Lovingly referred to as the ‘Alps of Vietnam,’ Dalat is a cute mountainous town which enjoys cooler climate than the surrounding area. At 1500 metres above sea level, it’s an area where agriculture thrives in the cooler air making it even possible to produce wine here. (Dalat Wine – which isn’t half bad and ridiculously cheap) The area first became popular amongst the colonial French who built Villas in the mountains to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The scenery is beautiful and quite unlike anywhere else in Vietnam, making it a truly unique destination.
For lovers of the outdoors, there are tonnes of activities to get involved in in the area surrounding Dalat. From Mountain biking, to trekking, rock-climbing and canyoning, Dalat is a mecca for the adventurous. People traveling onward can partake in an awesome downhill bike ride from Dalat to Mui Ne which is a fantastic way to see the Vietnamese countryside.
The colorful and mountainous town of Dalat.
Places to stay:
- Da Lat Green City Hotel: For one of the cheaper options in town this place is surprisingly updated and comfortable. Located in the heart of the city, extra amenities include a coffee shop downstairs, free WIFI, and all the necessary backpacker services.
- Enjoy Da Lat Hostel: Dalat does not have much in terms of a backpacker hub, so this social hostel is an oddity. Beds are pod style meaning that privacy is yours when desired, but a welcome splash of company can always be found.
- Villa Pink House: For those wanting to soak in the views this budget friendly hotel is a fab option. Overlooking the lake, valleys, and pine tree dotted mountains, come here if relaxation is what your after.
- Da Lat Crazy house: Looking to splurge on a unique experience? Not only is Dalat Crazy house open for tours it can also be enjoyed for the night. Stay in your own private bee hive or curl up in a tucked away bed next to an egg shaped fireplace.
Smack in the middle of downtown: close to the night market.
Things to Do:
- Canyoning: Climb up a mountain and then work your way back down. Traverse over natural rock slides, rappel down waterfalls, jump off cliffs, and float down rushing rivers. Welcome back to the thrills of youth, playing all day immersed in a natural playground!
- Mountain biking and trekking: The mountains around Dalat provide a striking backdrop for the colorful houses in town, but better yet they impress when explored. Set off on foot or on bike for fabulous views of the city and the surrounding country side.
- Rock Climbing: A mere 10 km outside of Dalat there are a variety of courses to choose from. Whether a newbie or a veteran you’ll find something to try!
- Stroll around the lake: In the heart of Dalat lies a big old beautiful lake, complete with a walking path circling it’s entirety. Perfect for an afternoon stroll, an early morning run, or a sunset photo shoot.
The glorious lake, prefect for an afternoon stroll.
- Drink Dalat wine, eat yogurt, and guzzle milk: The vineyards and farms around Dalat are plentiful; meaning that tart homemade yogurt, fresh whole milk, and cheap bottles of ‘swiggable’ wine are readily available.
- Visit the Crazy House: Designed by Vietnamese artist Đặng Việt Nga this rambling house is an ongoing tribute to the power and importance of creativity.Đặng Việt Nga was met with quite a few people who didn’t believe in the power of her work; luckily she didn’t quit. What stands today is a twisty maze of ladders, slides, and walkways in the sky which together make up what has been deemed the ‘crazy house.’
Undeniably crazy with an unbeatable view.
- Find a good coffee shop and get lost in a book: Dalat is a one of the best places in Vietnam to find a pastry and a fabulous cup of brew. There are local shops all over town with rows upon rows of cakes, egg tarts, flaky pastries, and sugar encrusted donuts. If you are looking for a little atmosphere with you treat you can find all sorts of adorable shops with great nooks to cozy up with a book!
Windmills: My personal favorite coffee shop in Dalat.
- From the North: Traveling from Nha Trang a bus will only take 4 hours. Most leave in the morning around 8am getting you into Dalat by early afternoon.
- From the South: Traveling from Mui Nei the journey takes about 5 hours, many choose to do this leg of the trip on their own via motorbike.
Where to go next:
- Mui Nei: Known for its sweeping red and white sand dunes, vast beaches, and tranquil fishing villages.
- Nha Trang: Ready to party? This city is non-stop, and wonderfully close to a plethora of deserted beaches- head to undeveloped Bai Dai for your own slice of Nha Trang paradise!
- HCMC: The new capital of Vietnam is a hustling bustling center of controlled chaos.
- Hoi Ann: Plan to stay longer than expected in this charming UNESCO world heritage town, known for its beaches and tailor made shopping options.
Written by: Tyler Protano-Goodwin
Photography by: Kate Schlunz