Xuan Huong Lake
Xuan Huong Lake

Da Lat - Lam Dong

Da Lat is located on the Lang Biang Plateau, southern area of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Da Lat is characterized by pine forests, lakes, waterfalls, beautiful flower fields and French architecture.

Da Lat City is 1,475m in elevation and has a temperate climate. There are high mountains surrounding the city including the Lang Biang (2163m), the Elephant Range (1,800m) and the Lapbe (1,732m).

The average temperature of Da Lat is around 18o-21oC and it's never more than 32oC in the city. With the ideal climate and the ever blossom flower fields, Da Lat has earned the nickname "The City of Eternal Spring".

Dalat Vietnam
Xuan Huong Lake Dalat Vietnam

Da Lat was built into mountain resort area by the French and was planned to have been the capital city of former French Indochina replacing Ha Noi. Even though the plan didn't come true, Da Lat had been home to many VIPs in the French government, the last Vietnamese King and the former President of South Vietnam Republic.

Nowadays Da Lat is the top destinations for the Vietnamese artists and honeymooners. Maybe that's why it also earns the name "the Honeymoon City". Many travelers visiting Da Lat and want to spend extra time here for the fresh nature beauty, and many have come back many times.

Traveling in Da Lat you can not only adore the fresh nature beauty and the temperate climate, but also the colorful ethnic people full of legends. For those that seek adventures, you can climb the Lang Biang Mountains and get the reward of the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding from the top.

Da Lat Vietnam
Colonial architecture in central Dalat

The History of Da Lat

Da Lat was discovered by a Swiss French bacteriologist named Alexandre John Emile Yersin on 21-June-1893. Yersin was a medical doctor working on board the Messageries Maritimes. From the telescope on board, Yersin built up a burning dream to discover the mysterious range of mountains of the Central Highlands.

In 1890 when the ship docked at Nha Trang Harbor, Yersin hired a local to guide him on his discovery trip to the Central Highlands. It took him 2 days to come to Djiring (Di Linh district now).

In 1893 while exploring the Dran area, Yersin was attacked by the local pirates called Thonk and was nearly killed by a herd of wild elephants. Undaunted by challenges, Yersin made more attempts and the last one he traveled from Nha Trang, through the Da Nhim River's Valleys, past Dran and Finnom area and arriving at Prenn Pass. At 15h on 21-June-1893, Yersin was stunned facing the heavenly beauty of Lang Biang Plateau with waves of green mountains and towering peaks in the horizon...

Da Lat Xuan Huong Lake at night
Xuan Huong Lake at night

Da Lat got its name from the combination of  "M’Lates" or usually known as "Lat" - the local ethnic group and Dak which means water or stream in local language. Da Lat means the streams/waters of the Lat People. Yersin found it very interesting as he found out that Da Lat also is the acronym for “Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperriem” in Latin, or "Give Pleasure to Some and Freshness to Others". And indeed, Da Lat has been like this since it was known to the outside world.

the Pongour Waterfall Lam Dong Vietnam
the Pongour Waterfall Lam Dong Vietnam
 
After discovering Da Lat, Yersin suggested to the French Governor of Indochina, Paul Doumer, to built Da Lat into a sanatorium and resort area. In 1897 the first official inspection of site was made by the French Government. And in 1899 after the dirt road from Phan Rang to Da Lat was completed and Doumer's visit to Da Lat, the French Indochinese Government allocated a fund to the construction of the city.

The plan of Da Lat submitted by architect Hébrard was to built Da Lat into the capital city of Indochina and gradually different important governmental offices would be moved here. The plan was not completed due to all changes after the World War Two. After Geneva Accord in 1954, the French pulled out of Vietnam, there were flows of immigration into Da Lat from many areas of the country.

Prenn Hill Dalat Vietnam
Prenn Hill Dalat Vietnam
 

Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Da Lat

1/Lang Biang Mountain is 12km north of Da Lat. The mountain is 2,167m above sea level. You can visit the mountain with a jeep ride from the base to the top or go trekking for 2km through a forest to the top. There are chances of bird-watching in the Lang Biang for bird enthusiasts.

Da Lat Lang Biang Mountain
The Lang Biang Mountain at Da Lat

2/Tuyen Lam Lake is 6km south of the city center. The lake is surrounded by pine forest. You can have a boat ride or kayaking on the lake. There are lovely for birding around the Tuyen Lam Lake.

