Affectionately called as the ‘Alps of Vietnam,’ Dalat is a delightful mountainous settlement hence a cooler temperature compared to other parts of the country. At approximately 1, 500 masl, it is an area that’s very reminiscent of my home in the Philippines (Baguio). After spending a day at the coastal town of Mui Ne, I decided to see this highland city. Indeed the scenery along the way is beautiful and quite unlike anywhere else in Vietnam, making it a rightly inimitable destination.
My local guide told me that there is so much to see in Dalat – from various flower parks, old French mansions, natural wonders like waterfalls and lakes, monasteries and temples, and much more. So it was obvious that my planned day trip wouldn’t be enough. Nonetheless, I have truly enjoyed my Dalat experience. Here are the places I have visited in Vietnam’s City of Flowers.
For lovers of the outdoors, go chasing waterfalls or maybe spend sometime boating in on of the city’s lakes.
Prenn Waterfalls (Khu du lịch thác Prenn) — the gateway of Dalat. This 9m high, 20m wide body of water, lies on the stream of Prenn. The water flows down over a cliff of basalt rock creating a white curtain of water like the hair of a fairy.
Pongour Waterfalls (Thac Pongour) – about 40 kilometers south of Dalat is the lovely Pongour Waterfall. One has to go through a steep walk down in order to see it. It is a very wide waterfall (I don’t know but it looks like Merloquet Falls to me. Merloquet is a waterfall in Zamboanga Philippines). The view in Pongour is undeniably worth it. Just be extra careful on the slippery rocks.
Tuyền Lâm Lake is a man-made lake in Đà Lạt city. It is one of 21 National Tourism Areas. Also called Paradise Lake, this lake was created by Tia stream (the main water from Da Tam river). Tuyen means stream while Lam means forest. Literally, it is a place for water and tree meeting each other.
Truc Lam Monastery is beautiful monastery near Tuyen Lam Lake, perched atop the Phoenix Mountain. It was built in 1993 by 3 Vietnamese architects with new style of Buddhism architecture. One major feature of this modern monastery includes a rectangle shaped sanctum. The surroundings are a lot of traditional Vietnamese pagodas made of ferroconcrete. Adding up to its charm is the beautiful natural landscapes around the monastery. Making it not only a place of worship and meditation but also a perfect spot to admire Vietnamese culture.
Cock Church (Con Ga Church) is an interesting cathedral located on Tran Phu Street. It features Rome architecture and is regarded as the oldest colonial building that the French designed in Vietnam. The name “Cock” is used by the locals to refer to a man-made cock found atop the tower. Near the church is a notable landmark in the city – a seeming replica of ‘the Eiffel Tower’. Dalat, also being dubbed as the little Paris of Vietnam, has this Eiffel-like communications tower owned by a telephone provider Vietnam, Viettel Mobile. You can just walk around the area and you’ll be surprised to see other sights like gardens and city parks.
The temperature in Dalat is pleasantly warm during the day and quite cool at night. Because of this, Dalat is a provider of pleasant harvest for all over Vietnam, from vegetables to flowers. So do not be shocked if you happen to see flower farms. And just like most parts of Vietnam, Dalat also has an abundance of pretty coffee shops. Truly, Dalat City is a breath of fresh air.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…