Da Lat is popularly known as Vietnam's honeymoon destination. During the winter, the roads to Da Lat are filled with yellow Da Quy Flowers and pink and peach hues of the Mimosa, making for a beautiful sight. Nestled in the highlands of Vietnam, on the shore of the Lake Xuan Huong and lined with pine trees, Da Lat is lined with French Colonial Architecture and blessed with col temperate climate, which only adds to the romantic charm of the area. It’s no easy at all for travellers to choose the initial visiting place in Da Lat for its widespread covering beauty. On a whole, Da Lat looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. As mentioned, most of its hotels and houses were built in French style. The town spreads across a series of pine-covered hills, with a small lake in the center, while surrounded by high peaks, creating a lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam. Also, Da Lat is surrounded by some of the best mountain biking, hiking and canyoning opportunities in Vietnam. Da Lat's high altitude of 1,500-2,000m and fertile landscape make it one among Vietnam's premium agricultural areas, producing a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers that do not grow in the lowlands.

Whoever has come to Da Lat could never forget Xuan Huong Lake (Hồ Xuân Hương), which is located in center of town. Xuan Huong lake is now one of the main draws of Da Lat, and also where we can see honeymooners and locals strolling its banks. Side by side Xuan Huong Lake is Top-peg Hill (Đồi Cù), where has grown up a vast golf ground. If you are fond of fresh flowers, Da lat Flower Park is your accurate choice. The park, around 7,000 sq.m2, is situated on top of the Top-peg Hill, northern bank of Xuan Huong lake, and full of species of beautiful colored flowers to be extremely well-fed by planters. Tourists are all interested in the Da Lat’s flower festival, bringing them to a flowerfully fresh heaven!

THINGS TO DO IN DA LAT

SIGHTSEEING

Linh Phuoc Pagoda: Linh Phuoc Pagoda is among famous Da Lat attractions that tourists often mention to. The pagoda is very sacred, which is suitable for people who want to go to worship and sightseeing. This pagoda is also known as Bottle pagoda as in the yard of the pagoda there is a 49m long dragon made of 12000 bottles of beer. Linh Phuoc pagoda is an excellent mosaic – glazed terra-cotta architectural work of the Da Lat city. There are lots of stalls around to buy drinks, food, and souvenirs. In general, this pagoda is a drive out of Da Lat yet definitely worth going to see. The monks inside the pagoda will show you how to follow the tradition of writing a wish on a piece of paper and sticking it to the centre of the bell. Tourists can ring the bell 3 times in order to send the wish to Buddha.

Xuan Huong Lake: At the very heart of Da Lat City, Xuan Huong Lake adds character to a beautiful town like Da Lat. Interestingly, this is a man-made lake and is nowadays the most beautiful lake of Da Lat, giving this romantic city an invaluable gift of having a lake right in its centre. The crescent-moon-shaped Xuan Huong Lake covers an area of about 43 ha, stretching via some other attractions like the Da Lat Flower Park as well as Cu Hill. The lake’s surface is as smooth as mirror, which reflects the romantic scenery of Da Lat with meadows, pine forests, and gardens. Visiting here, you could not only enjoy strolling along the lakeside but also taking a rest under the conifers, pedal-boating on this lake whilst admiring the great architecture of Thuy Ta Pavillion.

Cam Ly Waterfall: Cam Ly stream formed by the confluence of a small stream on the Langbiang Plateau, winds in the area of Da Lat, passing Than Tho Lake. Cam Ly Waterfall is noisy and aggressive and deserved to be cannot-be-overlooked Da Lat attractions. Water flows softly and gently via the granite cliffs that is similar to the hair of a young girl. This waterfall is approximately 10 meters in height. Despite it is not as spectacular as other waterfalls in Da Lat, it still has its own beauty and is unmistakable. There is a bridge crossing the stream above the waterfall, helping you travel from one side to the other side of the stream. And, at the foot of that waterfall, you will discover a small flower garden. Especially, spectacular waterfall associated with the great surrounding hill has strongly created an unforgettable scene in the tourists’ heart.

Datanla Waterfall: Datanla cataract is considered as one of the most wonderful Da Lat attractions with deep and much flow waterfall. This makes the sound of the water falling exciting and thunderous at the same time. This waterfall is located near at the natural place, which is very wonderful, full of green pines – a forest of over 100 years. Datanla cataract, featuring with a 20-meter drop, contains several wooden bridges to cross from one side to another side, and to observe from the above of the waterfall.

