Viet Nam

A Comprehensive Da Lat Vietnam travel guide by a local !

Da lat Vietnam is famous for its surrounding by majestic mountains, green pine forests , twisting roads, impressive waterfalls. This lovely city is considered as a mountain resort town in Vietnam. Here are some Dalat travel tips on where to stay, how to get around, what to eat and Da lat itinerary written by me as a local. This Da Lat Vietnam travel guide is packed with the most up-to-date and reliable information to plan you trip. Let’s get started !

1. Da lat Vietnam introduction

Dalat is the capital city of Lam Dong province which is situated approximately . 1500 m (4921 ft) above sea level on the Lang Biang Plateau of the Central Highlands.  

Dalat Vietnam map
Dalat Vietnam map

 Da lat weather enjoys a cool climate all year round which is always in contrary to Vietnam’s otherwise tropical climate. The temperature here varies very little, always ranges between 20-29 celsius degree and this city  has one of the most stable weather conditions among Vietnam destinations.

Da lat city is also considered as “Little Paris” in Vietnam due to the fact that the French had found this wonderful upland during their colonial period in Vietnam.  Because of the high altitude and European-like climate, Da lat Vietnam soon became an ideal resort city and the capital of French Indochina during World War II. Nowadays, there are still various French architectures around Da lat which make this lovely city very different with any other parts of Vietnam.

Alexandre Emile Jean Yersin –  a Swiss and naturalized French physician and bacteriologist- was the peron who found Dalat Vietnam in 1893. Nowadays, there are university, park, street in Da lat city named for him as well.

2. How to get to Da lat Vietnam

Da Lat city is about 300 km from Ho chi Minh city and 135km from Nha Trang. Currently, it is very convenient to reach Da lat either by plane or bus/limousine.

2.1 From Ho chi minh to Da lat city

  • By plane: There are 4 direct flights from Ho Chi Minh to Da lat city everyday (Lien Khuong Airport -30km from Dalat center). Ticket prices range from VND 600,000 to VND 2,300,000, ( 23- 100USD) and flight time is around 45 minutes.

How to get from Dalat airport to Dalat city center: there are two main ways of transportation: go by bus or take a taxi .Bus ticket is around  1.7-2 USD and you can buy them directly in the ticket office of the airport . Taxi cost is around 12-13 USD and there is a lot taxi right outside the arrival area of the airport. Remember to ask them the price first before you go.

  • By sleeper bus:

Phuong Trang and Thanh Buoi sleeper buses have many trips from Ho chi Minh to Da lat city in every 30 minutes daily. Ticket price is about 230k / ticket (10USD) or sleeper room (each person has a separate room) 290k / ticket. The journey takes around 5-6 hours. Best way to book sleeper bus ticket is via your hostel staff in Ho chi Minh city. However you should book the ticket at least 1 month before departure if you travel to Da lat Vietnam in peak season.

  • By limousine:

Nowadays there is also various limousines ruining from Ho chi Minh to Da lat city everyday. I would recommend you to book ticket online with Minh Tri or Hoang Vu limousine in order to have a pleasant and safe trip. The journey takes around 6 hours and you will be dropped off in any location within Da Lat city center.

Ticket price: 7.5 USD

2.2 From Da nang to Da lat city

  • By bus:

There are direct buses from Da nang to Da lat however I would not recommend you to go this way because its really tired and take lots of time.

+ From Da nang to Da lat (800km), bus will take at least 16 hours and cost 12-16 USD.

+ Phuong Trang bus often departs in every 30 minutes from 14.00- 17.00 everyday.  

+ Phuong Trang bus phone number: 0237 3786 786.

  • By plane: There is also direct flight from Da nang to Da lat which takes approximately 1 hour 50 minutes and costs 750.000- 1.5 millions ( 30- 60USD)

2.3 From Ha noi to Da lat city

  • By bus: 30-35 hours and cost 20-30 USD.
  • By plane: There is direct flights from Ha noi to Da lat city everyday and it is not so expensive too. Maximum 100 USD. So i would prefer you to travel from Ha noi / Da nang to Da lat by plane more than by bus.

2.4 From Nha Trang to Da lat city :

There are various buses from Nha Trang to Da lat which takes only about 4 hours . Popular bus brands are Phuong Trang, The Sinh, Minh Tri. And the price is 150.000( 6 USD). You can book online here.

3. Transportation in Da lat Vietnam

  • Motorbike: price from 80-150k 1 day. Many hotels in Da lat also have this rental service.
  • Double bike: 20k / hour. In order to rent a bike or motorbike you need to bring your ID card. And there is many rental service in Da lat center.
  • Rent a car: Daily rent (from 8:00 – 17:00) from 1 million or more, overtime calculated 100.000VND / hour. Currently many taxi companies also offer this service with driver. You can reserve this service via your hotel in Da lat.

4. DaLat Vietnam weather

Dalat Vietnam wheather
Dalat Vietnam wheather. Source: hikersbay.com

As I have said before, Da lat weather is suitable for almost travellers in every season. Average temperature does not change significantly and summer/ spring is the busiest period for tourism in Da lat Vietnam. From June to August, Dalat city has comfortable weather with average temperatures of 26 degree Celsius.

In this season, Da lat Vietnam is full of domestic tourists especially on weekend, so do not forget to book accommodation in advance at least 1 month before departure. Booking hotel this time would cost more than usual.

From September to January, the average temperature is around 20-24 celsius degree. Da lat weather during this time often has slight wind and rain.

5. Where to stay in da lat

  • Budget hotel- 2 star hotel:

I would recommend you to book the room in Villa Sunset Dalat. This hotel offers a very affordable price (11USD) and it is also very near to many Da lat attractions such as Xuan huong lake (1.2km), center market (2km), bus station (300m), cable car station to Tuyen Lam lake (500m), close to many  restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. …. This hotel also offers motorbikes rental service (5USD) so its quite convenient for traveller to stay there.

  • Luxury resort- hotel in Da lat Vietnam:

If you want to stay in a place which is near tranquil nature, peaceful atmosphere with pine forest, lake, flowers then the list of resorts below would be your best choice:

+ Da lat wonder resort: 6km from center, in Tuyen lam lake resort. This resort offers free shuttle bus to the Dalat city center everyday, has outdoor swimming pool, bar, fitness center… Price is around 56 USD for a double room.

+ Terracotta hotel & resort: 5km from the city center and also in Tuyen Lam lake resort. This resort offers indoor pool, spa , fitness center, tennis court, pool table and Karaoke. Price ranges from 45USD- 60 USD for a double room.

Otherwise, there is also numerous luxury hotels in Da lat center however of the best hotels nowadays is Da lat palace Heritage hotel. This 5 star hotel is located in the of heart Dalat, less than 300 m from Bao Dai Palace. The rooms are elegant with 1920s French colonial decor and hardwood flooring.  Price ranges from 120 USD- 250USD for a double room.

6. Da lat Vietnam attractions

6.1 Xuan huong lake

Xuan huong lake has been considered as one of the most appealing attractions in Da lat Vietnam nowadays. Owning a prime location in the heart of the city together with its poetic and romantic scenery, this crescent-moon-shaped lake is always named out first in the list of stops for Da lat tourists.

Xuan huong lake dalat vietnam
Xuan huong lake Da lat Vietnam

Xuan Huong lake has a circumference of about 5 km and stretches around 2 km through numerous Da lat tourist places such as immerse pine forests , City Flower Garden, Yersin Park, Cu Hill, Lam Vien square.

The French formerly named it Grand Lac and it has been renamed Xuan Huong Lake since 1953. This lake has experienced many years of history and witnessed every step of change in Da Lat.

