11 Jan

DALAT CITY- TOP THINGS TO DO & SEE

WELCOME TO DALAT- TOP THINGS TO DO & SEE

Dalat is an alternative Vietnam: the weather is spring-like instead of tropical hot, the town is dotted with elegant French-colonial villas rather than stark socialist architecture, and the surrounding farms cultivate strawberries, coffee and flowers in place of rice.

The French came first, fleeing the heat of Saigon for average daily temperatures that hover between 15°C and 24°C. They left behind their holiday homes and a European resort vibe, which the Vietnamese have added to with their own unique, sometimes kitsch touches. Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower–shaped radio tower, the horse-drawn carriages or the colourful heart-shaped cut-outs at the Valley of Love, this is a town that takes romance seriously. Dalat is Vietnam's honeymoon capital and extremely popular with domestic tourists.

For foreign visitors, the moderate climate has made Dalat the adventure-sports capital of southern Vietnam, with canyoning, mountain biking, white-water rafting and treks into the surrounding hills all available.
 

Sights

Worth a Trip: Waterfalls Around Dalat

Dalat’s waterfalls are at their gushing best in the wet season but still flow when it’s dry. Most tend to focus on commerce rather than nature – Prenn and Cam Ly Falls are two to avoid.

An uneven and sometimes hazardous path heads down to Elephant Falls, which are best seen from below. The falls are near Nam Ban village, 30km west of Dalat.

Datanla Falls are 7km southeast of Dalat off Hwy 20. It’s a nice walk through the rainforest and a steep hike downhill to the falls. You can also take a fun bobsled-rollercoaster ride down (and back up) a winding elevated track. On weekends expect crowds and loud music.

Dambri Falls, 75km from Dalat, are the tallest falls (90m) in the area – walking down to feel the spray from the bottom is divine. You can take the elevator-like vertical cable car back up.
Top things to do in Dalat

  1. Hang Nga Crazy House

Top choice architecture in Dalat
A free-wheeling architectural exploration of surrealism, Hang Nga Crazy House is a joyously designed, outrageously artistic private home. Imagine sculptured rooms connected by superslim bridges rising out of a tangle of greenery, an excess of cascading lava-flow-like shapes, wild colours, spiderweb windows and an almost organic quality to it all, with the swooping hand rails resembling jungle vines. Think of Gaudí and Tolkien dropping acid together.

The brainchild of owner Mrs Dang Viet Nga, the Crazy House has been an imaginative work in progress since 1990. Hang Nga, as she’s known locally, has a PhD in architecture from Moscow and has designed a number of other buildings around Dalat.

Hang Nga started the Crazy House project to entice people back to nature and although it’s becoming more outlandish every year, she’s not likely to have any trouble with the authorities. Her father, Truong Chinh, succeeded Ho Chi Minh as Vietnam’s second president from 1981 until his death in 1988. There’s a shrine to him in the ground-floor lounge.

A note of caution for those with young kids: the Crazy House's maze of precarious tunnels, high walkways with low guard rails and steep ladders are not at all child-safe.

2. La Viet Coffee
Caffeine fiends will want to head to this unique mix of a coffee shop, farm and factory. In a warehouse-like building with industrial design touches, and surrounded outside by coffee plants, you can either sip the excellent brews on offer at a table, or go on a tour of the facility and have the coffee production process explained to you.
The shop sells everything connected to coffee, from beans to roasters. It's located in Dalat's northern suburbs.
Details
200 Ɖ Nguyen Cong Tru
0263-398 1189
Hours7.30am-9.30pm
3. Restaurant Ichi
Top choice japanese in Dalat

Dalat's only truly genuine Japanese restaurant is compact, with subdued lighting and jazz in the background. Spicy tuna rolls, chicken yakitori and tempura are all fantastic, the bento boxes are a bargain and there's even natto (fermented soybeans) for aficionados. Perch in front of the bar (with extensive whisky offerings from around the world) to watch sushi-master Tomo at work.
Details
1 Đ Hoang Dieu
0263-355 5098
Hours5.30-10pm Tue-Sun, closed every 2nd Tue
Pricesushi 30,000-130,000d, meals from 160,000d
4. 100 Roofs Café (Maze Bar).
Top choice bar in Dalat
This is a surreal drinking experience. The owners claim Gandalf and his hobbit friends have drunk here, and this dim labyrinth of rooms with multiple nooks and crannies and art and sculptures that range from the cool to the kitsch does resemble a Middle-earth location. A cheap happy hour and Wonderland-like rooftop garden add to the fun.
Details
57 Ð Phan Boi Chau
0263-837 518
Hours8am-midnight
5. Tau Cao Wonton Noodles
Top choice noodles in Dalat

This humble eatery is famed throughout Dalat and is always heaving with locals, who come for the noodle wonton soup. It's served with thin slices of pork on top and a sprinkling of mincemeat. Add chilli, lime and bean sprouts to taste and you're good to go. Classic Asian street eats. No English spoken.
Details
217 Ð Phan Dinh Phung
Hours6am-8pm
Pricenoodles 35,000-40,000d
6. Bidoup Nui Ba National Park
Nature Reserve in Dalat

Occupying a densely forested highland plateau, this little-visited national park encompasses evergreen and coniferous woodlands, bamboo groves and grasslands at altitudes between 650m and 2288m. It is also home to various primates, black bears and the vampire flying frog. The park is 50km north of Dalat and most people visit on motorbike tours. English-speaking staff can be elusive. There are plans to make it more foreigner-friendly in the future.

Bidoup Nui Ba has 96 endemic plants, including the Dalat pine, and nearly 300 species of orchids.

