In a nutshell
Nestled elegantly in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam is the picturesque city of Dalat, which is located in a valley and is surrounded by natural beauty including lakes, mountains and pine-covered hills. Pleasantly warm in the day and refreshingly cool at night, Dalat offers a great alternative, which was originally built by the French. They wanted to escape the heat and humidity of neighbouring Saigon, as well as the general country.
Why go to Dalat
For a city, Dalat is a relaxed and unique place and is not destroyed by the usual frantic pace of city life. The fact that the city centre is quite small does not means that it feels claustrophobic with the horizon of the evergreen hills in sight.
You have come to the right place if you love your adrenaline sports as Dalat has some of the best mountain biking, white water rafting, canyoning and hiking in the country. There are various striking and informative heritage sites dating back to the colonial-era, stunning gardens, local speciality markets, many lakes and falls as well as a massive range of restaurants to choose from.
When to go to Dalat
The weather in Dalat is mild and cool all year round and like many other places in Vietnam, it has dry and rainy seasons.
We advise you to go during the spring- summer months as there isn’t as much rain, so you can really enjoy your holiday being outside. The flowers blossom around February to March and the annual flower festival happens around this time, which makes for a perfect romantic holiday.
Even though there is less rain in the summer months, do take an umbrella with you as drizzle can happen. In the day you can easily wear shorts, t-shirts, dresses but the temperatures drop at night so it is definitely worthwhile packing some warmer clothes like jumpers and coats.
Try to avoid visiting Dalat from October to January because of the high risk of rain.
Accommodation in Dalat
Dalat has a wide choice of accommodation and is generally very reasonable in terms of pricing. In the winter months you can get a room for as little as USD10 per night but the prices rise to almost double in the peak season. Still, there are budget hostels and mid-range homestays to top of the range hotels that operate many facilities.
For a tourist hot-spot, Dalat offers good value for money compared to the rest of the country but we do advise you to book early if going in the summer months to avoid disappointment.
Food in Dalat
One of the great things about the city is that there are countless restaurants in the city to pick from. You can try local dishes and specialities such as nem mrong, which is a grilled pork patty spring roll but you can fill it yourself. You can use many different local and national ingredients like herbs, grilled pork, sweet corn, shallots, carrots, pickled radish and many more and then dipping it into a peanut sauce.
You can also find central and southern Vietnamese dishes as well as a decent selection of Western restaurants. One of the cheapest places for meals is the main market and it is there where you will find a lot of local specialities.
Due to the size of the city, you can walk to most parts of it but if you need to go quite far then there are plenty of motorbike taxis and taxis.
Motorbike taxis are cheaper but taxis are reasonable and there are buses that head to all the main local sites. You can also rent motorbikes and bicycles though do beware you will need a valid Vietnamese drivers license for hiring a motorbike. If you want to hire a car then it’s best to book in advance to avoid the higher prices, which increase in the peak seasons.
Getting in and out
The most popular way getting in and out of the city is by bus. The following routes are a rough guide:
To Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) it takes around 8 hours and costs around USD12.
From Danang it takes 15 hours on the sleeper bus and is around USD20 and from [Nha Trang](/en /travel/nha-trang/dalat-hanh-cafe) it takes 4 hours and costs USD7.
Other routes include Hue (16 hours, USD20), Quang Nhon (10 hours, USD14) and Quang Ngai (USD15).
30kms south of the city you will find the airport which has three airlines, Vietnam Airlines, JetStar and Vietjet Air, and these serve daily domestic flights to and from Hanoi, Danang and HCMC. It takes 2 hours from Hanoi and prices are around USD120, Danang (1 h 20 min, USD100) and HCMC (50 min, USD50).
From the airport you can get the shuttle bus to the city and you can specify your hotel and this costs only a few dollars. There are also taxis to and from the airport and this works out around USD7.
The train station is more of a tourist attraction as it only goes to Trai Mat, which is 7km away but you can get a train to Thap Cham, which is 100km from Dalat and get a bus from there. Alternatively, you can get the train to Nha Trang, which is 135km and catch the bus there.
Safety in Dalat
The friendly and relaxed vibe of Dalat sets the scene for being a safe city. Common sense prevails still, don’t’ show off anything of particular value and keep your belongings safe as you would anywhere in the world.