Dalat is a city located on Lang Biang highlands – part of the Central Highlands region of Vietnam. Because of its history, special architecture, unique climate features and wide range of beautiful spots, Dalat is known as one of the most popular tourist destinations of Vietnam.
Dalat looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Many of its hotels and houses were built in a French style during the French colonization. There are many places for tourists interested in architecture to visit, such as Dalat Railway Station, designed by French architects Moncet and Reveron, or Hang Nga guest house, a.k.a ‘Crazy house’ which is also an interesting place to stay.
The climate in Dalat is often called ‘Eternal Spring’ for its pleasantly warm temperatures during the day and quite cool at night, down to perhaps 10oC. Due to its favorable weather, Dalat is a supplier of temperate produce for all over Vietnam, for example, cabbage and cauliflower. Also, it has a nickname ‘City of Flowers’. Its flower industry is highly developed and famous for two typical flowers: hydrangea and golden everlasting .
Apart from architectural places of interest, Dalat also has lots of beautiful sites such as Xuan Huong Lake – center of town, Lake of Sorrow (Lake of Sighs) – 5km Northeast of town on Ho Xuan Huong Road, Valley of Love – Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street, Lang Biang Mountain – has a 1900m peak, ideal for a 3-hour hike, Prenn Falls – 10km outside the town, Pongour Falls – one of the largest and widest waterfalls in Vietnam, 30km south of town on highway 20, etc.
Tourists arriving in Dalat can enjoy the atmosphere of Vietnamese markets by visiting Dalat market, which is full of local specialties such as strawberry jam, dried fruits, avocado, artichoke.?
1.K’Lang and Ho Biang love story
Only 12km from the central of Dalat, you will see Lang Biang Mountains standing imposingly and beautifully like the roof of Dalat city.
Legend says that the name Lang Biang was derived from the name a couple who were deeply in love with each other - the boy named K'lang and the girl named Ho Biang. They fell in love with each other after K’lang saved Biang’s life from a fierce heard of wolves. However, they weren’t allowed to get married due to the long-standing feud between their tribes.
2.Dalat Flower Gardens
Once coming to “the city of thousands flowers” – Dalat - in Vietnam Central Highlands, it would be a huge mistake for tourists to skip its collection of flower gardens. From the city’s immense one to local farms, people are supposed to be drown in the beauty of this “Kingdom of flowers”.
Once coming to “the city of thousands flowers” – Dalat - in Vietnam Central Highlands, it would be a huge mistake for tourists to skip its collection of flower gardens. From the city’s immense one to local farms, people are supposed to be drown in the beauty of this “Kingdom of flowers”. The best time to see the vast charming attractiveness of this Dalat “speciality” is in winter season, especially in December and January when the Flower Festival is held.
3.Dalat Flower Park
Being the top must-see in Dalat, this 7000 m² park is located at the end of Xuan Huong Lake, close to the romantic Cu Hill, just about 2km from the city centre. This used-to-be Bich Cau Flower Garden has been renovated and renamed to a flower garden of the city, where visitors can enjoy the biggest selection of flowers in Dalat. It’s also an appealing attraction on the occasion of annual Flower Festival, with hundreds kinds of species such as: ortensiaes, mimosas, roses, as well as other imported kinds like daffodils or lilies. Especially, this natural museum houses a garden of orchids and a garden of thousands cactus from Africa.
4.Langbiang Flower Farm
This site is about 5km from the centre, on the way to Langbiang Mountain and Suoi Vang Lake. Besides traditional kinds like rose, lily, chrysanthemum, this 7-ha-farm is famous for the dominance of eustomas. This kind of flower has made the name of Langbiang Farm all over the country.
After a walk through 20 greenhouses stretching from the slope to the foot, which is enough to fascinate, as well as to tire visitors’ foot, it would be so relaxing to visit the large flower exhibition room and listen to music.
5.Dalat Railway Station
Regarded as one of the finest piece of colonial engineering and architecture in Vietnam, the station was designed in Art Deco style which is perfectly in harmony with local characteristics and culture. Its three high pointed roofs resemble the three peaks of Lang Biang Mountain or as some people say, the communal house of ethnic minorities in Central Highland of Vietnam (called Nha Rong). Each roof contains multi-color glass window and the central roof has a huge clock which has been restored recently.
The other distinctive feature of Dalat railway station is the cog railways. The total length of the railway is 84km from Dalat to Thap Cham station with 16km of cog railway designed by Swedish engineers. Because of the mountainous geography, a system of cog railroad and locomotive is needed to provide the traction for uphill slopes and slow down the train when going downhill. The construction had to overcome many difficulties of the mountainous terrain so that it leaded to such a long period of time to complete which was 24 years.
