Da Lat Must Do
- Take a moderate trek to explore the Lang Bian River &Da Lat mountains. The trek offers great views of the river and waterfall of the area, a chance to meet one of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups called the Chil. Visit their village, talk to them and witness their daily life’.
- A harder trek into the jungle’s biodiversity and the life of people living inside the other nature.
Da Lat Must See
The Cremaillere Railway Station is a fantastic relic of the colonial era and great tribute to the art deco movement. The roof features three peaks and is painted a rich yellow and with small, square, stained glass windows. There is also a Japanese steam train on display at the station. Located near the centre of Dalat this is a great spot to view the architecture or even take a ride. The original route, from Dalat to Thap Cham, was closed after damage caused by Viet Cong attacks and now the station only runs a tourist route to the nearby Trai Mat. The route takes visitors through the green, picturesque landscape of Dalat and is a pleasant way to take in the scenery. Once in Trai Mat, visitors can view Linh Phuoc Pagoda with its elaborate designs and majestic mosaic dragon.
Dalat, Vietnam Must See – Elaborately decorated Linh Phuoc Pagoda.
Bao Dai’s Summer Palace is another remainder of the art deco legacy left over from the colonial era. Inside the rather stark exterior is the immaculately preserved summer retreat of Vietnam’s last emperor. The palace was built near a cool pine forest as a getaway for Bao Dai and his family in the hot summer months. The palace was built between 1933 to 1937 and used by the family until 1950. It was designed in the art deco style which had been the style du jour in France at the time which was a reflection of Bao Dai’s own Francophilia. He had been educated in some of France’s most prestigious institutes and would later die there after living for many years in exile. Inside the house, visitors can walk through the rooms, all furnished with antique furniture and take a peek into the life of Vietnamese royalty. Some of the most telling items are the collection of family photographs which hang on the wall.Just 3km from the city centre, Lam Dong Museum documents the history of Dalat and the surrounding areas with some artefacts dating back over 3000 years. The nine rooms showcase photos, traditional attire, instruments, religious items from different ethnic minorities including the K’ho, Ma and Churu. There are also some examples of the stilt houses used by the different ethnic minority communities. It a good place to gain some knowledge of the local traditions and cultures of the area.
Dalat is also renowned for its stunning flower gardens which burst into bloom each year. In the main city, Dalat Flower Park boasts the most extensive ion of flowers in Dalat. The 7000 square meter park showcases more than 3000 different species which create a carpet of colour across the grounds with one of the main draws being the orchids. As well as the sea of beautiful flowers, the park has added some playful flower displays and sculptures to amuse visitors.
Dalat, Vietnam Must See – Flower park.
Further, out of town are the flower villages, each specialising in the cultivation of many different species. Van Thanh Village is one of the biggest flower villages in Dalat and specialises in growing many varieties of rose. The large greenhouses are packed full with row upon row of delicate flowers, each lovingly cared for by the farmers. Ha Dong Flower Market is regarded as being the first flower market of Dalat and grows mainly native Vietnamese species. Over the years, the technology available to the farmers has increased in complexity and now allows them to grow many more variations than before. It is amazing to see the work that goes into the cultivation of these flowers and the journey they take from growing in the greenhouses, to be piled high on the backs of rickety motorbikes and off the busy markets. There is also something hypnotic and poetic that comes with viewing such beautiful flowers en masse.
The Dalat Valley of Love epitomises the kitschy, romantic vibe that defines the area. The park is set in a beautiful valley studded with majestic pine trees and colourful beds of flowers. The grounds now accommodate a whole population of quirky animal sculptures and heart photo frames that call out for romantic photoshoots, of which there are plenty. The extravagant and flamboyant decorations can seem to overwhelm the understated beauty of the surroundings, but it does have a uniquely Vietnamese charm to it. It is a fantastic spot for a few people watching, you may even be lucky enough to witness a proposal, it is, after all, the Valley of Love!
Dalat Must See – Valley of Love.
Also further out of the city, in the vast green countryside, is Truc Lam Temple. Access to the monastery and temple is via a two and a half kilometre cable car which sweeps visitors up over the pine-covered hills. The ariel view highlights the unique flora of Dalat. At the top of the cable car is Truc Lam Temple, the rich gold of the architecture like a beacon in the sea of green. The temple is dedicated to reviving Zen Buddhism and is home to approximately one hundred Buddhist monks and nuns. Zen Buddhism emphasises the importance of meditation and the fresh mountain air, tranquil gardens and serene ambience make the ideal setting for quiet reflection.
As well as magical pine forests and captivating carpets of flowers, Dalat also has many waterfalls dotted throughout the countryside. Datanla Falls is closer to Dalat city, just 6km away, and has a small but beautiful waterfall along with some more fun tourist activities. Visitors can choose to follow the falls down to the river either on foot or by the manually operated bobsled. The falls tumble down over the rocks in between the rich green forests. The local folklore of the K’ho ethnic minority community also speculates that fairies used to bathe in the waters.
Dalat, Vietnam Must See – Dalanta waterfall.
A larger, less developed waterfall sits a little further out of the city at the bottom of a mountain pass. Elephant Falls is by far the most dramatic in the region and is set against a magnificent back. The gushing wall of water spills over the curved cliff, down onto the moss-covered rocks, and into the river below. A haphazard set of steps fashioned into the rock face follow the waterfall to the bottom where it’s true power can be appreciated. At the bottom, visitors can appreciate nature’s power and beauty whilst sipping on a coffee made from locally grown arabica beans. The more adventurous can slip through the refreshing spray of the waterfall and into the cave behind.
Dalat, Vietnam Must See – Nui Ba National Park, home to many rare species of plants and wildlife.
32 km north of Dalat is the densely forested Bidoup Nui Ba National Park. The park is spread over 70,038 ha of land on a plateau in the stunning Langbiang mountains. It is covered with thick forests of evergreen and coniferous trees and tall, echoing bamboo groves. The high altitude and cool climate offer a unique ecosystem which supports many different species of flora and fauna. It provides the habitat for some rare and fascinating species including the yellow cheek gibbons, black bears and vampire flying frogs. The park also boasts 62 rare plant species and upwards of 250 species of orchids. The rambling park is crisscrossed with trails, all venturing deep into the wild. There are many different trails to suit all timeframes and abilities, ranging from a gentle afternoon stroll to more vigorous trek over multiple days. There is a large focus on eco-tourism and conservation in the park and the visitor centre is a great resource of information. As well as providing trekking routes, there is a wealth of knowledge about the K’ho hill tribe culture and their traditions.Dalat also offers some fantastic outdoor adventure activities which are much more enjoyable in the temperate weather. Mountain biking is a very popular activity with tracks running through the thick pine forests and along single-track roads. This high octane adventure is a great way to travel, speeding through the morphing countryside through the stretching acres of farms, to the dense forests and splashing rivers. It is also a great opportunity to meet some of the people from the local ethnic minority communities, slowing down to discover the traditional villages dotted throughout the land.
Another adrenaline fuel sport that has garnered popularity in recent years is canyoning. It combines trekking, abseiling and swimming in the stunning canyons and waterfalls of Dalat. Although not for the faint-hearted, it is a great way to take in the beauty of the natural surroundings.