An Easy 3-Day Itinerary for Dalat, Vietnam’s City of Eternal Spring

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Love food, coffee and architecture? Hey, me too! Dalat—the City of Eternal Spring—is one of the best places in Vietnam for all three. Here’s my top things to do in Dalat, plus a handy 3-day Dalat itinerary. At the end of the post, you’ll find some essential visitor’s information.

 

Transparency: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you follow the link to make a booking.

 

Quick links:

1/ Awesome things to do in Dalat 2/ An easy 3-day Dalat itinerary
3/ Dalat travel FAQ 4/ Where to stay in Dalat

 


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Let me paint you a picture of Dalat.

A little city in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, about 300km northeast of Saigon, Dalat earned its epitaph ‘The City of Eternal Spring’ because of its year-round cool weather. Heritage buildings and wide streets, leftovers of the French, characterise downtown Dalat. Thick bushels of purple hydrangeas decorate every stretch of sidewalk. Set over undulating hills, Dalat’s streets are pitched at odd angles, creating interesting ‘stacked’ rooftops and narrow laneways that are a joy to explore on foot.

Beyond the city, Dalat is surrounded by pine forests and more rolling hills, which always seem to be shrouded in the perfect amount of opaque mist. Orchards, flower farms, tea fields, vineyards and coffee estates—and a little further afield, cacao plantations—plaster the verdant, hyper-productive countryside. The fruits of farmers’ labour are sold in cafes, at street food markets and in specialty shops in Dalat, which probably has more cute coffee houses per capita than anywhere else in Vietnam.

Dalat has a retro, vintage vibe (in 2018, a popular 1960s-era movie was filmed in Dalat), and is widely considered to be Vietnam’s most romantic city. It’s wildly popular with young couples and newlyweds as a result. But Dalat is often overlooked by international tourists. A huge part of Dalat’s appeal is being able to break from the crowds and step into a place that feels wholly and utterly unique in Vietnam.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

After spending a year in Hanoi and more than three years in total in Southeast Asia, I can say with confidence that Dalat is one of my favourite places to visit in the region. I sincerely hope this guide and itinerary will inspire you to visit Dalat, a city that deserves way more attention than it currently gets!

 


 

Awesome things to do in Dalat

Before you start planning the finer details of your Dalat itinerary, here are 19 things you absolutely can’t miss in Dalat. Think of this as your Dalat bucket list!

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

1. Get a taste of Dalat’s coffee culture

Dalat is synonymous with coffee. You can almost smell the hearty aroma of roasting beans in the air as soon as your step onto the tarmac at Dalat airport. Lam Dong Province and the hills surrounding Dalat are plastered with coffee plantations. Dalat city itself is filled with dozens of cute cafes of every shape and kind—from ultra-modern warehouse-style espresso bars, to retro Communist-inspired cafes. Whether you do a plantation trip, a quick tour of a roasting house or you just cafe hop and sample a few different local brews, coffee culture is something you must experience in Dalat.

2. Visit Truc Lam Temple

I know, I know—Vietnam has more temples and pagodas than you could possibly hope (or want) to visit. But there’s something special about Truc Lam Temple (Thiền Viện Trúc Lâm). A Zen Buddhist temple and meditation centre set at the top of Dalat’s Robin Hill, the Truc Lam complex is massive—about 24 hectares in total. The temple’s resident monks keep the grounds immaculately clean and the shrubs perfectly manicured.

3. ‘Chase the clouds’ in Trai Mat

When I mentioned my upcoming trip to Dalat to my Vietnamese language teacher in Hanoi, she told me I simply must go ‘chase the clouds’ in Trai Mat. Chasing the clouds, I discovered, basically involves getting up before dawn and hanging out in a field. As the sun rises, low mist floats into view, diffusing the light and making for some pretty spectacular photo opportunities before it evaporates. There are a few places in Vietnam that are famous cloud chasing spots—including Dien Bein Phu in the far northwest. Trai Mat, a small agricultural village just outside Dalat, is a great place to chase the clouds in Central Vietnam.

