90% of the Vietnamese love Da Lat and choose this city as a vacation spot with their family and friends. 80% of the foreigners that I met in Vietnam told me that Da Lat is truly beautiful and distinctive compared to the other cities.
So why has Da Lat gained so much popularity in the travelers’ community in Vietnam?
Haha just ignore my statistics above! But really, Da Lat is a fascinating destination for both Vietnamese and international tourists. Remember when I was a child, I followed my mom and dad to Da Lat literally every summer. And after many years, I went back to this city, I was still excited about its natural beauty, delicious foods, and fun outdoor activities.
You may need this: Eat like a local in Ho Chi Minh City
Da Lat locates 1,500 meters above sea level, therefore, the weather in this city is very chill (from 15 to 25 degree). That’s the reason why the Vietnamese describe Da Lat as the city of Eternal Spring. People from Ho Chi Minh City often go to Da Lat for a getaway trip and to enjoy the nice weather which they never have in their city. I always say that there are 2 seasons in Ho Chi Minh City: hot and hotter!
Ok ok, I know the introduction is too long in this post. Let me get straight to the guide! 🙂
How to go from the airport to Da Lat city center
It was the first time I’d been to Da Lat by airplane but I didn’t even check how I could go to the city center. Only when I was at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City waiting for the flight to Da Lat, the question suddenly popped up in my mind. Luckily it was not too late to arrange a cheap and convenient vehicle.
You should know that it’s far from Lien Khuong airport to Da Lat city center (around 30 kilometers). There are the airport shuttle buses but I didn’t choose this option because it got a lot of bad reviews, and I didn’t want to pay more for the taxi from the city center to my accommodation.
The option that I found on Google was booking a taxi from the website Dichungtaxi. It’s a ridesharing service like Uber or Grab, but in Vietnam these apps are only available in the big cities. Therefore, Dichungtaxi is a good option for the tourists when they visit the other small cities and provinces.
I recommend that you should use this website because:
- The website is in English and it’s easy to use (I did it on my phone)
- You only need a Vietnamese phone number to book
- You see the prices before booking
- You pay the driver by cash when you arrive at your hotel or hostel
The drive cost me 232.000 VND (about $10) from the airport to my hostel. It was actually not a taxi but a private car. After the drive, I gave the driver 5-start rating because his car was clean and he also shared with me some interesting travel tips in Da Lat as a local.
Ah! Remember to book the drive at least a half day before your flight (don’t be silly like me:p). And don’t forget to fill in the flight number when booking, so that the drivers can check if your flight delay or not ;).
You may also need this: Get a haircut like a local in Ho Chi Minh City
Where to stay in Da Lat
In Da Lat, I stayed 2 nights in this lovely guest house and it was an unforgettable experience. Legume has several small bungalows surrounded by a garden with a lot of flowers and vegetables.
In the morning, I saw the owner of this guest house was collecting the fresh vegetables in the garden and a cute puppy was sitting in front of my room. How adorable it was! I would love to start my day like that every morning :).
Though this guest house is beautiful and a low budget choice, its facilities are very simple. Only choose this one if you’re an easy traveler because the room that I stayed in only had a mattress on the floor, an electric fan, and a private bathroom.
If you would like to consider the others accommodations in Da Lat, start your search on Booking.com.
How to get around in Da Lat
The best way – Motorbike
Driving a motorbike in Da Lat is the best way to get around this city. You can easily rent a motorbike at your hotels, use Google map from your phone for navigation and drive wherever you want to explore Da Lat. The daily rates are between 100.000VND – 200.000VND (about $5-$10) depending on the vehicle’s types.
I rented a motorbike from my guesthouse but it was so shit! The back tire suddenly broke on the way and I had to look for a prepared service to fix it. So remember to check your motorbike carefully before getting it, especially the tires and brakes.
The cheap way – Local bus
Though local bus is the cheapest way to explore Da Lat, its operation hours are restricted (from 05:30 to 17:30). The buses in Da Lat will bring you to most of the notable attractions. If you don’t mind about the time limit, you can take a bus like the locals from the bus stop on Khu Hoa Binh street.
The bus ticket ranges from 5.000 VND to 40.000 VND (about 22 cent-$2) depending on the distance of your trip.
The quick way – Taxi
If you don’t like to drive by yourself or take the local buses, taxi is another convenient option. You can easily spot a taxi in Da Lat city center, or simply ask the receptionist at your hotel to call the taxies. I highly recommend Mai Linh taxi since it’s a big taxi brand in Vietnam and they have the meters to calculate the price once you get in the cabs.
Where to eat in Da Lat
The romantic one – Wooden House
Wooden House is the most unique restaurant in Da Lat. When enjoying a pizza and a dish of BBQ spareribs, I saw one staff was making the pizzas in the front garden, another staff was collecting some vegetables in the backyard, and the other waiters were smiling and welcoming all the guests. 10 out of 10 for this restaurant!
