During the colonial era, Da Lat (Đà Lạt), also Dalat, in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam, was the playground of the French, who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the plains and coastal areas.
Dalat looks somewhat like a cross between Vietnam and rural France. Many of its hotels and houses are built in a European/French style. The city spreads across a series of pine-covered hills, with a small lake in the centre and surrounded by a man-made lake and higher peaks, making for some lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam. Temperatures are pleasantly warm by day, and cool at night, down to perhaps 10°C.
Dalat is surrounded by some of the best mountain biking, hiking and canyoning opportunities in Vietnam, with hills of coffee and tea plantations, which evoke images of the colonial hill stations of the north of India.
Dalat's high altitude (1,500–2,000 m) and fertile landscape make it one of Vietnam's premier agricultural areas, producing varieties of fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, and flowers that don't grow in the lowlands. In markets as far north as Hanoi and Haiphong, vegetable and flower vendors will tout their "grown in Dalat" produce.
Dalat is a favorite destination for company-sponsored weekend outings, family getaways, and honeymooners.
- 1 Lien Khuong Airport (DLI IATA) (30 km south of the city linked by a modern, yet scenic, two-lane highway). There are daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi, Vinh and Hue. Which are served by Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, VASCO and Jetstar Pacific.
Some hotels offer special arrangements with taxi companies to ferry hotel guests to and from the airport for around 200,000 dong. Hotels can try to rip you off by asking for anything between 300,000 to 400,000 dong for an airport transfer. Be adamant on 200,000 dong. Taxi service with ☏have a fixed price of 250,000 dong. Malinh taxi charges 300,000 dong to the airport. If going by meter, it comes to around 577,000 dong (distance around 35 km).
Or catch the airport shuttle for 60,000 dong per person (Aug 2022). They will ask what hotel you're staying in, and the airport shuttle bus will take you there. You can get the shuttle back to the airport at the Intercity Bus Station (Bến xe Liên tỉnh), also for 60,000 dong, last bus at 7 pm (Aug 2022).
Most local and foreign travelers arrive in Dalat by bus, including those traveling on the famous Sinh Cafe Hanoi-HCMC open-tour buses.
Phuong Trang Busline runs several daily services to Dalat from Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City. From Nha Trang the bus ride is about 5 hours, with the obligatory stop at a dilapidated Cham temple/tourist site. From Nha Trang, the travel time to 3–4 hours, including a 30-minute breakfast/WC stop about one hour out of Nha Trang. From Ho Chi Minh City the bus ride is about 7 hours (9 hours if there is bad traffic leaving Saigon). If coming from Mui Ne, be careful as the road is rough most of the way, so try to book a large bus or at least a seat towards the front.
From Mui Ne: An Phu Travel. 07:30, afternoon. 2 buses a day. It's not too comfortable seater bus but still ok. Tickets can be booked in most hotels and guest houses. They have free pick up. Journey takes 4-5 hours and includes some great views. Drop off in Dalat: Nguyen Chi Thanh street, close to the city center. USD5. . The Sinh Tourist. The bus tickets are available online on baolau.
From Danang - Danang Central Bus Station, sleeper bus from Danang to Dalat with air-cond, toilet on bus, departs from Danang at 17:00 and arrives Dalat at 08:00 - 09:00 (15 hours), it costs 265,000 dong/ticket, you may come directly to the Bus Station or online booking via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For foreign visitors, it may be best to book a ticket on a bus without a television. The entertainment offered could be loud and unappealing if you prefer sleeping before arriving at their next destination.
- See also: Vietnam by motorcycle
Motorbikes are also a good choice for adventurous travelers who like to travel in an experiential style and save money. From Saigon to Da Lat is about 300 km, it takes about 7 – 10 hours if traveling by motorbike. Although it takes quite a long time, these will be quite interesting experiences, as well as help you discover many beautiful scenes along the way. A legit motorbike driving license is required to rent a motorbike in Vietnam.
