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Vietnam is a fascinating country with an ever changing landscape. In the morning you can be soaking up a tropical sun on a golden sandy beach and in the evening enjoying cool breezes while looking out over seemingly endless mountain views.
Known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’, Dalat conjures up visions of tranquil lakes, brightly coloured flowers and charming French colonial architecture. Dalat’s unique magic will captivate you and that is why it should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Vietnam. We have put together a selection of top Dalat Vietnam attractions in hope that you will fall in love with Dalat just as much as we have.
- 1 What makes Da Lat so special?
- 2 Things to do in Dalat Vietnam
- 3 Dalat Vietnam Tours
- 4 Dalat Vietnam hotel reviews
- 5 Dalat Vietnam weather
- 6 Getting to Dalat
- 7 Dalat Vietnam Airport (Lien Khuong International Airport)
- 8 Quick Facts on Dalat Vietnam
- 9 Last Words on Da Lat Vietnam
What makes Da Lat so special?
When visiting Vietnam, you will find the French colonial influence everywhere. From Banh Mi baguettes to grand architectural structures, this fusion of style has created a distinct Vietnamese character and nowhere is it more prevalent than in the city of Da Lat.
French colonialists founded this mountain resort city as a place to escape the searing summer heat of the coastal areas. The first hotel was built in 1907 and the construction of French inspired boulevards and villas soon followed.
Due to its European charm, Da Lat has been given the name ‘Le Petit Paris’. It is considered one of the top 10 Vietnam tourist attractions and honeymoon capital of Vietnam.
Things to do in Dalat Vietnam
There are so many things to do in Da Lat, even something as simple as walking around the streets is a feast for the eyes. Here are a few of our favourite places to visit in Dalat Vietnam.
Xuan Huong Lake
As you drive into the centre of Da Lat, the first thing you will see is Xuan Huong Lake. These tranquil waters are home to one of the most scenic tourist attractions in Dalat Vietnam.
Xuan Huong Lake is a man made lake and is named after one of Vietnam’s most famous female poets. The crescent shaped lake has a 7 km pathway which is popular for walking and jogging. As you walk you may see local fisherman waiting patiently for their catch under shaded pine trees.
You can stop off at Thuy Ta Restaurant & Coffee and enjoy a coffee with a view or hire a swan paddleboat and take to the water to explore the lake. Whichever you choose you will be captivated by the beauty of the lake.
Da Lat Night Market
One of the main Dalat Vietnam attractions is the Da Lat Night Market. A short walk from Xuan Huong Lake. The Night Markets are a hive of activity and in the evening the streets come alive with street food restaurants and carts. Street stalls line the roadway selling a large range of clothing, trinkets, fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you are wondering where to eat in Dalat, look no further than the Cho Dem Da Lat, a massive undercover street food market in the Night Market area. At this Dalat Vietnamese restaurant you can try authentic Vietnamese food and you will find some of the most delicious dishes in Vietnam.
Within the cacophony of people, chatter, music, motorbikes and beeping horns you will find Da Lat Market (Cho Da Lat). The market is fronted by the statue of the Da Lat Women Monument, a tribute to women who sacrificed during the war.
Da Lat Market is a labyrinth of small shops selling dried fruit and delicacies from the region. You will also find stalls selling flowers and fresh fruit and vegetables. The Da Lat Market is a fascinating place to explore.
Lam Vien Square
It’s hard to miss Lam Vien Square as it takes pride and place in the centre of the city. This large open entertainment space is accentuated by massive glass structures in the shape of a sunflower and artichoke (or flower bud) and overlooks Xuan Huong Lake.
The square is decorated with fountains and it is a great place for people to gather in the evening. Hidden within the square you will find a large Big C supermarket and shops. Inside the green glass structure is the Doha Café, a unique place to relax and enjoy a coffee after a hard day of sightseeing.
The Da Lat Cathedral
Da Lat has many Catholic churches the largest being the Da Lat Cathedral. The spire of the Da Lat Cathedral can be seen from Xuan Huong Lake and is fondly known as the ‘Chicken Church’ due to the chicken that sits on top of the spire. The Cathedral was completed in 1942 and is a prime example of French colonial architecture.
The Da Lat Eiffel Tower
Just when you thought Da Lat couldn’t get any more French, you look up and see the city’s very own Eiffel Tower. This novel creation is in fact a telecommunications tower cleverly styled into one of the world’s most iconic structures.
