Dalat - Hill station in south Vietnam
Dalat (also spelled as Da Lat) is located 1500 m above sea level on the Langbiang Plateau in the southern parts of the Central Highlands of south Vietnam. The city is nicknamed The City of Eternal Spring and it makes sense considering the mild climate of the hill station.
The architecture if the town still breaths a French colonial atmosphere. With the mild temperature compared to the low lands of south Vietnam it is a popular tourist destination for foreign and local tourists alike.
The former French colonial hill station is a popular honeymoon destination in Vietnam, especially the Xuan Huong lake.
Da Lat is also famous for its many waterfalls and lakes, Probably the most famous is Xuan Huong lake which is a man made lake. It's a lake shaped like the crescent moon.
Things to see are apart of the French architectural buildings the pine wood forests (which is also a problem because of the de-forestation.
Due to the cool climate the whole year around, the area can produce agricultural products as cauliflower and cabbage for the whole country which in other areas not grow too well. Check out the local market for fruits.
The name of the town Dalat, sometimes spelled as Da Lat, originates from the hill tribe people in this region. It literally means Stream of the Lat people.
Bicycling from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Dalat
The distance from Ho Chi Minh City is 308km. The bicycle journey can be done in 3 to 4 days with stops in Bien Hoa, Xuan Loc, Bao Loc and Phu Hoi but in some of the smaller towns in between you may find some basic guesthouses too.
Overall the road goes up and down, especially around Bao Loc and obviously the last 50 km to before the hill station. However, it's not too difficult.
The road continues to Nha Trang which is 215 km. This can be done in 2 or 3 days with stops in Pan Rang and Cam Lam.
The stop in Phan Rang is especially interesting for visiting the nearby Champa ruins and for its American Air Force base in the Vietnam War. More about this on our Nha Trang page.
Accommodation in Dalat
The first hotel in town was build as early as 1907. Nowadays there are plenty. With a population of 120.000 people it is hardly a big city but there are plenty of hotels in all price ranges, from 5 star to backpackers guesthouse. The best cheap hotels, usual can be found with Agoda.com or Tripadvisor.
There are some much cheaper guesthouses. If you need cheaper accommodation, be prepared to bargain hard. Look for signs saying: Mini Hotel. These are usually family run, clean, comfortable and friendly. The Viet Thani is one mini hotel I can recommend with rooms from US$5 to US$ 9 with additional breakfast for around US$1. The hotel has a roof garden, there are Cars, motorbikes and bicycles are for rent and if you need, a guide.
Bus to Dalat
The Sinh and Kim Cafes in Ho Chi Minh City are some of the more popular places to arrange you bus. It takes about 6 to 7 hours, while Dalat - Na Thrang takes 4 to 5 hours. You can also take a local bus which goes the whole day through from both Saigon and Na Thrang. Be prepared for a long and uncomfortable journey. It is however good fun to travel with the local Vietnamese people who seem to bring their whole household in the bus.
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