4. Lose your mind at the Crazy House

Dalat’s best-known tourist attraction, the Crazy House (Hằng Nga), is a private home in the city centre with a rather kooky design. Somewhere between a Dali painting, a Gaudi creation and a polystyrene theme park installation, it’s comprised of strangely shaped and painted walkways, chambers, peep holes and staircases. A self-guided tour of the Crazy House involves walking around the property and exploring its nooks.

5. Feel like royalty at the Bao Dai Summer Palace

The former summer residences (there’s more than one in Dalat) of Vietnam’s last emperor are fine examples of royal architecture and design. Donning a pair of soft booties and slipping and sliding your way around the polished floors of the restored houses is one of the coolest things to do in Dalat.

6. Wander through a coffee plantation

If you’ve never seen a coffee tree before, a plantation tour in Dalat provides a fascinating insight into the origins of coffee, the harvesting process, and the time and effort that goes into growing each bean. Dalat’s plantations were first established by the French and have been revived in recent years as coffee has gained popularity and exports have stepped up (Vietnam is now the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee after Brazil). You’ll come away from a tour with a greater appreciation for your morning cuppa.

7. Check out Elephant Waterfall

Hilly, lush and always raining—sounds like a perfect recipe for waterfalls. Dalat has some excellent natural water features, including lakes and cascading falls. Elephant Waterfall is the most popular of the bunch, and features on any good Dalat tour itinerary. I’m not usually one for waterfalls, but the scale of the drop and volume of water pouring down Elephant Waterfall left me breathless. Refer to Day 2 of my Dalat itinerary below for more information on how to get there.

8. Shop for edible souvenirs

The L’angfarm chain of shops in Dalat sells edible souvenirs made from local produce—dried fruits, jams and preserves, matcha green tea powder, chocolate, artichoke tea, and of course, coffee. If you’re in the market for a few Vietnam souvenirs, Dalat is the perfect place to do your shopping.

9. Learn about indigenous K’Ho culture

Before the French arrived in the 1920s and transformed Dalat into the city it is today, the area was traditionally occupied by Vietnam’s K’Ho ethnic group. K’Ho (and other minority communities) still live in Dalat and in villages around Lam Dong Province. Taking some time to learn about their culture and way of life is a must-do when in Dalat. Try visiting a K’Ho village (see Day 2 of my Dalat itinerary), or taking a tour of the K’Ho Coffee plantation, the only Dalat coffee label that is owned by indigenous Montagnard and K’Ho people.

10. Get a photo in front of the pink church

Selfie and Instagram culture is huge in Vietnam, and no where did I see more snap-happiness than in Dalat. Who can blame us—Dalat’s pastel, perfectly symmetrical French buildings are incredibly photogenic. The most sought-after photo opportunity in Dalat is at the city’s famous pink church. Plan to arrive at Domain de Marie early if you want a photo minus the crowds (more information on Day 1 of my Dalat itinerary below).

11. Ride the Dalat cable car

Dalat, like the rest of Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, is very mountainous. One of the best ways to conquer the hills around Dalat is by riding the cable car, which leads from a station in town to the top of Robin Hill (the location of Truc Lam Temple). The 4km line travels over pine forests and offers glorious views—provided you visit on a clear-ish day.

The Dalat Cable Car operates daily from 8am and 11:30am and 1.30pm until 4.30pm (note the 2-hour break for lunch). A ticket costs 50,000 VND one way or 70,000 VND return.

12. Marvel at Dalat’s French architecture

Given its history as a French hillstation, Dalat is graced with some pretty spectacular French-era architecture. Many of the civic and institutional buildings have been diligently preserved and appear much as they would have when they were constructed back in the 1920s and 30s. Villas and mansions around Dalat’s French Quarter haven’t fared so well—most lay abandoned and overgrown with moss, which gives them a very spooky feel (did you know that Dalat is rumoured to be overrun with ghosts!?).

13. Spot the chicken?

I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but one of Dalat’s most famous landmarks is topped with a statuette of a chicken. Hint: You’ll have to strain your neck to spot it! Keep reading my Dalat itinerary to find out where exactly the chicken is. (If you’re up on your Vietnamese, you’ll know straight away because the Vietnamese word for ‘chicken’ appears in this landmark’s title.) There’s more than one chicken in Dalat—there’s also a ‘Chicken Village’ just outside of town (more on that later, too!).

