Đà Lạt or Dalat (pop. 406,105 as of 2015, of which 350,509 are urban inhabitants), is the capital of Lâm Đồng Province in Vietnam. The city is located 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level on the Langbiang Plateau in the southern parts of the Central Highlands region. Da Lat is a popular tourist destination in Vietnam for its year-round cool weather standing in contrast to Vietnam’s otherwise tropical climate. There are some features of Dalat you may need to know:
Dalat attracts a huge number of tourists from Vietnam and all over the world because of its beauty and a cool climate. There are 2 main seasons in Dalat, rainy and dry. No matter which season it is, air is always fresh. Thus, it is common that most of accomodations in Dalat have no air-condition. People will laugh if you complain about no air-condition in the rooms.
Dalat is located in the mountains and because of that the beautiful city is easily affected by storms or typhoons from somewhere else. In the wet season it is rainy and windy all day. The best time to visit Dalat is around Christmas until May next year when spring starts and you can enjoy many kinds of blossoms. Other time is wet or wetter.
One of interesting things about traffic in Dalat is: here are no traffic lights (only roundabouts) and no cyclo. It may be because of hilly roads and also the traffic is not so busy. The streets here are not very wide so traffic jam often happens during the high season at the main roads around the center or in school areas during rush hours. Besides, you should remember the street named “Nguyen Van Troi”, the only one way street in Dalat. Many tourists, who do not know or even those who do, often go wrong way and get caught by policemen because they may cause accidents to others. Therefore, you must be very careful and slow while driving in this street.
Furthermore, Dalat has some curly roads around mountains and valleys. They are beautiful for photo but it is not supposed to ride scooter too fast.
On the other hand, policemen are nice. They would never stop you if you don’t do anything against Vietnamese law. They would not ask you for money like other cities in Vietnam do. Therefore, do not worry if you want to hire a scooter without an international motorbike riding license. Furthermore, if they know you are a tourist, they just warn you and let you go. Please do not argue with them, it is not good for you. Make sure you always wear a helmet for your own safety!
Dalat is quiet and peaceful like its habitants. The original local people are kind, gracious and polite with gentle accent. They often say “cam on” (thank you) and “xin loi” (sorry). This civility may come from the time when Dalat was a place for Vietnamese royal, French officials and rich people. In addition, people here love flower and trees. You will see no matter how big or small houses are, they spare place of yards or balconies for plants. It becomes one of feature of Dalat.
One more thing, Dalat people don’t like to visit tourist places. In their free time, they enjoy staying at home with families, going to a supermarket, walking around Dalat night market or hanging out with friends at local coffee shops or beer restaurants. So you would not gain a lot of tips about where to go, but they are helpful for local restaurants.
Nowaday, more and more people from other provinces have been coming to settle down in Dalat. In positive way, it enriches culture and cuisine of Dalat. In other hand, most of immigrants come here to earn money and some of them are noisy, tempered and dishonest , which changes Dalat habitants and security in a negative way.
4. Dalat Market:
In order to find something for friends and families as gifts, tourists are interested in wandering around the Dalat Market, which offers a wide variety of different types of goods, delicious food, nice clothes and cheap souvenirs. This place also provides a great deal for clothes, bags, shoes … with 2 selections: 100% new or second hand for a good bargain. It is very useful to know that local people are negotiating the price for around 60% less than given by salesmen.
The market opens very early from 4:00 until 17:00, then reopens again from 17:30 to 23:00 for the Night Market. There are less stands than during the day time but it is a good place to visit at night.
The mojor of land in Dalat is for agriculture. This city produces a great deal of fresh fruit and vegetable to Vietnam market as well, such as avocado, persimmon, cabbage, artichoke, potato, etc… especially strawberry. In Vietnam, strawberry is planted only in Dalat for its perfect temperature. You can visit some strawberry farms opening for tourists and you can harvest strawberry by yourself.
There are many street food stands or small food shops that are cheap and yummy. The most common food here is a noodle soup such as Pho, Mi Quang, Bun Bo, Bun Rieu, Hu Tiu… and they are served all day. Other popular dishes are Banh Trang Nuong, Banh Can, Nem Nuong… and do not miss a bubble milk tea, avocado ice-cream with durian and Che. Some of the great places to try these foods:
- Thanh Thao – che and avocado ice cream, 76 Nguyen Van Troi
- 8678 Bubble Milk Tea, 244 Bui Thi Xuan
- Pho Tien – Beef Noodle Soup, 54 Tran Phu
- Bun Bo Hong, 191 Phan Dinh Phung
- Nem Nuong Ba Hung, 328 Phan Dinh Phung
- Banh Trang Nuong – 112 Nguyen Van Troi
If you are looking for a good food for a good price, visit places with many locals, located outside the center.
This land is considered as a gift from nature with a good climate and fresh air so there are many beautiful sightseeings such as valleys, waterfalls, temples, churches and farms in Dalat. If you are good at riding a scooter, you can ride it around the city or go further to the countryside. Otherwise, a car is also a good choice for those with more than 2 people and who don’t want to be in a risk with Dalat’s traffic and countryside roads. We have some suggestions below:
- Option 1: Crazy house, Old Rail Station, French Quarter, Flower Park, XQ Silk Handy Embroidery, Linh Phuoc Pogoda, Tea Plantation, Tiger Waterfall,
- Option 2: Cathedral Church, Cable Car to Zen Meditation, Tuyen Lam Lake, Infinity Lake-Clay Tunnel, Bao Dai King’s summer palace, Datanla waterfall, lavender farm, Bao Dai waterfall.
- Option 3: Linh An Pogoda, Silk factory, Insect Farm, rice wine making, Ho Tren May, Me Linh coffee plantation, Elephant waterfall, Pongour waterfall.
- Option 4: Lat village, Van Hanh pogoda, artichoke farm (seasonal), Valley of Love, Langbiang peak, Golden Valley, Dankia Lake, Cu Lan village.