Dalat travel guide: Eat, play, love

Dalat is no doubt the city of romance. Every time I come to this city, it feels like I‘ve got lost in a small town in Europe. Hidden in the pine forest is the city with its picturesque scenery, where I find the peace in my mind, and feel the gentle breaths of the city. It is here that you will hear the call from deep inside your heart, to live slowlier and enjoy the simple beauty of nature.

This is a full travel guide for visitors to Dalat, written from our own experiences to help you enjoy your time to the fullest in the city at the lowest cost possible.

The City of Dalat

Dalat lies at an altitude of 1500m above sea levels on Lam Vien plateau in the Central Highland of Vietnam. The city takes up an area of 393,29 km, and is the capital of Lam Dong Province.

Known for its ravishing landscape, Dalat is one of the most famous tourism cities in Vietnam. During the French colonial rule, it was referred to as “Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperie”, which means “to give some joy, others coolness”. Nowadays, it is known as “the city of flowers”, “the city of love”, “the city of spring”, and “the city of mysty”.

Dalat was discovered in 1893 by a Swiss French doctor, Alexandre Yersin, and was later built up by the French emperor as a city for recreational purposes, as it bears much resemblance to France in terms of weather. In more than a century, the city has always been in the top list of Vietnam’s popular destinations for both domestic and international tourists.

Dalat – When to visit

Long been a tourism heaven, Dalat welcomes its visitors every day of the year. The most crowded time is the summer months of July, August, and September, when the heat waves hit the whole country and every one is looking for a cooler place to spend their holiday. Once every two years, the city holds a flower festival during the spring, which attracts a large number of tourists. If you enjoy being in a city full of tourists, come during the weekend or around Tet holiday.

Getting to the city of Dalat

Long been a tourism heaven, Dalat welcomes its visitors every day of the year. The most crowded time is the summer months of July, August, and September, when the heat waves hit the whole country and every one is looking for a cooler place to spend their holiday. Once every two years, the city holds a flower festival during the spring, which attracts a large number of tourists. If you enjoy being in a city full of tourists, come during the weekend or around Tet holiday.

Getting to the city of Dalat

There are many bus lines with routes to Dalat from Hochiminh City (Saigon). The bus fares range between VND200,000 and 250,000. Entertainer coaches are available at Phuong Trang Bus, Thanh Buoi Bus, among others.

For a faster and safer trip, consider taking a flight to Lien Khuong Airport, which is only 25km from the city center. You can get to the city by bus, or motorbike if you fancy exploring and conquering the passes along the way.

Upon reaching the city, you can find a motorbike for rent at most hotels. The price should be between 80,000 to 150,000 dong, depending on the type of bike that you choose. Or you can find a bicycle or a tandem at 20,000 an hour to wander around and enjoy the romantic scene of Xuan Huong lake. Remember though, that the return time is usually 17:00 and you will have to pay 100,000 dong for every hour you’re late.

Another transport option is bus. Unfortunately, unlike Hochiminh or other places, the buses only operate on routes from and to Dalet. There is no bus route in the city.

  • Ngoc Lan Hotel
  • Dai Loi Hotel – Address: #3 Bi Thị Xun, 2, Đ Lạt, Lm Đồng

Dalat – Where to stay

As Dalat is a tourism city, you don’t have to worry too much when it comes to seeking accommodations. Below is a list of hotels in the city.

Dalat is no doubt the city of romance. Every time I come to this city, it feels like I‘ve got lost in a small town in Europe. Hidden in the pine forest is the city with its picturesque scenery, where I find the peace in my mind, and feel the gentle breaths of the city. It is here that you will hear the call from deep inside your heart, to live slowlier and enjoy the simple beauty of nature.

This is a full travel guide for visitorsto Dalat, written from our own experiences to help you enjoy your time to the fullest in the city at the lowest cost possible.

The City of Dalat

Dalat lies at an altitude of 1500m above sea levels on Lam Vien plateau in the Central Highland of Vietnam. The city takes up an area of 393,29 km, and is the capital of Lam Dong Province.

Known for its ravishing landscape, Dalat is one of the most famous tourism cities in Vietnam. During the French colonial rule, it was referred to as “Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperie”, which means “to give some joy, others coolness”. Nowadays, it is known as “the city of flowers”, “the city of love”, “the city of spring”, and “the city of mysty”.

Dalat was discovered in 1893 by a Swiss French doctor, Alexandre Yersin, and was later built up by the French emperor as a city for recreational purposes, as it bears much resemblance to France in terms of weather. In more than a century, the city has always been in the top list of Vietnam’s popular destinations for both domestic and international tourists.