There is Thien Vien Truc Lam (Zen Meditation) at the Tuyen Lam lake for you to learn about Zen Buddhism in Vietnam.

3/Lake of Sighs is 7km northeast of the city center. The road to the lake offers idyllic scenery. Here you can go horse-riding or enjoy a leisurely hike amid pristine nature.

4/Valley of Love is 5km north of Da Lat’s city center. There are pine hills and lake which make the natural settings just romantic. It is a good place to relax for couples and families.

5/Prenn Waterfall is 10km south of the city center. The waterfall is 10m high amid forest. There is a good hiking trail in the area.

Dalat Prenn Waterfall
Dalat Prenn Waterfall

6/Datanla Waterfall is on the Prenn Pass, 5km south of the city center. The waterfall is 20m high but below it is a vertically steep high cliff which is called the Ravine of Death. There is a wide range of adventure activities here like rock-climbing, abseiling, trekking… It is advised to stick to classic sightseeing activities here only.

7/Dankia – Suoi Vang is 14km north of Da Lat which was the site of the first hydro-power plant in Vietnam. The site is for camping and outdoor activities: ropes course, camping, zipline… There has been a plan to build the area into another Da Lat here.

8/Da Lat Train Station is the smallest and the most beautiful train station in Vietnam. The building of the train station looks like a huge locomotive. There is a chance to enjoy a journey on an old train through breathtaking landscape of Da Lat.

9/Da Lat Teacher Training College with European architecture which looks like a huge book and the architecture of which at first look resembles a Catholic church. There are several lovely French architecture from the city center to the site and it is recommended to take a long stroll to enjoy them all.

10/Da Lat University is said to have the most beautiful architecture of schools in Vietnam. The university is just close to Xuan Huong Lake in the city center.

11/Bao Dai Summer Villas I, II, III with lovely architectures and with quite some Vietnamese history to learn about. All the villas are just 1-2km around the city center.

Adventure Travel, Luxury Travel, Romantic Holidays, Family Tours in Da Lat

Da Lat is a hill station and is perfect for the nature seekers. But the city is more known as a romantic getaway destination where honeymooners would come and enjoy the most precious moments of their life. You can also combine your trip with a golfing tour in the international country-styled golf course in town.

Adventure travel enthusiasts will find a number of physical challenges available at Da Lat such as mountain biking, trekking in the mountains, rock-climbing, abseiling, white water rafting,… Make certain that the tour company you deal with are licensed to operate adventure tours then.

Paradissa Travel has got a number of family tours, bird-watching tours, luxury romantic holidays and luxury golf tours for our travellers to discover the charm of Da Lat as well as Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The tours for Da Lat are usually for 2-3 days. Please contact us for further details.

Accommodation and hotels in Da Lat

There is a wide range of accommodations in Da Lat from standard hotels to luxurious 5 star hotels. The connoisseur may like to know that luxury travel in Da Lat can be tailored to every of your travel wishes be it you like a romantic escape, a family holiday amid amazing natural settings, a vintage luxury in colonial atmosphere, or simple a vacation with high-end luxury travel service… You name your wish, Paradissa team will get back with the choice of your dream!

Also, there's a choice of staying overnight at a local ethnic family outside the city for those who would like to have more engaging a cultural trip to Da Lat.

Panoramic view of Dalat Vietnam
Panoramic view of Da Lat

Getting there and away
By air: There are daily direct flights between Ho Chi Minh City – Da Lat, Da Nang – Da Lat and Hanoi – Dalat.

By road: Da Lat is 230km from Nha Trang, 320km from Ho Chi Minh City, 210 km from Buon Ma Thuot (or Buon Ma Thuat).

The Elephant Waterfall Dalat Vietnam
The Elephant Waterfall Dalat Vietnam (Thac Ong Voi) 

How to get around Da Lat
On foot: the city of Da Lat can be explored on foot easily and relaxingly.
Taxi: they can easily be seen around the city.
Xe Om: the drivers waiting for clients at every street corner
Cable Car: some spots in Da Lat can be reached by cable car which also offers stunning view of the city.
Train: brings the travellers back to the old time. The train ride is breathtaking and sensational.