The Ultimate Guide to Dalat

If you are looking for a romantic yet adventurous getaway in Vietnam, Dalat is the number one choice without question. Dalat is the capital city of Lam Dong province and situated towards the south of the Central Highlands. This “city of Eternal Spring” sits in a gorgeous valley on the Langbian Plateau at an altitude of 1,500 metres. Thus it is blessed with a unique pleasant climate, ideally fertile soil and rich natural surroundings, including vast pine forests, scenic waterfalls, and green mountains. Not only the picturesque landscapes but also the French presence in the architecture that draws visitors to this hill town. Read on our ultimate guide for more charming aspects of Dalat and to know your best way around Vietnam’s “little Paris”!

dalat ultimate guide

When to visit Dalat?

Weather patterns

Dalat is referred to as “the city of eternal spring” for a reason. If you get bothered easily by the sweltering heat of typical tropical weather, Dalat offers a retreat from all that. It is the year-round temperate climate that makes the uniqueness of this touristy hill town.

There are two distinct seasons in Da Lat. The rainy season starts from May to November while the dry season takes place between December and April. The temperature tends to remain pleasantly warm during the day and go down (sometimes by as much as 10°C) at night. That’s why packing your jackets is advisable to prevent yourself from getting a cold by the night chills, especially in the dry season. Otherwise, an alternative is heading to local markets where a wide range of puffy layers are up for grabs with absolutely reasonable prices.

Such specific weather patterns also apply in the summer. Dalat does witness a summer of its own, yet to a much lesser extent compared to any other places in the country. There is a slight increase in the temperature but things still get cooler at night. The “summer peak” falls between May and July, with May being the hottest month at 32°C on average. Occasional drizzle in the afternoon is expected.

Dalat weather

Best time to visit

The ideally moderate weather makes Dalat a good place to visit all year round. The city carries its distinctive charms in different periods of the year with a variety of flowers blooming taking turns. Meanwhile, we recommend you make the most of the spring (January to March) here. The blooming apricot flowers embellish the streets with the poetic pink hue, making springs the most beautiful season of the year. Additionally, you would be able to participate in unique local festivals during this time such as the Dalat Flower Festival (held every 2 years), Cherry Blossom Festival (held in January each year), Gongs Festival and Worshiping the God of Stream Festival (held in March each year).

Whereas, you may consider postponing your plan to visit Dalat between June and August if you are acutely conscious of getting wet and big crowds. Since these months come with frequent rainfalls and are the peak season for domestic tourists who come to Dalat to look for a respite from the boiling summer heat. Otherwise, Dalat Rain Festival held annually in August promises rain lovers and couples with quaint and memorable experiences that define the romantic essence of this little Paris.

How to get there and around?

How to get there?


Dalat is easily accessible from Hanoi, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, Saigon or Muine by daily domestic flights which land at Lien Khuong Airport. This apparently takes the shortest amount of time of around less than two hours, depending on your departing place. Airfares range from $45 to $90 one way for economy class.

Upon arrival, to reach the city centre, which is 30 km away from Lien Khuong Airport, you can hail a taxi at a fixed rate at around $10. Reliable taxi companies to look for include Mai Linh Taxi, Thang Loi Taxi and Lado Taxi. While GrabTaxi is available in Dalat, its fare is not necessarily cheaper compared to of mentioned brands. A cheaper yet slower alternative is to board a shuttle bus with only $2 (possible dropoffs to hotels included).


Public Buses

Taking a public bus is favourable if you leave from Nha Trang, Saigon or Muine. Each journey will take you approximately 4-8 hours and $6-11. Phuong Trang (Futa Bus) is the recommended company of all. Otherwise, though cheaper than by air (around $30), a drive of more than one day would be dreadful should you come from as far as, say, Hanoi. Hiring a minivan, or a private driver is also a more comfortable and convenient option to take into account.



This transport option is not recommended unless you are budget-conscious and have a generous amount of time. Currently, Da Lat railway station is operating as a tourist attraction that offers a scenic journey to Trai Mat only. Accordingly, direct intercity trains to Dalat are unavailable. This leaves you with two alternatives: Thap Cham railway station (Phan Rang, Ninh Thuan Province) which is 100 kilometres away and Nha Trang railway station which is 135 kilometres away. From both stops, you can find local buses leaving for Dalat at around $4 within 2-3 hours duration: Hien An Bus from Phan Rang and Phuong Trang Bus from Nha Trang. The whole journey could take you up to 2 days depending on your departing location.


getting around

Since in-town landmarks are generally within easy reach, walking or renting a bike is an ideal eco-friendly and proactive way to explore the charms of Dalat yourself. Note that you won’t find any cyclo (xe ôm) in this highland town. Alternatively, horse-drawn carriages are on offer for dreamers to soak up the colonial and poetic surrounding of Dalat.

Meanwhile, local buses offer cost-friendly transfers to tourist sites away from the city centre. Should you look for more convenient options, cabs and motorbike taxis (xe om) are around the corners at your service. Or else, feel the ease to book with GrabTaxi and GrabBike with Grab app on your phone. If you are with a big group, car rental services are available for your convenience from $50.

What to see?

Top Attractions


Dalat Flower Garden

  • Opening hours: 07:30 – 16:00
  • Price: 40,000 VND/ adult & 20,000 VND/ child
  • Location: 2 Tran Quoc Toan, Ward 8, Dalat

Wonder how Dalat earns its name “the city of thousands of flowers”, the Dalat Flower Garden (Vườn Hoa Thành Phố) has all the answers. Going northwards from Xuan Huong Lake, you will come across a collection of gardens covered with more than 300 different kinds of flowers, namely orchids, hydrangeas, roses, mimosas, cactus and peach blossoms. Stop by Dalat Flower Garden for a peaceful respite from the city’s hustle and bustle!

Dalat Train Station

  • Opening hours: 7:00 – 17:00
  • Entrance fee: 5,000 VND
  • Location: 1 Quang Trung Street, French Quarter, Ward 10, Dalat

Designed by the French in the 1930s, Dalat Train Station (Ga Đà Lạt) reflects the Art Deco style that highlights the typical colonial architecture in the middle of town. Following the Vietnam War, this spot was terribly destroyed by bombs and thus abandoned for quite a while. In 1991, this sole train station of Dalat was finally put back to operation yet only as a tourist attraction. The exterior features three high-pointed roofs that depict the three peaks of the Lang Biang Mountain. Whereas, some say this structure resembles the iconic communal houses (nhà rông) of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands region. Here you can expect to admire multiple national presences at one place: French ancient architectures, Japanese old steam locomotive and Swiss unique cog railway.

Art deco train station of Dalat
Credit: @bgfotologue (Flickr)
Bao Dai Summer Palace in Dalat

Bao Dai Summer Palace

  • Opening hours: 07:00 – 17:30
  • Price: 15,000 VND per adult or child over 1.2 meters high
  • Location: 1 Trieu Viet Vuong street, Dalat

Bao Dai Summer Palace (Dinh Bảo Đại) is another must-see French landmark featuring the antique art deco influence. Built on the hilltop with pine forest surroundings, Palace III was the summer home of King Bao Dai, Vietnam’s last emperor before 1954. As touring through all 25 rooms within the two-storey villa, you’ll gain interesting history insights into the royal residence of Bao Dai and his family back in the time. The harmonious scenic exterior space combining pine forests, flower gardens, lakes and plant pots will surely add highlights to your visit.

Hang Nga Guest House

  • Opening hours: 07:00 – 18:00
  • Price: 40,000 VND/ adult & 10,000 VND/ child
  • Location: 3 Huynh Thuc Khang Street, Dalat

If you happen to be an admirer of Gaudí’s famous architectural works in Barcelona, the Hang Nga guesthouse (Biệt thự Hằng Nga) in Dalat may capture your attention at the very first sight. Also known as the Crazy House, this wacky structure was designed by a local Vietnamese architect, Dang Viet Nga. A tour around the house will surely bring your back to your childhood Disneyland dream. Prepare yourself to get wowed be several quirky architectural elements, namely uneven windows, spiralling staircases, cave-shaped rooms, ornamental mushrooms, spider webs, animals and so forth.