Dalat – When to visit

Long been a tourism heaven, Dalat welcomes its visitors every day of the year. The most crowded time is the summer months of July, August, and September, when the heat waves hit the whole country and every one is looking for a cooler place to spend their holiday. Once every two years, the city holds a flower festival during the spring, which attracts a large number of tourists. If you enjoy being in a city full of tourists, come during the weekend or around Tet holiday.

Getting to the city of Dalat

There are many bus lines with routes to Dalat from Hochiminh City (Saigon). The bus fares range between VND200,000 and250,000. Entertainer coaches are available at Phuong Trang Bus, Thanh Buoi Bus, among others.

For a faster and safer trip, consider taking a flight to Lien Khuong Airport, which is only 25km from the city center. You can get to the city by bus, or motorbike if you fancy exploring and conquering the passes along the way.

Upon reaching the city, you can find a motorbike for rent at most hotels. The price should be between 80,000 to 150,000 dong, depending on the type of bike that you choose. Or you can find a bicycle or a tandem at 20,000 an hour to wander around and enjoy the romantic scene of Xuan Huong lake. Remember though, that the return time is usually 17:00 and you will have to pay 100,000 dong for every hour you’re late.

Another transport option is bus. Unfortunately, unlike Hochiminh or other places, the buses only operate on routes from and to Dalet. There is no bus route in the city.

Dalat – Where to stay

As Dalat is a tourism city, you don’t have to worry too much when it comes to seeking accommodations. Below is a list of hotels in the city.

  • T18 (Do Quyen) 2-star hotel

Address: #3 Hong Gam, close to Dalat Market

  • Golf Night Hotel (Price: VND 150,000 up)

Address: #6 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ward 1

  • Duy Tan Hotel (Price: VND 300,000 up)

Address: #83 Ba Thanh Hai, Ward 1

  • Pho Nui Hotel

Address: #50 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ward 1

  • Dai Loi Hotel

Address: #3 Bi Thị Xun, 2, Đ Lạt, Lm Đồng

  • Ngoc Lan Hotel

Address: #42 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ward 1Ngoc Lan Hotel

Ngoc Lan Hotel

There are also cheaper hotels that are close to the city center for your choice:

  • Thanh Tung Hotel

Address: #63 Phan Boi Chau, Ward 1

  • Ngoc Hoa Hotel

Address: #67 Phan Boi Chau, Ward 1

  • Duy Tien Hotel

Address: #71 Phan Boi Chau, Ward 1

  • Duc Anh Hotel

Address: #75 Phan Boi Chau, Ward 1

Dalat cuisines

Travelling to Dalat, you will have the chance to enjoy the city’s famous specialities. The most well-known local products include Dalat red wine and ruou can (herbal wine drunk out of a ceramic pot through bamboo pipes). Dalat is also the land of persimmons, avocados, strawberries, raspberries, artichoke, and other fresh fruits and vegetables, and jams made from them.

  • Tả pn l

If you want to try the local Tả pn l (a kind of hot pot with various vegetables and meats), go to Hai Ba Trung street and enjoy your delicious meal in the chilly weather.

  • Snail dishes

For snail dishes, visit Oc Trang at Hoa Binh. For Banh xeo, Banh Xeo Nhim behind the New Market is the most loved.

  • Soy milk

At the roundabout in front of Dalat market are booths that sell soy milk in the evening. A hot cup of healthy soy milk will keep you warm in the cold wind of the highland city. The more famous soy milk stalls are on Truong Cong Dinh Street. Go try the drink and have some pancakes there, you’ll understand why so many people are attracted to these simple snacks and drinks. Prices start at only 5k dong.

  • Banh canh

For Banh canh (thick rice noodle), go to Banh canh Xuan An near the City Post Office. It sells banh canh during the afternoon. In the morning, it provides bun bo (beef vermicelli) and mi Quang at 25,000 to 30,000.

  • Banh beo

For Banh beo (steamed rice cake), visit the ‘Mrs. Huong Banh Beo at No.4’, which is now on #228 Phan Dinh Phung, not too far from the Hong Hung gas station. The place opens from 11am to 8pm every day. The price is 20,000 for 4 pieces.

  • Bun bo (beef vermicelli)

Go to Ap Anh Sang (literally The Village of Light). Here the bun bo, which originates from the Middle Vietnam city of Hue, retains its traditional flavors and authenticity. Each bowl costs 20k to 30k.

  • Nem nuong

Pork roll at Ba Hung's

Pork roll at Ba Hung’s

Nem nuong (grilled meat roll) is a must-try food while you’re in Dalat. The most famous one is at Ba Hung at #254 Phan Dinh Phung Street. The price is 35k for a set. You can also find nem nuong at #4 Bui Thi Xuan, at a place called Nem nuong Ba Nghia, which opens throughout the day.

