Initially, when I planned my itinerary out, I had not thought of visiting this place. I was just lucky enough to have stumbled upon this beautiful town of Dalat situated in the Central South of Vietnam – a lot of thanks to the travelers I met during this trip. Dalat is the best example of when city meets Mother Nature. The entire city is just surrounded by pine trees where you can breathe in fresh air plus the temperature is a delight here. It may be a bit warm in the afternoon, but it is extremely cold at night which is really favourable.
The whole city of Dalat is a fusion of Vietnam and rural France. Many hotels and residential houses have a touch of European/French style; in addition, you can see a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower which stands at 1475 meters high. Tourism is the biggest contribution to Dalat’s economy as this town receives more than 800,000 local tourists and about 80,000 foreign tourists every year. Moreover, it is Vietnam’s favourite honeymoon spot.
Here is Filtraveler’s Guide to top things to do in Dalat, Vietnam
#1 Canyoning/Canyoneering Adventure
If you are a type of traveler who ventures off extreme adventures, Dalat can be just the ticket for you. At the top of the list is canyoning. What is canyoning exactly? It is an outdoor adventure and extreme sport which uses a variety of techniques that may include activities such as caving, walking, wading, climbing, jumping, abseiling, sliding down natural slopes, and/or swimming in the water. In Da Lat, you can give it a go even if you don’t have a previous experience however, it takes some courage to do it – yes it is really extreme!
Every hotel in Dalat can set up a canyoning trip for you. My friend and I had the canyoning adventure with Highland Holiday Tours, a recommended tour company in Dalat. You will be assisted by well-trained guides and their professionalism is really evident. Highland Holiday Tours just charges 770,000 Dong or US$35.00 per person which of course includes safety equipment, transportation, drinking water and snack after the canyoning adventure. So what do you need to know? Highland Holiday Tours will give you an orientation first as to how to wear the safety harness, the proper rappelling techniques and an individual practice before everyone is good to go for the adventure.
You can learn more about the adventures they cater for travelers through their website www.highlandholidaytours.com.vn or read what other travelers say about their tours Tripadvisor/HighlandHolidayTours or you can also visit their Facebook page here, Facebook/HighlandHolidayTours
#2 Visit the Crazy House
As the name suggests, Dalat’s Crazy House is extremely crazy. The design is weird, wacky and and really way-out. When you first step onto its grounds, you will have this feeling of being in a different world. It looks like a combination of a tree house and a haunted house. When I first entered the house, my first question was, “What’s the architect’s inspiration or where does he/she get the inspiration of designing this house?” Mrs. Dang Viet Nga, the designer of Crazy House draws her inspiration from nature and is driven by a desire to encourage people to come back to nature. There are three main buildings which you can explore. They all have melting walls, fluid organic lines and twisted forms. Everything you see and all the details will just blow your mind. Note: Dalat’s Crazy House is listed as one of the craziest houses in the world.
You will have to pay for an entrance fee which is priced at 40,000 Vietnamese Dong or US$2.00. If you would also like to stay`at this crazy house, they have a guesthouse where you can stay and it is really unique. The room rates start at 750,000 Vietnamese Dong or around US$30.00 per night.
#3 Go on a City Tour By An Easy Rider or By Bicycle
Taking a city tour in Da Lat is really a must do. Major sight-seeing cites can be accessed by two options: by an Easy Rider Tour or if you are an adventurer, by bicycle. What is an Easy Rider Tour? You’ll get onto a motorbike of course with a driver/tour guide who will show you the highlights of Dalat City such as: Crazy House, Dragon Pagoda and more. You will also be taken to the countryside where you can enjoy the scenic view of the terrace fields and see how the locals live their lives on the farms. A one-day trip is a good way to tick off some of the main attractions. In my case, since I wanted to satisfy my audacious side, I rented a bicycle with a Dutch friend I met in Mui Ne, Vietnam. We started to cycle at 10am and finished about 3pm. It was fine to cycle around at first as it was not that hot but when it got around 1pm the weather became already unbearable which made the biking tour pretty tough. Moreover, I thought it was not that challenging as I had tried to explore around the Angkor Wat Complex by bike but it really was. The roads would just go up and down which made cycling really rigorous – BUT I SURVIVED.
The Easy Rider Tour starts from 300,000 Vietnamese Dong or US$15.00 while renting a mountain bike will cost you around 100,000 VD or US$5.00 per day
#4 Pongour Waterfall
About 40 kilometers South of Dalat you will find Pongour Waterfall. You can arrange for a tour, or rent a motorbike and make your way down there on your own. Pongour Falls is said to be the largest in the area. Take many shots of the waterfall! It’s absolutely amazing.
#5 Dalat Market
When visiting Dalat, travelers should be sure to experience the pleasure of visiting Dalat’s Market. No tour to Da Lat is complete without exploring the local night market and tasting its local street food. There are two options on visiting the local market: it is either you go there to see the morning market which gets started as early as 6am or the night market which starts around 6pm.
In the morning, I had a quick stroll through Dalat Market and I was amazed by what I had witnessed. Just like any other markets, Dalat Market is also packed with people and interesting stuff. Many locals head to the morning market to buy fresh produce – fruits and vegetables. Since the province is blessed with great weather and rich soil, they have all the fruits, plants, flowers and vegetables imaginable! – Yes, they are really abundant!
In the evening, people head over the market to chill and eat out. The night market starts as early as 6pm as that is the time most sellers set up their stalls along the sidewalks. What can you find and do at the night market? A lot! From sumptuous local dishes and unique Vietnamese snacks to great deals on clothing, selfie sticks (yes, there are a lot) to hand-made items, souvenirs to jewelry – It’s a one-stop shop! It is also great to walk through the market down to the city center as you will definitely enjoy the cool weather plus the view of the city at night which adds up to the “Dalat experience”.
Have you also been to Dalat, Vietnam? If yes, what places or activities can you recommend us? Please feel free to write it down below. Filtraveler – Adventure Travel Blog