Romantic City of Da Lat, a Highland in Central Vietnam

Đà Lạt is the capital of Lâm Đong Province, the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The city is surrounded by hills, pine forests, lakes, and waterfalls. Because of its geographic, Đà Lạt was developed as a resort by the French in the early 1900s, and many reminders of its colonial heritage remain. Producing a lot of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and many other plantations, the city also called City of Eternal Spring. The province also known as the land where famous Vietnam Drip Coffee come.

We arrived in Da Lat on the afternoon. The cool breeze greeting us as we took off from the bus that bring us from Mui Ne. It’s different with the weather of Ho Chi Minh City and Mui Ne. After getting lunch and taking a little rest, we were heading to old Da Lat Station (Ga Da Lat). We took the old train to visit Trai Ma Station (Ga Trai Ma) in the suburb. Nearly evening, we were back to the city and visited Crazy House which happen to be near of our guesthouse.

On the next day, we visited everything else in a whole day. At night, we enjoyed the relax atmosphere of Da Lat Square with the only supermarket in the city : Big C. On the next morning, we were back to Ho Chi Minh City by plane from Lien Khuong airport.

Let’s talk the details!

1. Da Lat Old Train Station and journey to Trai Mat Village

Da Lat Railway Station (Ga Da Lat) is designed in 1932 by French architects. It has unique architectural style, which incorporates Art Deco theme with elements of native Cao Nguyen communal houses from Vietnam’s Central Highlands. 

At the station, there are 2 locomotives designed for tourism, the inside interior is comfy and photo-able (if you know what i mean :D). They will take the visitors to nearby village of Trai Mat. In the village itself there is a pagoda named Linh Phuoc. On the journey, tourist can see the side of Da Lat’s suburbia. While looking around from the window, you’ll pass a lot of vegetable and flower fields. The suburb scenery looks like it came out from scenes of an old film. Worth to see.

The train stop at Trai Mat Station, nothing fancy there… it’s just a small village station. You are given certain times to explore around, especially the famous Linh Phuoc Pagoda. And then you have to come to the station again, heading back to Da Lat with the same train.

Linh Phuoc Pagoda has a very large area. It is a modern pagoda known for its intricate mosaics made from broken glass & pottery shards. The architecture is good. It is being said as the Disneyland of pagodas – in a good way. It crams so many gorgeous sights in one area that you can’t help but feel overwhelmed, like in a particularly good amusement park. Linh Phuoc has some national records – biggest bell in Vietnam, longest glass dragon (49 meters long), tallest Quan Am Bodhisattva statue, and so on. There are so many stunning marble, jade and wood carvings scattered throughout. The presentation is grandiose, not surprisingly it is being nominated as one of the top pagodas in Vietnam.

2. Crazy House (Hang Ngha)

The location is on the city center so it’s so easy to be reached by walking or just taking cab, it’s cheap. The house is one of top 10 unique architectures in the world! Find more about it here :  Vietnam’s Fairy Tale Architecture : The Crazy House (Hang Nga)

This photo is taken by AllWinner's v3-sdv

3. Cable Car, Truc Lam Monastery, and Tuyen Lam Lake

Cable car station is located on Robin Hill. It can be easily reached by cab. Da Lat cable cars is a 2267-meter construction “in the air” in the southwest crossing mountainous area of extent endlessly pine-tree forests to Truc Lam Monastery built in Phoenix mountain at an altitude of 1490 meters. Being inside the cable car means that you are in 1517 meters above sea level ! The scenic ride took about 5 minutes to cross to monastery. You can pay for one way trip in case you want to try another way to go back to city center. Or, just take the round trip (beware of the system closing time), it’s cheaper though.

Truc Lam Monastery is located outside the centre of Da Lat. From the district of Hòa Bình in the city centre of Da Lat, the temple is located at a turnoff on the road from the city centre towards Prenn Hill. It’s near the Tuyen Lăm Lake. It can be quickly reached by using cable cars (approx. 5 minutes). You can experienced a scenic trip passing mountain and pine forest. The monastery itself is somewhat isolated enough, to enter it you have to pass 61 steps from the entrance and wear proper clothes. The nuances is calm and there are some colorful flower gardens. The monks live there so you’ll passing them here and there when you’re looking around the place.  

Tuyen Lam Lake is a man-made lake located not far from the monastery. It’s 222 steps down from the temple. Walk slowly while enjoying the view, it won’t be too long. At the bottom, you’ll find the gate which can be the alternative entrance for people who wants to come to the temple. But it’s surely a more challenging path rather than the first entrance. You will find a lot of kiosk selling souvenirs, also coffee and light meals. You can take a boat to explore the wide lake, or just enjoying the lake-view from the side.

If you take the round trip of cable cars, you need to go back to cable car station near the first entrance. Either hike the 222 steps back or take cab/motorbike cab to the station. Or, go visit Datanla Waterfall not far from there.

4. Datanla Waterfall

We’re heading to Datanla Waterfall using motorbike taxi from Tuyen Lam Lake. You can also take the cab. It’s about 10 minutes distance.

You have to go down to reach the waterfall, passing a lot of stairs and forest. The journey back to the entrance is more challenging, lol. The pathway is made with pavements though, not soil anymore, but it’s still a bit slippery on rainy days (depends on your shoes type). Honestly, the waterfall itself is not that majestic. There are a lot of higher and more beautiful waterfalls in my country, Indonesia, (here, there and a lot more… just googling), so i’m not too impressed. But, the place is well-prepared for tourism. There are some sport activities you can join (w/ additional fees), such as roller coaster, rock climbing, abseiling, canyoing, flying fox across the waterfall, and camping. If you want new experience, you can reach the waterfall by riding roller coaster from the entrance and vice versa.

5. Da Lat Flower Park

After going back to Robin Hill by cable car from Truc Lam Monastery, we took the cab to the north, to Da Lat Flower Park. The address is Trần Quốc Toản, Phường 8, Đà Lạt City. It is a wide area of colorful flowers of any kind. Very refreshing. Visit our special story about this beautiful place here : Da Lat Flower Park in Full Bloom

6. Bao Dai Summer Palace (Palace III)

This 3rd palace of Vietnamese last emperor also known as Summer Palace. It’s located at the top of a hill on Phường 4. It can be easily reached from city center by cab or motorbike taxi. The opening time is 7 – 11am and 1.30 – 4pm. Visitors must cover their shoes with shoe cover put at the front door. Visiting this 2 stories structure, travelers will have a chance to discover the living of the royal family through 25 rooms and its amenities.

Epilogue

If you have more time, you can visit other interesting places in Da Lat, such as : Valley of Love, Elephant Waterfalls, etc. We want to visit those places but the schedule wasn’t fit. Have a nice trip!

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