Dalat Travel Guide

Last Updated on 29 May, 2024 by admin

Dalat overview

Nestled in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Dalat is a charming city known for its cool climate, stunning landscapes, and French colonial architecture. Often referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Dalat offers a refreshing escape from the tropical heat of the lowlands. The city’s temperate weather makes it a popular destination for both local and international tourists seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

Dalat was established as a resort town by the French in the early 20th century. Its unique blend of European and Vietnamese influences is evident in its architecture, cuisine, and culture. The city’s scenic beauty, with lush pine forests, vibrant flower gardens, and serene lakes, has earned it the nickname “Le Petit Paris.”

Geographic Location

Dalat is located in Lam Dong Province, approximately 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level. It lies about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northeast of Ho Chi Minh City and 135 kilometers (84 miles) from Nha Trang. The city’s elevated position contributes to its mild climate and fertile soil, ideal for growing a variety of flowers, vegetables, and coffee.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Dalat enjoys a temperate climate, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 24°C (59°F to 75°F) throughout the year. The city experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season from November to March and the rainy season from April to October. The best time to visit Dalat is during the dry season when the weather is pleasantly cool and perfect for outdoor activities.

The city’s famous flower gardens are in full bloom from December to February, making this period ideal for nature lovers and photographers. Additionally, Dalat hosts the Dalat Flower Festival every two years in December, showcasing the region’s horticultural prowess.

Getting to Dalat

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Dalat is by air. Lien Khuong Airport (DLI) is the main airport serving Dalat, located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of the city center. Several airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, and Bamboo Airways, offer regular flights to Dalat from major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang. To get the best deals, consider booking your flights in advance and keep an eye out for seasonal promotions.

Upon arrival at Lien Khuong Airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the city center. The shuttle buses are a cost-effective option, with tickets available at the airport.

By Bus/Car

Traveling to Dalat by bus is another popular option, especially for those coming from nearby cities. Several reputable bus companies, such as Phuong Trang (Futa Bus) and Thanh Buoi, operate daily routes to Dalat from Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, and Mui Ne. The journey from Ho Chi Minh City takes approximately 6-8 hours, while the trip from Nha Trang is around 4-5 hours.

If you prefer to drive, renting a car is a great way to explore the scenic routes leading to Dalat. The journey offers breathtaking views of mountains, forests, and coffee plantations. Make sure to check the road conditions and drive cautiously, especially in the hilly areas.

By Train

While there is no direct train service to Dalat, you can take a train to Nha Trang or Thap Cham (Phan Rang) and then continue your journey by bus or car. The train ride offers a comfortable and scenic experience, with various classes available to suit different budgets. From Nha Trang or Thap Cham, buses and taxis are readily available to take you to Dalat.

Where to Stay

Luxury Hotels

For those seeking luxury and comfort, Dalat boasts several high-end hotels and resorts. Top choices include:

  1. Dalat Palace Heritage Hotel – This historic hotel offers elegant rooms with stunning views of Xuan Huong Lake, excellent dining options, and a full-service spa.
  2. Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa – A charming resort featuring French colonial villas, lush gardens, and a relaxing spa.
  3. Ladalat Hotel – Known for its spacious rooms, modern amenities, and exceptional service.

Mid-Range Hotels

Travelers looking for comfortable yet affordable accommodation can choose from a range of mid-range hotels, such as:

  1. Sammy Dalat Hotel – Offers cozy rooms, an on-site restaurant, and convenient access to major attractions.
  2. Muong Thanh Holiday Dalat Hotel – Features well-appointed rooms, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving local and international cuisine.
  3. Ngoc Phat Dalat Hotel – Provides comfortable rooms, friendly service, and a great location near Xuan Huong Lake.

Budget Accommodation

Budget-conscious travelers will find plenty of affordable options in Dalat, including hostels and guesthouses. Top picks include:

  1. Dalat Backpackers Hostel – A popular choice for backpackers, offering dormitory-style accommodation and a lively social atmosphere.
  2. TTC Hotel Premium – Ngoc Lan – Offers budget-friendly rooms with essential amenities and a central location.
  3. Villa Pink House – A charming guesthouse with clean, comfortable rooms and a welcoming atmosphere.

Top Attractions

Natural Sites

  1. Xuan Huong Lake – A picturesque lake in the heart of Dalat, perfect for leisurely walks, boating, and picnics.
  2. Lang Biang Mountain – Offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is popular for hiking and adventure activities.
  3. Pongour Waterfall – Known as the “Seven-Level Waterfall,” it’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Vietnam.