  • Slow-cooked dishes

About 1km from Xuan Huong Lake on Bui Thi Xuan Street is the Tai Ky Restaurant at 1/A2. This resto is food lovers’ favorite destination when they’re in the mood for slow-cooked chicken, pigeon, duck, pig’s brain, pig’s penis with ginseng and herbs. The price is 35k to 50k.

  • Grilled Food

Cu Duc Grilled Food at 6A Nguyen Luong Bang, Ward 2 is famous for the Central Highland local cuisine. They offer grilled wild chicken, wild pork, and others. The price is between 59k and 119k.

  • Various local food in the market

Inside the Dalat market, there’s a food court on the second floor that offer various kinds of food at very cheap prices. This place only opens during the day.

  • Bakery

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Lien Hoa’s baguette

Lien Hoa Bakery on Ba Thang Hai (3/2) Street makes delicious cakes and breads at 5k up. They also have Vietnamese baguette with minced meat balls (banh mi xiu mai), beef curry noodle, wantun noodles. Open 7am to 11:30pm.

  • Rice rolls with chicken intestine

Near the Hoa Binh area, you will also find a place that sells rice rolls with chicken intestine (Banh uot long ga) where Truong Cong Dinh street meets with Tang Bat Ho. This place makes very special, delicious fish sauce to serve with their dishes. It opens at 2pm and closes at 7 or 8pm as it sells out.

  • Grilled rice paper

Grilled rice paper with egg

Grilled rice paper with egg

Grilled rice paper (banh trang nuong) is another must-try for food lovers travelling to Dalat. Find one at 112 Nguyen Van Troi, which opens from 2pm to 10pm. You can also try Banh trang nuong at the Ma Trang Son roundabout.

  • Strawberry ice cream

This dessert at 242D Phan Dinh Phung is also worth trying. The ice cream here is made with eggs, milk, and fresh strawberries from a local farm. The price is unbelievable: only 8k.

  • Various dishes at Hoa Binh food court

The street food court at Dalat Market, in the Hoa Binh Area. This opens in the evening and offers a wide variety of dishes: pancakes, grilled rice paper with egg, crab soup, beef noodles, broken rice. The prices are very reasonable, starting at 6k for a bowl of soup and 20k for noodles.

  • Mini rice pancakes

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Banh khot (mini rice pancakes) on Tang Bat Ho Street

The city’s most delicious Mini rice pancakes (Banh can) can be found on Tang Bat Ho Street. Each pair of this pancake costs 3k to 5k, depending on the material inside. The best time to enjoy them is in the morning or early evening.

  • Xap xap

Xap xap is a Dalat salad that looks similar to Hanoi’s or Saigon’s fried beef salad, with the main ingredients being green papaya, fried pig liver or cow lung, fish sauce, and basil leaves. You can find this snack at any stall on the side of Xuan Huong Lake at 10k to 15k per portion.

  • Mi Quang

Mi Quang is a kind of noodles with very unique ingredients that originates from Quang Nam. You can try the noodles at a resto named O Xi, located at A29 Mac Dinh Chi. O Xi’s mi Quang tastes very different, in a pleasant way, from the traditional mi Quangs. O Xi opens daily from 2pm to 5pm.

  • Cafe Tung’s coffee and yogurt.

This cafe is a popular destination among artists and those who love coffee and pre-war music. It’s also famous for the signature yogurt.

  • Avocado ice cream

The cream cube is much thicker than those you’d find in Saigon. The best place to eat this is Thanh Thao Fruit Ice Cream on Nguyen Van Troi.

  • Che xe ao (“Tearing shirt” sweet gruel)

At the corner where Hung Vuong Street and Tran Quy Cap Street meet, you’ll find a place that sells “che xe ao”. It’s a normal bean gruel you can find anywhere else in the country, except the name sounds funny because it literally means “tearing shirt gruel”. “Xe ao” is actually the reverted pronunciation of the two important ingredients of the sweet soup: sao (suong sao – grass jelly) and e (hot e – basil seeds).

This place also sells xap xap and dry noodles at 5k.

  • Thanh Tri stuffed pancake

This one is on Tran Quy Cap Street. Serves steamed stuffed rice pancake with grilled pork and lean pork paste at 15k.

Dalat – Where to visit

Dalat city center – Xuan Huong Lake – Dalat Market

  • Dalat Market and Am Phu (Underworld) Market

Must-go places in Dalat include these two markets. You will find here all kinds of local products, from wool jackets (new and second-hand!) to agricultural produces like mulberry juice, artichoke tea, dried fruits, jams and moon bean.

  • Xuan Huong Lake

This lake is the heart and the symbol of the city. It looks most beautiful in the morning and right before sunset. Things you can do here: riding pedal ducks or plastic boats.

