Overview of Dalat
Dalat is a mid-sized city that looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Outside of the city center, this area is surrounded by a series of pine-covered hills, lakes, and higher peaks, making for some lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam. Years ago, Dalat was known as the city of love and flowers only. But as time passes, it has started to attract travelers with its wild and natural beauty, and that’s why it’s become an ideal destination for adventurers. I know you’ve been waiting for these outdoor activities, so let’s get straight to the point and bring them out!
Beginner Level: Sightseeing
Before getting into the real game, let’s warm up your body by visiting splendid sightseeing spots in Dalat:
Weasel Coffee Farm
Everyone has tried Arabica coffee at least once, but how about weasel coffee? You should definitely try it, because it will bring you an eye-opening experience! Unlike the bitter flavor of normal coffee, weasel coffee gives you a touch of sour taste. It is a kind of coffee that includes partly-digested coffee beans eaten and defecated by weasels. Fermentation occurs as the beans pass through the weasel’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected.
No need to worry, because it emits a typical and comfortable scent that will draw your attention immediately! Visiting a weasel coffee farm can be really interesting because if you’re lucky enough, you will be able to witness from A-Z how the coffee beans are born and it’s definitely a peculiar process as you can imagine. If coffee really interests you, maybe you should take a break between outdoor activities and visit other coffee farms or simply relax in a coffee shop.
Location: 135E Hoang Hoa Tham, ward 10, Dalat
Hours: 7 AM – 6 PM
Price range: 50,000 VND – 200,000 VND (4.8 USD – 9.5 USD)
Tuyen Lam Lake
If Dalat is a charming lady, Tuyen Lam Lake is the mirror reflecting the beauty of that lovely woman. It is also known as the best lake in Vietnam due to its pristine beauty that can make you feel peace at first sight! Go on a picnic, canoe, and camp around its shores for an unforgettable experience. In addition, you can also participate in other entertaining activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, or fishing on the lake.
Location: Tuyen Lam Lake
Cau Dat Tea Farm
With a romantic scenery, along with vast green tea hills, Cau Dat Tea Farm was built for families wanting to have fun, explore nature, and feel the refreshing air of the countryside. You and your family can play a fun game called “One Day As a Farmer”. You will accomplish every step in the tea-making process, from planting, collecting, to drying and packaging.
Location: Cau Dat Tea Farm
Hours: 7 AM – 7 PM
Whenever you’re tired of touristy attractions such as Mong Mo Hill or Tinh Yeu Valley, just head to Vang Valley! This place has appeared on the bucket list of many travelers because of its surreal scenery from natural pine forests, colorful flower gardens to enchanting lakes and waterfalls. And when you feel the cool breeze following the morning light, you’ll instantly tingle with excitement!
Location: Vang Valley
Hours: 7 AM – 6 PM
Price range: 20,000 VND – 40,000 VND (0.9 USD – 1.9 USD)
Elementary Level: Trekking, Hiking, and Camping!
Dalat may lack beaches, but it never falls short of mountains! Here are the top three spots in Dalat for hikers like you!
Dalat hikers, please don’t forget to stop by the roof of Dalat – Langbiang Mountain, especially after you know the sad legend behind this attraction! Once upon a time, there was a couple, K’Lang and H’Biang, and they fell deeply in love with each other, so much so that only death could tear them apart. Unfortunately, their tribes were enemies, and H’Biang was killed by the people in K’Lang’s village. Needless to say, after K’Lang knew his lover passed away, he broke down into tears and killed himself. After their miserable death, their tribes regretted their actions, so they decided to become friends and united into one tribe, the K’ho Tribe. The mountain where this couple died was named after them: Langbiang. It acted as an apology, though late, from the tribes.
Conquering this 2,167-meter-high mountain will take you at least three hours. First, you need to get to Radar Hill, where the jeeps usually drop tourists off. People regularly misunderstand that Radar Hill is Langbiang Peak, but actually it’s not! After getting to Radar Hill, you should ask the local people (idle security or vendors nearby) for directions to Langbiang Peak. But in my opinion, you should buy a tour from Bidoup National Park, because they’re knowledgeable about every single detail of the mountain. It’s also a good way to support the local people.
Location: Langbiang Mountain
Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
Entrance fee: 15,000 VND – 30,000 VND (0.7 USD – 1.4 USD)
Bidoup – Nui Ba National Park
Vietnam is known as a country with wonderful scenery, and our enchanted forests absolutely contribute to make that glowing compliment true. Bidoup National Park, also known as the green lung of Dalat, is a great spot for trekking Ba Mountain, camping, bird watching, also exploring the culture of ethnic groups, for instance, the K’ho people.
Phone number: (0263) 3502005
You may have not heard about this mountain before because Samson is an off-the-beaten-track destination in Dalat. Climbing to the top of this 1,700-meter-high mountain, you will be able to observe the entirety of the majestic scenery of Dalat, Tuyen Lam Lake, as well as the local lifestyle. Sitting on the top of this mountain will make you feel small and help you sort out what’s important in life.
