The French colonial resort town of Dalat is often referred to as "The City of Eternal Spring" for its cool spring weather and "Le Petit Paris" due to its kitsch European architecture. Encased by hills, pine forests, and waterfalls, this premiere honeymoon retreat caters to travelers seeking a refreshing take on Vietnam's treasures.
Mist blankets the the valleys of Dalat throughout the year, sustaining consistent cool temperatures.
Several stunning waterfalls are close by for visitors to explore, and many of them are free with cafes nearby.
Intricate Buddhist pagodas line the city, such as Linh Phuoc Pagoda and Thien Vuong Pagoda.
Remnants of French colonial villas and the Dalat Railway Station serve as a striking contrast to traditional Vietnamese structures.
Dalat also retains the name of "City of a Thousand Flowers" for its beautiful blossoms, which can be seen at the Dalat Flower Gardens.
This Zen Buddhist temple sits atop Phượng Hoàng Hill and the monastery is not only gorgeous in its own right, but the gardens and forests around it are just as incredible. There are waterfalls and calming walks through budding gardens full of exotic flora. You do have to be pretty fit to walk around the temple area because there are many steps up to the temple and more to the main courtyard. Built approximately 1300 meters above sea level, it houses around 100 monks and nuns in total and the views are unlike anywhere else in the Dalat area. If you don't want to walk the long distance up to the top, there is a cable car that you can take, but it isn't for the faint of heart who can't stand heights.
There may be many waterfalls that are just as beautiful throughout Vietnam, but at Pongour Waterfall you can actually propel yourself down the side of the waterfall like a professional rock climber. Channeling your inner Indiana Jones can be fun, but be wary - some of the rocks are very slippery! If this sounds absolutely terrifying and not something you're even remotely interested in, that's OK! The area is gorgeous for taking a dip in the lake/pool and going for a walk in the wilderness.
Crazy House is a popular tourist destination in Dalat and, if you're lucky, you can stay there. Built by architect Đặng Việt Nga who studied in Moscow, this wacky, quirky house looks lopsided and twisted and is basically what you might imagine a building to look like after you've spun around 50 times. It's a fascinating bit of architecture and has become a beloved icon of Dalat. Imagine Alice in Wonderland or optical illusions but with architecture rather than CGI, cartoons or the assistance of online programs.
The Valley of Love is the honeymoon capital of Vietnam and is a popular destination for locals and foreigners alike. However, there's a reason people love it so much - it's beautiful! With a serene lake where you can go kayaking to awesome hikes, it's well worth a visit, even if you're traveling solo.
Built in 1949, this incredibly awesome temple will take your breath away. Made up of cobblestone mosaics and bottles, it features dramatic designs and a dragon that's 7 meters high. It includes an amazing 12,000 beer bottles and a huge bell that's the heaviest in Vietnam. It's a spectacular sight and one that should not be missed, even if you're just stopping by and haven't the time to go in.
The valleys of Dalat experience two distinct seasons: dry (November to March) and rainy (April to October). The dry season is better for outdoor activities during the spring months.
About 30 minutes from the city's center lies Dalat Airport (DLI) on Highway 22. Once you arrive, there are a number of low-cost taxi and shuttle services to help you reach your hotel.
Travelers can catch the train from Saigon Railway Station to Thap Cham Railway Station. From this point, a bus will take you to Dalat at no cost. Another route to take is Saigon Railway to Nha Trang Railway Station. From there, you will catch a Hien An bus to Dalat for approximately ₫295,523.
Travelers may drive with an International Drivers' Permit, but this must be accompanied with local insurance. You can also obtain a temporary Vietnamese driving license, but this requires a valid residence permit. Highway 20 and Prenn Pass are two of the main routes leading to Dalat.
Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne, and Nha Trang all connect to Dalat Bus Station. Note that a free shuttle ride to your hotel is available with a Phuong Trang bus ticket purchase.
There are numerous hostels that enable you to spend as low as ₫113,663 per evening, such as the Dalat Moon Hostel. In contrast, travelers can upgrade to mid-range priced hotels such as the highly recommended Monet Garden Villa or luxurious options such as the Dalat Palace Hotel.
Xuan Huong Lake - Xuan Huong Lake serves as a hub for easygoing activities along the lake's trail with Bao Dai's Summer Palace residing nearby.
The French Quarter - travelers can survey how wealthier citizens spend their summer vacations by perusing the French Quarter's French colonial villas along Tran Hung Road, southeast of the city.
Langbiang Mountain - Langbiang Mountain is revered for its breathtaking views of Dalat, pine forests, villages, and rivers.
The bus network is extensive throughout the city, but the last local bus departs each day at 5 pm. The bus center lies on Khu Hoa Binh Street near Central Market.
You can hail a Xe Om (motorbike taxi) for around ₫568,312 per person for a 15-minute ride. Negotiate before you hop onto the bike. Taxi prices are generally ₫227,323 per mile. Watch out for scams and negotiate before use.
You must hold a Vietnamese driving license to drive unless you hold a temporary license and residence permit. However, travelers can rent cars with drivers for approximately ₫1,136,625 for the day.
Shopping is a colorful experience in the city's Central Market, a wonderland where skilled artisans sell a variety of goods until 4 am.
Big C in Lam Vien Square will meet your needs as a shopping center full of domestic and imported items. Grocery prices are reasonable, as a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs will cost you roughly ₫159,128.
The food scene in Dalat is rich with street barbecue, hotpots, hotplate dishes, and fried delicacies such as at the popular eatery Goc Ha Thanh on Truong Cong Dinh Street. Coffee and tea are staples in Dalat, made locally and found almost everywhere. While the bar scene is modest, several hangout spots are clustered together around Truong Cong Dinh Street.