The Hang Nga Crazy House Dalat
The Dalat Crazy House would have to be one of the most curious Dalat Vietnam tourist attractions. Walking up to the entrance you begin to realise just how crazy it’s going to be.
Strange structures tower above you and their bizarre shapes are entwined in a myriad of twisting staircases that take you to strange worlds and views of the city. You can stop off for Crazy Coffee, buy souvenirs or sit and relax under the shady trees. Everyone needs to visit Da Lat Vietnam Crazy House at least once.
Dalat Flower Garden
If you love flowers you have to visit the Dalat Flower Garden. Although you can visit year round the gardens are at their best during winter and spring. The gardens are a peaceful retreat from busy Dalat and are just 2 km from the city centre on Xuan Huong Lake.
Dalat Vietnam Tours
Wanting to see the best of Dalat? There is a wonderful selection of Dalat day trips that highlight the beauty and diversity of the region. For adventure, why not try ziplining or waterfall canyoneering. If you are looking for a culture trip, Dalat doesn’t disappoint, there are a range of tours including Da Lat Countryside Day Tour and Da Lat City Day Tour.
We chose the Da Lat Countryside Day Tour and we had an unforgettable day learning about the culture and daily life of Da Lats local farmers. A fantastic day, one that I would recommend to anyone wanting to visit Da Lat Vietnam. Here are the Dalat tourist attractions you can experience during this tour.
Van Thanh Flower village
Da Lat is famous for its flowers and the regions moderate temperature is ideal for growing roses, carnations and gerberas to name a few. Driving out of the city you will be struck by the vast number of hot houses that dot the hillsides.
Van Thanh flower village is the largest flower village in the region. Here you will learn more about the Da Lat flower industry, enjoy a kaleidoscope of colourful blooms and get a feel for village life.
Dalat Vietnam Coffee Plantation and Weasel Farm
It surprises people to hear that Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee after Brazil. First introduced into Vietnam by the French, Da Lats mild climate is perfect for growing coffee. Varieties grown in the region include Robusta, Arabica and Moka.
Weasel coffee is extremely popular and considered a delicacy in Vietnam. This unusual coffee is produced by feeding raw coffee beans to weasels. They eat the fruity outer layer of the coffee bean and swallow the beans which pass through their system. The coffee beans are then cleaned and roasted to produce a more flavoursome coffee with reduced caffeine.
The coffee plantation is in a beautiful setting overlooking lush green coffee trees and mountains, the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the local brew. Before leaving make sure to visit the gift shop.
The Cricket Farm
I really didn’t know what to expect when they said we were going to a cricket farm. My imagination was running wild wondering how we were going to round them up. In the end I came to realise that crickets don’t take up much room and they are easy to handle.
Visiting the cricket farm was like having a lightbulb moment. Crickets contain more protein than beef and can be produced in large numbers with little impact to the environment. The fact that they are delicious just adds to what could be a perfect food source.
I tried two kinds of cricket, one fried and dipped in chilli sauce and one that had been fermenting in cricket rice wine. The fried cricket was crunchy with a delicious savoury taste akin to potato chips and tasted so good I had to try a couple more.
The cricket that had been fermenting in rice wine filled me with trepidation as it was a plump mushy texture. I took a deep breath and quickly popped it in my mouth and thankfully all I could taste was the alcohol. I’m so glad I tried the crickets; it really does open your eyes to new ecofriendly food options.
Linh An Pagoda
Driving up to Linh An Pagoda is breathtaking. Looking down from a towering height is the serene face of the Lady Buddha. This dazzling white statue is the centre piece of this stunning Buddhist temple complex.
The Linh An Pagoda is one of the most popular Dalat Vietnam attractions and in a peaceful setting which is surrounded by trees and flowers. Dragons guard the steps up to the Pagoda and temple bells gently ring out across the grounds. To the side you can take the steps up to the Happy Buddha which is beautifully framed by rows of Lady Buddha statues.
The Linh An Pagoda is located next to the Elephant Falls. Panoramic views of the Elephant Falls and surrounding countryside can be seen by taking the steps up into the Lady Buddha Statue.
The Elephant Falls were named after the elephants that used to bathe in its waters. The falls drop onto the large grassy boulders that litter the riverbed. A cooling mist fills the air while the waters of the Cam Ly River twist and turn continuing their journey along the valley floor.
The walkway down to the river is steep and sometimes slippery, once at the bottom you can explore the cave behind the waterfall. There are shops at the top of the waterfall that sell drinks and light refreshment.