Depending on where you stay, you can walk to most parts around town. You can catch a xe om (motorbike taxi) from most corners, so if you're going somewhere farther out of town, you have a fast way to get there. You can also book via app using Grab Bike. Taxi cars are also abundant and reasonable in price, yet watch the meter, as meter fixing is a common practice from north to south. As of July 2018, meter-fixing is a much diminished problem and almost all taxi meters click into life after the vehicle has traveled a few metres. The occasional taxi may take you on a circuitous route to get to your destination but opening Google maps and pointing out that you know the way reduces incidents of this kind. Taxis are cheap and an ideal way to get round Dalat.
There is a local bus which passes near most of the main tourist sites. Heading south you can catch it at the bus shelter by the lake. Otherwise, the bus hub can be found on Hoa Binh Square (Khu Hoa Binh - behind Hoa Binh theater), just up from the market. The last bus each day is at 17:30.
There are many places around town to rent a bicycle, tandem, or motorbike. Please consider carefully before you rent a motorbike, as according to the Vietnamese law you must be in the possession of a valid Vietnamese driver's licence to be able to drive a motor vehicle in the country. Failure to have one cancels any insurance that the bike might come with and makes you liable for any damages. In Southeast Asia, you are always liable, as you are always guilty, as you are presumed to have more money than the other party. Hence you will have to pay for damages to the bike and its full value, damages to other people and their property, as well as ruining your holiday. Need a private car, contact mrlee from Mimosatravel, excellent English guide and driver
- Colonial Palaces. The three palaces and summer home of the colonial era, last emperor of Vietnam Bao Dai, which is of great interest once you visit these three heritage sites, named Palace I, II and III, the Dalat Palace Hotel being one of them, with its adjacent Dalat Du Park Hotel, all from the 1920s, together with the Dalat Palace Golf Club, which was built in 1922, to give his majesty the opportunity to practice his golf skills picked up during his years of study in France. The golf course is an awesome site, whether you enjoy the swinging and putting or not, as the coffee shop at the golf course has some wholesome meals of Asian and European food, with great view of the deep green fairways and classy environment. The Palace I is on the same street when you walk to the Crazy House. It is about a 15-30 minute walk depending on your pace (1.1 km from Tran Phu, 47 m elevation gain). Palace II is located on Tran Hung Dao, not far from the Xuan Huong Lake (next to Yersin Park). Palace III is a museum that displays the beautiful original 1930s furniture. It is open daily 07:00-17:00, 30,000 dong (Feb 2020).
- Crazy House, Huỳnh Thúc Kháng, Phường 4 (about 0.3 km off Duy Tan St). A striking, not-quite-finished Gaudi-esque fantasy house designed by the daughter of an independence war hero. Well worth a visit, even if you are not too interested in architecture. 40,000 dong.
- Dalat Market. Filled with local specialities: strawberry jam, fruit conserves, avocado, artichokes.
- Flower Garden (at the northwestern end of Xuan Huong Lake). A set of flower gardens centred around a reconstructed traditional Vietnamese teak wood house. If you go for a stroll around the lake, it can be visited as a stop. 70,000 dong.
- Golden Spring Lake (Ho Suoi Vang). Unspoiled scenery.
- Truc Lam Zen Monastery (public bus to south directions (e.g. Bao Loc) from Khu Hoa Binh, get off on turn to cable car station near bus terminal). Best to reach it via a cable car ride over the pine forest. Bus: 7,000 dong, cable car: 80,000 dong both ways, 60,000 dong one way.
- Lake of Sorrow (Lake of Sighs) (5 km northeast of town on Ho Xuan Huong Rd). The Lake of Sorrow is a common destination in Dalat. The Lake of Sorrow is so-named because of a tale of two lovers, one who committed suicide after the other was called up to serve in the army.
- Langbiang Mountain (public bus to Lac Duong from Khu Hoa Binh, 12,000 dong). Parking closes at 17:00. There are 2 peaks: 1915 m and 2167 m. First one is reachable by a steep paved path, you can ride in a Jeep (360,000 dong for 1 Jeep). The second one is 2-3 hours great hike. You don't need to enter the main gate and pay the fee if going to 2167 m peak, trail start on the right of the gate. Also visit the ethnic village at the foot of the mountain.
- Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Trai Mat, Da Lat (About 8 km from town). This kitschy temple is one of a kind in Vietnam. Broken porcelain is used to compose beautiful mosaics that adorn the whole of this 7-level pagoda, and it is still expanding. free.
- Nha Tho Domaine de Marie, Ngo Quyen (1 km from where Hai Thuong and Ba Trang Hai (3 Trang Hai) meet). A pink church on top of a hill, with a store selling various dried fruits and snacks from the local orchards run by the nuns of the monastery.
- Pongour Falls (30 km south of town on Hwy 20). It's one of the largest and widest waterfalls in Vietnam and during the wet season is a magnificent sight. A dam built nearby has reduced the water flow. Toilets are pit latrines with no water, soap or tissue, so bring your own. 10,000 dong per person. 5,000 dong per bike.
- Prenn Falls (at the foot of Prenn Pass, about 10 km outside of town). Daily until 17:00. A very common stop on a typical Dalat tour, Prenn Falls is quite beautiful, but is a lot more fun when you're hiking it than just taking pictures of it. 220.000vnd/per
- Thien Vien Truc Lam Monastery (at the top of where the cable car drops you off). The monastery has a magnificent view over the dams below and its gardens are full of landscaped shrubs in animal form. Extremely peaceful. A great place to relax and soak in the tranquility. People who do not want to complete the round trip could opt for a 4.1-km walk back to Tran Phu. Be sure to bring a map. On the walk back you can go down to Tuyen Lam Lake, visit nearby Datanla waterfall, and take the bus back to town. A 54-m-tall statue of the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin, was completed in 2019. Free admission. The cable car to the monastery costs 50,000 dong one-way, return 70,000 dong..
- Tuyen Lam Lake (Hồ Tuyền Lâm) (5 km south of town on Hwy 20). Its clean green waters flow from the beautiful Tia Spring and from the Da Tam River, which flows down from Voi mountain. Its waters stretch over an immense 350 ha and because of its various sources, Tuyen Lam is known as the lake where rivers, springs, and forests meet. The lake was built in the 1980s. It is one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in town. The other side of the lake is Voi Mountain which is a good place for hiking.
- Valley of Love (Thung Lũng Tình Yêu), Phu Dong Thien Vuong St (about 5 km out of town). Daily until 17:00. The Valley of Love is common stop on Dalat tours and is very popular with honeymooners. The Valley of Love is also a great spot for canyoning. 250000vnd.
- Xuan Huong Lake (Hồ Xuân Hương) (centre of town). Public lake in the centre. Approximately 5 km in length, this lake was made after two dams on the Camly River were destroyed during a storm in the 1930s. Now, Xuan Huong Lake is one of the main draws of Da Lat, and you can see honeymooners and locals strolling its banks. Many nice hotels have a view of the lake. The lake was drained in 2010, but is now filled again. Boats can be rented on both sides of the lake. The lake is adorned with a blindingly bright advertising sign, aimed directly at the lakeside hotels and coffee shops.
- Lak Lake. Stop on a bike-tour in the central highlands. It's a beautiful ride down to the elephant waterfall through coffee plantations and then up to Lak Lake over a mountain and then through sunny highlands with rice fields. The road is partly very bad, but doable.
- University of Dalat, 1 Phu Dong Thien Vuong St. Students from the Hand-in-Hand Club are eager to serve as free guides.
- 1 Dalat Train Station. Take the steam train through the 7-km historical line to Trai Mat district. From there you can visit the Linh Phuoc pagoda. 128,000 dong.
Most visitors to Dalat are Vietnamese, and most of them leave loaded with stuff. What they like to take home is dried and candied fruits, strawberry preserves, coffee, green and artichoke tea, local wine, dried venison, orchids, strawberries, avocados, and other fresh produce. If you take any sort of organized tour, chances are you will be off-loaded for a half hour at a shop selling these items. Local treats are also for sale in abundance in the large central market in the area around Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Le Dai Hanh. Partly covered and partly outdoors, the market has dozens of small stalls selling fruits and vegetables, clothing, and a variety of other goods. There is a supermarket on the top floor selling necessities for travellers. Strolling around the market is a favourite evening activity, and every night it buzzes with thousands of visitors.