- Address: 26 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Dalat
- Price: 35.000VND – 900.000VND/dish (about $1.5 – $39)
The refreshing one – An Cafe
I can totally add this cafe to the list “where to eat” as they serve a lot of foods and drinks in An Cafe. I was amazed at the design (both interior & exterior) of this place. So creative! An Cafe attracts not only the young Vietnamese but also the tourist with its open green space as well as the variety of choices in their menu. Overall, I had a leisurely breakfast here. Only one complaint, s-l-o-w service!
- Address: 63Bis Ba Thang Hai, Dalat
- Price: 30.000VND – 50.000VND/dish (about $1.30 – $2.20)
The fast-food one – Lotteria
Lotteria is my favorite fast-food chain in Vietnam, their hot & spicy chicken is soooooooooo yummy!!! The chicken is really crispy and it tastes more sweet than spicy. I had a quick lunch in a Lotteria store in Da Lat before heading to the magnificent sights. If you’re also a busy traveler who wants see many places and doesn’t have a lot of time to eat, check out this one!
- Address: 1 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dalat
- Price: 25.000VND – 251.000VND/dish or combo (about $1 – $10)
The bakery one – Lien Hoa
Lien Hoa is the most famous bakery in Da Lat and they sell all kind of bread, baguette, sandwich. This bakery is near the night market which is in the city center so you can go there and take a look in the evening. When I was in the shop, I just wanted to grab everything there and take a bite from each one.
- Address: 19 Ba Thang Hai, Dalat
- Price: 10.000VND – 500.000VND/item (about 50 cent – $22)
The lake one – Thanh Thuy Restaurant
Sitting in this restaurant, you would have a great view of Da Lat while eating or drinking. Thanh Thuy restaurant locates on the edge of Xuan Huong lake and it has been here since loooooong time ago as I remember. The morning before I left Da Lat to go to Nha Trang, I had a late breakfast in this restaurant and I immensely enjoyed the wonderful view (and of course the foods).
- Address: 2 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Dalat
- Price: 50.000VND – 132.000VND/dish (about $2 – $6)
What to do in Da Lat
Take a roller coaster through the forest at Dalanta Waterfall
You can actually ride the tobogganing roller coaster through the forest and then at the bottom of the mountain is the waterfall. The scenery here is incredibly beautiful and very relaxing.
I bought the ticket for the one called “New alpine coaster” with the price 150.000VND. The ride was really fun though I was a bit scared and screamed like crazy haha. Luckily there were not many tourists there so I could enjoy watching the waterfall and quietly listen to nature.
If you have more time in Da Lat, you can try the Canoying day trip at Dalanta waterfall. I heard a lot of good reviews from this one but I didn’t have enough time (only stayed in Da Lat 2 days).
- Address: Dalanta Waterfall, Deo Prenn, Dalat
- Ticket for the roller coaster: 150.000VND/person (about $6.5)
Have a breathtaking view on the top of Langbiang mountain
There is a legend about Langbiang. ‘Langbiang’ is the combination of the name of a guy (K’lang) and a girl (H’biang). Once upon a time, the guy rescued the girl from the wolves in the forest. And then they fell in love at the first sight. Ironically, their parents forbade them to love each other because they come from two different tribes/villages. With the passionate love, the young couple ran away from their families to come to this mountain.
To me, it was a heart touching story and Langbiang is a worthy place to visit. First of all, I paid 30.000VND for the entrance ticket. Secondly, I bought a seat in a shared jeep 60.000VND to go to the top of the mountain. Finally, I had a breathtaking view of Langbiang with the cool fresh air and the clouds surrounding my legs. After 45 minutes walking around and enjoying the view, I went down the mountain with the same jeep.
I had a memorable trip to Da Lat with the spectacular view of Langbiang and the cool weather of the highland.
- Address: Langbiang, Lac Duong town, Dalat
- Ticket: Entrance 30.000VND/person (about $1.3) – Shared jeep 60.000VND (about $2.6)
Explore the Golden Valley
On the way back to the city center from Langbiang, I visited the Golden Valley which is famous for the color of the water.
This place is lovely and immense but I wasn’t really impressed with it. I arrived there in the late afternoon and it rained slightly. I think this place would be perfect for a morning walk.
- Address: Golden Valley, Ankroet, Dalat
- Ticket: 50.000VND/person
Experience local life in Da Lat night market
If you like to eat, shop and join the crowd in the evening, then Da Lat night market is a place for you. This market opens every day and you’ll see many locals as well as Vietnamese tourists here. They eat, they buy, they sell, they make noise and chaos. This a unique atmosphere in Vietnam that I can barely see in the western countries. This is also one of the reasons that I love Vietnam, it’s never boring here when the sun goes down.
I tried many street foods in this market. The one in the photo below looks like a pizza but actually, it’s a grilled Vietnamese rice paper with egg, sausage, paté, green onion and chili sauce. In Vietnamese, we call it “Banh trang nuong” and it was my favorite street food when I was a student:). I highly recommend you to try a street food or practice your bargaining skill in Da Lat night market.
- Address: Cho Da Lat, Phuong 1, Dalat
- Open hours: 5pm – 10pm
I only spent 2 days on my trip in Da Lat and it was too short to discover the whole city with many excellent restaurants, cafes, and tourist attractions. I will share with you more enjoyable experiences when I have a chance to come back here.
Let me know if you have more questions about Da Lat:).