Da Lat Countryside Day Tour Lunch
We took a short walk from Elephant Falls to an authentic Vietnamese restaurant, the perfect place to have lunch. What a wonderful way to try local dishes, we had a large selection of meat and vegetarian options that were a feast for our group of six.
The silk factory was a fascinating place to visit. Here we learnt how to distinguish a good silk cocoon from a bad silk cocoon. The perfect cocoon has a tightly spun shape in a healthy cream shade. Cocoons that are loosely bound or have dark discolouration’s are considered inferior.
A healthy cocoon is spun in one continuous fibre and is used to make silk fabric. It takes eight strands of these fibres to make one single thread of silk. Nothing goes to waste, inferior cocoons are used in blankets to make them warmer while others are used to make rope.
I came away with a better understanding and newfound respect for the silkworm and the silk making process.
Minority Village Dalat
There are over 50 ethnic minority groups in Vietnam, so we were honoured to visit a local K’ho village. The K’ho people are intriguing and have a unique lifestyle where women are the leaders of the community.
Men take the women’s surname when they marry, and children also bear their mothers name. Once married the men live with their wife’s family. The women have high expectations of their men and if they don’t work hard, they are returned to their parents.
Village life is communal with mothers, daughters and their families living together in a village environment. Life is minimal with families living in wooden huts which house the basic necessities of life.
As we wandered through the village, we saw chickens roaming freely and puppies play fighting together. Small children stood in the doorway smiling shyly while staring at my white hair with fascination. A truly unforgettable experience.
Dalat Vietnam hotel reviews
To get a real feel for Da Lat we chose to try a few different hotel styles in a variety of locations across the city.
The first place we stayed was in the Da Lat Night Market area. This lively district is possibly the most popular place to stay in Da Lat. The area is central and within walking distance to the picturesque Xuan Huong Lake, the Cathedral of Da Lat and Lam Vien Square.
TCC Hotel Da Lat Review
Walk out of the TCC Hotel Da Lat and you are in the heart of the Da Lat Night Market area. Of a morning you will be surrounded by flower stalls and a few steps from Da Lat Market. In the evening the streets become a vibrant street food scene and you will find stalls selling a large selection of clothing and trinkets.
The TCC Hotel Da Lat is an older property with an older décor style. Rooms are clean and spacious, with pay as you go minibar, room safe and robes.
The hotel has an onsite restaurant, bar and room service menu. Breakfast is a selection of Asian and western dishes including an egg station. Airport shuttles services can be arranged at extra cost and the hotel has a tour desk and currency exchange services.
Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa Review
Da Lat is famous for its charming French inspired Art Deco villas and we were excited to be staying in one for three nights.
The Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa is set amid a peaceful conifer parkland and gardens. You could be mistaken for thinking you are in a mountain hideaway but in fact you are a short 2 km from the city centre. Here you can experience the excitement of the city while enjoying the serenity of this captivating retreat.
The villas were originally built between the 1920s & 1930s as holiday homes and residence for French officials from Saigon and personnel living in Da Lat.
These 17 villas have a total of 72 guestrooms with private facilities. Each villa has its own unique style with a shared dining and sitting room. The villas are full of unique period features that allow you to take a step back in time.
Our room opened out to a shared balcony which overlooked pine trees and the city below. Large windows were set into art deco curves allowing light to shine on the rich dark wood furnishings that decorate the room.
The bed was draped in fine netting and a fireplace added a touch of romance. The adjoining bathroom had gleaming white art deco style fixtures and an old fashioned clawfoot bath took centre stage in the bathroom.
The restaurant had a delicious range of Asian and Western cuisines and the breakfast selection was extensive. The resort also has a choice of spa treatments and there is a tour desk for your convenience.
Minh Chien Hotel Review
The Minh Chien Hotel is set within a typical residential neighbourhood. The area is safe with a mix of family homes and small hotels which are surrounded by Vietnamese restaurants and tiny family run shops. The hotel is 0.7 km from the Hang Nga Crazy House, 1.4 km from the Da Lat Market and 2.3 km from Xuan Huong Lake.
This modern hotel is perched midway up a hill and built in a charming French colonial style. The foyer and rooms are meticulously clean, light and airy. The beds are comfortable, and the bathroom has a modern shower.
The breakfast consists of mainly Asian dishes but there is toast and an egg station for those wanting a more western breakfast. The staff are helpful and friendly making for a pleasant stay.