14. Try local Dalat cuisine

Because of the cold climate, food in Dalat is hearty and rich. Many dishes feature locally grown Dalat produce, including loads of fresh fruit and avocados. The Dalat Night Market, which happens every evening from about 5pm in the centre of town, is a great place to find street treats and sample the best Dalat foods. Don’t leave without trying bread with meatballs (Bánh mì xíu mại), grilled rice paper with egg (Bánh tráng kẹp), and Dalat’s famous avocado ice cream (Kem bơ).

15. Ride on the Dalat Plateau Railway

Back in the days of the French, Dalat’s train line was a vital connection between Central Vietnam and the rest of the country. The line, which terminated at the Art Deco-inspired and since-restored Dalat Railway Station, linked Dalat with Hanoi in the north and Saigon in the south. After falling to ruin during the war, the line was pillaged to reconstruct the famous Reunification Express, which runs the length of the country. A small section of Dalat’s railway was re-opened in the early 2000s and now ferries tourists from Trai Mat village. In a stroke of marketing genius, it was re-branded the Dalat Plateau Railway: A new moniker that is very romantic, but has nothing to do with the original name.

16. Visit a flower farm

Dalat is famous for its hydrangeas and wild flowers (in fact, a lot of the cut flowers sold at flower markets in Hanoi and elsewhere are grown in Dalat). There are a few flower farms around Dalat that are open to the public and well worth a visit. Some are family owned; others are state run. Some consist of fields; others take the form of huge white-tented greenhouses. Most ask for a small fee (around 15,000 VND) to enter. The Hydrangea Garden near Trai Mat village and the lavender farm near Tuyen Tam Lake are both popular with visitors. If flowers aren’t your thing, you can visit strawberry and fruit farms (or vineyards) instead.

17. Get a bird’s eye view of Tuyen Tam Lake

Tuyen Tam Lake (Hồ Tuyền Lâm) is a natural lake just south of Dalat city. You can picnic on the lake’s edge or paddle a boat on the lake itself—but in my opinion, Tuyen Tam is best seen from afar. Views from Robin Hill and Truc Lam Temple are especially atmospheric in the early morning and late afternoon, when the lake, with its bushy outcrops and green islands, are draped in that fine Dalat mist.

18. Get messy at Tunnel Clay

In a similar vein as Dalat’s Crazy House, Tunnel Clay (Đường Hầm Điêu Khắc) is one of Dalat’s more unusual attractions. Located in a pine forest at the southwestern end of Tuyen Tam Lake, it’s basically a mud village-cum-theme park made up of massive clay structures, tunnels and artistic sculptures. As you can imagine, it can get pretty messy on a rainy Dalat day! Bring a change of socks.

19. Take an easy rider tour around Dalat

Wondering how to best take in all the wonderful sights and experiences Dalat has to offer? An easy rider tour of the countryside surrounding Dalat is the perfect way to see the highlights in style. Day 2 of my Dalat itinerary has more details about easy rider tours, and my provider of choice.

 


 

Things to do in Dalat: An Easy 3-Day Dalat itinerary for food, coffee and architecture lovers

This 3-day Dalat itinerary is tailor-made for anyone who loves coffee, wine and good food. It also includes plenty of architecture and a few adventurous outdoor activities, too!

 

Day 1: Morning

Dalat market & breakfast at One More Cafe

If you arrived in Dalat overnight, your first glimpse of the city will be in the early morning. This is prime market time, when the streets come alive with shoppers and the breakfast trade heats up.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

Dalat’s main marketplace (Chợ Đà Lạt) unravels around the roundabout in the centre of town. There is an undercover section, but I preferred walking around the less-claustrophobic outdoor stalls. Keep an eye out for fresh flowers, artichokes and strawberries—all locally grown.

Once you’ve had a look around the market, duck into One More Cafe, a Dalat institution that serves one of the best cups of coffee in town alongside light breakfasts.

 

Domaine de Marie

After breakfast, it’s time to visit one of Dalat’s most impressive French colonial buildings. Domaine de Marie is a Catholic Church set on a little hill in the centre of town. It still hosts daily mass, and has a functioning nunnery around the back.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Domaine de Marie.