Dalat does not offer lot of high-end handicrafts of the sort favoured by overseas tourists. Dalat is famous, however, for its beautifully crafted silk embroidered pictures, which can be purchased at a massive mark up from the many galleries around Dalat or at a fraction of the price from the central Dalat market.
Dalat also has an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and flowers available for purchase if you plan to stay for a few days and want to liven up your hotel room or cook your own meals.
- 1 Dalat (Central) Market (Chợ Đà Lạt), Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai (town center). Open daily until early evening. Dalat's Central Market place is the best place in town to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Near the entrance, there is a lively and always busy vegetable restaurant that serves excellent soups. A tiny vegetarian food stall is in a corner of the second level.
- 2 Curry Chaaa, 32 Đường Ánh Sáng.
- 3 Quan chay trung hieu, Thành phố Đà Lạt.
- 4 Sữa đậu nành Nguyễn Văn Cừ -Soya Milk Stall, 2 Đường Nguyễn Văn Cừ.
- 5 Bánh ướt lòng gà LONG, 202/2/5 Phan Đình Phùng.
- 6 Cơm chay Thanh Đạm, 99C Nguyễn Văn Trỗi.
- 7 Quán Cơm chay An Lạc Tâm, 104 Đ. Bùi Thị Xuân.
- 8 Bánh Mì Xíu Mại Ri 79, 1 Đường Thông Thiên Học.
- 9 Vcafe restaurant, 17 Đường Bùi Thị Xuân, ☏ , email@example.com. 07:00-22:30. Popular place for Western travellers. Diverse menu of international dishes and live music every evening.
- 10 IndiaGate, 19 Đường Bùi Thị Xuân, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-23:00. Indian restaurant. Vegan and halal options available.
- 11 Fungi Chingu Chợ Đêm - Quán nướng Hàn Quốc, 1 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai. Korean BBQ
- 12 Goc ha thanh, 51 Đường Trương Công Định.
- Dalat Palace Golf Club, 1 Phu Dong Thien Vuong St, ☏ . 06:00-20:00. Cafe, pro shop and clubhouse, offering Mexican and Western food.
- Cafe Noi, 74 Phan Dinh Phung St (near intersection Truong Cong Dinh). Lovely cafe with relaxed music and great coffee with chocolate flavour. Lots of young locals playing cards and board games here. Not yet spoiled by masses of tourists.
- Cafe Tung'. Really nice cafe. The delicious Vietnamese coffee costs 8,000 dong and is served with tea.
- Hangout Bar, 71 Truong Cong Dinh St (opposite Peace Hotel). Open after midnight. Classic backpacker bar. Free pool table, board games, and darts. Guests can choose their music. Good place to meet other travellers and expats.
- Larry's Bar, 12 Tran Phu (basement of the Dalat Palace Hotel). Happy hour 17:00-19:00. Library-style decorations with dark wood paneling, pool table, and darts.
- Saigon Nite, 11 Hai Bà Trưng. Open until after midnight. Cheap beer, pool, and friendly staff. Lots of tourists and expats.
- The Escape Bar, 18 Phan Bội Châu, tp., ☏ . Live music every night, cosy and friendly bar.
- 100 Roofs Cafe (Duong Len Trang), 26 Phan Bội Châu, 1, Tp.. The main attraction here is the building, which is a themed maze of indoor caves, tunnels, staircases, alcoves, ladders, a rooftop garden and everything in between, while built-in bar tables and chairs are plentifully scattered all around. Definitely not the place to get drunk (unless you sit at the 1st or 2nd floor). Definitely a unique, must-see experience in the city.
- Bon Mua Guesthouse, 1B1 Bui Thi Xuan St (between intersection with Phan Boi Chau and Hotel Dai Loi), ☏ . Clean, basic guesthouse. From USD5.
- Dalat Hotel, 151 Phan Dinh Phung St, ☏ , email@example.com. Clean rooms, friendly staff and big breakfast. They also have sauna, steam, and hot tub free of charge for guests (16:00-19:00).
- Hang Nga Guest House, Bui Thi Xuan St (opposite Trung Cang Hotel), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Friendly staff, clean rooms, good English spoken. From USD7.
- 1 Lucky D's Hostel, 66/6 Nguyen Van Troi street, ☏ , email@example.com. USD3 dorm beds with breakfast.