6.Bao Dai Summer Palace
The palace was built from 1933 to 1937 under the dynasty of King Bao Dai, the last king of Vietnam feudal court. The palace was designed in the art deco style and lies in the middle of a pine forest near the Pasteur Institute. In the past, this villa was constructed as a retreating place King Bao Dai and his royal family to escape the summer heat but after 1950, when the French colonial came back to Vietnam, the palace occupied a role as the office and house of the king. Today, tourists can find it on Trieu Viet Vuong St.
7.Hang Nga guesthouse (Crazy house)
The house is located at 3 Huynh Thuc Khang St., Ward 3, Dalat City, covering an area approximately 1,600m2. Stemming from the need to build something completely on her own, Architect Nga's house was started constructing in 1990. The construction as well as the process of claiming for possession of this house are both long stories. Started from scratch, there was time that Ms. Nga was on the verge of bankruptcy when all banks refused to lend her. It was at this point that she came up with the idea of selling tickets for tourists visiting the house. Moreover, after 18 continuous years and 6 times filing, she has been given the possession of this house, as well as its recognition as a piece of art. Still, she doesn't want to relax at all but is going to add up more constructions, such as a communal house inside the existing area.
8.Xuan Huong Lake
Xuan Huong Lake lies charmingly at the very heart of Dalat City, surrounded by Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Tran Quoc Toan, Le Dai Hanh and Yersin St. Used to be the site in which many indigenous people of Langbian highland inhabited, this man-made lake is nowadays the most beautiful lake of Dalat, giving the city an invaluable gift of having a lake right in the center.
The history of Xuan Huong Lake distinguishes it as one of the most special lakes in Vietnam. In the past, there was no lake where we see Xuan Huong Lake today. In 1919 and 1923, two dams were formed on a branch of Cam Ly River to create two small lakes. Unfortunately, during a severe storm in 1932, both dams were destroyed. Between 1934 and 1935, a larger dam was built of boulders below the sites of the two previous dams to create one large lake.
At that time, the French named it Grand Lac (large lake), but in 1953 it was renamed Xuan Huong Lake to express the people’s appreciation to the famous Vietnamese female poet in the 19th century who has the same name. The lake has gone through several constructions. There would be time when it's not full of water (very unlucky if you drop in the city by then, though).
It is not too difficult for travelers to search an ideal restaurant to have a desired dinner with friends and family in Dalat City. Various charming restaurants can be recognized in everywhere in town, but most concentrated around Xuan Huong Lake or famous food street name Nguyen Chi Thanh.
Cuisine at these places is predominantly traditional local food with numerous attractive dishes from vegetables and fruits like strawberry, grapes, artichokes, or local animals like forest and water animals. Another option to dine in Dalat is restaurants inside luxurious hotels in this city.
Those places are truly perfect in design with noble and palatial space decorated by deluxe furniture and amenities. Food at these restaurants is much more diverse with the range from Vietnamese food to Western, Chinese, Korean and other Asian food.
- Dining inside hotel is much more expensive than outside, but space and quality could be more advantageous.
- Special food of Dalat city is much better to taste at food store at the street where they have good recipe to make those.
1. Blue Water Restaurant:
One of the most beautiful and famous restaurants in Dalat City that is located on the bank of Xuan Huong Lake. The place is easily recognized at night with sparkling light and unique purple color covering its area. Blue Water serves wide range of foods from Vietnamese to Western and extensively Chinese dishes.
Address: 02 Nguyen Thai Hoc St., Da Lat City
2. Le Rabelais
Located inside 5-stars Sofitel Hotel, Le Rabelais is considered as one of the most superior dinning places in Dalat City. Coming to this place means that guests are offered excellent services with elegant interiors around and top class dishes in various cuisines from Vietnam to Western continental.
3. Au Lac Restaurant
It is not challenging to vegetarian travelers visiting Dalat to find an appropriate restaurant to dine as Au Lac is situated in town. The restaurant offers numerous vegan foods from traditional Vietnamese cuisine to serve guests with perfect quality and affordable price. Also, Guests are able to choose food from English menu provided by the restaurant, or buffet table with 30 tasty dishes.
Address: 71 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Dalat City
4. Long Hoa Resraurant
Situated on an uproarious street in the center of Dalat City, Long Hoa Restaurant is famous and favorite mostly by its cozy atmosphere and classical charming design. Menu at this place is diverse with various options to guests for tasting from Western to Vietnamese cuisine. Dining here makes guests feel more like having a meal at home than outside their beloved place.
5. Le Café de la Poste
This restaurant is a part of Dalat Palace Hotel where possesses a allured design based on the theme of classical French architecture. It provides wide range of Western food to customers from fast-food like burger, sandwiches and dishes like pasta, steak and dessert also. Price here is a little higher than normal places, but that high deserves what Le Café de la Poste serves its guests.