Hang Nga Guest House aka Crazy House in Dalat
Instagram: @aleksandr.klimenko



Valley of Love

  • Opening hours: 07:00 – 17:00
  • Price: 250,000 VND/ adult, including swan boat paddling, electric car, plus entrance to Mong Mo Hill (Doi Mong Mo)
  • Location: 7 Mai Anh Dao Street, Ward 8, Dalat

As you can tell from the name, Valley of Love (Thung Lũng Tình Yêu) is a must-visit for couples and honeymooners. Located 5 km north of Da Lat city centre, the Valley of Love featuring rolling green hills, colourful flower gardens and the tranquil Da Thien Lake at its heart, offers picturesque and romantic spaces where visitors can enjoy jogging, cycling, paddle-boating and horse-riding altogether.

The Valley of Love in Dalat
Dalat view from Lang Biang mountain
Credit: @mingkkkki (Instagram)

Lang Biang Mountain

If you are up for hiking challenges, head 12km further north from the city centre for Langbiang Mountain. A hike of roughly 3 hours will get you onto the roof of Dalat, where you can immerse in the love story legend behind the name Lang Biang. Or else, take a jeep ride with only 60,000 VND to save your feet instead. The 2300-metre peaks offer a bird’s eye view of the unspoiled Golden and Silver Stream, as well as the lush endless valley of Dalat, dotted with green pine forests and tribal villages.



Dalanta Falls in Dalat
Credit: @asherrry19 (Instagram)

Dalanta Falls

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 18:00
  • Price: 30,000 VND/ adult and 10,000 VND/ child
  • Location: Ward 3, Da Lat

Just around 6 km from Da Lat City, Datanla Falls is an ideal place for you to immerse yourself in the scenic settings. You can either hike up the hills and explore the forests or swim in the pure water. Additionally, there is a wide range of fun activities available, with which you may need to challenge your brain and your heart, including alpine roller-coasters, cable cars, abseiling and cliff jumping. Taking photos in front of this stunning 7-tiered waterfall in ethnic minority costumes or dining in stilt restaurants with thatched roofs at the site are options to experience the minority cultures.

Tuyen Lam Lake

  • Location: Ward 3, Da Lat

Once you already reach Dalanta Waterfall, remember not to miss Tuyen Lam Lake (Hồ Tuyền Lâm), which is only 2 km away. This biggest lake in Lam Dong is 7 km south of Dalat city centre and believed to be the place where stream (tuyền) and forest (lâm) intersect. The lush pine forests and green hills surrounding the lake at the foot of Phung Hoang mountain makes it the perfect nature retreat without question. There are several eco-friendly activities on offer at the site you can choose from such as kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, elephant riding, etc.

Tuyen Lam Lake in Dalat
Credit: @Cattuong Ngo (Flickr)
Truc Lam Pagoda in Dalat
Credit: @jasonabrahamphotography (Instagram)

Truc Lam Pagoda

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
  • Price: 30,000 VND/ adult & 15,000 VND/ child
  • Location: Ward 3, Dalat

Truc Lam Pagoda (Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm) is within easy walking distance from Tuyen Lam Lake, therefore, is recommended to be the next stop of your southwards drive. This Zen Buddhist monastery is up to now the largest pagoda in Dalat. Sitting on top of a hill and surrounded by dense pine forests, Truc Lam Pagoda offers a pure meditation space for your peace of mind.

Linh Phuoc Pagoda

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
  • Location: 120 Tu Phuoc, Trai Mat Village, Dalat

Are you a fan of pagodas with one-of-a-kind architectures? No need to find anywhere else, since Dalat offers what you’re looking for. Located roughly 8 km outside the city centre, Linh Phuoc Pagoda is well-known for its quirky Dalat look featuring colourful broken pottery and glass pieces. Specifically, locals refer to the pagoda as chùa Ve Chai (Bottle pagoda) for its symbolic 49-metre-long dragon statue, which is made out of more than 12,000 recycled beer bottles. Are you also excited to witness the tallest Quan Am Bodhisattva statue and ring the tallest bell tower in the country in person? Come and find out even more wacky sides of this Buddhist shrine

Linh Phuoc pagoda in Dalat



Elephant Falls near Dalat

Elephant Falls

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
  • Price: 10,000 VND/ adult & 5,000 VND/ child
  • Location: Nam Ban Village, Lam Ha district, Lam Dong

Situated 28km away to the southwest of Dalat, Elephant Falls (Thác Voi) is a perfect retreat for adventurers to get surrounded by the wild scenery. Especially for ones with a thirst for water splashes, it would be fun to squeeze yourself through caves to and get doused with cool sprays as you get behind the falls. You can also move towards this way through the lush pine forests to get to the nearby Linh An Pagoda.