 

Looking pretty in pink (in person, the colours are actually closer to brick), Domaine de Marie is a very popular photo spot. Don’t forget to walk around the side to visit the nunnery and pretty gardens as well.

The gates of Domaine de Marie are open from 5.30am daily (earlier on a Saturday). The church is an easy 900m walk through Dalat’s residential suburbs from One More cafe and the centre of town.

 

St. Nicholas Cathedral

From one Catholic institution to another. St. Nicholas Cathedral, also known as Dalat Cathedral or by its Vietnamese nickname Nhà thờ Con Gà is the biggest and most prestigious in Dalat. Like Domaine de Marie, it’s a functioning house of worship will a daily mass.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Dalat Cathedral.

 

St. Nicholas Cathedral is located at the southwestern corner of Xuan Huong Lake, about 2.4km from Domaine de Marie. I recommend jumping in a Grab to get there. The church doesn’t have official opening hours, but you’re most likely to find the gates unlocked around mass times. See here for more information.

If you haven’t already guessed, this is where you can spot Dalat’s famous chicken statue—right at the top of the Cathedral’s tallest spire.

 

Lunch at Le Chalet

A little bit Communist retro, a little bit garden cafe, Le Chalet is an imaginative eatery with a nice menu of light Western and Vietnamese meals. The mural above the bar is very cute—and the whole place is decorated superbly.

 

 

Day 1: Afternoon

Crazy House

You’ll spot the entrance to Dalat Crazy House (and probably a queue of people waiting to buy tickets) right across the road from Le Chalet. Entrance costs 40,000 VND per person.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

Once inside, you’re free to roam around the odd (and let’s face it, slightly hazardous) house, tracing its high walkways and popping in and out of cave-like nooks and windows. There’s a small information centre at the start of the complex where you can read newspaper clippings pertaining to the house’s owner and history. There are also guides around who are happy to have a casual chat.

 

Bao Dai Summer Palace III & Pasteur Institute

Onto more Dalat architecture, this time with a European twist. Built in the 1930s, the summer residence of Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai, is not your typical palace—it’s done in an Art Deco style, with curved walls and a funky interior colour palette. Also known as Dinh III (house three), it’s just one in a series of royal residences constructed in Dalat to house Bao Dai’s library, office, rooms for hosting notable guests, and living quarters for the whole family.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Bao Dai’s Summer Palace.

 

Dinh III is set on a low grade hill above Dalat, walking distance from the Crazy House. You can go inside the palace (you’ll need to pay 15,000 VND for the honour) for a self-guided tour. Be warned that there isn’t much information available, so it helps to do a bit of reading before you go. The palace is open from 7am until 5pm daily.

After you walk down the hill away from the palace, continue along Le Hong Phong and stop off at the Pasteur Institute. Another fine example of French architecture, this little slice of lemon delight is rather photogenic—although I don’t recommend getting your photo taken here, as it is a government building. Clandestine snaps through the bars of the front gate are much preferred.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Pasteur Institute.

 

Gift shopping at L’angfarm

Finish your first day in Dalat with a trip to L’angfarm. There are branches of this boutique all throughout the city (including one on the steps above the roundabout, and a few in the backpacker area).

 

 

Take your time browsing the range of edible treats and pick out a few things to bring home. Everything is labelled in English, and prices are very reasonable.

 

Dinner at Artist’s Alley

This restaurant used to be located in an alleyway but has since moved to a busy street. It lost some of its charm and character in the process—but the food is just as good as ever. I highly recommend both the French onion soup and avocado salad.

 


 

Day 2

Breakfast at An Cafe

Sink your teeth into a super hearty breakfast at An Cafe, one of the eateries perched above Dalat’s main street and accessible by a staircase on the side of the road.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Breakfast at An Cafe.

 

An Cafe also does a great flat white.

 

Explore the countryside around Dalat

After a heart-warming breakfast, it’s time to hit the wide open road. Spend the rest of your second day in Dalat exploring Lam Dong Province and the hills around the city.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

The roads around Dalat are gently curved and in pretty good condition. As always, take care if you decide to drive yourself, and make sure you wear a helmet at all times.

