Visit Dalat, Vietnam’s city with a French flair

Marché de Dalat Vietnam

Visit Dalat and recharge your batteries in this small town with a French flair

Dalat (Đà Lạt) is a very different city from anywhere else in Vietnam. You’d almost be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in the French Alps in springtime.

The impression of being in France is heightened by a radio pylon in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and the predilection of local bohemian artists to stroll around in their berets. There’s even a restaurant that resembles the Moulin Rouge. The town is populated by Norman villas, Savoyard chalets and Basque houses, as well as a French-style cathedral. The town’s famous train station was inspired by the one in Deauville. All this is due to the settlement of French colonists in the days of French Indochina.

Dalat Vietnam

Dalat is small enough to remain charming, and the surrounding countryside is superb with lakes, waterfalls, pine forests and gardens.

The region produces silk and has extensive fruit, vegetable and flower gardens (especially beautiful hydrangeas), which are sold throughout southern Vietnam. But the biggest contributor to the economy is tourism: over 800,000 Vietnamese and 80,000 foreign tourists visit Dalat every year. It’s a favorite destination for Vietnamese honeymooners.

Jardins Dalat Vietnam

Fotopedia – Philip Roeland

Enjoying an eternal spring, temperatures in Dalat oscillate between a pleasant 15°C and 24°C. Dalat has two seasons: dry (December to March) and wet (April to November). Even during the rainy season, mornings normally remain dry, giving you plenty of time to visit the city before the deluge begins.

What’s there to visit in Dalat?

What to see and do in Dalat

There’s plenty to do in Dalat, and all the better for it.

In the city…

Marché de Dalat Vietnam

Flickr – calflier001

– Xuan Huong Lake

– the Da Lat market and its specialties (especially Viennese pastries). In the city, you’ll find many pastry shops, a legacy of the French colonists.

– the old railway station (Ga Đà Lạt) from which an old train takes you to Trai Mat

– the Saint-Nicolas cathedral

– the Hang Nga guesthouse and its bizarre architecture (called Crazy House)

– the Bird Convent

– the French Lycée Yersin

… and the surrounding area

Lang Biang Dalat

Flickr – Khánh Hmoong

– the Datanla, Pongour and Prenn waterfalls

– fields of flowers and fruit

– the Valley of Love (Thung Lung Tinh Yeu)

– hike to Mount Lang Biang

– Lake of Sorrows

– a motorcycle ride with a local Easy Rider

How to get to Dalat

Whether from Ho-Chi-Minh City or Nha Trang, the best way to reach Dalat is by bus. Beware, though, as the roads are very poorly maintained and the bus may stop to change a wheel (this has happened to me twice). The roads are winding as you approach Dalat. A Mui Ne – Dalat bus takes 4 hours (for €3 to €4, depending on the company). A Nha Trang – Dalat bus also takes 4 hours. Saigon – Dalat takes 8h.

Where to sleep in Dalat

There are many hotels in Dalat in a very French style, as well as several budget hotels. You’ll easily find a hotel directly on the spot if you arrive by bus (look for addresses before you arrive). You can compare prices and book on our hotel comparator.

Have you visited Dalat? How did you find this small town with its mild climate?

Hotels and accommodation map – Vietnam