Dalat Vietnam – Southern Vietnam is best known for its beautiful seaside cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau or Mui Ne. One of the country’s lesser known but increasingly more popular attractions is the city of Dalat.
Dalat is a mountainous city, and that is one of its most important assets. Indeed, in a country where the climate can be harsh in terms of temperature and humidity, Dalat appears to be a pleasant city with a temperate climate that allows for the development of a lush natural environment because it is located the Central Highlands of the country.
The atmosphere of Dalat was very enjoyable during my road trip to Vietnam. Before I get to the 6 places I loved visiting in Dalat, Vietnam, here are a few accommodation tips I’m sure you’ll find helpful.
Dalat Vietnam – Where to stay
The city of Dalat is not very big and has mostly developed around Lake Xuan Huong. So as long as your hotel is not too far from the lake, you’ll be fine location-wise. I spent two nights in this hostel and everything went really well. The staff was very friendly and the dorms clean and well-equipped. I can never recommend early booking often enough so book your rooms early, this place sells out pretty quickly.
I wanted to stay one more night actually but there was no available room for me so I found one in this hotel. It is a little more expensive but you will have your own room and this hotel is even closer to the lake.
Let me mention very quickly that I bought a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City that I used to move around in Vietnam. I’m guessing you didn’t get to Dalat on a bike so I’d recommend you rent one there, it’ll make it much easier for you to move around and go places! You will find more information on where to rent scooters and motorbikes and how much it costs at your hostel’s reception desk.
1. Things to do in Dalat Vietnam – Linh Phuoc Pagoda
This pagoda is at the entrance of the city and if you’re traveling around on a motorbike, you shouldn’t miss it (exact location here). As you can see in the photo, it is dedicated to Mahayana and not Theravada Buddhism, as could be the case in Thailand or Myanmar for example.
Simply put, the most ancient branch of Buddhism is called Theravada or “lesser vehicle”. Mahayana or “great vehicle” is derived from Theravada Buddhism. It has mainly been spread by the Chinese to East Asia, including Vietnam. How to distinguish one from the other? Well, the Buddha statues in Theravada still represent a relatively thin man whereas the Mahayana statues represent a more corpulent Buddha.
There are many reconstructed Buddha scenes like the one above where Buddha is meditating with his companions or the one below with a cave where Buddha retreated to seek enlightenment.
2. Things to do in Dalat Vietnam – Domaine de Marie
As you probably know, Vietnam is a former French colony that was part of what was called Indochina. Colonization had brought religion to Vietnam, in this case Catholicism. This resulted in the construction of this church in 1940.
The Domaine de Marie is an interesting historical spot to visit and the mix of French and Vietnamese architectural styles is very present to say the least. Exact location here.
3. Things to do in Dalat Vietnam – The Valley of Love
It sounds very romantic but the Valley of Love is just a picturesque valley of beautiful flowery parks that you can visit north of the city (exact location).
It is even better if you can visit it with a partner but I also enjoyed the valley alone, with my backpack actually! Bring a snack with you or have a picnic there, it’s very enjoyable, especially when the weather is nice.
4. Things to do in Dalat Vietnam – Van Hanh Pagoda
This is the entrance to the Van Hanh Pagoda which you will find here. It is one of Dalat’s best-known attractions as it is home to a magnificent golden Buddha statue that is 24 meters high and 20 meters wide!
5. Things to do in Dalat Vietnam – Night Markets
There’s no particular attraction to visit here but I think Dalat’s night markets are worth some of your time. As in all night markets in Asia, the atmosphere is great and you can also buy food as well as clothes and souvenirs. I ate great food there, it’s mouthwatering just thinking about it!
The night markets are open every night in this part of the city.
6. Things to do in Dalat Vietnam – Elephant Falls
As usual, I kept the best for last! The Elephant Falls is the place you should absolutely visit in Dalat. As you can imagine, the falls are not in town but rather a 40 to 50-minute drive south west (exact location here). It’s a bit far out but the trip itself is great because you will get to enjoy beautiful landscapes.
I almost forgot! On your way to the Elephant Falls, take a look on your right as you’re leaving the city. There are many farms where people grow all sorts of roses and flowers.
That’s it, people! I think I told you everything I know about Dalat in Vietnam. I hope it made you want to visit the city and that my advice will be valuable to you. If there’s a noteworthy attraction in Dalat I didn’t mention or if you have a question about the ones I covered in this blog post, please let me know in the comments below.
See you around,
PS: For more tips about traveling in Vietnam, check out these articles too: Vietnam Travel Blog.