 

Tuyen Lam Lake

Tuyen Lam Lake’s unusual, tree-branch shape looks most beautiful when viewed from above. The best vantage point is Robin Hill. There are a couple of lookout points marked on Google Maps.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Tuyen Lam Lake.

 

If you have time, venture down to the lake’s edge to see the lake from a different angle. You can also take a boat out or partake in any one of a number of water sports.

 

Truc Lam Temple

Also located on Robin Hill, Truc Lam is a temple, a monastery and a meditation centre all rolled into one. The manicured flower gardens and grounds are kept beautiful by a team of monks who live on the premises. As the name suggests, Truc Lam also welcomes guests for short and longer stays, where you can learn the art of Zen Buddhist meditation as part of a retreat program.

 

 

If you’re only stopping by for a quick visit, budget at least an hour to wander through the grounds and gardens. Even on a rainy day, there is a magnetic draw to Truc Lam that tempts you to stay longer than planned.

 

K’Ho Villages

Further towards the outer fringes of Dalat, you’ll find small villages and communities belonging to the K’Ho and other ethnic minority groups. ‘Chicken Village’ (so called because of the giant chicken statue that occupies a vacant lot) is often frequented as part of day tours around Dalat.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

I’m not a huge fan of dropping into model villages to see ‘how the locals live’. But I do love weaving, and I’ll jump at the chance to watch someone working a loom. Chi Dung, the K’Ho woman we met in Chicken Village, speaks perfect English and is very welcoming of guests. She’s also a weaving whiz!

 

Mushroom farms & coffee plantations

Agriculture is big business in Dalat, and most families have some sort of farming venture as their main source of income or a side hustle. As you drive through the countryside around Dalat, you’ll see farms of every stripe.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

Coffee plantations are the most obvious and can be spotted from the roadside. We jumped out to take a look at a couple, picking an unripened berry here and there to see how it all works. Dalat’s mushroom farms are also worth noting. An immense amount of produce can be grown in quite a small space, making it a pretty lucrative business. Once harvested, the mushrooms are dried and packaged for sale in China and elsewhere.

 

Silk factory

Dalat also has a thriving silk industry. We visited a silk factory on the outskirts of town to see how it’s all done.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

Being the textile buff I am, I’ve visited silk farms and processing units all over the world—from Azerbaijan to Cambodia—but I’ve never seen anything on the scale of this factory in Dalat. Everything is mechanised, so workers can produce vast quantities of fibre and thread. It was interesting to have a look around as a tourist, but it must be said that this didn’t look like the nicest place to work.

 

Elephant Waterfall

Dalat has a lot of natural beauty to admire. Elephant Waterfall, which lies 30km southwest of the city, is a popular excursion from the city. A pathway with a handrail has been constructed to make exploring the falls a little easier. Still, the walk to the bottom of the waterfall is pretty steep and hard going in places.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Elephant Waterfall.

 

There are some pools at the base of the falls, but it’s far too powerful for swimming. I was astonished at the volume of water coming down the rock face and the force of the torrent. Wherever you go, a thick spray of water will follow. Don’t leave your raincoat on the back of the motorbike like I did!

Note that there’s a small restaurant near the waterfall if you want to stop here for lunch.

 

Linh An Pagoda

Just a short walk from Elephant Waterfall, Linh An Pagoda is a relatively new Buddhist temple that looks out over the falls and surrounding valleys. An even newer temple, with a huge tower, was being constructed nearby at the time of our visit.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

There are a couple of impressive Buddhist statues inside the main part of Linh An Pagoda and outside on the temple grounds. I particularly like the oversized smiling Buddha.

After Linh An, hit the road again to finish your day back in Dalat city. If you visit all the places mentioned here at a leisurely pace, you’ll wind up covering about 110km in total, taking roughly 8 hours.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Tim and Tom, our guides for the day in Dalat.

 

The easiest way to see all of the places mentioned for Day 2 is on an organised easy rider tour. If you’re not familiar with the concept, an easy rider tour involves hiring a bike and driver/guide for the day. You sit pillion (as a passenger) on the back and get driven from place to place. It’s a great option if you want to experience the countryside but like us, you don’t drive.

