Da Lat Attractions

Da Lat is a young city compared to other cities in the south of Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Nha Trang as it was founded only in the late 1890s.

  28/06/2017 14:14
Once serving as the capital of the Federation of Indochina, Dalat’s permanent image nevertheless is as a holiday resort in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, the reason for which it was originally established.

Da Lat features many interesting landmarks. Its lakes and waterfalls have long stood out as some of its top attractions while Emperor Bao Dai’s Summer Palace and the Buddhist pagodas are equally popular. Visitors can spot a good number of well-preserved French villas and chalets in the French Quarter located not far from the city centre.

It’s relatively simple to get to Xuan Huong Lake and from there you can continue to visit many other sites in town by foot as they are quite close by. The minority villages located nearby Dalat are a must for those wanting to see the ‘real’ Vietnam as the villagers are pretty much keeping their traditional ways of life extant.

Bao Dai’s Summer Palace

Bao Dai was the last emperor/king of Vietnam and ascended to the throne in 1926. He was only 12 years old at that time. With a reputation as a man who enjoyed parties and the good life, Bao Dai spent a good amount of time in Dalat.

His summer palace was made up of three imperial buildings with the part called Dinh 3 being the best known and most visited. Built in 1933, the restored palace is still furnished with a lot of its original furniture and fittings and offers a rich insight into the life of the royal resident. The parts that are open for the public are the emperor’s throne, office and bedroom, dining room and the empress’s quarters. Many portraits and sculptures of the royals are on display too. Photography is not allowed inside the building.

Crazy House (Hang Nga Guest House and Art Gallery)

It’s hard to meet people who have visited Dalat and have not been to Hang Nga Guest House and Art Gallery, better known as the ‘Crazy House’ because of its bizarre concept and tree-like shape, designed by Dang Viet Nga, a Soviet-trained Vietnamese architect who first established it in 1990.

With a little over a dozen rooms, each with its own unique theme, here you’ll find tunnels, ladders, concrete kangaroos; tigers and bears. If you are lucky, you might have the chance to chat with the designer herself as she is usually present there.

Dalat Flower Gardens

It’s hard to separate Dalat and flowers from each other as the city is well known for its variety of colourful flowers and plant species. It even has its own famous annual flower festival which has proven to be very popular with domestic tourists. Established in 1966, the Dalat Flower Gardens are on the northern side of Xuan Huong Lake in the heart of the city and cover an area of about 7,000sqm.

Orchids, hydrangeas, roses, pansies, mimosas and peach blossoms are among the 300 different kinds of common flowers displayed in the parks along with many more exotic flowers. Some of the flowers blossom a few times in a year, meaning that the park always features lovely flora no matter when you visit, but summer is of course its peak time. Visitors can also buy beautifully arranged bouquets at the gardens.

Dalat Market (Cho Dalat)

Dalat Market is similar to many of Vietnam’s city markets and is an interesting place to spend a short while to feel the vibe of the real Vietnam. It is made up of more than 1,000 shops in a few multi-storey buildings. The busy market offers interesting goods, especially local produce from wine to flowers, meat to handicrafts and cosmetics to strawberries candy and household appliances.

Basically you can find everything here including cheap winter cloths (in case you are not prepared for Dalat’s cool weather.) Check out the market’s food court for local specialties.

Dalat Train Station

Built in 1943, Dalat Railway Station is small but offers interesting original ticket windows with a wood-burning steam train. Visitors can also hop on for a short ride of about 5km following the historic line to a tiny village named Trai Mat and enjoy the countryside along the way. The train operates about five times per day and needs at least a group of four to five people to be able to make the trip.

Xuan Huong Lake

This manmade lake has become a major landmark. It has beautiful gardens with many flowering plants and trees. The beautiful reflection of willow and peach trees along the banks of the lake is part of Dalat’s charm and there are restaurants, cafés, shops, accommodation and a variety of business venues nearby, especially on the northwest side of the lake, considered the heart of Dalat. Here, locals enjoy picnicking, cycling and jogging, horse-cart riding and riding swan paddle boats as well as celebrating weddings.

Source Vietnam-guide

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