Da Lat Travel Guide
Da Lat is located in the central highlands and well-known for its wide range of beautiful spots, unique climate features, special architecture and history.
This region provides a perfect destination to escape the beach and explore the hills with fresh mountain air and a great combination of adventure, good food and romance. Plus, this region is great for its naturally beautiful scenery and ability to take part in adventure sports. The hills that surround Da Lat are rich in tribal villages, which are great to see on a tour of the local area, but there is still a variety of things to see in the actual city.
The natural beauty, cool climate and high altitude have helped to make Da Lat a well respect tourist destination, while it has also become the Vietnam honeymoon and the wedding capital. It is a great romantic get away with many couples from across Vietnam flocking to this city.
The majority of the houses and hotels in Da Lat has been influenced by a French style because of its past French colonization. For the travellers interested in architecture, there are several great places to visit, including the Hang Nga guest house and Dalat Railway Station.
Beyond the unique style of architecture throughout the city, Da Lat has plenty of other places that are well worth a visit on the Vietnam tour packages. Other great attractions include Pongour Falls (one of the largest waterfalls in the country), Lang Biang Mountain (a great bicycle ride for the day), Valley of Love, Lake of Sorrow and Xuan Huong Lake, which is located in the centre of town.
To get a full appreciation of local Vietnamese life, a visit to Da Lat market is certain to appeal which is rich in local specialties like artichoke, avocado, dried fruits, strawberry jam, and more.
The region's major source of income comes from the tourism industry and agriculture, while also having the Da Lat University makes this place a great education centre for professionals like architects and doctors.
Da Lat enjoys a cool, bracing mountain climate because it is situated at an altitude of nearly 1,500 m. Its large open space makes it possible to get a break from the high heat and humidity of places like lowlands of southern Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City.
On average, the temperature in Da Lat is in the region of 16° C to 24° C which makes this region a great place for those in search of a fair-weather retreat. Plus, the stunning scenery and refreshingly cool climate has made Da Lat a top honeymoon destination. Expect the climate to be pleasantly warm in the day and quite cold at night.
The temperature in November to December can start to fall to about 10° C which means that tourist on the Vietnam private holidays exploring the region at this time of the year should pack the extra layers to stay comfortable.
How to get there
Air flight is an easy method to get into Da Lat with daily flights arriving from Hue, Vinh, Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. The airport (Lien Khuong Airport) is approx 30 km from the centre of the city and easy to reach Da Lat on the modern highway. Onward travel by taxi costs in the region of $9-$12. Alternatively, the airport shuttle is the most cost-effective and costs about $2.
A very common travel route for the foreign travellers and locals to Da Lat is using the bus service. A great option is to use the Sinh Cafe Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City open-tour buses. The journey time by bus is about 7 hours from Ho Chi Minh City or 3–4 hours from Nha Trang. The travel time can be extended on certain journeys with obligatory stops being made on the way to Da Lat.
Da Lat is relatively easy to get around with many parts of town easy to walk to. Alternative options include the xe om (motorbike taxi) which is practical for the longer trips out of town. Plus, there are the metered taxis for a more comfortable ride.
Public transport is available with a local bus service that stops at most of the popular tourist sites. Buses run until about 5.30 pm.
Plus, for those tourists on the Vietnam adventure tour that wishes to make their own way around town there is the option to hire a motorbike, tandem, or bicycle for the day.
Where to stay
Da Lat is a great place for the budget and high-end travellers with guesthouses and hotels available to match virtually all needs. Most of the best places get booked up quickly in the local area, especially on the weekends, so it can benefit to organize the accommodation in advance.
A stay at the Dalat Garden Homestay is a great choice for the tourist or a business traveller, and well-located within a distance of about 3 km from the city centre.
The Binh Yen Hotel has plenty of clean and spacious rooms that cost in the region of $6-$8 per night (include free coffee and breakfast). Plus, the staff is very welcoming and friendly and speak good English.
A stay at the Newland Hotel makes it possible to benefit from a city centre location and a quite inexpensive price of about $6 per night (including breakfast). This is a very nice hotel with basic and clean rooms. Plus, the friendly staff provides a cooking course for guests at $5 a session.
Eat and drink
Da Lat is a great producer of fruits, vegetables, wine, tea and coffee. While a lot of this fresh produce is sent on to Ho Chi Minh City, there is still the option to get a taste of this fresh food at the local market. Locally grown strawberries are widely available from the market or from street hawkers.
Also, because of the coffee plantations in the local area, Da Lat has quite a few coffee shops that sell all kinds of coffee. A particular coffee to try as a treat is the Vietnamese coffee with ice cream.
A great place to eat in the evening is the night markets, which are easily found in the town square. There are plenty of local specialities to try, such as the BBQ meat skewers, chicken porridge, sugar cane juice and fresh soy milk.
A visit to Dalat Market is great to get a real vibe of what Vietnam is really like. This market is based in a multi-storey building that includes nearly 1000 shops. This is a very busy market that offers a varied range of interesting items, such as household appliances, strawberry candy, cosmetics, handicrafts, meat and wine. For those tourists in search of the gift or souvenirs for the loved ones at home, there is certain to be a several practical ideas throughout the market. Also, for those travellers that isn’t prepared for the Da Lat’s cool weather there is a useful choice of cheap winter clothes.
Things to see and do
Da Lat is a great destination for travel if planning to explore the local area with its stunning countryside and waterfalls, which are best seen by travelling on two wheels and hiring out a motorbike.
A fun and exciting activity in Da Lat is to go canyoning down a waterfall. This is an adrenaline-fuelled activity with the water controlled by a dam which makes it possible to take part in this activity at anytime of the year.
A visit to Langbian River is certain to appeal to the adventurous travellers with the opportunity to get involved in white water rafting. The river is rated with class 2, 3 and 4 rapids, which help to create the more action-packed and fun experience.
Da Lat is blessed with a variety of very stunning and beautiful waterfalls. One of the falls close to town includes the Datanla Falls, which is only 2-3 km away. Plus, there is a great mini rollercoaster ride that is close to the fall and makes it possible to travel from the top to the bottom. A slightly longer trip is the Elephant Falls, which is nearly 30 km from town, but is worth the effort for the area's great beauty and low number of tourists. Also, the Pongour Waterfall is magnificent and stunning and stands nearly 20 m in height and 10 m in width.
Xuan Huong Lake
A great way to spend a few hours is to walk around the man-made Xuan Huong Lake which is centrally located in Da Lat, and a perfect destination for jogging, cycling, or picnicking. Plus, there are the swan boats on the lake and horse and cart rides. To walk entirely around the lake it can take nearly 60 minutes or more.
Da Lat has plenty of challenging mountain biking trails throughout the local area which can vary from the calm to difficult paths. It is possible to hire a decent bike in many of the local towns and villages.