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Vietnam is great. It’s as simple as that.
The people are amazing, the food tastes great, and everything is just so cheap!
But are you starting to feel a bit tired out by the heat? Or maybe you’ve seen enough of the coast?
Either way, Da Lat is certainly the answer to your prayers! It’s nestled high up in the mountains and has a chilled Spring-time temperature almost all year round.
Better yet, there’s plenty to do for all passionate backpackers looking to experience more of this wonderful country.
So, to help save you any more wasted time spent sat behind your computer, let's get stuck in with the 10 best things to do in Da Lat, Vietnam.
(Oh yeah ... and I’ve thrown in plenty of pictures and maps to help you out!)
First on your stop when visiting Da Lat should be to head to Datanla Falls. It’s about 15 minutes outside of the centre of Da Lat, and the route there is pretty straightforward.
Once you arrive, you can head in and buy your tickets and take a casual walk around the park enjoying the falls and taking in the scenery.
Oh and don't forget to pay for your parking, it’s a whole 3,000VND … so, roughly 15 cents!
Depending on how long you’re in Da Lat for, you might want to consider doing an adventure tour whilst at the falls. You can choose a variety of packages, offering things such as water abseiling and an adventure course through the trees.
Click here to get a full rundown of the tours there. They are pretty cheap, but just be sure to book up early as these can get really busy in the summer months.
Whilst you’re there, you can also go tobogganing and jump on a cable car. These two activities are, once again, very cheap and you can purchase tickets with your entrance.
The tobogganing is particularly good fun, and saves you a lot of walking when you are in the park itself (check out our footage in the video below).
Again, however, these activities can get very busy. As such, we recommend getting the park as early in the day as you can, so to get them out of the way and skip the crowds.
The best way to get to Elephant Falls is to carry on all the way down and around the main road that leads off south from Datanla. It’s a beautiful journey, and you also have the option to stop off at Prenn waterfall on the way.
Either way, it is certainly worth seeing Elephant Falls, and you get a pleasant scramble down the rocks to get your view.
Do be aware, the path down is broken in many places, though certainly not impassable. However, you will likely get wet on the way down (which is usually a welcome treat in Vietnam!
The cost to get in is only about 20,000 VND (so, 1 USD).
Literally two doors down from the Elephant Falls you will find Happy Buddha and the Linh An Tu Pagoda. Though we wouldn’t have gone out of our way to visit these two things on their own, you might as well see them whilst you’re there.
The Valley of Love is one of the much more westernised things to do in Da Lat and is a bit pricey. If I’m honest with you as well, we never even went in!
Our plan was to get there for the sunset but, when we arrived, we just found it to be a little overpriced and touristy for our liking.
Some of the best things to do in Da Lat can only be found with the help of a local friend who knows the area inside and out.
Locals are far more clued in to unique, authentic experiences and can help you find something special to do.
If this sounds like the sort of thing you'd be interested in, then I recommend checking out LandedVibe. Their mantra is:
"The best travel experiences are held in the hands of locals, not a tour guide."
Consisting of many well-curated activities for modern travellers, you can discover your own less-touristy and less mainstream travel experiences on their website here: LandedVibe.
The Linh Phuoc Pagoda is situated roughly 9 km outside of the city centre. It is quite unique in itself, as the garden houses a 49-metre long dragon made from broken pottery and glass.
The entire pagoda is quite astounding, and it is fascinating to look at it up close and marvel at the Vietnamese craftsmanship.
Better yet, admission is free, so it’s worth a stop if you have the time to spare and are happy to ride out there.
In fact, you can even get a small train out there apparently, but we have no experience of this ourselves. Travelfish can offer you a little more insight into the trains that run there.
Once you’re back in Dalat city centre, you should be sure to check out the wonderful Flower Park they have there.
It is located at the end of the main lake in the city and is a very romantic place to just walk and take in the sights and sounds.
However, the park closes at 4pm most days, so be sure to get there on time, rather than savings it as your last thing to do that day
The main lake in Da Lat city centre has to be the biggest attraction on offer. It is a truly wonderful spot to sit and relax, and it is surprising how such a thing even exists so high up in the mountains.
I would recommend hiring out one of the swan paddle boats taking a ride out and around the lake. We chose this as the last activity of our day in Da Lat and were certainly not let down by the experience.
As it was later in the evening, the sun was starting to set and the temperature had cooled nicely. I can't remember how much it cost, however, it was certainly not expensive.
The Crazy House is perhaps the strangest thing to expect to do in Da Lat as it has nothing to do with nature.
Instead, it is a strange house that was built by architect Dang Viet Nga. The interior of the building includes a whole host of quirky design features like mushrooms and caves.
You also get some nice views of parts of the city. Again, it’s not expensive and, if you have the time to spare, you can take a quick look around for a mere 40,000 VND.
Alternatively, you can pay a bit more and even stay there for the night. Compared to other hostels in Vietnam it would be expensive, coming in at around $30+.
However, it certainly would be a story to tell and, if you’re not into partying and drinking the night away, is probably the best thing to do in Da Lat at night.
Or, if you're looking to explore something more conventional, then I recommend checking out this post on architecture in Da Lat. Especially if you're a fan of French design.
Without a doubt, the best thing to do in Da Lat is to hire a moped to ride around to all of these wonderful stops. The beautiful thing about Da Lat is it is high in the mountains so offers breathtaking views at so many points.
Also, the journey from Datanla Falls round to Elephant Falls is one of the best rides we encountered in all of Vietnam. The roads are mostly in great shape, and you get to pass through a whole host of small villages and settlements where you see the locals hard at work.
If you are inexperienced, then the journey may be tiring and long (it’s about 40km), though there’s plenty of areas to stop along the way. Again, just be sure to leave as early as possible to get the most out of the day and not be rushed for time.
Renting a moped in Da Lat is very easy, and most hostels seem to hire them out. The standard price is around 120,000 VND, which is far cheaper than if you were to hire a bus tour for the day.
Especially if there are 2 of you to a moped like there always was with me and Cazzy. Also, fuel is so cheap that you hardly need to factor it into budgeting!
When you're out exploring any city in South East Asia, I recommend you use maps.me.
You can download maps of where you are going to be exploring, and can then load them up automatically even without an internet connection.
So, as for Da Lat, below is a screenshot of all of the places mentioned in this post.
They are very easy to find, just search for them in the search bar on the maps.me app. Then, when you find each one, bookmark it so they are easy to see when you are out and about!
When we were in Ho Chi Minh, we picked up the hop-on-hop-off bus pass which allowed us to stop in the best stops all the way up through Vietnam for a little over 30 dollars.
However, another popular mode of transport that people seem to take is an Easy Rider tour. Again, these leave from Nha Trang or Mui Ne.
However, instead of being in a bus, you’ll be on the back of someone's motorbike! It’s not my kind of thing, as I’d rather be in control of the bike, but plenty of people seem to do this sort of trip all up the country.
If you are interested, then I recommend finding out more here on Get Your Guide.
Well, that's it for my recommendation of the best things to do in Da Lat, Vietnam. It really is a wonderful place to be and is a much-needed oasis amidst an otherwise extremely hot country.
I would recommend that everyone take at least a day or two to stop off there is so much to do and it's great for backpackers on a tight budget.
If you've been to Da Lat and used this guide or found other things to do, then please let me know below! I'd love to hear from you and reminisce further of my time in this astounding country.