Things to do in Da lat Vietnam- Xuan Huong lake:

  • Take a coffee in Thuy ta Pavilion or Thanh Thuy restaurant and enjoy the dreamy beauty of the lake.
  • Swan boat ride on the lake
  • Go by foot/ bike/ motorbike/ horse ride around the lake.
  • When the night begin to fall, Xuan Huong Lake is more sparkling and more fanciful. Many people often walk slowly or sit on the stone rowing chairs that are lined up around the lake to enjoy the romantic lake scene at night.
  • visit Lam Vien square.

6.2 Da lat cathedral

Dalat Cathedral known as chicken is one of the most typical and ancient architecture of Da lat city characterising Roman architectural style. 

Da lat cathedral
Da lat cathedral

This Dalat attraction was built from 1931 to 1942 by the French and currently has become a favourite check-in point for many Da lat travellers. With a statue of a huge chicken on top of the bell tower, Da lat cathedral is also known as chicken church. Not only as a sacred place for penancing and praying, this largest church in Da Lat with typical features of the European architectural style is also considered one of the most famous and ancient architectural works which the French had left in Da lat Vietnam.

Entrance ticket: free

6.3 Pren waterfall- Datanla waterfall:

Prenn waterfall- Datanla waterfall have long been a favourite attraction for many domestic tourists. Due to the fact that those waterfalls are at the Prenn Pass and on the way to Da lat city center, they are one of the most accessible attractions for Da lat tourists nowadays.  

Pren waterfall Da lat Vietnam
Pren waterfall Da lat Vietnam

 Those two actual waterfall are surrounded by numerous extended tourist sites such as canoeing, animal rides, cafes, restaurants. Honestly Da lat and its surrounding has around 10 waterfalls and there is still many others which is much more beautiful and attractive than Prenn and Datanla waterfalls. However as I have said before, those places are within easy reach of Dalat city, and somehow they have been the most developed waterfalls. The waterfall itself is quite pretty but not so impressive for me. However, if you’re short of time and want to visit a waterfall in Da lat Vietnam, Datanla might be a good option.

Datanla waterfall Da lat Vietnam
Datanla waterfall Da lat Vietnam

Admission to Prenn falls is 20,000VNĐ (0.9USD)

Admission to Datanla wanterfall: 10.000VND. You can take a self-controlled rollercoaster car (VND 35,000 one way and VND 45,000 for a return trip) deeper into the waterfall area or walk down for free.

In Datala waterfall, there is also a variety of adventurous activities for travellers such as canyoneering , kayaking, rappelling, zip-lining, water sliding… You can have a look here for more detail about this Dalat canyoneering tour.

6.4 Hoa Son Dien Trang

Hoa Son Dien Trang is an ecotourism garden opened in 2017. This Da lat attraction is inside a primeval forest on Ta Nung Pass and about 8 kilometers from center of Da Lat City. Apart from this, you will be easily attracted by several points of view, such as giant Buddha’s hand, Sapa field rose, an outdoor camping area, an area of tree houses.

Entrance ticket: 30k VND (1.2USD)

Things to do in Da lat Vietnam- Hoa Son dien trang:

  • Giant Buddha’s Hand:
Giant Buddha’s Hand in Dalat Vietnam
Giant Buddha’s Hand in Dalat Vietnam

It is the first place that people often take check-in photos when coming to this destination. It is an innovative works made of ancient wood ropes. The image of the wooden hand here reminds people of the Buddha’s hand to secure the Sun Wukong Mountain down 500 years in the familiar film West Journey.

