Da lat in Vietnam is located in the south of Vietnam at over 1500 meters above sea level. I heard very good stories about it and my expectations were quite high. Da Lat is also called the Paris of Vietnam, so it must be a romantic city! Right?
Well, not really as far as I’m concerned. For me, the city of Da Lat was one of the grittiest and saddest cities I’ve visited in Vietnam. There are plenty of backpackers and Vietnamese who, on the other hand, do not share this opinion with me and see many beautiful sides of Da Lat.
The opinion that I do share with many others is that the surroundings of Da Lat have more than enough beauty and interesting things to offer. Of course you visit the city mainly for a visit to the many beautiful and impressive waterfalls.
Below an overview of fun activities and sights in Da Lat plus tips!
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8 things to do and see in Da Lat
1. Da Lat Flower Garden
I love parks and gardens and I love to visit them on a trip to find some peace and relaxation. I also found this peace in Da Lat Flower Garden. The name says it all, of course; there are quite a few flowers in the park, but you don’t have to imagine too much. There are a number of plant sculptures and there is a small lake. It’s nice to walk through it, but I wouldn’t necessarily visit the park if you’re short on time.
Entrance to Da Lat Flower Garden is 40,000 Dong.
2. Da Lat Crazy House
The city itself doesn’t have much to offer as I mentioned, but the Da Lat Crazy House is fun to visit if you have the time. The attraction reminded me a bit of a mix of a amusement park and Alice in Wonderland.
Entrance is 50,000 Dong, but you can also stay there overnight if you are interested. For about € 50 per night you sleep in one of the unique rooms. Whether the many tourists will make you happy is the question. It is special though!
3. Da Lat Nightmarket
A night market should of course not be missing in Da Lat. In the evening the street is transformed into a market with hundreds of stalls. You can buy all kinds of clothes, but also eat enough tasty snacks.
During my visit to the nightmarket, I was approached twice by Thai students who needed foreigners for their assignment. Namely trying to pronounce Thai tongue breakers without mistakes. Very difficult of course, but very funny!
4. Linh Phuoc Pagoda
The Linh Phuoc Pagoda is both a beautiful and a special pagoda. The temple was built relatively recently, namely in 1952. On the site are several buildings, including the dragon temple, which is made from over 12,000 glass bottles. There is also a giant Buddha made entirely of flowers.
I found it special and funny to walk through the buildings. Below the pagoda you descend into a fairytale space with wax figures of monks and other statues and decoration. There were also bright green transparent Buddha statues wrapped in plastic elsewhere. Definitely worth a visit!
The Linh Phuoc Pagoda is located 8 kilometers east of the city. It takes about 20 minutes with the scooter. Entrance to the pagoda is free.
5. Datanla waterfall
Of course you visit Da Lat for the waterfalls and the Datanla waterfall is the closest to the city, about 7 kilometers from the center. This waterfall is therefore easy to reach on your own by scooter. Because it’s relatively close to the city, this is also one of the most touristy waterfalls.
After paying 30,000 Dong entrance, it’s a long walk down towards the waterfall, not to mention that you have to walk this route up again! That is why the toboggan run at the entrance is a very nice alternative to get down effortlessly. You pay 60,000 Dong for a single ticket and 80,000 Dong for a return ticket.
Near the waterfall, there is also a High Rope Course. If you are a daredevil, then these activities are great to combine.
6. Elephant waterfall
This impressive waterfall, which is no less than 40 meters wide and 30 meters high, is highly recommended to visit. The Elephant waterfall is already a lot further from the city than the Datanla waterfall, namely about 30 kilometers from the city. This amounts to almost an hour’s drive. The advantage is that this waterfall is less crowded and during my visit I only encountered a handful of other visitors.
About half way down is a platform where you have a great view of the waterfall. There is a narrow corridor between the rocks nearby. This route is indicated with the sign “Hang Gió” which literally means “wind cave”. If you follow this route you will come behind the waterfall. You have to climb a bit and you are guaranteed to get wet, but it is definitely recommended!
Entrance to the Elephant waterfall is 10,000 Dong.
7. Pongour waterfall
The most beautiful waterfall of Da Lat is without a doubt the Pongour waterfall. Here the water cascades down the terraced stones, which are more than 100 meters wide and 40 meters high. I thought it was a very special and impressive sight. The Pongour waterfall is certainly one of my top most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen during my trip through Southeast Asia.
The Pongour waterfall is furthest away from the city, almost 50 kilometers. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours by scooter.
For the Pongour waterfall you pay 20,000 Dong entrance.
8. Easy riders
Most sights are fine to visit on your own by scooter or taxi if you prefer not to drive yourself. But a very nice popular way to see the area is with an Easy Rider. These are motorcyclists who drive travelers around the area independently or in the service of an organization. They will take you to places where you are unlikely to go otherwise. They are not only your driver, but also your guide.
You can choose a day trip, but also a multi-day trip to your next destination. Often the Easy Riders are at the large bus station and speak to you automatically. If not, you can find plenty of options via Facebook groups and on Tripadvisor .
TIP: Are you going to rent a scooter in Da Lat? Make sure you already have some driving experience in Vietnam. Driving in the center of Da Lat is quite chaotic and you have to be very careful! Drive calmly and go with the flow at all times.
I decided to visit the sights that are close to Da Lat independently by scooter. The waterfalls that are further away, including the Elephant and the Pongour waterfall, I visited during the tour with the Easy Rider. In addition, we drove past many beautiful sights and stopped regularly to visit the places.
I visited a temple, flower fields, pepper, peanut and coffee plantations, but also a silk factory. Here I saw how the silk is made from start to finish under difficult working conditions. I also saw (and tasted) how they make the famous rice wine in gigantic metal barrels.
The Easy Rider spoke good English, was very enthusiastic and knew a lot about the places we visited. After the day trip the Easy Rider dropped me in a town where I took the bus to my next destination Mui Ne.
Price of Easy Riders
Prices naturally vary considerably depending on your wishes. From a few tens for a day trip to hundreds of euros for several days. It’s not wrong to negotiate a little here and there, but keep it reasonable. I paid $ 38 for my day trip of about 6 to 7 hours.
Best time to visit Da Lat
Da Lat can be visited all year round and the temperature is between 22 and 26 ° C all year round thanks to its elevated position. The best travel time for Da Lat is approximately from December to April. In this period, the least rain falls.
How to get to Da Lat
Hoi An: Many backpackers travel by sleeper bus from Hoi An to Da Lat. I definitely do not recommend this ride because of the incredibly long travel time of 14 hours. Instead, travel through the city of Quy Nhon where there is also plenty to do.
Quy Nhon: From the nice city of Quy Nhon it is also a short drive to Da Lat, but fortunately not as long as from Hoi An. From Quy Nhon it is at least about 7 hours away by sleeper bus.
Mui Ne: The town of Mui Ne is the closest to Da Lat. The sleeper bus takes about 4 hours from this coastal town.
Ho Chi Minh: Of course you can also decide to travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat by sleeper bus. That is a ride of at least 7 hours.