Da Lat

Travel Guide and Tips: Da Lat

Located in southern Vietnam, Da Lat is a city surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and lakes. The city has moderate temperatures all-year round, which makes it a great place to escape the heat. 

Things to Do

Pongour Falls

This cascade waterfall is located away from the city, so it's less travelled by tourists. You can get there by motorbike or taking the Bao Loc local bus for 20,000 dong. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. 

Elephant Falls

This powerful waterfall is about 30 kilometres away from the city centre. It's a little tricky to get down to see the falls, because the path is quite rocky, slippery and challenging. However, if you have average fitness, you should be fine. Once you reach the bottom, there are boulders you can climb for a better view. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. 

Crazy House

It's more like a huge maze with pathways that lead all over the place. This unique attraction is actually quite fun to spend an hour or two. There's an entrance fee of 40,000 dong. 

Liang Biang Mountain

If you want to get a full view of the city and surrounding areas, you can make your way up to Liang Biang Mountain. You have two options: you can hike up or take a jeep to the top. The hike takes 4-5 hours round trip. The jeep costs 50,000 dong per person. 

Datanla/Prenn Falls

This is the smallest, but closest waterfall to the city centre at 6 kilometres. It's a pretty waterfall, but not as impressive as the other two. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. 

Da Lat Market

This market is located within the city centre. From clothing, produce to trinkets and plants, this market is often visited by travellers and locals. We heard that you shouldn't eat at the market because food is overpriced. 

Swan Boat Ride around the lake

If you're feeling romantic or just want to entertain your kids, you can go for a swan boat ride at the lake in the city centre. It costs 60,000 dong/hour for the swan boat, which can fit two people. 

What to Eat

Everything, really. The food here has a lot of flavour and tastes delicious. Here are some of the things we ate:

Banh Xeo

Savoury fried crepe with bean spouts, green onions and meat (pork, chicken or shrimp). It eaten by cutting it up into slices. You're given a bunch of greens and rice paper. Wrap it up like a spring roll and dip it in nuoc mam (sauce).

Banh Cuon

It's rice batter with ground pork and mushrooms with a side of bean sprouts. Sometimes it comes with cha (processed pork sausage) and thit nuong (grilled pork).  

Banh Mi

Stands usually sell these for 10,000 dong. These are the types of meat that stands usually offer:

  • Cha (Processed Pork Sausage)
  • Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork)
  • Xiu Mai (Meatballs)
  • Op-La (Fried Egg)

Banh Beo and Banh Bot Loc

Small rice pancakes with dried shrimp as well as clear dumplings with shrimp. It's eaten with nuoc mam (sauce). 

Banh Trang Nuong

This reminds me of a pizza. It's rice paper with cheese, egg, green onions, dried shrimp and other seasonings. They cook it over a grill and serve it with tamarind sauce and hot sauce. 

Hu Tieu

This is a rice noodle dish. You can eat this either "kho" (dry) or with the broth. If you eat it dry, it's just like eating noodles. You'll get the broth on the side. If you get it with the broth, then it's like eating a noodle soup. Both ways are quite tasty. 

Where to Stay

Hai Long Vuong

This budget hotel is located away from the city centre, but at a walkable distance. It's quite affordable at 11 USD for a cozy double private room. There's quite a few restaurants and food stands located a short walking distance away. They also have dorms here as well, which were empty most of our stay. 

Da Lat Backpackers Hostel

We didn't stay here, but it has a lot of good reviews. It offers mixed and female dorms for 5 USD. It also come with free breakfast and water refills. 

Happy Travelling

DIY: Getting to Elephant Falls in Da Lat

Elephant Falls (That Voi) is a powerful waterfall located about 30 kilometres from Da Lat. It's a popular waterfall that is often visited by tourists and many tour groups. I overheard one guide say that there's a way to see the falls from behind, but we didn't look for it. 

How to get there

You can get there by taking the green local Phu Son bus to Nam Binh Village. It costs 20,000 dong one way. Just make sure to tell them that you want to get off at Elephant Falls or That Voi (pronounced Tuck Voy). You can catch the bus at the stop inCentre Market. But ask your place of accommodation which stop is closest to you. 

It takes about 40 minutes on a scenic bus ride to get to Elephant Falls. When you get dropped off, there will be a sign that says it's another 100 metres before you reach the entrance. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong, but near Tet (Lunar New Year), the price doubles to 20,000 dong. 

Elephant Falls

It's quite fun to get down to the falls. And by fun, I mean it's a rocky, slippery and challenging journey down. There's metal railings at certain parts to help you out. Once you reach the bottom, there are big boulders you can climb to get a better view. But be very careful, since they're difficult to climb. 

We went in dry season, so we didn't get splashed by the water when we climbed the boulders. But in wet season, you might want to bring a rain jacket or poncho. 

Once you make it back to the top, you can wash your hands with the outdoor water tap at the restaurant closest to the stairs. 

Happy Adventuring!

DIY: Getting to Pongour Falls in Da Lat

Pongour Falls is a cascade waterfall that reminded us of Albion Falls in Canada. It's about 50 kilometres from Da Lat, so it's more secluded than the other waterfalls in the area. 

How to get there

We took the orange Bao Loc bus which costs 20,000 dong each. At the side of the bus, there's a price range based on how far you go. For example, it costs 20,000 dong for 20 kilometres, but 25,000 dong for 40 kilometres. 

It takes about an hour and a half to get there. Make sure you tell them to drop you off at the intersection for Pongour Falls. From here, just follow the signs. It's another six kilometres before you reach the entrance. 

Now you have two choices: you can walk the hour and a half along a paved road with cars honking at you, or hire a motorbike taxi (xe om). There's a few stores at the intersection that can help with calling one for you. If not, you can start the walk and there will be some that pass you.

The restaurant displaying an ad for Xe Om (motorbike taxi).

Follow the sign to the waterfall.

Time to walk! 

We attempted the walk, but along the way, we got chased by angry stray dogs. Thankfully, about halfway through, a local man asked us if we needed a ride, to which we obliged. On the way back, we ended up taking a motorbike taxi to the intersection for 60,000 dong total. 

Pongour Falls

Once you get to the entrance, there's a fee of 10,000 dong each. Head down the path to the left and you'll end up at a restaurant. Keep left down the path and you'll pass by more restaurants before you reach Pongour Falls. 

Keep left.

Just note that there's a sign that says "No Climbing" in Vietnamese. But, do so at your own discretion. 

There's rocks at the bottom you can climb, so you can get a better view of the falls. We went in dry season, so the water flow wasn't too heavy. But, it was beautiful nonetheless. 

Happy Adventuring!

Transit Guide: Nha Trang to Da Lat

Da Lat is a colourful city located in Southern Vietnam. It's known for its cooler weather, pine trees, lakes and waterfalls. 

We ended up taking the easy route and booked a bus from our hotel. It ended up being 135,000 dong which we had to negotiate down from 158,000 dong. When we researched it, most places say it should cost between 100,000 - 135,000 dong. So make you they don't take advantage of you! 

The bus picks you up from the hotel, which is very convenient. The ride takes around 4 hours total, once everyone has been picked up. There's one stop along the way to grab food, drinks or use the washroom (with a fee). 

The ride there was actually quite scenic. You'll go through the countryside with lush green fields, which eventually turns into a mountain range before it turns into a winding road through pine trees. 

When we got to Da Lat, we got dropped off in the middle of no where as a marketing scheme. The moment we got off, there were many people asking if we needed a place to stay. We had to walk down the street until we reach the main road and tried to hail a taxi from there. 

Happy Travelling!