One of my favourite things about backpacking is the exchange with other travellers. I found that you get the best tipps on where to go from others. A guy I met in the north of Vietnam told me about Dalat, a city that’s so different from the rest of Vietnam and I luckily followed his advice!
The small mountain town has so much to offer, there’s a cable car that brings you to the Truc Lam Monastery from the outskirts of the city. The monastery is one of the nicest ones I’ve seen in Vietnam. It has a very peaceful vibe, beautiful gardens and the buildings are well kept.
It’s a very popular destination for tourists, so it can get quite busy. I’d recommend heading there early so you can enjoy the stunning gardens and the view over the valley peacefully!
The countryside here is very different from the rest of Vietnam. It’s so green, the air feels clean and the climate is a bit more to European standarts than the rest of the country.
One of my favourite things to do whilst travelling, is visiting markets. the market in Dalat is exactly how you’d imagine it. It’s loud, incredibly crowded and sells everything from shoes to pets and vegetables. Also, people ride their scooters through the tiny alleys! May it be crowded or not!
The centre of Dalat is located next to a huge lake. Me and my friend from the hostel decided to use a sunny day for a walk around the lake and discovered the Dalat Flower Gardens which really show the diversity of plants in the area.
My personal highlight of visiting Dalat was the 100 Roofs Café. It’s very hard to describe, the best I’ve come up with, is that it’s a multiple-story building that’s been turned into a maze. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like unless you’ve been there but it’s basically a playground for adults!
The café was built by a Vietnamese man who you will see there occasionally. I met him in the garden one day and he stopped me, starting reading my palm and was able to tell me things from my past and about my future. I’m definitely not someone who would believe in things like this, but my experience with him felt incredibly surreal. By far one of my favourite travel moments ever!
Another highlight of Dalat was the mall! Finding a well stocked supermarket in Southeast Asia is always fab as you might be able to get some things that remind you of home!
On a visit to Dalat, you should definitely stop by the Crazy House. The idea is quite similar to the 100 Roofs Café in that it’s a maze of buildings with an enchanted garden surrounding the fairytale buildings. It’s so much fun to browse around and discover the little details of the house. There’s also a guesthouse inside which looks insane!
If you’re looking for restaurant recommendations, I’d highly advise a visit to the 12.000 Dong Restaurant which is owned by a monk and helps support poor people in Dalat. They serve soup and spring rolls which are delicious!
Where to stay: Tiny Tigers Hostel ($5 per night in a shared dorm)
What to eat: 12.000 Dong Restaurant
What to do: Explore the Hang Nga Crazy House, visit the night market, drink tea & play hide and seek at the 100 Roofs Café, go canyoning, look at flowers at the Dalat Flower Gardens, take a stroll around the lake & check out the French Quarter with its beautiful colonial houses!
Have you been to Dalat yet or are you interested in visiting less popular destinations in Vietnam?