Cultural Sites

  1. Crazy House – An architectural marvel designed by Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga, featuring whimsical and surreal structures.
  2. Dalat Cathedral – Also known as the “Chicken Church,” it’s an iconic landmark with stunning French colonial architecture.
  3. Bao Dai’s Summer Palace – A historic palace that was the summer residence of Vietnam’s last emperor, offering a glimpse into the royal lifestyle.

Unique Experiences

  1. Dalat Flower Gardens – Home to a wide variety of colorful flowers and plants, perfect for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
  2. Dalat Night Market – A bustling market where you can sample local street food, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
  3. Coffee Plantations – Visit local coffee farms to learn about the coffee-making process and sample some of the best coffee in Vietnam.

Activities and Things to Do

Outdoor Adventures

  1. Hiking and Trekking – Explore scenic trails around Lang Biang Mountain and other natural sites.
  2. Cycling Routes – Enjoy bike rides through the picturesque countryside and along the scenic roads of Dalat.
  3. Zip-lining and Adventure Parks – For thrill-seekers, Dalat offers several adventure parks with zip-lining, rope courses, and more.

Cultural Activities

  1. Cooking Classes – Learn to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes with local chefs.
  2. Local Festivals and Events – Participate in cultural festivals such as the Dalat Flower Festival and the Dalat Wine Festival.
  3. Traditional Craft Workshops – Engage in workshops to learn traditional crafts like embroidery and pottery.

Relaxation and Wellness

  1. Spas and Wellness Centers – Rejuvenate with a variety of spa treatments and wellness programs.
  2. Yoga Retreats – Join yoga retreats to relax and connect with nature.
  3. Scenic Picnic Spots – Enjoy peaceful picnics at beautiful locations like Xuan Huong Lake and the Valley of Love.

Food and Dining

Local Cuisine

  1. Must-Try Dishes – Sample local specialties such as Banh Canh (thick noodle soup), Nem Nuong (grilled pork sausage), and Banh Mi Xiu Mai (Vietnamese sandwich with meatballs).
  2. Popular Local Restaurants – Dine at well-known restaurants like Quan An Uyen and Nem Nuong Ba Hung.

International Cuisine

  1. Recommended International Restaurants – Enjoy a variety of international dishes at restaurants like Le Rabelais and V Cafe.
  2. Fusion Cuisine Options – Experience unique fusion dishes blending Vietnamese and Western flavors at places like Anna’s Coffee House.

Cafes and Nightlife

  1. Top Cafes and Coffee Shops – Relax at popular cafes such as An Cafe and The Married Beans, known for their excellent coffee and cozy ambiance.
  2. Bars and Nightlife Spots – Enjoy the nightlife at bars like The Escape Bar and Woody Bar, offering live music and a vibrant atmosphere.


Local Markets

  1. Dalat Market – A bustling market where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and handicrafts.
  2. Night Markets – Explore the lively night markets for street food, souvenirs, and unique finds.

Souvenirs and Handicrafts

  1. What to Buy and Where – Shop for local products such as silk, embroidery, and art at shops like Dalat Silk and XQ Historical Village.
  2. Price Bargaining Tips – Learn how to bargain effectively to get the best deals.

Modern Shopping Centers

  1. Major Shopping Malls – Visit modern malls like Big C and Dalat Center for a variety of shopping and dining options.
  2. Specialty Stores – Discover specialty stores offering unique products like tea, coffee, and handmade crafts.

Travel Tips

Cultural Etiquette

  1. Do’s and Don’ts – Respect local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly and greeting with a smile.
  2. Interaction with Locals – Be polite and courteous when interacting with locals, and learn a few basic Vietnamese phrases.

Health and Safety

  1. Common Health Concerns – Stay hydrated, use insect repellent, and be cautious with street food to avoid health issues.
  2. Emergency Contact Information – Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local hospitals and the police.

Practical Information

  1. Currency and Exchange – The local currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Exchange money at reputable banks or exchange offices.
  2. Language Tips – While Vietnamese is the official language, many locals in tourist areas speak basic English.
  3. Connectivity and Internet Access – Dalat offers good internet connectivity, with free Wi-Fi available at most hotels, cafes, and restaurants.


Dalat is a must-visit destination offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and exciting activities. From exploring stunning waterfalls and hiking scenic trails to experiencing local cuisine and vibrant markets, there is something for everyone in Dalat.

Pack appropriately for the weather, bring comfortable walking shoes, and keep an open mind to fully enjoy all that Dalat has to offer. Plan your budget in advance and consider booking tours and activities ahead of time for a seamless travel experience.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, Dalat is a destination that promises unforgettable memories. Start planning your trip to Dalat today and discover the charm and beauty of this enchanting city.

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