The pleasant 3.5km trail from the visitor centre to a waterfall only fringes the national park; to penetrate deep inside Bidoup Nui Ba consider other options, which include ascents of Lang Biang and Bidoup mountains. Permits and a guide are needed and you'll camp overnight.
Details
0263-374 7449
Price10,000d
7. Dambri Falls

Waterfall in Dalat
En route to Bao Loc and Ho Chi Minh City, 130km south of Dalat, Dambri Falls are one of the highest (90m), most magnificent and easily accessible waterfalls in Vietnam – they are worth visiting even in dry season. For some incredible views, ride the vertical cable car (more of an elevator really), or trudge up the steep path, to the top of the falls.

A second path leads down some steep stairs to the front of the falls for more great views, and carries on down to the smaller Dasara Falls.

The road to the falls branches off Hwy 20, 18km north of Bao Loc. Buses travelling between Dalat and Ho Chi Minh City will drop you at the junction. From there, you'll have to negotiate hard with a xe omdriver for a ride to the falls. Expect to pay 150,000d.
Details
Hours7am-5pm
Priceadult/child 150,000/100,000d
8. Dalat Flower Festival

Cultural in Dalat
Taking place every two years, occasionally annually, between late December and early January, this festival celebrates and promotes the abundance of flora grown around Dalat. Events happen at a number of venues, including Dalat Flower Gardens and around Xuan Huong Lake, and go beyond flowers to feature fashion shows and art.
The festival attracts many domestic tourists, so finding a hotel room at this time can be hard.
Details
Dec-Jan every two years
9. King Palace

Palace in Dalat

Tastefully revamped, the main palace of Bao Dai, Vietnam's last emperor, beckons visitors with its beautiful tree-lined avenue and a surprisingly modest but attractive royal residence. It was home to Bao Dai and his family until they went into exile in France in 1954. The house was subsequently taken over by then Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem.

Highlights are undoubtedly the family photos: Bao Dai playing with a dog, and riding a horse, and well-scrubbed royal children with serious faces.
Details
Hung Vuong str
0263-358 0558
Hours7am-5pm
Priceadult/child 30,000/10,000d
 

10. Crémaillère Railway Station

Historic Building in Dalat

From Dalat’s wonderful art deco train station you can ride one of the nine scheduled trains that run to Trai Mat (return 108,000d, 30 minutes) daily between 6.55am and 4.39pm; a minimum of 25 passengers is required.

crémaillère (cog railway) linking Dalat and Thap Cham from 1928 to 1964 was closed due to VC attacks. A Japanese steam train is on display, and the classy waiting room retains a colonial feel.
11. Truc Lam Pagoda & Cable Car

Buddhist Temple in Dalat

The Truc Lam Pagoda enjoys a hilltop setting and has splendid gardens. It's an active monastery, though the grounds frequently teem with tour groups. Be sure to arrive by cable car (the terminus is 3km south of the centre, up a short road next to the long-distance bus station), which soars over majestic pine forests.

The pagoda can be reached by road via turn-offs from Hwy 20.

Details

Hourscable car 7.30-11.30am & 1.30-5pm
Pricecable car one way/return adult 60,000/80,000d, child 30,000/40,000d
12. Oz Burgers

Burgers in Dalat

Packed out every night with backpackers, Asian tourists and even a few locals, this Australian-run joint serves up delicious burgers on wooden platters, along with fries and imported beers. Various set meal options are available, but they all involve burgers
Details
61 Ɖ Ba Thang Hai
0902 475 923
Hours11am-2pm & 5.30-9pm Wed-Mon
Pricemeals 70,000-180,000d
13. Goc Ha Thanh Vietnamese in Dalat Casual, popular, foreigner-friendly place with bamboo furnishings run by a welcoming Hanoi couple. Strong on dishes such as coconut curry, hotpots, clay pots, tofu stir-fries and noodles. Plenty of vegetarian options.
Details
53 Ð Truong Cong Dinh
0263-355 3369
Hours10am-10pm
Pricemeals 65,000-105,000d
14. Elephant Falls
Waterfall in Dalat
Named after a large rock that allegedly resembles an elephant's head , these powerful curved falls are reached via a steep ascent along uneven, very slippery stone steps with intermittent railings. It can get a bit hairy when the route is congested, as it is often is. You can also squeeze yourself through a cave to get behind the falls and be doused with bracing spray. The falls are near Nam Ban village, 30km west of Dalat.
Local buses (20,000d, one hour) leave for Nam Ban from behind Dalat's main square every 40 minutes or so between 6am and 6pm.
Details
Hours7.30am-5pm
Price20,000d
15. Lat Village
Village in Dalat
Less than 1km from the base of Lang Bian Mountain is Lat Village (pronounced ‘lak’), a fairly unremarkable minority community of about 6000 people spread across nine hamlets. Only five of Lat Village's hamlets are actually Lat; residents of the other four are members of the Chill, Ma and K'Ho tribes. It's worth peeking into the Catholic church for a glimpse of a K'Ho ritual pole alongside the altar.
16. Xuan Huong Lake
Lake in Dalat Created by a dam in 1919, this banana-shaped lake was named after an anti-authoritarian 17th-century Vietnamese poet. It has become a popular icon of Dalat and a magnet for joggers and honeymooners. The lake can be circumnavigated along a scenic 7km sealed path that passes the flower gardens, golf club, night market and Dalat Palace hotel.
17. Datanla Falls
Waterfall in Dalat
This is the closest waterfall to Dalat, so expect lots of tour groups. You can reach the cascade (which is pretty but quite modest) either by walking down or taking the exhilarating bobsled on rails instead. Datanla is 7km south of Dalat. Take Hwy 20 and turn right about 200m past the turn-off to Tuyen Lam Lake. This place also doing the ""NUMBER ONE ACTIVITY"" 

SPECIAL DALAT CANYONING 

 Tags: dang cap,nhat

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