Not all of Vietnam is overflowing with motorbikes, dusty and sweltering hot.
Dalat is a charming little mountain town in Southern Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Situated 1500m above sea level, it averages a 8 hour journey from Ho Chi Minh City.
Dalat is tranquil, has sweater weather, less crazy traffic and has a little bit of French flair to add to its charm. Here are Wanderspiel’s 8 reasons to visit.
- The Amazingly Cool Weather
The weather in Dalat averages around 15°C to 24°C with dry seasons in December to March and wet season in April to November. Even with the sun out in the day, it is cool enough to walk for hours without perspiring (yay to no sweaty, sticky and dusty skin at the end of the day!). Pack along a nice warm jacket and you can carry on exploring after sun set.
- Dalat Night Market (Cho Dalat)
Address: Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, tp. Đà Lạt, Phường 1, Vietnam
Opposite Hotel Anh Dao on Nguyen Chi Thanh, Central Dalat
There is ONE major night market in Dalat right in the heart of the city and it operates from 6pm everyday. You can find second-hand clothing (vintage sweaters from $3!!), seriously fresh produce, quaint little souveniors, street performances and the best of all… CHEAP AND GOOD STREET FOOD!
- Sua Dau Nanh (soy milk)
Yes, I know it is ‘just’ soy milk, but trust me, soy milk in Dalat tastes so much creamier and insanely delicious. Tip: Ask for a mix when you order, it will basically taste like a glass of warm, smooth and creamy peanut butter soy milk, so darn good in the cold night. You will want a second glass.
Tip to find the right cart: Spot the red tables, big tin pots and western pastries.
- Crazy House & 100 Roofs Café
Crazy House Address: 03 Huynh Thuc Khang St, Ward 4, Dalat, Vietnam
100 Roofs Café Address: 57 Phan Boi Chau, Dalat, Vietnam
The Hằng Nga Crazy house has been featured as one of the most bizarre buildings in the world, and you definitely got to see it to believe it. The entire complex looks like it belongs in a fairytale, with winding vines as ladders (think jack & the beanstalk), caves, animal figurines, seriously cool themed rooms, and the best part? This is also a guesthouse.
You will definitely have tons of fun playing hide & seek in there. I had the honor of bumping into the architect, Hằng Nga (he looks a like a mix of Einstein and Inspector Gadget! Very quirky and cool guy), at the 100 Roofs Café which is a bar/café modeled after the Crazy House.
I felt like I was transported into another world altogether while having a drink here.
- Cafés –
If the famous Vietnamese egg coffee isn’t your thing, fret not all you avid coffee lovers out there. Here are 6 really cool cafés to check out if you need that shot of caffeine:
8.00 – 23.00 Daily
133 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Vietnam
Bicycle Up Coffee Bar & Store
7.00 – 22.00 Daily
82 Truong Cong Dinh St. | Ward 1, Dalat, Vietnam
7.00 – 22.00 Daily
3F-Tang Bat Ho-Da Lat | 3F, Tang Bat ho Street, Da Lat City, Dalat 61000, Vietnam
8.00- 23.00 Daily
06 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ward 1, Dalat 670000, Vietnam
F. Coffee & Shop
7.00 – 23.00 Daily
280/10 A, Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Vietnam
La Viet Coffee
200 Nguyen Cong Tru, Dalat, Vietnam
Zen Garden Coffee
65 Tran Nhat Duat, Dalat, Vietnam 65 Tran Nhat Duat, Dalat, Vietnam
- Elephant Falls
Address: Ba Dinh, Nam Ban town, Lam Ha district, Lam Dong province, Dalat 61000, Vietnam
(Near Linh An Tu Pagoda in Nam Ha village)
Ranked as one of the most dramatic waterfalls in Dalat, Elephant Falls is located about 30km south of the city. For the independent travellers who are riding/driving there, do note that the road towards the falls is pretty sandy and winding. Alternate options would be to rent ‘easy riders’ (locals who take you on a mini-tour on their motorbikes for a fee) or to join a tour group.
- Xuan Huong Lake
Dalat is all about slowing down and taking it easy, so bring your partner and take a slow walk around the lake, rent one of the horse-drawn carriages for a more romantic feel or paddle in the lake in one of the swan boats. Either way, you will get to enjoy the tranquility that Dalat has to offer. Tip: Come here during sunset to catch the most amazing view in all of Dalat.
- Dalat Railway Station
7.30am – 4pm Daily
Address: No. 1 Quang Trung Street, ward 10, Dalat city.
Train Schedule departing from Dalat: 07.45, 09.50, 11.55, 14.00, 16.05
(Stops for 1.5 hours in Trai Mat per trip)
Dating back to 1943, this railway station is still operational till this day, although it only runs between Dalat and Trai Mat, a small town 16km away for a fee of 124,000 VND (~$7). To be honest there is nothing much to do in Trai Mat other than buying fresh produce from the local market and visiting the Linh Phuoc Pagoda. It is just a good way to spend your afternoon by appreciating a little bit of history and taking a relaxing and scenic ride to the suburbs of Dalat.
Dalat offers so much more than all these things mentioned.
Its charm really lies in the amazing friendliness of its locals, who are always so polite and helpful to a foreigner-with-poor-navigation-skills like me.
If you fancy a relaxing trip or just love explore a new town in cool weather, do include Dalat in your Vietnam itinerary and I promise you, you will fall in love with this little town.
Wanderspiel travel tip: VND is a better option compared to USD in Dalat.