang Hai (3 Trang Hai) meets.) A pink church on top of a hill, with a store selling various dried fruits and snacks from the local orchards run by the nuns of the monastery.
- Da Lat train station: take the steam train through the 7km historical line to Trai Mat, from there you can visit the Linh Phuong pagoda.
- Suoi Vang (Golden Spring lake). Rather unspoiled scenery.
- Thien Vien Truc Lam Monastery, at the top of where the cable car drops you off (single 60,000 dong, return 80,000 as of February 2017) The monastery (admission free, donations accepted) has a magnificent view over the dams below and its gardens are full of landscaped shrubs in animal form. Extremely peaceful - a great place to relax and soak in the tranquility. People who do not want to complete the round trip could opt for a 4.1 km walk back to Tran Phu. Be sure to bring a map. On the walk back you can go down to Tuyen Lam lake (see below), visit nearby Datanla waterfall and take the bus back to town. Appropriate clothes are requested, no shorts or short skirts, shoulders should be covered.
- Thung Lung Tinh Yeu (Thung Lũng Tình Yêu) aka Valley of Love, Phu Duong Thien Vong str. Open daily until 5PM. Admission fee= 100.000 VND. About 5km outside of town, the Valley of Love is common stop on Dalat tours and is very popular with honeymooners. The Valley of Love is also a great spot for canyoning. See contact info below for canyoning operators..
- Tuyen Lam Lake (Hồ Tuyền Lâm), 5km south of town on highway 20. Its clean green waters flow from the beautiful Tia Spring and from the Da Tam River, which flows down from Voi mountain. Its waters stretch over an immense 350 hectares and because of its various sources, Tuyen Lam is known as the lake where rivers, springs and forests meet. The lake was built in the 80s. It is one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in town. The other side of the lake is the Voi mountain which is a good place for hiking.
- Prenn Falls, At the foot of Prenn Pass, about 10km outside of town. Open daily until 5PM. Admission fee= 40.000 VND A very common stop on a typical Dalat tour, Prenn Falls is quite beautiful but is a lot more fun when you're hiking it than just taking pictures of it.
- Pongour Falls, 45 km south of town on highway 20, it's one of the largest and widest waterfalls in Vietnam and during the wet season is a magnificent sight. Although a dam built nearby has reduced the water flow recently.
- Elephant Falls, 30km west of town on the way to Daklak , is is so nice and full of water all year around, entrance fee : 20.000VND/per
- Canyoning Dalat : Canyoning is the must thing to do in Dalat. Great value, great adventure, highly recommend this activity, including various abseiling options.
- Vietnam Easy Riders: Vietnam easy riders is a service where you can experience the country of Vietnam by motorbike.
- Lak Lake is a nice stop on a bike-tour in the central Highlights. NHA TRANG and then Take the busy Road 26 to BUON MA THUOT. Its a beautiful ride down to the Elefant-Waterfall through Cafeplantations ect. and then up to Lak Lake over a mountain and then through sunny highlands with Rice-Fields. The Road is partly very bad though, but doable.
- Lang Biang Mountain Located 12 kilometers from Da Lat city centre, Langbiang, which has an elevation of 2167 meters above sea level, is a well-known and charming destination. The peak is reachable by a steep paved path, ideal for a 3 hours hike, or take a ride in a jeep for 60,000 vnd per person to reach the 1950m peak (including return after 1 hour). Also visit the minorities village under the mountain foot. No other vehicles than with special permit are allowed to use the mountain road. Entrance fee 30,000 vnd.