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By Katherine Tuggle
Up in the Southern Central Highlands, you’ll find a surprisingly different side of Vietnam. In fact, it might feel like you’re in a different country. I’m talking about Da Lat or Dalat City, the capital of Lam Dong Province in Vietnam, belongs to Lang Biang highland Dalat City is known as Honeymoon Capital, The City of Eternal Spring, or City in the Fog. Locals also call it “Little Paris.”
Vietnam is mostly a tropical country, but Dalat City and other parts of the Lang Biang Highlands have more of a temperate climate. I think that’s probably why it’s a big attraction for domestic travelers. It has a temperate climate all-year-round with temperatures between 15 to 24 degrees Celsius. The climate allows for pine trees to thrive, as well as strawberries, and many varieties of flowers. It’s a change of scenery from the rest of Vietnam.
The French settled in Dalat City long before that’s what it was called. That is why a lot of the architecture in the city has a European feel to it, and that’s also what attracts a lot of tourists. The Vietnamese also couldn’t help but add their touch to the remaining city. They took what’s left and turned it into a romantic town, which is why it’s called Honeymoon city. They have a radio tower that has the shape of the Eiffel Tower – they offer horse-drawn carriages and their very own Valley of Love.
For the nature lovers Dalat is a perfect place to visit. The mild temperatures make it an ideal place for a variety of plants to thrive. Thus it’s full of natural beauty. That in itself gives you a lot to see already. You can find beautiful species of orchids, roses, and other flowering plants. The land also produces a variety of fruits and vegetables. Dalat is called Vietnam’s “vegetable garden” too.
It’s not called “Honeymoon City” for nothing! Visitors, especially domestic travelers, love it for the Parisian vibe it gives. You will also love the flower gardens that can brighten up any picture. They’re perfect for long romantic walks.
Aside from nature basking in the natural beauty of Dalat, there are also lots of activities fit for adrenaline junkies. It’s so close to Lang Biang Mountain, which offers activities like mountain climbing, camping, paragliding, and more. You can also chase some waterfalls. Dalat has a bunch of them, and you can even go canyoneering and rappelling in some of them. If you’re up for it, tour the city and nearby attractions on a motorbike!
Art and architecture enthusiasts will surely enjoy this city. The old French buildings together with a touch of Vietnamese art, make it such a picturesque place.
You should also see Thien Vien Truc Lam Pagoda and Cremaillere Railway Station. At the railway station, you can even ride one of the five trains that go to Trai Mat.
The Hang Nga Crazy House is also another thing on the top of your architecture/art list. It’s a building that looks like it came out of Alice in Wonderland.
The food scene in Dalat offers a wide variety of local and international cuisine, and most restaurants offer beautiful scenery. Coffee in Dalat is also amazing! However, I just want to point out the local food that you shouldn’t miss. There’s a lot more than this, but these are the ones that are most unique to Dalat.
Nope, it’s not exactly pizza, but it has the shape of one. This is grilled rice paper with egg, some green onion and tiny dried shrimp. You can easily find this at the Dalat night market.
Rice Pancake may not be an original of Dalat, but it’s very popular among the locals. It’s made of rice with some spring onion filling, and they’re cooked in earthen pots. People usually pair this dish with meatballs and fish sauce.
Thick Noodle Soup
This dish is popular in most of Vietnam, but the climate in Dalat makes it so much better. A cold day and a nice warm soup? Yes, please! Locally, the dish is called Banh Canh and has ingredients like rice vermicelli, pork based broth, quail egg, some pork and green onion. The flavors are just so rich! Like I said, Dalat has a lot more food to offer, but I will leave the rest of the exploring to you.
Dalat’s dry season is from November to March, which is the ideal time to visit. It’s also the season in a time when flowers bloom and are more vibrant. There is also an annual flower festival in Dalat, which is usually in January.
You can get to Dalat by air or by land. By air you can book a flight with Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, or Jetstar from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. You then have to take a bus from the airport to Dalat.
If you plan on traveling by bus it shouldn’t be difficult. Dalat is a major stop for most, if not all open-tour buses. You can also rent a car or motorcycle if you want freedom. You can stop and go as you please.
The bottom line is that you should visit Dalat City! You’ll get to see a different side of Vietnam, and learn why the locals love it. Not only is it a romantic place for honeymooners, but it’s also family-friendly and full of adventure.
Katherine Tuggle is the blogger behind Minimalistmeal.com. She is curious, passionate, and a little dippy perfectionist (these are some adjectives that she personally uses to define her passion). Katherine decided to get into a culinary blog to meet others, share ideas and plans for making food and traveling. All of her dishes are cooked with 100% passion and love for food. She not only cooks famous recipes, but also creates her own.