Hoa son dien trang in Dalat Vietnam
Hoa son dien trang in Dalat Vietnam
  • Big cherry trees are brought directly from Japan: flowers bloom in January, bringing a dreamy feeling to visitors like they are in the land of the rising sun.
  • Visit a vast field of triangular circuit flowers
  • A fairly large area of Sapa ancient roses: Da Lat roses are already beautiful and famous, and ancient roses of Sapa are even more enchanting.
  • Heaven Gate
  • A thousand-year banyan tree
  • A beautiful campsite on the 7-Floor Waterfall
  • Wooden houses on trees
  • Waterfalls and many miniatures around the lake

6.5 Linh phuoc Pagoda

Da Bao Tower in Linh Phuoc pagoda
Da Bao Tower in Linh Phuoc pagoda

Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a beautiful Buddhist shrine which is famous for its unique stunning mosaics surface. Completed in 1952, the pagoda is often known as the pagoda of broken glass due to its structures which are all inlaid with thousands of eye-catching pieces of broken terracotta, porcelain, and glass. Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a gorgeous temple complex with several large altars, a huge tower, and many other record-setting features. In my opinion, Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a great place to experience Vietnamese culture and a must things to do in Da Lat Vietnam . Defintedly recommend!

Entrance fee: free

Quan am hall in linh phuoc pagoda dalat vietnam
Quan am hall

Things to do in Linh Phuoc Pagoda Da lat Vietnam:

  • Visit Massive Dragon Sculpture which is made from over 12.000 beer bottles.
  • Visit Quan am hall.
  • Visit Da Bao Tower and largest bell (8500kg) in Vietnam.
  • Visit Sakyamuni Buddha Temple- main hall off Linh Phuoc pagoda
  • Visit flower Buddha which is made from 650.000 dried flowers.
  • Visit Wax museum and haunted house.

 How to get to Linh Phuoc Pagoda from Da lat city center:

Located 8 km from Dalat city center , this alluring sight is accessible by motorbike or taxi.  The short taxi ride should only cost about 100,000 – 120,000 VND ($4-6USD). Another option is taking the quaint train from the “Old Railway Station” in Dalat. A one-way ticket for the vintage train is 106,000 VND ($4.75 USD). This vintage train runs from Dalat center to the Trai Mat neighborhood where Linh Phuoc is located. 

See more: A detailed Sapa Vietnam travel guide in 3-4 days !

6.6 Tuyen lam lake:

Tuyen Lam Lake is known as the largest freshwater lake of Dalat Vietnam and located 7km from the center of Da Lat city. This is also an ideal destination for traveller enjoying peaceful atmosphere and escape from bustling city. Coming to Tuyen Lam Lake, you can confidently drop their soul into the natural setting and temporarily forget all the worries of life. Nowadays, there is numerous luxury resorts and attractive tourist places around Tuyen lam Lake. Honestly Tuyen lam lake is not so impressive for me however many tourist place surroundings is quite attractive and worth for a visit.

Things to do in Da lat Vietnam- Tuyen Lam lake and its surrounding:

  • Boat sightseeing Tuyen Lam Lake
  • Visit Truc Lam Meditation Center : the largest monastery in Lam Dong.
  •  Visit  Happy hill, lavender field, clay tunnel.
  • Resort : Sacom resort, Binh An resort, Dalat Edensee lake resort & spa, Terracotta hotel & resort, Da lat wonder resort.
Da lat wonder resort
Da lat wonder resort
Vo Cuc lake in clay tunnel Da lat Vietnam
Vo Cuc lake in clay tunnel Da lat Vietnam
Happy hill Da lat Vietnam
Happy hill Da lat Vietnam

6.7 Valley of love:

The Valley of Love is located in the Northeast which is 6 km from Da lat Vietnam. Among 1930s, Governor – general of Indochina – Mr. Varenne and a lot of French couples used to come here to sightseeing on weekend. Thats why the valley was called Vallee Damour by the French before being renamed The Valley of love.

Valley of Love in da lat vietnam
Valley of Love in dalat vietnam

Throughout history, it has been one of the most picturesque and romantic sites of Da lat Vietnam with rolling hills , endless pine forests, tiny streams and lush green lawns. You can easily follow the natural tracks and staircase all around the valley to visit numerous romantic sceneries there.

Ticket: 100.000VND = 4.3USD

  • Things to do in Love of valley:

– Visit Vong canh hill to see The valley of love from above and either Langbian peak.

