Da Lat, the capital of Lam Dong Province in Vietnam, is known by many as “Little Paris” due to the many French-style villas dotting the city. Beyond this, however, Da Lat has cool weather all year long and beautiful vistas of colorful flowers and strawberry fields. It’s like a postcard image brought to life! It’s no wonder travelers who have visited this picturesque corner of the Langbian Plateau keep on coming back.
If you haven’t been to Da Lat or are planning to go but aren’t convinced yet that it’s worth visiting, here are a few reasons why you should definitely fulfill those holiday plans.
The Excellent Climate
Another nickname for Da Lat is “City of Eternal Spring.” Surrounded by hills, lakes, pine forests, and waterfalls, you can expect breezy, comfortable temperatures for most of the year. The highest temperatures average at around 30°C, and it’s quite rare for storms to hit due to the surrounding mountains that act as protection against inclement weather conditions. Only the eastern side of Da Lat gets hit by heavy winds, and even then, this happens only occasionally. Of course, you can expect fresher air in Da Lat compared to more crowded city centers because of the relatively unspoiled landscapes surrounding this town. November to March would be the perfect time to visit Da Lat, when the air is cool but not overly cold.
The Low Cost of Living
For many tourists, Vietnam as a whole is an affordable destination. From food and drinks to leisure activities and accommodations, it’s easy to find affordable options. Of course, there are still luxury choives available. When looking for a Da Lat Hotel(khách sạn Đà Lạt), for example, you will be spoiled for choice with all the private villas and suite rooms available in the city. Still, hostels, inns, and even homestays remain as very popular options for travelers to southern Vietnam’s central highlands.
Shopping is similarly diverse in options and price range. You can buy jewelry, fashion accessories, and apparel for a fraction of what they would cost in the West. Bargain hunters are also sure to love haggling with shopkeepers. Indeed, it’s a practice that’s encouraged in the markets in Da Lat. Many locals already know how much everyday items cost, but if you’re a tourist, don’t be afraid to ask for the price and then haggle for discounts. Just don’t be too much of a cheapskate!
The Beautiful Sights
Vietnam has plenty of stunning views, no doubt. In Da Lat, however, there are beautiful sights no matter where you look. The French villas, for one, are quite marvelous. There are plenty of them scattered around the city, and each one has its own unique beauty. Depending on their locations, you’ll also be treated to views of the mountains, valleys, and waterfalls. As mentioned, a popular nickname for Da Lat is “City of Eternal Spring,” and this is evident in the colorful flowers that bloom in the city all year long. You can find them everywhere, even just beside the streets where no one is watering or taking care of them!
There are also plenty of natural wonders in Da Lat. Gold Stream Lake, Tuyen Lam Lake, Xuan Hong Lake, Elephant Falls, Datanla Falls, the Valley of Love, Da Lat Plateau—the list could go on and on. In addition to these, there are also manmade parks like the Da Lat Flower Garden and Golden Valley. Finally, the strawberry farms in Da Lat are also a must-visit. During harvest season, in particular, the contrasting red and green of the strawberry plants are picture-perfect. Pay a visit to one of these farms to pick and eat fresh strawberries and learn about how to grow fruits and vegetables yourself.
The Slow Pace of Life
Unlike other destinations in Vietnam, Da Lat has a much more “provincial” feel. The pace is slower, the locals are friendlier, and the vibe is homier. There’s not a lot of sense of urgency in the city. There’s no need to rush to see or do everything, which results in a fuller, more meaningful experiences. As if to underscore this slow and leisurely pace of life, there isn’t a single traffic light installed in the city. Drivers and pedestrians politely give way, with everyone paying attention and following the law. Perhaps because of the cool climate, everyone’s disposition is equally pleasant!
The Delicious Food
Da Lat is known as the Food Bowl of Vietnam. Its terrain and weather are suited to growing crops, which means everything is amazingly fresh. You can get legitimate farm-to-table dishes in Da Lat, and the street food scene is nothing but top-notch. A range of international cuisines are also on offer in the city’s many restaurants if you’re craving other flavors.
Coffee lovers will also appreciate Da Lat’s variety of beans and brews. Especially in and around the city center, almost every other shop is a coffee shop. Make sure to sample local blends like caphe sua, coconut coffee, and Da Lat’s version of the world-famous kopi luwak.
Whether you go by land or air, you can easily access Da Lat from most urban centers in Vietnam. The usual travel time is about an hour, so a day trip is definitely possible. In addition, getting around by motorbike is less stressful in Da Lat. Unlike in congested city centers like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where locals are harried and can get careless, Da Lat is actually easy to navigate on two wheels. Again, the pace is much more sedate here, and you don’t have to worry too much about traffic-related accidents. Still, it’s best to be always careful and mindful when driving.
These are just a few of the reasons why tourists absolutely love Da Lat. Book a trip one of these days, and see for yourself why people come back again and again to this sleepy, breezy city. You might even find yourselves becoming one of the repeat visitors!