Dalat, Vietnam is a magical place. Dalat’s only drawback is having too many great attractions and activities. We spent a week there, and we still didn’t get to do and see everything. If you have less time to spend in Dalat, you will have to make a lot of hard choices, but that’s a very cool problem to have. So here are our favorite things about Dalat, Vietnam – grouped by category. We’ll also discuss some things that we’d do differently.
1.WATERFALLS AROUND DALAT
There are a dozen waterfalls around Dalat. None of them are Niagra-esque, but they are quaint, pretty, and quite fun. Most have gardens, parks, and a number of unexpected amusements. The waterfalls top everyone’s ‘to do’ list, and we really enjoyed the ones we saw.
- Pongour Falls are the most tranquil and the biggest.
- Prenn Falls are the most fun and romantic.
- Datanla Falls are the most fun and adventurous.
- Elephant Falls are the most powerful and immersive.
What we’d do differently – well, we really wouldn’t do it differently, but next time we want to see the waterfalls in the rainy season. Timing is a big trade off in Dalat. The waterfalls are best from June – August during the heavy rains. Not coincidentally – this is also the time when hordes of Vietnamese tourists visit the waterfalls. So the falls are better to see then, but not as great to visit with the dense crowds. Also, some other great sites and experiences around Dalat are better in the dry season, so we’re happy with our choice overall. If you’re absolute, top priority is seeing the waterfalls, come from June – August. They will be in full force then.
Whoa. The scenery of Dalat is beautiful. In addition to the streams and waterfalls, there are lush, green, rolling highlands for as far as you can see. And you can really get out there to enjoy it. The weather is always cooler and less humid than the rest of Vietnam. Some of the best places to view the scenery are atop Robin Hill, from Truc Lam Zen Monastery, and from the cable car that connects those 2 sites.
What we’d do differently – We’d climb Lang Biang Mountain. At 7117 feet tall, this is the highest peak in the region and has the best panoramic views. It supposed to be a relatively easy 2-3 hour hike.
3. TEMPLES, PAGODAS, AND BIG BUDDHAS
We’ve seen so many gorgeous temples in even more gorgeous natural settings. We’re not experts on Buddhist philosophy, but in our experience, Buddhists really love a great view.
Truc Lam Zen Monastery is a prime example. Truc Lam is a big complex of lovely buildings and gardens. We spent hours walking around and enjoying the view of Tuyen Lam Lake and the hilly countryside.
Van Hanh Pagoda also has a good view pretty gardens, but the star of this pagoda is a 79 feet tall Golden Buddha. What a sight! We visited on a bright sunny day. The Golden Buddha was absolutely radiant and visible for miles.
Linh Phuoc Pagoda. The location of Linh Phuoc Pagoda is less scenic, but the building themselves are the most elaborate and unique. The façade and walls are decorated with plates, bowls, and … 12,000 broken beer bottles. There are several weird and wonderful edifices right next door, including a 161 feet long Dragon and a 67 feet tall Lady Buddha made of 2 tons of fresh Dalat flowers.
Linh An Temple is the happy home of the Happy Buddha. This Buddha is 50 feet tall, but the biggest thing about him is his personality. You’ve got to see this statue and rub his belly.
What we’d do differently – We would visit all these places again, but we would also visit Lam Ty Ni Pagoda. The special attraction of this pagoda is the monk, Vien Thuc, affectionately known as the “Crazy Monk.” He is by all accounts a truly special person. He is an accomplished craftsman, builder, gardener, and artist. His paintings are world famous. He is fluent in several languages, AND he loves to engage visitors in mundane, humorous, or philosophical conversations (remember he is a highly educated monk). We would have loved meeting and talking with Vien Thuc. Hopefully, we can do so in the future. Maybe you’ll get a chance when you visit?
Romance comes easy in Dalat. Great weather. Picturesque scenery. Dramatic architecture. An abundance of lakes. And an infinity of flowers. Here are a couple romantic nature spots we enjoyed.
The Valley of Love is a huge property that combines the natural landscape, a large lake, a sprawling botanical garden, and lots of whimsy. We spent hours at the Valley of Love and found it to be as amusing as it was romantic. The gardens seem to go on forever are perfectly manicured. Quirky and beautiful flower sculptures and displays extend from the main entrance, deep into the park, then down the steep hill the lake. There have to be billions of flowers. We strolled around the lake through more pretty flower displays and sitting areas. The benches around the lake are made for lovers. They are spaced out so each couple has a bit of privacy. Even though it was the dry season, we got a light rain shower that made our time even more romantic of we huddled together in a gazebo.
Tuyen Lam Lake is the largest lake in the region and is a few miles outside of Dalat city. Tuyen Lam Lake is a great spot for couples looking to spend some alone time in some gorgeous natural scenery. Firstly, its more remote location keeps most other tourists away. We only saw a few other people in our many visits to the lake. Secondly, the lake is seriously huge of with lots of room for everyone. There are a few walking piers and paddle boat rental places around the lake. Just about any random spot is great for a nice stroll. And we had a lovely time riding an elephant along the lake.
Cable Cars are at several locations around Dalat. You can find them at some waterfalls like Datanla and Prenn. The most romantic cable car ride is the one we mentioned above for scenic views. This cable car connects the peak of Robin Hill to the main entrance of Truc Lam Zen Monastery. It’s a long ride that affords lots of time to steal a kiss as you enjoy the beautiful view from above.
Are you traveling to Dalat? What things interest you?
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