Dalat Vietnam is often described as a slice of Europe in Vietnam’s central highlands. Mild temperatures, attractive colonial gardens, lakes, rolling hills and the oldest golf course in the country make it popular with travellers today.
Dalat’s waterfalls and lakes are famous. Most impressive is the 30m Pongour Waterfall. Located 45 km from Dalat, the waterfall is a slight vertical hike and due to an upstream dam, flow has unfortunately slowed to a trickle. Nonetheless, in the dry season, the bird’s eye vistas from the cliff are vertigo inducing.
Don’t forget to check out the Crazy House, Emperor Bao Dai’s summer palace and the XQ centre and village. Linh An Pagoda, 30 km outside of the city, is a quiet temple nestled in a mountain hamlet that houses one of the region’s best known treasures: a massive, smiling Buddha. For a change of pace, explore the area on two wheels with Easy Riders, guides that take you around on motorbikes. Meet them at 66 Truong Cong Dinh and ask for Rocky. Feeling vintage? Visit the railway station on Quang Trung Street to catch a train from Dalat to Trai Mat. A round trip ticket will cost you VND72,000 per person, and capturefor yourself the feeling of 1930's travel on one of the oldest trains in Vietnam.
The city’s market is worth browsing for its Dalat wine, preserves and candied strawberries. For the tea connoisseur, make sure to try the locally brewed artichoke tea which is known for its slightly sweet, smooth flavour. Don’t skip the second floor when you’re venturing the market, as it houses food stalls that make for tasty and cheap meals, including Dalat’s very own artichoke soup. In the evening the roads around the market are closed off and the festivities spill out into the streets.
Dalat Palace Golf Club is home to the oldest and perhaps most beautiful course in Vietnam. The course is almost deserted during the week so take your time to sink that perfect shot.
Going forward, Dalat’s focus will be on developing tourism experiences that take advantage of the region’s topical features including eco tourism to maximise the splendour of the surrounding forests and adventure tourism such as mountaineering, parachuting and mountain biking.