VietnamCentral Vietnam TravelFirst Time in Da Lat

First Time in Da Lat

Da Lat City is a mountainous city located on Lam Vien (Langbiang) Highland in Lam Dong Province in Vietnam Central Highlands.

Population of Da Lat City: 406,000 (2018)

Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet), and some minority groups such as Co Ho, Tay, Nung, Cham

Highlights: flower gardens, waterfalls, lakes, ancient palaces

Climate

The average annual temperature is 17.9oC (64.2oF). The warmest month of the year is May, with an average temperature of 19.3oC (66.7oF), and the coldest month of the year is January with temperatures averaging 15.8oC (60.4oF).

With a generally cool and temperate climate, the summer has good rainfall with precipitation of about 1,768 mm (69.61 inches) per year. Most of the precipitation is in September.

Da Lat City is 200 km from Buon Ma Thuot, 210 km from Nha Trang, 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City, and 1,485 km from Hanoi.

Most people will travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat through 3 options:
1) Take a domestic flight from Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Da Lat’s Lien Khuong Airport.
2) Take a passenger bus from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat
3) Take a private transfer from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

Look for discounted travel tickets below for your first time in Da Lat:

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Travel to Da Lat by Air

Lien Khuong Airport is 30 km south of Da Lat City. (See Google Maps location)

International flight routes to Da Lat: Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Laos, Cambodia, and South Korea.

Domestic flight routes to Da Lat: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Hue, Vinh, and Ho Chi Minh City.

See Taxi Fares from Major Airports in Vietnam to the City

Travel to Da Lat by Bus

At the Da Lat Bus Station, many daily bus routes connect other Central Highlands and South Vietnam cities.

Da Lat Bus Station (view map): 13 Nguyen Trai Street, Da Lat City

Hanoi <-> Da Lat: Check bus prices and availability

Ho Chi Minh <-> Da Lat: Check bus prices and availability

Travel to Da Lat by Motorbike

Riding a motorbike from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat can take up to 12 hours, and you must travel through quite harsh mountain passes. Be mindful of the motorbike’s condition (especially if it’s a rental) and plan for gas stations to refuel along the way.

At Da Lat City, motorbikes are available for rent for around VND 150,000 per day at hotels or hostels.

Travel to Da Lat by Taxi

Taxis are available almost everywhere in the city. Some of the taxi brands are Mai Linh, Vinasun, and Da Lat. 

Travel to Da Lat by Train

There is a 7km tourist train ride from Da Lat Railway Station (view map) to Trai Mat Station (view map).

Da Lat Travel Guides

Da Lat Travel Guide

Traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat

Accommodations in Da Lat City

Resorts and homestays are the 2 most popular lodging services in Da Lat. While around the Tuyen Lam Lake, you can find lots of 5-star amenities, in Da Lat’s city center, you’ll be able to find some decent budget hostels and homestays.

(View more on Agoda)

terracotta room da lat

Terracotta Hotel and Resort Da Lat (Check price and availability)

swiss belresort outside

Swiss-Belresort Tuyen Lam Dalat (Check price and availability)

Find more hotels and resorts in Da Lat here:

Attractions in Da Lat

Da Lat Lakes

Xuan Huong Lake

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Xuan Huong Lake is the central icon of Da Lat City. The “lake of lovers” is built in a crescent-moon shape with green rows of pine trees surrounding the area, creating a romantic yet nostalgic atmosphere in the middle of the most tourist-centric city in central Vietnam. The lake takes its water from the Cam Ly Stream (a part of Cam Ly Waterfall) and transmits the water to the western part of the city. Take a stroll around the lake for some relaxing time, sit at a nearby coffee shop, take a pedal boat on the lake, or tour around on a tandem bicycle to fully admire the beauty of Xuan Huong Lake.

Horse carriage around Xuan Huong Lake: VND 300,000/ride up to 4 – 5 people

Lake of Sighs (Ho Than Tho)

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This natural lake on a hill 6 km northeast of central Da Lat gets its name from a myth of a girl who drowned herself into the lake to remain faithful to her true love. The silent nature around the lake, which people would describe as a sighing sound, combined with the regretful back story creates a sorrowful atmosphere at such beautiful scenery.

Dankia – Suoi Vang Lakes

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The Suoi Vang Lakes are in Lac Duong District, 20 km north of Da Lat, where a large group of ethnic minorities reside in the Lat Village. As a result, a trip to Suoi Vang will reward you with enchanting mountain views and endless pine forests and a unique ethnological tourism experience. Some spots worth checking out are Da Lat Golden Valley, Ankroet Waterfall, Suoi Vang Dam, and Cu Lan Village nearby.

