This former French colonial outpost in the mountainous Central Highlands enjoys a cooler climate than the rest of the south of Vietnam. This fact led to the establishment of the town in 1897 by the French ruling administration as an escape from the tropical summer heat of Saigon. It was also a great favourite of the last Emperor of Vietnam. The French designed the town with boulevards and French-style villas, many of which remain today, and coupled with the cooler climate, give the town a noticeably French atmosphere.
Today, Dalat is popular with Vietnamese newlyweds, and those wishing to escape the heat and humidity of southern Vietnam. The surrounding countryside is a big draw as the mountainous terrain is stunning. The cooler climate enables the cultivation of many different types of fruit, vegetables and other crops that would not grow in other parts of the south. Tea and coffee plantations are regular sights around Dalat, as are the numerous fruit farms and even wineries. Some of these are open to visitors. There are also many pagodas and temples and pretty hilltribe villages within the misty hills. Another attraction surrounding Dalat are the large numbers of very picturesque waterfalls, and there are hiking trails taking visitors past the falls, with wonderful views.
If on an extended tailormade tour of Vietnam, including Dalat enables the visitor to appreciate a different side to the tropical south than most people think of when considering Vietnam. A stay here is a wonderful contrast to the hot plains of the Mekong Delta and the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City. As it’s a relatively short distance from the coast at Nha Trang or Phan Thiet, we would recommend combining Dalat with a beach break at one of the stunning boutique resorts on the southern Vietnamese coast.
The best time of year to visit Dalat is from November to March. At this time, the weather should be dry and one can easily appreciate the contrast between the hot plains and the cool Dalat climate. This is also when the town will be at its liveliest with local visitors.
Features in the following itineraries
- Leslie Siben, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka