The City of Da Lat is the capital of Lam Dong Province and can be found 5000 feet about sea level towards the south of the Central Highlands Region of Vietnam. Surrounded by thousands of pine trees it is home to almost a quarter of a million people. Da Lat has its own weather system, being temperate as apposed to Vietnam’s normally tropical climate. The valleys around the city are often shrouded in mist giving rise to the city’s nickname of City of Eternal Spring. Because of the climate, the area has become the centre of agriculture of produce like cabbages and cauliflowers. The large flower industry here produces Hydrangeas and Strawflowers also known as Golden Everlasting. Strawberries and Mulberries are also grown and the local preserve of these and Sweet Potato is also very popular. The city itself is quite unique for this part of the world looking as it does like a mixture between a small Vietnamese city and A town in the French Alps. The centre is quite small and is something of a tourist town. It is however a very pleasant setting and makes for a superb holiday destination; often used as a stop off between the north and south of the country, a purpose for which it is ideally suited. It is fast becoming a centre for trekking and mountain biking. There is a quite well known monastery here. Thien Vien Truc Lam Monastery is accessible by means of a cable car ride above the pine forest and makes for a pleasant few hours. [divider]
How to Get There?
By Plane: The airport is just 19 miles south of the city and a modern highway connects the two. The journey in by shuttle bus or taxi is scenic and enjoyable. Always state your hotel clearly to the driver. Vietnam Airlines customer service: +84 (0) 20 3263 2062 Vietjet customer service: +84 (0) 1900 1886 By Bus: Buses bring visitors from all parts of the country. The well known Sinh Café open tour bus from Hanoi to Saigon stops off here. It is worth bearing in mind that even from Saigon the journey will take up to 9 hours. For Western travellers it is worth finding a bus without a TV on board, if you wish for some peace and quiet. [divider]
Da Lat city is quite small and most parts can easily be reached on foot. Motorbike taxis (Xe Om) can be found on many street corners and for further trips, metered taxis are readily available. As always watch the meter. Motorbikes, bicycles and even tandems can be hire to give the tourist more freedom of movement.
Tags: Vietnam tours
Things To Do & See
Truc Lam Temple
This Zen Buddhist Temple lies just outside the city centre and is found towards Prenn Hill, close by Tuyen Lam Lake. The bell tower comes into view as you approach. Set among pine trees, the red tiles roof contrasts beautifully with the surrounding greenery. The 60 acre site is divided into two areas, one public and one private. The nuns and monks reside in the private space. There are approximately 100 adherents living here, it is a vibrant working temple.
Xuan Huong Lake
The crescent shaped Xuan Huong Lake is a man-made recreational facility in the dart of Da Lat. It was constructed by French colonists in 1919. Originally known simply as Grand Lac the name was changed in 1953. It is a delightful place to stroll or take a bicycle ride. It has fragrant trees on both sides.
Lang Biang Mountain
This 6200 foot high peak on the outskirts of town is an ideal destination for a three hour hike. For the less energetic jeep trips can be taken to the summit for a few dollars. On the way travellers can visit the villages of ethnic minority people, who live in the foothills.
There are two main ones in the vicinity of Da Lat. The Prenn Falls are about 6 miles from the town centre and are open every day until 5.00pm. This is a popular hike for people, the route is easy going and the falls are very pretty. The Pongour Falls are further out of town, almost 20 miles. But these are more bigger and have a far greater volume of water flowing over. In the wet season when the river is swollen the Pongour Falls are one of the wildest waterfalls in the country.
Steam Train Rides
TFrom Dal Lat Railway Station, travellers can catch the steam train for the short (5 mile) journey along the historic track to Trai Mat. Da Lat Railway Station itself is an interesting building, designed and built by the French in 1932. It was abandoned after the war, but reopened after a large restoration programme, which saw the opening of this short section of the Da Lat - Thap Cham Line.
What To Eat
Banh Trang Nuong or Baked Rice Paper
On the face of it, this doesn’t really sound that exciting. However this really is a great snack food to share with friends. You’ll find it cooked in the street in many places and should give it a try. A sheet of rice paper is baked over piping hot coals before a topping of hens or quail eggs, pork or beef, spring onions, chilli, crushed shrimps, mayonnaise and just about anything else is added. Some vendors fold it in half to eat as a sandwich whilst others serve it on a plate with a pair of scissors to cut it up and a chilli dipping sauce.
Nem Nuong or Baked Spring Rolls
This is a local take on that most Vietnamese of dishes, the spring roll. Unlike the sour friend spring rolls that you would expect to find in many places, New Nuong are a fragrant fresh mixture of fruit and vegetables fried in rice paper. Lettuce, banana and soy sauce are the main ingredients. This delicious mix of sweet and savoury are extremely popular and can be found everywhere.
Mon Xap Xap or Papaya salad
This is a dish that can be found through Southeast Asia in many variants. In Thailand for example Som Tam is one of the most popular dishes throughout the country. Here in Dalat it is quite difference. It still has the strips of pounded papaya at is heart and the peanuts, basil and sweet and sour sauces are used. But the addition of either beef lung or pork liver cut into thin strips gives it a unique flavour. It is easy to find, particularly in small restaurants along the shores of the Xuan Huong Lake in the middle of town.
Cha Ram Bap or Grilled Corn Rolls
This is a simple yet satisfying dish made from corn and rice paper. Grated corn husks are marinated in spices and rolled into a sheet of rice paper, cucumber, yam and carrots. This is then friend until golden brown. The resulting sweet, fragrant rolls are then dipped in a peanut dipping sauce and enjoyed with A popular snack with school children they are sold and eaten throughout the city.