Tuyen Lam Lake

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Tuyen Lam Lake is the biggest and arguably the most stunning lake in Da Lat. It is 7 km from Da Lat and covers a surface of 320 ha, making it ideal for some of the city’s most luxurious hotels and resorts. To fully enjoy the picturesque landscape, you can hike, boat, or fish at the lake.

Boat trip on Tuyen Lam Lake: VND 300,000/trip

Da Nhim Lake and Ngoan Muc Pass

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Ngoan Muc Pass lies on National Road 27, which connects the 20-km long distance from Phan Rang to Da Lat. Standing at an altitude of 1,000m, the pass overlooks Da Nhim Lake and the Da Nhim hydroelectric plant. Motorbikers to Da Lat enjoy a one-of-a-lifetime experience with the spectacular view over pine forests and deep valleys from the pass.

Da Lat Waterfalls

Read more on The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Da Lat

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Not so far from the famous Prenn Pass, Datanla Waterfall is probably the most popular tourist spot in Da Lat, thanks to its ideal location near the city center and the majestic scenery. The water falls from a height of 20m to the ground before disappearing through layers of marble rocks scattered in a small stream called Fairies Stream. You can choose to walk around the waterfall into the forests, take an electric cable car, or sign up for rope climbing at Tu Than Abyss.

Electric cable car: from VND 50,000 – 150,000 (depending on the route)

Prenn Falls

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Prenn Falls lies at the foot of Prenn Pass, a 10 km-long pass between Da Lat and Ho Chi Minh City. As it is about 100 m off the road, the closer you approach the waterfall, the more you will notice a change in temperature and moisture caused by the mist of the water falling.

Dambri Waterfall

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Dambri Waterfall is the greatest in height and probably in reputation, but it is only for the adventurous. It is 60 m tall in Bao Loc City, and you have to drive 18 km onto the local road to arrive at the waterfall deep inside a wild forest finally.

Pong Gua (Pongour) Waterfall

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Located in Duc Trong District, more than 45 km from Da Lat City, in the mountains, Pong Gua Waterfall is 40 m high and stretches over 100 m. The water falls into a big lake, creating a resounding noise that can be heard from far away.

Pagodas and Cathedral

Linh Son Pagoda

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Linh Son Pagoda was built in 1936 on a hill overlooking the center of Da Lat. In the middle of the altar, there is a 1,250 kg bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha cast in 1952. The pagoda is also home to a 450 kg bell, a drum of 0.75 m diameter, and a 3-story octagonal tower.

Linh Phong Pagoda

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Built in 1944, Linh Phong Pagoda is a humble Buddhist temple on a small mountaintop. The main altar houses bronze statues of Amitabha Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and Mahasthanaprata Bodhisattva.

Thien Vuong Co Sat Pagoda

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Thien Vuong Co Sat Pagoda is also locally regarded as “Chua Tau” or “Chinese Pagoda” as it bears a significant Chinese signature religious structure and embodies Chinese Buddhist values. In 1958, the Bronze Superior Tho Da, a Buddhist dignitary, erected the pagoda on a palm-tree-covered hill to follow Chinese Hue Nghiem Buddhism, and since then, the pagoda has become an integral part of the locals’ spiritual life.

Truc Lam Zen Monastery

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The Truc Lam Zen Monastery is situated in an ideal location by the Tuyen Lam Lake and on a romantic road named Hydrangea Flower (Hoa Cam Tu Cau). The monastery was inaugurated in February 1994 as part of Zen Buddhism, which originated in the Tran Dynasty and was first introduced in Yen Tu. The monastery goes beyond just a sacred temple where you can admire the incredibly beautiful flower garden and intricate design; it is also where monks and Buddhist practitioners come to practice meditation and learn about Buddhism.

Da Lat Cathedral

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When the French and Europeans chose to reside or spend their holidays in Da Lat, the Da Lat Cathedral was built so they could join the masses. As a result, the structure takes after the Middle-Age European church design with many stained glass windows and a 47-meter-tall bell tower.

Da Lat Flower Park

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Covering an area of 7,000 m2, the park is considered a natural museum that houses a large collection of more than 300 native and exotic flowers. The climate in Da Lat is conducive for the flowers to blossom all year round and show off their most vibrant colors. You can easily spend a full day at this massive park enjoying nature and taking countless pictures.