There are a couple of tour providers in Dalat and a few different routes to choose from. We went with The Original Easy Riders Vietnam, a local Dalat company, and their Dalat Countryside itinerary. At 36 USD per person, it’s great value for money. We couldn’t have asked for better guides than Tim and Tom—two friends who are truly fantastic young men (and excellent drivers), They treated us to an awesome day.

Back in Dalat, grab an easy dinner at the Dalat Night Market.

 


 

Day 3: Morning

Coffee & breakfast at La Viet

Jump in a taxi and travel to the edge of town for La Viet. One of the chicest cafes in Dalat, it’s set in a warehouse and features long communal tables and an open coffee bar. La Viet roast their own beans on site—needless to say, they do a pretty decent cuppa.

 

 

Out back, there’s a gift shop where you can pick up bags of La Viet beans and grounds and other small souvenirs. Free short tours of the on-site roasting room are available on request and well setting aside 20 minutes of your time for.

 

Dalat Railway Station & Xuan Huong Lake

Dalat Railways Station is a local icon. The train for Trai Mat village departs from here—but most people just come to take photos of the station building and restored carriages out the back. You’ll need to pay a small fee (10,000 VND) to enter the area.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

One of the carriages has been transformed into a cafe. Sure, it’s an Instagram spectacle—but there’s also a lot of history behind this station and the train line. Refer back to my list of things to do in Dalat at the start of this post for more information.

Xuan Huong, the big lake at the centre of Dalat, is a short walk from the Railway Station. There are a couple of cute cafes along Yersin Street which you can stop at for a pick-me-up along the way.

 

Pedagogy College

The Pedagogy College (or teacher’s college), formerly the Lycee Yersin, is another spectacular French-era building in Dalat. On the weekends, the front courtyard is packed with young people snapping photos.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

The Pedagogy College in Dalat.

 

Famous past pupils of the Pedagogy College include Norodom Sihanouk, the former King of Cambodia. The College is an easy walk from the Railway Station.

 

Dalat French Quarter

Continue walking to Dalat’s French Quarter—an area scattered with colonial villas and mansion houses. Spread out along either side of a main road, there are some real gems to be discovered. Many of the houses are abandoned, but a few are still in use.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

A French house in Dalat.

 

Lunch at Biang Bistro

I really have saved the best until last! Biang Bistro was our favourite restaurant in Dalat—we enjoyed our lunch here so much, we went back for breakfast the next morning. Every day, they run a lunch special which is HUGE and great value for money. Produce is super fresh, meals are imaginative, and the setting is gorgeous.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

 

Day 3: Afternoon

Out and about

If you can drag yourself away from Biang Bistro (seriously, it is a lovely place to relax with a cinnamon latte and read for a few hours), spend your final afternoon in Dalat doing one of the following activities. Any could easily be spun out into a full day to make this a 4-day Dalat itinerary.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

A field of flowers in Dalat.

Option 1: Flower villages

Dalat’s lavender field opens its gates at 4.30pm; but some of the other flower fields in the area, including Van Thanh Flower Village, are open from the early morning. The blooms are the main attraction, and lots of people gather here to take photos.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Trai Mat.

Option 2: Trai Mat village

Unless you want to ‘chase the clouds’—in which case it’s much better to visit in the early morning—late afternoon is an ideal time to visit Trai Mat village if you want to skip the crowds. Check out the flower and tea fields, and make sure you visit Linh Phuoc Pagoda (Chùa Linh Phước), an impressive Chinese temple with an interior mosaic that’s famous throughout Vietnam.

Trai Mat is quite spread out so it’s best to go with your own transport or driver. To get there from Dalat, you can either ride the Plateau train, or drive about 7km east of the city.

 

Option 3: Visit a vineyard

There are at least a half-dozen vineyards dotted around Dalat’s hills. Why not spend an afternoon sampling the local wine? Dalat Beco Winery welcomes drop-in visitors for wine tasting and tours. See Vietnam Wine Tours for more information about visiting.

