Dalat is a city in the southern part of central highlands of Vietnam. It is close to 5000ft above sea level and is much cooler than the rest of the places I’ve visited so far. In fact, Da Lat means “City of eternal spring” as the valleys are covered in mist all year round.
Da Lat streets and markets, which resemble a small French town, spread out around the big Xuan Huong lake, are dotted with vendors selling fruit and flowers and homemade strawberry and mulberry jams.
I am here during the wet season so it rains pretty much everyday but unlike the monsoons in India the time of the rains is very predictable. The days usually starts with a lot of sunshine which gives me time to be enjoy the city before noon when it starts getting cloudy. It continues to get darker while the rain gods tease me with thunder and then an hour later the heavens open up for a couple of hours. This too passes for the sun to come out again. Unlike the rest of Vietnam where it’s hot and humid all day long, Da Lat enjoys much cooler mornings and evenings which has provided me with much needed respite from the heat of the last few weeks.
There’s quite a bit to do around Da Lat which led me to extend my stay here by a day or two. I spent one looong day on the motorbike, riding 120kms through twisting roads on pinewood covered hills, visiting Truc Lam Pagoda pagoda, the Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Lang Bianc village and the Elephant waterfalls.
There’s also the Crazy House which is listed as one of the worlds most bizarre houses. The house resembles a giant tree and has multiple rooms on a few levels all interconnected by stairs that feel like a maze. Definitely an interesting experience and worth going to.
Another day was dedicated to simply walking around the town (and the massive night market) to sample street food. This day was super fun coz as it turns out Sev is as much of a foodie as me so by sharing dishes we were able to eat Mi Quang noodles, cookies smeared with fresh strawberry jam, steamed pancakes, rice pancakes, bahn mi, chicken vermicelli, fried sweet buns with sesame seeds and fried dough sticks dipped in ice cream all in one day! Even though this was spread out over lunch and dinner we were surprised at how much food we could gobble down! But I think we burned a lot of it off by walking around the town (I am pretty good at deluding myself sometimes).
All in all, a wonderful stay in a beautiful city, something that should not to be missed on a trip to Vietnam!