Valley of Love

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5km from the city center. During King Bao Dai’s reign (the last king of the Nguyen dynasty), the valley was called Hoa Binh (Peace).  In addition to the romantic natural setting of the valley, other artificial artworks complement the scenery perfectly, creating a lovely background for your couple of pictures.

Langbiang Mountain and Bidoup – Nui Ba National Park

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Langbiang Mountain reaches a height of 2,167 m, and you have two options to conquer the highest peak in Da Lat: hiking or renting a jeep car. Hiking is free, and you can get to the summit in 3 hours. The jeep ride costs VND 360,000 for a return ticket, but it only takes you to Rada Hill (1929 m high), where lots of tourists stop by. The entrance ticket is VND 40,000/person.

From the Lang Biang top, you can observe the entire city of Da Lat

Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park is considered by scientists one of the 221 endemic bird centers and one of the 4 biodiversity centers of Vietnam. The national park has nearly 750 fauna species, 1,900 flora species, and more than 250 types of orchids. Visitors can hike in the park, learn about the cultures of ethnic groups, and discover Thien Thai Waterfall.

Da Lat Palaces

Da Lat is home to an estimated 2,000 ancient palaces as remnants of the French colonial era. Some roads where you can “hunt” these old buildings in Da Lat are Tran Hung Dao, Hoang Dieu, Tran Binh Trong, etc. Dinh 1 and Dinh 2 (Palace 1 and 2) on Tran Hung Dao and Khoi Nghia Bac Son Street used to belong to the French officials. The most prominent palace is the one of King Bao Dai (or Dinh No.3) (view map), which used to be the King’s summer palace and home to the Ngo Dinh Nhu’s family (members of the Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime) for some periods of history.

These palaces are open daily from 7 AM – 5:30 PM

Lam Dong Museum

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With over 15,000 objects for display, the museum is a gateway to Lam Dong’s history and culture with the following contents:

– Nature of Lam Dong
– History of Da Lat City
– Archaeological findings in Lam Dong
– Typical cultural characteristics of indigenous ethnics (Ma, Co Ho, Chu Ru)
– Lam Dong in the two resistance wars against foreign invaders
– Lam Dong people in the development and defense of the nation

Hang Nga Villa (Crazy House)

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The building earns itself the “Crazy” title thanks to the unconventional design by architect Dang Viet Nga. The house has 10 rooms, each named after an animal or a type of plant. All rooms were built into an organic-looking structure that resembled an enormous tree unfurling itself. You can visit this bizarre attraction for a fee of VND 50,000/person, or better yet, spend a night here on your trip to Da Lat.

See the price and availability for staying at the Hang Nga Villa

Eating and Drinking on Your First Time in Da Lat

– Vietnamese Coffee

– Banh Can Da Lat (Da Lat Mini Pancakes)

– Vietnamese Pizza (Banh Trang Nuong)

– Sua Dau Nanh (Soybean Milk)

– Avocado ice cream

– Banh Uot Ga (Steamed Rice Pancakes with Chicken)

– Nem Nuong Da Lat (Grilled Pork)

– Grilled chicken

– Banh mi xiu mai (bread and meat balls)

Shopping in Da Lat

Da Lat Night Market is where you can find locally made souvenirs and cheap products. L’angfarm and Dalat Hasfarm are famous Da Lat brands for local specialties such as fruits, tea, and flowers.

What to buy in Da Lat: dried fruit, tea, coffee, embroideries, and handmade artwork.

Festivals in Da Lat

Da Lat Flower Festival happens in December of odd years. It is a culture-tourism event that every local and visitor to Da Lat looks forward to. The festival aims to promote and honor Da Lat’s flowers and floriculture, so not only can you see thousands of flower breeds at the festival, but also join in the parades and enjoy colorful art performances.

The New Rice Ceremony of the Ma and Co Ho People is celebrated around the time of the Lunar New Year to pray for good weather and prosperous crops. The traditional festival starts out with a ceremony led by a spiritual leader of the village to pray to the Gods, followed by a wine-splashing ceremony to wish for good luck. Finally, participants can rejoice together by drinking wine and singing and dancing to folk songs.

Worship of the Source Spirit is a festival of the Ma people to worship the spirits of the Sun, River, Mountain, and Fire

Worship of the Water Spirit happens on the 2nd lunar month and is the largest ceremony of the Chu Ru ethnic group. This ceremony represents the agricultural rituals for the Water Spirit, the rice paddies, and the new rice.

Have questions or comments? Please feel free to leave us a comment below.

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