Linh An Pagoda

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
  • Location: Nam Ban Village, Lam Ha district, Lam Dong

Upon arriving at the Elephant Fall, you won’t fail to notice the towering 54-metre statue of Guan Yin Bodhisattva adjacent to it. Sitting on the mountain at an altitude of 1080m, Linh An Pagoda (chùa Linh Ẩn) offers scenic surroundings for your peaceful refuge. Apart from the display of around 500 3-metre high statues of Guan Yin Bodhisattva in the garden, the giant Happy Buddha with a big smile on his face is another iconic symbol of Linh An Pagoda that would capture your interests.

Linh An pagoda in Dalat
Credit: sophiechapron (Instagram)
Pongour Falls in Dalat
Credit: lewiens (Instagram)

Pongour Falls

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
  • Location: Nam Ban Village, Lam Ha district, Lam Dong

Upon arriving at the Elephant Fall, you won’t fail to notice the towering 54-metre statue of Guan Yin Bodhisattva adjacent to it. Sitting on the mountain at an altitude of 1080m, Linh An Pagoda (chùa Linh Ẩn) offers scenic surroundings for your peaceful refuge. Apart from the display of around 500 3-metre high statues of Guan Yin Bodhisattva in the garden, the giant Happy Buddha with a big smile on his face is another iconic symbol of Linh An Pagoda that would capture your interests.

What to do?

Top activities

1. Take a stroll around Xuan Huong Lake

Located at the very heart of Dalat, Xuan Huong Lake (Hồ Xuân Hương) is the symbol of this city of spring. While strolling across the lake via the 6-kilometre circumference footpath, you can enjoy the picturesque surroundings filled with pine forests, meadows and gardens. It is also ideal for families and couples to ride the swan paddle boats while soaking up the tranquil and poetic vibe on the lake and adoring the magnificent architecture of Thuy Ta Pavilion.

Soak up the fresh air across Xuan Huong lake in Dalat
Credit: @zupyy (Instagram)

2. Admire the French-styled architectural relics

Dalat is undoubtedly the “Le Petit Paris” or “little Paris” of Vietnam given an abundance of old colonial structures scattered around the city. For architecture enthusiasts, apart from the retro train station, there are plenty of French-styled worth-visiting landmarks on offer such as Dalat Cathedral (Nhà Thờ Con Gà), Domaine De Marie Church (Nhà Thờ Mai Anh), Teachers’ Training College (Trường Cao đẳng Sư phạm Đà Lạt), The Pasteur Institute (Công ty Vắc xin Pasteur Đà Lạt) and French Quarter’s summer homes and hotels. Additionally, you can catch a sight of a mini Eiffel Tower-shaped radio tower in the city centre.

3. Board on a cable car to Truc Lam Pagoda

To adore the spectacular hill-top views and endless pine forests around Dalat city, you should definitely spare a few bucks for a cable car ride here. The 12-minute journey from the Robin Hill terminus will bring you to the heavenly Tuyen Lam Lake, from which you can continue exploring several religious sites (including Truc Lam and Linh Phuoc Pagoda) and local markets on foot. The round ticket will cost only 70,000 VND for the whole thrilling ride.

Cable ride over Robin hill in Dalat

4. Hop on the train to Trai Mat Village

Upon visiting Dalat Train Station, you may wish to go back in time on the one-and-only vintage wooden train of Dalat to Trai Mat Village (Làng Trại Mát). The 30-minute ride through the scenic countryside offers close-up looks at terraces and gardens on both sides which are covered with flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

The Old Train of Dalat
Credit: @livetravelasia (Instagram)

This is also an alternative way to reach Linh Phuoc Pagoda and Truc Lam Pagoda. It will take you only a 5-minute walk from Trai Mat. The round-trip ticket is for sale every day at 124,000 VND. There are five trains under operation per day at 07:45, 09:50, 11:55, 14:00 and 16:05. 

