Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat as a stopover on your Vietnam vacation. Dalat is an oddity, but a delightful one. While tropical heat and Socialist architecture define much of Vietnam, mild temperatures and colonial architecture are more Dalat’s beat. You’ll think you were in the French Alps instead of Southeast Asia, which makes sense as the French built the city in the early twentieth century as a resort getaway. Today, the city is Vietnam’s honeymoon capital, which leans into its European heritage with its eccentric Eiffel Tower-themed radio tower and “Valley of Love,” complete with swan boats. Dalat might ring as kitschy to some, but a few days here will be a highlight of any trip to Vietnam. Explore the city centre to take in the city’s oddball charms, including the Hang Nga Guesthouse, dubbed the “Crazy House” for its Alice in Wonderland-style architecture. However, you’ll want to escape to the surrounding hillsides to get a fuller sense of the region’s appeal.
The hills around Dalat are dotted with pagodas, waterfalls, picturesque inclines, as well as plantations for fruits not normally grown in Vietnam. For instance, temperatures and elevations allow farmers to grow strawberries instead of rice. Hire one of the veteran motorbike guides, dubbed Easy Riders, to drive you around for an authentic experience of the city and its region. It might be unconventional, but it’ll allow you access to sights not normally offered in Vietnam tour packages, and you’ll get amazing information from a guide with a wealth of experience. The surrounding hills and lakes are also ideal if you want to whitewater raft or race through the hills on the back of a motorcycle.
What to Expect
On your maiden visit to the Big Apple, be sure to allow a minimum of three days so you can take a breath and enjoy all the city has to offer without being in transit every moment of your trip. The following will only scratch the surface of what to expect but will arm you with information to feel confident during your time in New York City.