Tour price: around 600,000 VND (29 USD) per tour
Intermediate Level: Biking
With a gentle lifestyle and pleasant weather, you can hardly find any better cycling place in Vietnam than Dalat. There are many bike routes in Dalat, from easy trails such as Xuan Huong Lake, to challenging ones that take you through forests. But for safety reasons, you should go on a tour if you want to experience the advanced biking levels. Don’t be afraid to try biking through forests in Dalat, because hard work pays off! Your reward will be the peaceful pine forests, the enjoyable birdsongs, and the natural sound of rustling leaves in a gentle breeze!
Companies in Dalat that provide well-qualified biking tours are Dalat Motorbike Ventures, Dalat Adventures, and Viet Challenge.
Upper-Intermediate Level: Having Fun with Waterfalls (Kayaking, Cliff Jumping, and More!)
If you ask me how many waterfalls are in and around Dalat, my answer is: “So many that you can make a dictionary with all the names!” But in this article, I’ll narrow down the best three waterfalls in and around Dalat:
Datanla may not be the biggest waterfall in Dalat, but it’s definitely one of the most favored ones. This gorgeous waterfall is 20 meters high, and there are restaurants, resorts, and entertaining games nearby. If watching the water cascade over the rocks is not enough for you, then try some adventure activities such as canyoning, cliff jumping, kayaking, and waterfall sliding. For safety reasons, you should book a tour with well-known companies, such as Highland Sport Travel, Dalat Adventure Tours, and Highland Holiday.
Location: Datanla Waterfall
Hours: 7 AM – 5 PM
Price range: 30,000 VND – 150,000 VND (1.4 USD – 7 USD)
Voi Waterfall (Elephant Falls)
Voi is a fabulous waterfall without any human intervention. This 30-meter-high waterfall is also the pride of not only Dalat but the whole central highland of Vietnam! To me, Voi Waterfall is like a guardian protecting the elegant lady of Dalat. The water streaming down this waterfall is strong and sounds like a roaring tiger, but don’t be afraid because it’s the unique beauty of it that will capture your heart! For those willing to veer away from the scenic view, follow the trail and walk down to the foot of the waterfall, then you’ll discover it in all its glory!
Location: Voi Waterfall
Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Entrance fee: 20,000 VND (0.9 USD)
I believe that Pongour Waterfall will change your Dalat prejudice – it’s not only a city of flowers anymore! This waterfall is also regarded as the best waterfall in Central Vietnam, and it totally deserves this honorable name! Observe it from a distance and the 50-meter-high stream looks like the smooth hair of a graceful woman. When you’re tired of the intense activities in Dalat, don’t forget to pass by this waterfall to relax and recharge.
Location: Pongour Waterfall
Entrance fee: 20,000 VND (approximately 1 USD)
Advanced Level: Motorbiking
Riding to Co Don Pine Tree – Suoi Vang Lake (off-road challenge!)
Co Don, a large pine tree nearby Golden Lake, is a must-see destination for people who love nature, especially off-road trails. Although the road leading to Lonely Tree is surrounded by beautiful forests and lush green grass, it’s also extremely bumpy, sloppy, and slippery! The sad news is that Google Maps is useless here because if you follow it, you can only reach the other side of the lake and the tree. However, when there’s a will, there’s a way! I’ll show you how to conquer this crazy trail and get to the legendary Lonely Tree as safe as possible!
When the sun rises, the scenery here will definitely take your breath away. Along with the warm sunlight and the green surroundings, the cool atmosphere and thin mist create a romantic picture. Spending your time camping overnight with your loved ones and catching the sunrise on the lake will be a memory to store away forever!
Pro tip: Rent a manual motorbike or go by foot only. During rainy season, you should walk to the tree and park your bike somewhere near the main road to prevent unfortunate accidents.
Directions to the Lonely Tree (with photos below):
- First, drive to 722 Street (Vietnamese: duong tinh 722). Turn right when you see this trail below. If the weather is nice, it’ll take you about 15 minutes to ride from the main road to Lonely Tree. If not, it can take you an hour.
- Follow the trail and ride up a slight slope on the right side.
- Meet a crossroad, then turn right and get ready to conquer the crazy trail. Ride down the slope.
- Ride up the trail again and turn left.
5 + 6 + 7. Ride along the lakeshore and jump over the small stream. Then continue moving toward the tree.
Conquering the mountain passes
Dalat is not only a poetic city with nice weather, forests, and flower fields, but it also attracts travelers with marvelous mountain passes. Prenn Pass, Bao Loc Pass, especially Ngoan Muc – the most dangerous and beautiful pass in the south are waiting for you, but be careful and follow the speed limit (below or equal to 60 km/hour in rural areas and 50 km/hour in urban areas), or else you might have to visit the hospital or police station!
Dalat is a must-visit city for outdoor activities and refreshing scenery. When you leave, your head will be dizzy…with delight! And don’t forget that Dalat has tons of things to do, so the articles below will help you explore more of why I love this place:
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s blog!