5. Go canyoning at the waterfalls

Canyoning should top your bucket list in Dalat without question! Various natural rocky waterfalls are easily accessible from the city making adventure activities the highlight of your nature excursions. There is an abundance of reputable local agencies that would ensure your thrilling yet safe experiences. Your job is simple! Pluck up your courage and prepare to immerse yourselves in the fresh cool water through a series of rappelling, water abseiling, cliff jumping and natural water sliding!

Credit: @sandra.smth (Instagram)

6. Visit Cuong Hoan Silk Factory

Don’t miss the Cuong Hoan Silk Factory on your excursion to the distant Elephant Falls to make the most of your drive. Here you will get to learn the whole process of how Lam Ha’s farmers produce silk, from the very initial phase of raising cocoons to make finished silk products. Also, you can purchase some silk products or souvenirs right from the in-house shop.

7. Savour local specialities at Dalat market

The ideal highlands soil and climate have made Dalat Vietnam’s economic hub of not only flowers but also fresh produce. Visit Dalat Market (Chợ Đà Lạt) and you can shop for an array of specialities made out of such produce as mulberry juice, artichoke tea, dried mixed fruits, strawberry jams, etc. to bring home as gifts.

What to eat?

Dalat Specialities
Baguette with Shumai Bowl in Dalat

Bánh Mì Xíu Mại Chén (Baguette with Shumai Bowl)

For your authentic cuisine experience in Dalat, bánh mì xíu mại chén cannot be missed! A bowl of hot spicy broth with meatballs (shumai) is a wonderful treat for the chilly nights here. The baguette just goes perfectly with the mouth-watering broth. Remember to order a cup of warm soybean milk as well. You can hunt for the best bowls of shumai at 26 Hoang Dieu street.

Bánh Căn (Mini Pancake) 

Another must-try on Dalat streets is bánh căn. A white mixture of rice powder is cooked in a pottery pancake tray, then topped with a quail egg. Dipping the slightly burnt pancake into the hot broth made of fish sauce, green onions, and pork meatballs and you’re good to go. Recommended shops include:

  • Banh Can Le: 7/44 Yersin Street
  • Banh can xiu mai Cay Bo (Hang) – 56 Tang Bat Ho
  • Banh Can Nha Chung: No. 13 Nha Chung Street
Steamed Pancake with Chicken Intestine in Dalat

Bánh Ướt Lòng Gà (Steamed Rice Pancake with Chicken Intestine)

You are just a bowl of rice cake away from eating like locals! The original bánh ướt lòng gà topped with chicken meat and intestine can now only be found in Dalat. This dish is served with fish sauce and added fried shallots and herbs for the perfect flavour. We are aware that the intestine part may be the reason for your hesitation. Yet in case you may want to take the “risks” trying the number one must-eat in Dalat, you’ll know where to go thanks to our reference:

  • Quan Trang – 15F Tang Bat Ho Street
  • Quan Long – Alley 202 Phan Dinh Phung Street
  • Banh uot long ga – 47 Tang Bat Ho Street

Nem Nướng (Grilled Pork Sausage Roll)

Can’t get enough of Vietnamese wrap and roll delicacy? Then nem nướng should be your pick in Dalat without question. Though not originated from Dalat, this dish is a mouth-watering delight for lunch without doubts. Grilled pork sausages, fried rice papers and fresh herbs and salads should be rolled inside the dried rice wrappers to make a crispy yet fresh combination. A dip into the savoury peanut sauce will surely add the finishing touch to your explosive bites.

  • Nem nuong Ba Hung – 328 Phan Dinh Phung Street
  • Nem nuong Ba Nghia – 45 Bui Thi Xuan Street
  • Quan nem nuong Ut Hue – 1 Chi Lang Street
street food vietnamese pizza. Things to do in Hoi an
Credits: instagram @christinas_vietnam

Bánh Tráng Nướng (Grilled Rice Paper with Egg)

This dubbed “Vietnamese pizza” is among popular snacks in Dalat’s street food scene. Rice papers are put on a charcoal stove, then topped with egg, minced pork, dried shrimp, sausage and spring onion. The sizzling yellow grilled rice cake tastes better with some chilli sauce added. While you can come across many bánh tráng nướng vendors in Dalat market, the best flavours to seek for are at:

  • Banh trang nuong – 61 Nguyen Van Troi
  • Banh trang nuong Di Dinh – 26 Hoang Dieu


Make sure to include Dalat in your Central highland itinerary in Vietnam! 😉 

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