– Visit the Paradise hill.

– Take a swan ride in Da thien lake and jeep ride around the valley.

-Various entertainment activities: tandem bicycle, horseback riding, aerial gliders, or speed racing…

Da Lat Vietnam travel guide: If you are a lover of silk weaving, dont forget to visit XQ Da lat embroidery which is just opposite to the Valley of Love.  Laid out like an art gallery, XQ offers the finest examples of Vietnamese embroidery. Those are all handmade products which must takes months and years to be finished.

XQ Da lat embroidery
XQ Da lat embroidery

Ticket price: 100.000VND =4.3 USD

6.8 Crazy house

Crazy house in Dalat
Crazy house in Dalat

if you like to see something unusual, artistic and conceptual, Crazy house is definitely for you . All the route you take is an adventure which is a dangerous and narrow path. The stairway to heaven within the premise gives you a good view of Dalat Vietnam. The underwater theme at the central interior is also beautifully spectacular. Totally a fun and interesting experience you will have when visiting this unique architecture.

Ticket: 50.000VND = 2.2USD

Crazy house in Da lat Vietnam

7. Da lat itinerary

Honestly, you will need at least 4 full days to in order to explore fully Da lat Vietnam ( more than 25 tourist places) . However 4 days seems quite much if you only have a short time in Vietnam and there is still many other interesting places left. I would prefer this Da lat itinerary if this is the first time you are here.

Day 1: Crazy house- Da lat cathedral- Da lat market- Xuan huong lake- Lam Vien square- Da lat railway station- Love of valley – Linh Phuoc Pagoda- Sunny farm- Cau dat tea farm.( 36 km in total )

Da lat itinerary day 1
Da lat itinerary day 1

Sunny Farm Da Lat is a complex area including extremely lovely cafés and homestay. This place is famous for Stairway to heaven- A white staircase that runs straight up into the sky. Standing in this position, you will have the panoramic view of the whole Da Lat city. The feeling of floating in the real cloud makes people unable to leave. This favourite check -in place is the ideal place for you to rest and have a coffee during the trip.

Ticket: 10k VND= 0.45USD

Stairway to heaven in dalat vietnam
Stairway to heaven in Dalat Vietnam
Cau Dat tea hill in dalat vietnam
Cau Dat tea hill in Dalat Vietnam

Cau Dat tea hill is one of the most favourite destinations for young domestic tourists in Da Lat Vietnam. Cau Dat Farm with an immense landscape of tea hill, mountains and green pine forests, is a great place for couples to take wedding photos. The best time to visit and take photos here is the early morning or late afternoon. At this time, the sunlight together with fog creates a poetic and romantic landscape.

Ticket: free

Day 2: Horizon coffee ( Da lat golf cafe) – Truc Lam pagoda–Tuyen Lâm lake – lavender field – clay tunnel – happy hill- Datanla waterfall.

Da lat itinerary day 2
Da lat itinerary day 2

Horizon coffee or Da lat golf cafe are one of the most famous cafe in Dalat with great view. Horizon coffee is well known with pine forest view whereas Da lat gofl cafe is on the roof top with the whole view of Da Lat Vietnam.

Many other Da lat attractions on this day is all around Tuyen lam lake. Lavender field is only visited when its in blossom in September. Happy hill or secret garden are also the famous cafe with beautiful view to Tuyen Lam lake and those place also have various lovely corners to take a photo.

Update: Secret garden is currently closed to visitors.

Day 3: Van Thanh flower village- Hoa son dien trang- Elephant waterfall- Linh An pagoda- Golden valley- Cu Lan village.