Valley Of Love: Valley Of Love – one of must-see Da Lat attractions in Vietnam, is a very romantic destination for couples. Indeed, this is popular with Vietnamese newlyweds. The valley has the poetic landscapes and a lot of interesting activities and games. Some people even bring hammocks here and spend their time on reading, napping, and people watching. It is really relaxing place, which caters for all. The valley of love is about 5 km far away from the center of Da Lat, to the North.

Hang Nga Guesthouse: Da Lat has the power to not only romanticize but also inspire people to go beyond their own limits. Hang Nga guesthouse, also called as the “Crazy house”, is such a building of artwork that challenges the imagination of human beings. Designed by a Vietnamese impressionist and architect named Dang Viet Nga, this extraordinary building of non-rectilinear shapes has represented in a lot of international architectural journals and eventually made its manner to the list of ten most creative buildings of the world. In details, it is a wide mass of wood and wire fashioned into the figure of a giant tree house and smoothed over in concrete.

Elephant Waterfall: Deserved to be among best Da Lat attractions in Vietnam, Elephant waterfall is situated in Nam Ban (Nam Ban) town, about 40km away from Da Lat. Elephant waterfall itself was the revolutionary base in the resistance wars against France and America of our nation. Although newly recreated into a religious tourist attraction in recent years, Elephant waterfall was recognized as a National-level beauty spot. It will be pity if when visiting Da Lat, you skip this destination.

Da Lat Station: The next one in regard to famous Da Lat attractions is Da Lat Railway Station, which is recognized as a historic culture by Ministry of Culture – Information of Vietnam. This is also one of the tourist hotspots in Dalat. Da Lat Railway Station was a train station of Da Lat’s city. This is reckoned the oldest station in Viet Nam as well as Indochina. The station was built by the French from 1932 to 1938 and is the railhead of the Railway Phan Rang-Da Lat, about 84 km in length. The station has a unique architectural style, with three conical roofs, which are the stylization of three Langbiang mountain tops or the hollow of mountain Highlands.

Truc Lam Pagoda Dalat: Like in any Vietnam city, visiting temples is one of the top things to do in Da Lat – and the best temple in the city (or rather, just outside the city) is Truc Lam Pagoda. The Dalat Zen monastery, Thien Vien Truc Lam, is located just across the street from the Dalat Telpher Cable Car Station. Featuring numerous temples, manicured gardens and an outdoor meditation area, the entire complex sits atop a hill. Despite the many sightseers that were visiting, the expansive grounds were quiet and the mountain setting added a touch of serenity that some of the other pagodas we’ve visited have lacked.

Cable Car Dalat: While the cable car in Dalat provides a quick and economical way to get from the city to the Truc Lam Monastery and Religious Complex, we were most interested in the ride itself. Seriously, even if we were not going to the monastery, we would have gone out of our way to take the 20-minute ride on the Dalat cable car. The mile-plus-long ride transports visitors high above the pine trees, offering riders stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains. The Dalat cable car station is on Robin Hill, which is an easy walk or short taxi ride from the city center.

Dalat Flower Garden: The Dalat Flower Garden, which sits at the end of the Xuan Huong Lake opposite the city, offers a mostly natural and somewhat quirky respite from Dalat sightseeing. Much larger and more spread out than we anticipated, the Dalat Flower Park was slightly neglected during our visit (perhaps it was just the season), but still offered plenty to see. Highlights for us were the colorful flower beds and Bonsai trees. However, we were bewildered by the odd shrubs sculpted into animal shapes. The gardens feature several fountains and a small lake where we found a few locals fishing.



SHOPPING:

  • Dalat Central Market: The Central Market of Dalat City offers mainly items of food and clothing. Contrary to most Saigonese markets, the fashion in Dalat is more suitable for cold climates. At dusk, the market building itself closes down, and the stalls of the night market sprout around it. The market also features a showroom and store for traditional clothing, as well as silk embroidery, which make marvelous souvenirs.
  • Dalat Night Market: The night market is a chaotic and joyful experience. Vendors appraising their wares with loud voices, mostly from self-repeating tape recorders. From avocados to strawberry jam, woolen bonnets to secondhand jeans, potted plants to oddly shaped roots that serve a purpose in traditional medicine… the night market has much to offer.
  • Shops: Of course, there are many shops around at the city center. Most of them selling herbal infusions, such as trà atisô, artichoke infusion, which is very popular in Dalat and the Highlands. They also have various wines for sale, and other food items.
  • Supermarkets: Apart from the usual range of small supermarkets and corner shops, you can find a Big C Store at Lam Vien square that stocks a full variety of foods.
  • Workshops & Handicrafts in Dalat: People from ethnic minorities sell colorful, embroidered purses and bags at major tourist spots. If you are interested in some eclectic Vietnamese coffee, check out our post about the weasel coffee farm in Dalat. For a great insight into how silk is made, take a look at our visit to a silk factory.