Dalat Vietnam weather
Da Lats mild year round climate is a drawcard for those wanting to escape the heat of Vietnams scorching summers.
Unlike the north of Vietnam which experiences four seasons, Da Lat weather is divided into two seasons, the wet and dry season. Da Lat dry season is between November and March (the colder months) and the rainy season is between April and October (the warmer months).
The average daily Dalat Vietnam temperature throughout the year hovers between 15-24 Celsius. Generally, you will find that temperatures rarely go above 28 Celsius or below 8 Celsius. The best time to visit Dalat is between January and March.
Dalat Vietnam Map
Getting to Dalat
There are a few ways to get to Da Lat, it will all depend on which city you are leaving from. The quickest and easiest way to travel from Hanoi to Dalat or Danang to Dalat is to fly.
Air travel within Vietnam is quite cheap and there are often great deals to be found, something to keep in mind when planning your trip to Vietnam.
If you are taking the journey from Ho Chi Minh City or Nha Trang, there are a few more transport options to choose from.
Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat
Like Hanoi the quickest and easiest way to get to Da Lat is to fly. There are direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City with a flight time of around and hour.
Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat transfers by limousine shuttle bus
Enjoy the luxury of a shared limousine shuttlebus transfer between Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat or take the return trip from Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City.
The shuttlebus takes around 7 hours and has room for up to 9 passengers and there are multiple transfers per day. Sit back and watch the Vietnamese countryside drift by in reclining leather seats, airconditioned comfort and free WiFi.
Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat bus
The bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat takes around 7-8 hours and has multiple services a day. There is a choice of bus companies that operate between Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat with varying degrees of comfort. You can either choose from a regular bus or the sleeper bus which allows you to stretch out and sleep your way through the journey.
Nha Trang to Dalat
While you can fly from Nha Trang to Da Lat there are no direct flights. With flight connections in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi the journey time can take a minimum of 3 hours, the same amount of time it takes from Nha Trang to Dalat by shuttlebus or bus.
Nha Trang to Dalat transfers by limousine shuttle bus
With comfortable seating for 9 people, entertainment system and free WiFi the Nha Trang to Dalat shared transfers by limousine shuttlebus is one of the most relaxing ways to make the 3 hour journey from Nha Trang to Da Lat.
We usually use Klook for all our transfers and tours, we are happy with the company and feel they give good value for quality service. It’s little wonder that they are the most popular tour company in Asia.
Nha Trang to Dalat bus
If you are planning to travel by bus from Nha Trang to Da Lat make sure to book your ticket early, especially if you are travelling during TET (Lunar New Year).
Bus travel can be basic and unglamorous. On our bus we tried three different seats and each one was broken. In saying that, we had heard that some of the drivers drive erratically but found our driver to be safe and professional.
The scenery to Da Lat is spectacular, you travel through valleys and climb up into the mountains passing villages and farmland along the way.
We book all our Asian bus and train journeys through 12Go Asia, they give a choice of services, timetables and varying degrees of comfort and have been happy with the journeys we have taken with them.
Dalat Vietnam Airport (Lien Khuong International Airport)
Lien Khuong International Airport is 33 km from Da Lat and takes around 45 minutes by car. Make sure to allow time for traffic jams during peak times as the journey may take longer.
Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air service the airport with direct flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue and Hai Phong.
Flights throughout Vietnam can be cheap so make sure to check airline costs before you book trains or buses, it may be worth your while taking a flight rather than spending hours travelling to your chosen destination.
Quick Facts on Dalat Vietnam
Da Lat or Dalat as it is also known is the capital of the Lam Dong Province in the southern region of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
The closest city to Da Lat is Nha Trang, a popular seaside resort destination. The distance from Nha Trang to Da Lat is 134 km and takes around 3 hours by bus.
The distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat is 309 km, just under an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City. The distance from Hanoi to Dalat is 1,417 km, a 1 ½ hour flight from Hanoi.
Last Words on Da Lat Vietnam
The blend of European and Vietnamese character, rainbow hued flowers, clean blue skies and a city that takes pride in its past are what I’ll take away from Da Lat. This charm filled city will work its way into your hearty and will never be forgotten.
We have fallen under the spell of Vietnam, everywhere we have gone we have been surprised by the diversity and friendliness of this country.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the top Dalat Vietnam attractions and hope that they inspire you to visit this beautiful region of Vietnam.
Have you been to Vietnam? Have you visited Da Lat? Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you.
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