What would have to be my most favourite place in Vietnam, Da Lat is every anthophile's dream! (For those who don't know, an anthophile is a lover of flowers), and Da Lat is the place to be for those admirers! Da Lat is a hilly, countryside place full of so many incredibly beautiful natural features and has been described to be a place with spring like climate all year round.
Before flying into Da Lat we spent one night and day in Ho Chi Minh City, where the climate was brutal. The days were hot, very humid and just stepping outside was enough to leave you breathless, touching down in Da Lat on the other hand, we couldn't have asked for more pleasant temperatures.
We flew into Da Lat quite late in the night, it didn't help that our flight was delayed twice due to unsuitable weather conditions and our airport pick up driver getting lost on his was to our accommodation. By the time we arrived to Zen Valley Da Lat, we just checked in and threw ourselves into bed after what was a very exhausting day and night.
Waking up the next morning we were greeted to such a beautiful sight! Opening the blinds we were blessed with so much natural light and we had great balcony views of the landscape. Walking up to the restaurant for breakfast we passed through gorgeous little gardens and saw that the pool also overlooked the vast landscape!
There is so much to see and do in Da Lat that it can be an overwhelming task to organise it all yourself and because most places are quite spread out we decided to hire a private driver for a few days while we were in Da Lat. We had most things planned out and although the driver spoke minimal English, he knew where to go with the help a photos and addresses, he even took us to some other spots that weren't on our list and i'm glad we got to see them.
Our first stop of the day was to a cable car. As mentioned before Da Lat is a very hilly town and almost everywhere you go will require a good level of fitness to climb the many stairs and slopes to get to places. The cable car allows you to have a one way or two way trip, we opted for the one way and our driver met us on the other side. The experience was beautiful, you are up high but the ride is slow and steady and the views are just amazing! We started at the top of Robin Hill which also has a cafe and souvenir shop and made our way down which leads to the entrance to Truc Lam Pagoda, our next attraction for the morning.
Like most pagodas in Vietnam, appropriate clothes must be worn and Truc Lam Pagoda is no exception, shoulders and knees are to be covered and if they aren't you will be given a piece of clothing to cover these areas. There's many beautiful things to see here like artwork, buildings, structures, gardens and a large pond area. While most of the area is easily accessible, the walk down to the pond has a lot of steps and you need to be fit enough to walk back up them.
Address: 1, Dong Da, Lam Dong, Vietnam
Open Hours: Daily from 7:30am - 11:30am and 1:30pm - 5pm
Price: Adult one way 60,000 dong ($3.80 AUD) or two way 80,000 dong ($5 AUD)
On our way to our next place, Flower Park, it's easy to see why Da Lat is also known as the city of flowers, there are stunning flower displays everywhere you look, even in the middle of roundabouts! There must be something good in the soil in Da Lat because this is the prime place for growing crops like rice, fruit, vegetables and flowers, our driver told us that even the country Poland has bought land in Da Lat just so they could grow their tulips here!
You are welcomed to Flower Park with a beautiful green archway and entering the park is like the Disneyland of flowers! This is a large place with plenty of walking to be had but you can easily be distracted by all the stunning flower and garden displays found here. There are so many types of flowers which are all healthy, colourful and in full bloom!
Address: 2 Phu Dong Thien Vuong St, Dalat, Vietnam
Open Hours: Daily from 7:30am - 4pm
Price: Adult 40,000 dong ($2.50 AUD)
Our final stop for the day was to Thien vien Van Hanh, home to a huge golden buddha measuring at an impressive 79 feet height! There isn't a whole lot to do at this place except admire the towering golden buddha, surrounding gardens and temples.
Address: 30, Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Dalat, Lam Dong
Open Hours: Not exactly sure but assuming daily
Price: Free entry