What to buy in Da Lat

Teas And Coffees: Da Lat is teas and coffees. Known for its agriculture, Da Lat produces the majority of Vietnam’s exotic fruits and vegetables. One local specialty, when it comes to shopping in Da Lat, is artichoke tea (also known in Vietnamese as “trà atisô”). Artichoke is an herbal plant which has many uses and benefits for the human body.

Da Lat Wine: Da Lat wine uses table grapes from nearby Phan Rang – the main grape-growing area in Vietnam. Vang Da Lat is just one more reason for tourists worldwide to visit Vietnam. Da Lat Wine, also known in Vietnamese “Vang Đà Lạt”, is made and bottled in Da Lat. That being said, tourists should make sure they buy it there.

Da Lat Flowers: Until now, Da Lat has been reckoned as “the city of flowers”. There are various types of flowers in Da Lat, including over daisies, chrysanthemums, roses, and so on. Besides the flowers which entered from the outside, Da Lat has a lot of wild flowers that are popular, such as sunflowers, hedgeroses, natural orchids, etc.

Fruits And Vegetables: Da Lat with its cool weather and rich soil is suitable for fruits and vegetables year round. You could find a lot of local products brought by local farmers to markets like potatoes, artichoke, cabbage, strawberries, sweet potatoes, roses, banana, mango, and persimmon. In fact, Da Lat vegetables are not only for domestic consumption but also for export to many other countries.

Handicrafts And Souvenirs: Da Lat – Lam Dong (Lâm Đồng) has been well-known for the brocade products which are made by K’HO women. In addition, the hand embroidery products are also extremely famous in Da Lat. Thus, do not skip bringing home some handcrafts as gifts for your family and friends.

Woolen Products: They are the special trait of Da Lat thanks to its cold weather. Most visitors coming to Da Lat are strongly interested in this product.

CUISINE:

Banh Mi Xiu Mai Chen (baguette with shumai bowl): This is an absolute must-try dish in Da Lat cuisine. The shumai balls are served in a bowl of hot sauce, in which you can dip the baguette. You can also ask for fried pork skin or chilli pepper to add to the soup.

Banh Can (mini pancake): Mini pancake is a popular breakfast dish in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat. Travellers can find it in many places such as Tang Bat Ho Street and Anh Sang Hamlet. The pancakes, filled with eggs and slightly burned, are eaten with fish sauce.

Bánh Uot Long Ga: Many people like this dish for its unusual taste. It is a bit sour as it is served with chicken salad rather than the more common pork roll. The dish is made of simple ingredients like rice paper and chicken meat or intestine mixed with fish sauce.

Banh Trang Nuong : Grilled rice paper is becoming more and more popular in Da Lat with an increasing number of restaurants serving the dish. At these restaurants, you can sit near a coal stove, watching the chef make this dish. The chef applies a little oil to the rice paper and then adds shrimp paste, cheese and green pepper. An egg is later added and stirred with chopsticks until the dish is fully grilled. It tastes even better with fried onion and pork floss.

Bun bo Hue: Bun bo Hue is popular for its tasty broth and meaty components. The dish is quite popular in Da Lat and usually eaten for breakfast. Each restaurant has a different recipe for beef noodle soup, but the common ingredients are beef, pork roll (gio) or deep-friend pork roll.

Nem Nuong: Nem nuong, though not quite popular with locals in Da Lat, remains the top choice for lunch among travellers. This simple dish needs a lot of preparation before eating. The grilled pork sausage is eaten with greasy yellow sauce made from pork broth and ground chilli. The fat of the pork, the sweet taste of the sauce, and the crispiness of the fried rice paper makes this dish unforgettable.

Mi Quang: Da Lat invented a different style with the dish served with more sauce. It looks delicious with the red-orange sauce, yellow noodles, and cashew-colored meat. You can eat it with vegetables and herbs.