 

Option 4: Take a coffee tour

If the warehouse walk-around at La Viet and your drop-in visit to a coffee field whetted your appetite, there are more opportunities to get a deeper look at how coffee is grown in Dalat. K’Ho Coffee and La Viet both offer in-depth tours of their coffee farms outside the city centre. Tours are usually full-day affairs, but you can chat to them about customising a half-day itinerary.

 

Option 5: Go canyoning

There are loads of opportunities for outdoor adventure activities in Dalat, including canyoning and white water rafting. You’ll need a whole day to do these activities justice—the perfect excuse to extend your stay and spend an extra night or two in Dalat!

 


 

Dalat travel FAQ

A few tips and hints for planning a trip to Dalat.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

Retro style in Dalat.

 

When is the best time to visit Dalat?

Dalat is one of the few places in Vietnam that’s blessed with year-round cool temperatures. Winter (roughly November to February) can be very cold. We visited Dalat in August (summer) and the weather was pleasant, if not a little bit rainy. No matter what time of year you plan to visit, you should always carry a warm jacket and rain gear with you.

How many days in Dalat?

I recommend spending at least three full days in Dalat. If you enjoy cafes and cool weather—and especially if you’re at that point in your trip where you need to chill out for a bit—Dalat is a great place to relax. You could easily add another one to three days to your Dalat itinerary and not run out of things to do (or cafes to visit!).

Only have one day in Dalat? Check out this short itinerary.

How do I get to Dalat?

Dalat’s small airport is serviced by daily Viet Jet flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other major cities in Vietnam. If you’re travelling overland, Dalat is roughly an 8-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, or 4 hours inland from Nha Trang.

How do I get around Dalat?

Dalat is a relatively small town so you can walk between most places. It does rain a lot, however, so it’s good to have a transport backup. Dalat has Grab (Vietnam’s answer to Uber), which is very easy to use, provided you have a local sim card. There are also taxis available in the main part of town.

If you’re venturing away from the centre, it pays to have your own transportation. Opt for an easy rider tour or else hire your own motorbike from one of the many shops in the city centre.

 


 

Where to stay in Dalat

Close to restaurants and most of the landmarks mentioned in this Dalat itinerary, the city centre is a great place to base your stay in Dalat. If you don’t mind being a bit further out, there are some unique luxury accommodations in the hills around the city.

 

Love food, coffee & architecture? Dalat is the best place in Vietnam for all three. Here's my top things to do in Dalat, plus the perfect Dalat itinerary.

A little house in Dalat. Sorry, this one’s not for rent!

 

Budget | There are plenty of hostels to choose from in Dalat, some offering dorm beds for as little as 5 USD/night. Dalat Sky Hostel and Mooka’s Home are two Dalat hostels with consistently positive reviews from other travellers.

Mid-range | We stayed at Tulip Hotel in Dalat. The chain has three branches in the centre of town. Rooms are basic but clean and well-appointed. Doubles start from 25 USD/night. Check Agoda for prices and availability.

All-out | Ana Mandara Villas is a set of 17 original 1930s French villas. If it falls within your budget, this is one of the most unique and beautiful accommodations in all of Vietnam.

Independent | There are some incredible Airbnb listings in Dalat—from a room in a coffee plantation villa, to this entire wooden bungalow, to chic apartments in the city centre. More Airbnb listings here.

 


 

Have you been to Dalat? What are your favourite things to do in Dalat? Or if you haven’t visited yet, which of my recommendations would make it onto your Dalat itinerary?

 


 

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Transparency: We were guests of Vietnam Original Easy Rider during our trip to Dalat in August 2018—but all opinions, endorsements and awkward photos are well and truly my own!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you follow the link to make a booking.

4 Comments

  1. And I’m sold! Beautiful photos and descriptions. Plus, as a cultural heritage geek, this is everything I want in my travel! Thanks for introducing me to yet another bucket list destination 🙂

  2. I’m so impressed! I’ve always just thought of Da Lat as one of the several cacao-growing regions in southern Vietnam, but holy cow was I underestimating! One of my best friends is Vietnamese & living in Hanoi, and when I visit her again next year I’m insisting we head down south again and explore into Da Lat. So excited now!!

    • That’s awesome, Max! Glad to hear you’re thinking of visiting Dalat. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Let me know if there’s anything I can help with in planning for your trip. Enjoy!

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