- Mr. Peace backpacker's house, 3/8 Hai ba Trung St, ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. Friendly, cosy, clean, good atmosphere, centrally located, excellent English speaking, crazy, may have family dinner with you. Good price. usd6+.
- Hoa Binh 1 Hotel (Peace Hotel 1), ☏ . It is anything but peaceful, and fills to capacity on weekends, but staff are friendly. There is a cafe next door. USD10-15.
- Mai Tam Guesthouse, 2B Le Thanh Ton St, ☏ . Clean family-run guesthouse a little outside city centre in a Vietnamese residential area (about 1½-km, 20-min walk). The family rents out scooters for USD5/day. They also have a convenience shop downstairs. 150,000 dong.
- My Dream Hotel, 213A Phan Đình Phùng, ☏ , email@example.com. 187,000 dong.
- Nam Ky Hotel, 11 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, ☏ , . Nice view from the rooms.
- Ngoc My Hotel, 01 Le Thi Hong Gam St. Nice location with Xuan Huong Lake view and clean rooms, balconies facing the lake. From USD25.
- Peace Hotel. Free Wi-Fi, breakfast extra for USD1. From USD7.
- Sakura Hotel, Bui Thi Xuan St. Cheap hotel near the student centre.
- Les Sapins 60 Hotel, 60 Truong Cong Dinh St (Next door to Peace Cafe), ☏ . Renovated, clean rooms, free Wi-Fi and Internet in the lobby, breakfast for USD1 available. USD10-20.
- Thanh Huong Hotel, 02 Bui Thi Xuan St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Includes cable TV, Wi-Fi and fridge. Some rooms have balconies.
- Van Anh Hotel, Bui Thi Xuan St. The staff speak good English, rooms are clean with cable TV, free Wi-Fi. Very motorcycle-friendly. From USD10.
- 2 Villa Vista Dalat, Ngo Thi Sy, Ward 4, ☏ , email@example.com. This is a new villa, with breathtaking views from all rooms, food, great coffee, tours, transportation options, live music and personal service. from USD30.
- Pine Hill Homestay Dalat, firstname.lastname@example.org. Home on top of the hill overlooking the city. 3 min from King's summer palace, 10 min walk from crazy house. With kitchen. Double 535,000 dong.
- N.T hostel (Da Lat), 8/13 Pham Ngoc Thach Street P6 (near Da Lat Hospital), ☏ , email@example.com. In the heart of the city, Super comfortable beds, friendly staff, in the city center. USD5-8.
- Ana Mandara Villas, Le Lai St. 65 rooms within 17 refurbished French colonial villas. A bit far from the city centre and only recommended to those who like to walk, what with large distances between the accommodations and the other services of the resort. Charming and for the adventurous. Must like sharing living rooms and other services, as each villa houses several rooms, hence the sharing issue.
- 3 Dalat Du Parc Heritage Boutique Hotel, 7 Trần Phú, 3, ☏ . Hotel built in 1922, part of the original Dalat Palace compound, with 143 rooms and one ambassador suite. Style and glory of yesteryear, a very old fashioned lift and great views from the rooms at the back of the hotel. 800,000 - 2,100,000 dong.
- Dalat Edensee Lake Resort & Spa, Tuyen Lam Lake - Zone VII.2, ☏ . Mountain and garden view, Eden suite, all equipped with 32-inch LCD TV, king bed and minibar. Free Wi-Fi. Nam Xuan, Eden Lake Café, and Riesling restaurants within the compound. From USD139.
- The Dalat Palace Heritage, 12 Tran Phu St. 43 luxury rooms and suites, one presidential suite. Built in the art deco-style of the 1920s with imperial dining rooms and facilities. It has beautiful gardens. It was conceived as the very centre of the city and dominates with great views onto the Xuan Huong Lake. It also has an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and spa.
- Hotel Dalat, 5 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
- Dalat Hotel. The resort covers five hectares, is comprised of six villas with 75 rooms in total.
- Binh An village (Taxi; Resort's bus), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Good place to sleep, great view, but far from the city
Buses leave regularly from the Phurong Trang (FuTa) Bus Terminal in the south of the city.