The beautiful small town of Dalat is my number one place in Vietnam. Surrounded by beautiful green mountain peaks, waterfalls, flower fields and coffee plantations, the temperatures here are a lot cooler at between 20-25 degrees – which makes it a lot more pleasant for daily walking. The lower temperatures and fresh air also provide a welcome break for those who have been travelling around the country in the extreme heat. Situated in the central mountainous region, Dalat has a lot to offer in the way of natural beauty and just driving around the countryside is an experience in itself, as it offers so many beautiful views.
So lets have a look at what makes the town of Dalat so special…
THINGS TO DO IN DALAT:
Easy Rider Tour
I have no idea why the tour is called this, but let me explain what you can expect… With the Easy Rider Tour, all you need to do is hop in with your driver who will take you around to different places in and around Dalat. It’s a nice option if you don’t want to drive yourself, as there are so many places of interest to see near the town. Their list of stops is pretty standard but you can always switch them up if you like. The standard price for the full day tour is from $25-30.
- The Crazy House
It’s a guesthouse which was opened in 1990. The architect designer of this uniquely shaped building was inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudi and you can definitely notice it even by its exterior. It’s very popular among tourist so it’s better if you go their early to beat the crowds.
- Dragon Pagoda
Another beautiful temple in Vietnam. It has a huge dragon in front of it and other colorful statues. No matter how much I tried to find an exact name of this temple or its location on Google maps, it wasn’t successful. My Easy Rider tour driver took me there as an additional stop that he wanted to show me. So, you can just show the photo to yours and they will for sure know where it is.
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- Truc Lam pagoda & cable car
It’s a Buddhist monastery 6 kilometers south of Dalat. It worth visiting but in my opinion only if you’re getting there by the Cable Car because the views from up there are gorgeous.
- Laughing Buddha
- Datanla Falls & Roller coaster
The waterfall itself is very beautiful and worth visiting. There are two options to get to it. One is by walking because it’s not that far. Another one is by talking a roller coaster which is obviously way more fun and the option that I chose.
- Elephant Waterfall
Another very beautiful waterfall that is worth visiting. Its named after a big rock which is supposed to look like a head of an elephant. You can hike down and get very close to the waterfall. However, be very careful as the path is steep, wet and slippery. Be careful with your camera as it probably will get wet from the mist.
- Silk farm
- Coffee plantation
Do not drink famous coffee. It’s made out of the poop of the small animal. Most of the farms keep them in small cages and treat them horribly. Do not support these kinds of farms, a cup of coffee is NOT worth it.
- Flower plantation
- Strawberry plantation
What food to eat
You’ll find all the most popular dishes to try in my Ultimate Travel Guide to Vietnam, so definitely check that one out too for other main foods to try in the country.
Here, however, it’s all about Dalat and the foods unique to this region… which are definitely a must-try!
- Banh Can is my all-time favourite Vietnamese dish (although it’s almost impossible to choose just one). These little rice flour cakes with a quail egg inside of them are cooked in small pods. They’re served with a tasty bowl of broth with green onion and peanuts. Like all Vietnamese foods, the beauty is in the simplicity!
- Ban Trang Nuong is a Vietnamese pizza which you’ll find being cooked on little coal stoves everywhere. In true Vietnamese style, the pizza base is rice paper, and it’s topped with ingredients like quail egg, green onions, meat and dried shrimps. And if you need to add your own spin to it, you can also add cheese and sausage to it – a really delicious snack!
- Kem Bo is one that you may be hesitant to try at first, but this healthy dessert is a must-try when you’re in Dalat. Avocados are blended (they sell some of the biggest avocados here that I’ve ever seen!) and topped with coconut ice cream – simple and packed with delicious flavor.
- Strawberries are grown and sold all over Da Lat, but I bet you’ve never tasted them like this before. They’re put in a jar with some salt, sugar and fish sauce and shaken up. The result is a sweet and sour and very interesting snack to try!
- Sura Dau Nanh is warm soybean milk that you’ll see simmering in big pots on the street. At first I couldn’t understand it and regret that I only tried it on my very last day. Another popular option is peanut milk. Very often you’ll find freshly baked goods nearby – they make a heavenly combination!
- Bun Rieu Cua is the ever-popular crab meat soup.
- Chuoi nep nuong is a must if you have a sweet tooth. It’s a banana wrapped in rice and grilled on a coal stove. The dish is served with very sweet coconut milk.
- Ban Xeo Da Lat is an amazing Vietnamese pancake which is made out of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric. The original recipe is made with shrimp, pork, green onions, and bean sprouts but of course, you can find it in different variations. It is served with greens and rice paper on the side. You have to break a piece of pancake and layer it with some mint and lettuce on rice paper. Roll it and dip in the sweet and sour dip. It’s the best creation ever! Some places even serve Banh Xeo with fruit as a desert, and it’s equally tasty. The Dalat version is much smaller, thicker and crispier than the version made in Ho Chi Minh.
- Che is a sweet soup available in different flavors.
- Bánh mì xíu mại is bread with meatballs soup
- Bánh ướt lòng gà are thin rice flour pancakes with stir-fried chicken viscera.
- Coffee lovers will be in heaven in Dalat (and even non-coffee lovers like me). Dalat coffee has a beautiful, chocolatey layer of flavor to it – delicious!