Da lat itinerary day 3
Da lat itinerary

Van Thanh is located 5 km from Da lat city and known as Dalat largest flower village. This village is the main flower supply sources for Dalat and many other parts of Vietnam. Van Thanh village attracts many tourists by numerous colourful flowers such as daisies, carnations, roses, white chrysanthemums. ( Ticket: 40.000VND=1.7USD)

Elephant waterfall is in a heavily farmed valley at the bottom of a mountain pass, 30km southwest of Da lat Vietnam. It’s a popular journey for travellers on Easy Rider tours around Da lat surroundings or from Ho chi Minh to Da lat via Nam Ban hamlet. Unlike Prenn and Datanla falls, this waterfall is still kept natural and authentic. The viewing platform is great but you can also wander down a slightly more adventurous route to see the waterfall from the bottom. Honestly, there is a lot of trash at the bottom which would have been disappointing.

 elephant waterfall dalat vietnam
Tallest Quan am statue of Vietnam in Linh an pagoda with a view to elephant waterfall

In my opinion, the most impressive waterfall in Da lat would be Pongour Falls. If you ride a motorbike from ho Chi Minh to Da lat, i would recommend you to visit this place first before heading to Da lat city because this waterfall is about 45km from Da lat city. The waterfall is pretty unique – water gushing down neat steps and very clear water. To get better view you need to climb over a few big rocks. This waterfall is still very authentic and not spoiled like Prenn or Datanla waterfall. This is probably one of the most attractive waterfall I have seen so far in Vietnam.

Pongour Falls in Dalat Vietnam
Pongour Falls in Dalat Vietnam

Ma rung Lu quan, golden valley, Cu lan village are more likely the park with  gorgeous flowers, lake, mini waterfalls, bonsai trees, pine forest and pond. If you want to spend a leisurely relaxing time with nature, then those places would be a good choice.

9. Other Da lat attractions and entrance tickets :

There are still many other Da lat attractions however they are not impressive enough that I should recommend for any travellers with their first time in Da lat. However i still list it here so if you have more time in Da lat, you can have a short visit:

  • Golden valley ( 50k=2.2 USD)
  • Bao Dai palace
  • Camly waterfall ( never recommend this fall)
  • Than tho lake
  • Dreamy hill- besides the Valley of Love.( 50k VND=2.2USD)
  • Langbian mountain ( ticket: 30k VND=1.2USD)
  • City flower garden
  • Tiger waterfall

See more: Ha giang travel guide- a truly hidden gem in Vietnam !

10. What to eat in Da lat Vietnam

There are some famous streets for foodie in Da lat Vietnam that you should definitely try to come. You can follow the list below to eat various authentic Vietnamese food:

  • Nha Chung street:

+ Banh Mi xiu mai( Address: 1A nha chung street )

+ Trang noodle soup ( Hu tieu Trang- 1Bis Nha chung street)

+ Snack food ( address: 13A Nha Chung street)

+ Xuan An Vietnamese thick noodle soup ( Banh canh Xuan An- adress: 15A Nha chung street).

+ Mini pancake with meatball sauces ( Banh can- address: 1 Nha chung)

  • Phan Dinh Phung street:

+ Bo Bu grilled food ( 12 Phan Dinh Phung street)

+ steamed rice pancakes topped with boiled chicken meat and the innards of chicken ( address: 202 Phan Dinh phung street).

+ Tau cao noodle sou (217 Phan Dinh Phung )

+ Ba Huong Steamed cake ( Banh beo Ba huong- 402 Phan Dinh Phung)

  • Nguyen Van Troi street:

+ Bun rieu co lan- Crab paste vermicelli soup: 29 Nguyen van troi street

+ avocado ice cream – 76 Nguyen Van troi

+ AT tea milk: 89 Nguyen Van Troi street

Tau cao noodle soup in 217 Phan Dinh phung street
Banh Mi in 215 Bui Thi xuan street
Vietnamese thick noodle soup in 337 Hai Ba Trung street
Ba Huong Steamed cake in 402 Phan Dinh Phung street

So there you have it – hopefully I have given you enough Dalat travel tips to kickstart your Vietnamese travels –Please dont hesitate to ask any question about Da lat Vietnam if you are still wondering something. I am happy to let you know more about my lovely hometown.

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