Da Lat, Vietnam
Da Lat is a beautiful mountain town located in Vietnam's central highlands. With lush green mountains, waterfalls and many lakes you'll be sure to find an outdoor activity you enjoy. The drive up to Da Lat is a very windy road up a mountain... Beware these drivers go very fast around these turns so maybe take a motion sickness pill if you get sick on the road. The bus should cost between $7-$15 depending on how hard you barter with the travel agency!
We were greeted by Mama and her children, Sushi being my favorite. She grabbed my cheeks and slapped me on the booty upon arrival. Mama was definitely a unique and crazy individual. She didn't speak any English, but she was a riot! We had a massive family style dinner when we arrived including noodles, omlettes, various vegetables, rice, soup and much much more! Da Lat family hostel is a great place to socialize. They serve alcohol at their bar and the patio offers beautiful views of Da Lat.
We arranged a day full of adventure through the hostel. They took us through the national forest where we hiked to a natural water slide. From the water slide you come upon two different waterfalls to rappel down, as well as, an optional cliff jump. At the first waterfall they do surprise half way down hanging off the side of the rock face with rushing water at your feet. They yell at you to release the rope and jump. I thought they were kidding, but they definitely weren't! It's fun to go first because then you get to watch everyone else's reaction when they learn they have to free fall. It was an extremely exhilarating day rapelling down crevasses of rushing water and hiking through the beautiful mountains of Da Lat. We had lunch by the lake which included some of the best tofu I had while in Vietnam and views that blow your mind. We were brought back by sunset to enjoy another family dinner and hit the town for some drinks with locals.
We ventured out to a few bars around town. The Escape Bar has live music and tons of locals! The Hangout and Saigon Nite are also a cool places to check out. You can get a taxi for very cheap to drive you there. We somehow got eight people in one taxi to get there with our friend riding in the trunk... Sorry Mom! Enjoy the locals and the hilarious night life of Da Lat!
Where to eat:
- Da Quy- lunch and dinner! Hot pot is highly recommended.
- Au Lac 1- inexpensive Vegetarian and vegan Restaurant
- 100 Roofs Cafe - very cool jungle theme rooftop cafe!
Things to do:
- Canyoning and waterfall rapelling: organize through your hostel for a day of hiking and adventure. Should be $20-25 for the whole day, but so worth it!
- Rent a motorbike drive through the mountains and chill out by Tuyen Lam lake
- Truc Lam Temple
- Ho Dankia- Suoi Vang
- Valley of Love
- Visit Elephant Waterfall and Datanla Waterfall
- Tiger Cave
- Da Lat cable car
Where to stay:
- Da Lat Family Hostel - Mama and her family takes great care of you! She is cooking all of the time and sharing her typical Vietnamese dishes with you for free! Dinner is less than a dollar and it's family style with everyone staying at the hostel. One of the best hostel experiences because it is a homestay as well. - $3 per night
- Da Lat Friendly Fun - $3 per night
- Zen Valley Da Lat - if you are feeling fancy and want to splurge this place is great for only $38 per night!
The trip from Da Lat to Mui Ne was a tight squeeze down a very long bumpy road, but we survived and made it to the sand dunes! Stay tuned for my next entry on a Mui Ne.