Kem bo: Da Lat is usually cold in the evenings, people like to eat avocado or fruit ice cream around this time. The fatty flavor of the ice cream combined with the taste of avocado, the famous fruit of this mountainous city, turns this simple snack into an amazing dish.

Xap Xap: Name of this dish sounds strange for many people. in fact, it is quite like “Nom Bo Kho”, a sweet and sour salad with dried beef sold in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. The main ingredients of Xap are grated green papaya, simmer pork liver, peanuts, mint leaves, sweet and sour fish sauce and chili sauce on top. Many Western people think this food is a type of appetizer; however, people in Da Lat usually eat it in the afternoon of late night as a nosh.

Coffee: Da Lat is famous for its coffee street feature. Da Lat coffee is simple just like the locals here. It is not as strong as Hanoi coffee and not as sweet and light as SaiGon coffee. Da Lat coffee has its own flavor with subtle fragrance and moderate bitter that can enchant people at first try. Almost people here drink coffee in the morning at small shop along streets and around Xuan Huong lake.

Soybean Milk: Soybean milk is the most favorite drink of locals as well as tourists traveling to Da Lat. Soybean milk is so popular that you can find this kind of drink at most of the corners of Da Lat. Enjoy a hot glass of soybean milk in cold weather when the night falling is an indispensable experience for every travelers here. You will definitely never forget sweet and fresh flavor of soybean milk together with slightly fragrance of pineapple in each glass.

Bread With Meatballs Soup: The meatball soup eaten along with breads is so delicious and popular that every trip to Da Lat will not be completed without that dish. Though you may see Banh Mi xiu mai in some places around Vietnam, bread with meatballs soup in Da Lat has its own heavenly taste. Meatballs are made of grinded pork mixed with cat ear mushroom, minced onion, garlic and some kinds of spices. After processing meatballs they boil them in broth with grinded tomato.

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Maze Bar / 100 Roof Bar: The Maze Bar in Dalat, officially called the 100 Roof Bar, is a place were you just have to go for at least one drink. Just a few hundred meters from the night market you will find this bar, that is literally a maze, so don’t get lost. It has a unique design, with a some kind of fairy tail like forest. There are several floors with places to sit scatter to out the maze. Because this bar is a huge maze, with a lot of different places to sit down, customers are also spread out throughout the Maze Bar, so sometimes it can feel a bit empty or missing atmosphere.
  • Beepub Hostel & Bar: Beebub hostel is also the place with the most famous bar for backpackers. It is just a small bar, but has a great atmosphere. During high season they have dj’s and live bands playing. There is pool table and drinks are affordable.
  • Da Lat Night Market: An experience at Da Lat Night Market is not similar to anywhere else in Da Lat. Having a night shopping at Da Lat Night Market is really worthwhile that represents the heart of this city. This market is located in the city centre, inside the Hoa Binh zone, around Tang Bat Ho Street, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, and Le Dai Hanh Street. A unique feature of this night market is the “shouting market” which could be found on the upper floor of the market, where the clothes are sold.
  • Saigon Nite Bar: This is a cozy and friendly little bar, which is situated downtown and has been around much longer than other competitors. Having games and pool tables, this bar serves expensive cocktails and drinks.
  • Dalat Train Bar: Dalat Train Bar is located close to Dalat Train station. They have great drinks and delicious food. On their menu are many dishes from other countries too. Lovely music and cosy space. It is a relaxed place for rainy days.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Flights: It’s because there are no airports in Hoi An, Quang Nam. Thus, tourists must need a transfer from Hoi An to Danang airport, then they can catch flights to Dalat. There are few flights of Vietnam Airlines flying from Danang to Dalat that you can check.After you come to Lien Khuong Airport, you need another transfer to move to Dalat City center. This is about 30km from the airport to Dalat center.
  • Bus: There are some buses from Hoi An to Dalat via Nha Trang city. It means you will take the buses to Nha Trang around 12 hours. The bus will stop here few hours. Maybe you have to change to another bus, or you will get on the bus again to continue driving 4 hours to Dalat. This one is cheap to travel. This way is used by many backpackers.
  • Private Car: Many guests also use a private car with a driver from Hoi An to Da Lat city. This way is easier for stopping to take pictures along the way and for relaxing. However, this is more expensive than other methods. You can drive one day from Hoi An City to Da Lat. But, we recommend you should spend 2 or 3 days for this drive to explore more mountainous views or learn more about the culture of minority groups along the way.