  • Dinh III Bao Dai (Bao Dai’s Summer Palace)

This is an elegant building on Trieu Viet Vuong Street, previously owned by the last king of Vietnam. The palace was built on a hill, 2.5km to the south of the city center.

  • Dalat Train Station

The train station serves as a popular photo-taking spot for tourists. It’s located at #1 Quang Trung.

  • Dalat Flower Park

The flower park is at #2 Phu Dong Thien Vuong, about 2km from the city center. Visitors to the city usually come here to admire and take photos of the thousands of gorgeous flowers.

  • Muoi Loi peach valley

The valley is along Le Hong Phong Street and is close to Bao Dai’s Summer Palace. Apart from the peach blossoms, this valley is also known for various local specialties.

  • Trai Mat Train station – Linh Phuoc Temple

There are several tourist spots around this area: Bao Dai’s holiday house, Trai Mat Market, and Linh Phuoc Temple. The temple is decorated with ceramic structures. In the temple garden, there’s a dragon made out of 12,000 beer bottles, hence the nickname “chua Ve Chai” (the bottle temple).

2. North Dalat

  • The Valley of Love

Located some 6 km to the north of the city center, the Valley of Love is the most romantic place in Dalat. It feels amazing to climb up the Vong Canh Hill and enjoy a full view of the whole valley.

  • Lang Biang Mountain

The Lang Biang Mountain is 12 km to the north of Dalat. You can hike to the top of the mountain, or take a jeep for 180,000 dong. If you take the jeep with 5 other people, the price would be 50k each. It takes around 15 minutes to get to the top by jeep, and about one and a half hour on foot. The road that leads up is concreted, with pine trees and wild plants on its sides. Once you reach the highest point, enjoy the amazing view and grilled food there.

  • Cu Lan Village:

This is a new tourist destination in Dalat. It’s a picturesque small village surrounded by thousands of hectares of primary forests down on the foot of the Lang Biang Mountain. The village is 9 km from The Golden Valley.

3. South Dalat

  • Tuyen Lam Lake

Five km to the south of Dalat along the Prenn Pass is Tuyen Lam Lake. The lake is at an altitude of 1000 m above sea levels. You can take a boat to get to the island at 200,000 for a round-trip ticket. It’s cheaper to share the boat with other people. You can also get to the island by following the path of the lake side. Bring a picnic mat with you, or rent a hammock at only 7k an hour, swing it between 2 pine trees and take a nap in the nature’s peace and beauty.

  • The Truc Lam Zen Monastery

Looking up from the Tuyen Lam Lake, you will see the Truc Lam Zen Monastery on Phung Hoang Mountain. This is not only the biggest temple in Dalat, but also a tourist attraction. Right opposite the temple is a cable car station. Get a round trip ticket for 50k to get around and enjoy the view to the city and the pine forest.

  • The Prenn Waterfall

On the 20th National Highway from Saigon to Dalat, right at the beginning of Prenn Pass, 10 km from the city center is the Prenn Waterfall. Coming here, you can enjoy the scene of the waterfall and the pine hills, and try the famous local snakehead porridge at 160k to 200k for 4 people.

4. other areas in lamdong

  • The Town of D’ran

This small town in Don Duong District lies behind the D’ran Pass, and is a popular destination during the wild sunflower season. It’s also the place you can find very delicious grilled pork rolls.

  • Pongour Waterfall

The Pongour Waterfall is in Duc Trong District, at a distance of 50 km from Dalat. Also named ‘The Seven-Level Waterfall”, this fall has seven levels, and is 100 m wide. The Central Highland Ethnic Festival is held right below the fall every first lunar month.

  • Dambri Waterfall

The Dambri waterfall is part of the Dambri Eco-tourism zone, which locates at about 18 km from Bao Loc and 100 km from Dalat. The water flow is divided into 2 streams and fall down from an altitude of 40 m, creating a majestic scene. The waterfall is the tallest of its kind in Lam Dong.

Things to keep in mind while you’re travelling in Dalat

  • Don’t forget to bring at least a jacket with you, as the weather in Dalat is totally different from elsewhere in the country. You may get sick if you’re sensitive to temperature change.
  • Be cautious on the street: there are no traffic lights in Dalat.
  • Wearing clothes that are not too revealing will reduce your chance of getting ripped off.
  • For wool products like scarf or sweaters, find Ms Ngoc’s stall at Linh Quang Temple (#113 Hai Ba Trung Street). She is known for selling all kinds of wool products at incredibly cheap prices.
  • The first thing to check in a hotel is not its AC system, but whether or not it has hot water and good blankets.
  • Last but not least, bring a camera to capture the most fantastic moments in the city

Come enjoy your holiday in Dalat, the heaven for tourists. It would be great joy for us if the information from our Dalat travel guide helps make your time in the citymore memorable.

Have a great trip!