If you find yourself struggling with the humidity and heat of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hoi An, why not consider a trip to Da Lat? Set in the country’s Central Highlands, the temperatures are much more manageable here, and it feels fresh.
There’s more to Da Lat than favorable temperatures. The town is popular among domestic and international tourists, who come for Vietnam’s best coffee, adventure sports such as canyoning and stand up paddleboarding, and the town’s impressive French colonial architecture.
It can be hard to decide how to spend a weekend in Da Lat with so much to do. In this post, we’ll give you some ideas about the best things to do - so you won’t miss anything on your trip!
The first thing to do on arrival in Da Lat is to get checked in and settled in your city center accommodation. Then, it’s out to explore your immediate surroundings! See Where to Stay in Da Lat.
To get your bearings in Da Lat, head to Xuan Huong Lake, the city's focal point. The banana-like shaped artificial lake was built in the early 20th century by the French. The 7km path that circles the lake is perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling. Should you want to walk around the lake, don’t be surprised if local people approach you, as they like chatting to foreigners and finding out more about their cultures.
The lake had its name changed to honor a 17th-century anti-authoritarian poet in 1953. Before that, it had the less imaginative name of Grand Lac.
Walking or cycling around Xuan Huong Lake is the perfect introduction to Da Lat.
The first thing to look for on a Da Lat morning is coffee. Robusta is everywhere here - and it’s the best coffee in Vietnam. Try a drip coffee with condensed milk or an egg. A significant energy boost before your daily dose of Da Lat’s adventure sports.
Choose either renting a jeep or taking a three-hour hike to reach the peak of Langbiang Mountain in Nui Ba National Park. For a height of 2,167 meters, you can see across the entirety of Da Lat City. Entrance to the national park costs 40,000 VND, but it’s worth every dong. On your way up, look out for more than 200 species of endemic birds and countless flora, fauna, and orchids. There are several waterfalls in the national park too.
If this hike sounds a little tricky, you could also consider hiking up to the Linh Son or Linh Phong pagodas or taking a walk through Da Lat Flower Park.
If you’re not too tired after scaling Lang Biang National Park, make for the Hang Nga Villa before dinner. But what’s so special about a villa? Well, seeing it’s other name - the crazy house - might help to clear that up.
The Crazy House is an example of expressionist architecture, and it’s a beautiful place to watch the sunset. There are themed rooms too if you’d like to stay the night.
If you’ve hiked up Langbiang Mountain on Saturday, you won’t want to do a strenuous and challenging activity. But, you’ll probably still want to take in the beautiful natural surroundings of Da Lat. That’s where stand up paddle boarding comes in. This gentle board sport is the ideal way to see Tuyen Lam Lake, one of the highlights of Da Lat.
Paddleboarding is not hard to learn, even if you’re a beginner. It's best to visit for SUP from February to May just 5km from the city center and situated at 1,500 meters above sea level.
As well as stand up paddleboarding, there are several other activities on offer at Tuyen Lam Lake. You can enjoy boating or fishing, or if you want to stay completely dry, go on a hike instead.
If you still have time left over after visiting Tuyen Lam Lake, you could also take the cable car up to Truc Lam Lake. The serene and peaceful temple is a wonderful spot for taking in the impressive views and getting photos.
A busy day of outdoor activities in Da Lat, don't forget to treat yourself to the best and most traditional food in Da Lat at the night market!
Located just north of the Light Park and the Western tip of Xuan Huong Lake, you can try a whole range of Vietnamese dishes here. We’d recommend Bang Trang Nuong - otherwise known as Vietnamese pizza. The base is a rice paper wrapper!
Find out more Things to do in Da Lat at Night!
It’s time to book your trip. For authentic tours to explore Da Lat and several other cool destinations in Vietnam, check out iTour Vietnam. The site will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Vietnam and seeing more than just what the average tourist does. Check out the website for itineraries, travel guides, and other practical information before setting off on your trip of a lifetime!
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