5 things you should do while traveling Dalat, Vietnam

Curated by BuffaloTripJuly 1, 2016 Viewed: 1103

We didn’t expect to spend so much time in Dalat, but after ten days we had trouble tearing ourselves away! It’s a charming city in the mountains of Vietnam, perfect for couples looking for a romantic retreat, adventurers looking to get outside, foodies looking to eat — basically, us! Dalat has something for everyone! More than anything, I suggest you take a long walk around Dalat. There is so much to see, various flower parks, cute neighborhoods, old French mansions, and more. If you’re planning a trip to Dalat {as you should!}, feel free to shoot me an email for more suggestions. Otherwise, here are my top five things I think everyone should do in Dalat, in no particular order.

Cable car to Truc Lam pagoda

We started out just wanting to take the cable car {like a gondola at a ski resort} for the view, but when we arrived at the top, we were blown away. We hadn’t really known what we were going to see, and ended up loving our time at the monastery! Truc Lam is a zen monastery sitting on the edge of Tuyen Lam Lake. The same lake we stayed on at Binh An Village! The monastery sits on a huge swatch of forested land, a small portion of which have various buildings and temples. You can walk around the flower gardens and temples, see monks walking peacefully in their orange robes, take in a view of the lake. We were, randomly, interviewed by a Vietnamese Tourism TV crew who asked us what we felt while visiting the monastery. Both of us could think of no better word than “peaceful” — it was such a calm, serene environment. I was ready to move in! The cable car ride was worth it, too, for a great view of Dalat and the mountains.

Pongour waterfall

About 40 kilometers south of Dalat you’ll find Pongour Waterfall. You can arrange for a tour, or rent a motorbike and make your way down there on your own! We stopped on our way out of town en route to Mui Ne, and I’m glad we did! You have to make a steep climb down to the bottom of the waterfall, but the view is absolutely worth it. Be careful on the slippery rocks, and have fun taking in the scene!

Discover more Pongour Falls at here.

Canyoning (aka canyoneering)

I was skeptical about this, since it was rainy and semi-cold while we were in Dalat, but we had SO MUCH FUN! I rappelled down a waterfall while I was in Colombia and loved it, but this was that times one hundred — way more action. Overall you’ll rappel down two large waterfalls, one dry cliff, do one cliff jump (7 or 10 meters), float down the river, slide down a rock slide {feet first, head first, with a buddy, alone, etc.}, and do plenty of rocky scrambling. Choosing your outfitter is really important here! There are a lot of different tour companies that do this trip, but most have huge groups {20+ people} and rush you through everything. Not only is that less enjoyable, it’s dangerous! You need to be sure you’re comfortable with your skills, the equipment, etc. and being rushed prevents that. We went with Pine Track Adventures, and they were awesome. They keep groups small, have FAR superior equipment {like ropes, which we were appalled at when we saw the other companies’ ropes in terrible condition}, fabulous guides, and really take care of you and make sure you have fun! Our guides were Ting and Tang, and they were both incredible — spoke perfect English, were funny, kind, and incredibly caring. Highly recommended! If I didn’t die, you won’t either!

Read more Canyoning in Dalat at here.

Motorbike to Lak lake

If you want to experience a little bit of the central highlands motorbike experience, this is a great one-day drive from Dalat! Lak Lake is beautiful, surrounded by rice paddies and ELEPHANTS {!!}, and great place to spend a quiet night outside of the city. You can go by yourself, or hire one of the many “Easy Riders” in Dalat to take you up there for an overnight. From there you can either continue up to Buon Ma Thuot and see coffee and tea plantations before making your way back to Dalat or down to Nha Trang on the beach.

Winmill coffee

We were shocked at the abundance of cute coffee shops in Dalat. It seemed like every three doors we’d run across another! Windmills is a chain {I saw at least two in Dalat}, but has not lost its charm! They keep eclectic vases full of fresh flowers, play incredible 90s pop music, and make a mean matcha latte! We spent one day working here and really enjoyed the atmosphere.

BONUS: If Derek had written this list, he’d no doubt include the Crazy House. It’s definitely worth seeing {it really is crazy!}, but didn’t quite make my top five!

Read more Dalat travel guide at here.