About Da Lat
Đà Lạt is a city in Vietnam's central mountainous region with a natural lake at its heart. Its climate (unusually temperate for Vietnam) made it popular with early French colonialists, who left their mark on the city's architecture. Đà Lạt railway station is built in Art Deco style, and there's even a replica Eiffel Tower. Today, the city is a chance to view lush, verdant mountains, explore waterfalls and get involved in high-adrenaline activities such as canyoning down the river.
You can get close to the action at a Đà Lạt hostel in the city centre, or choose a place in the mountains for a more peaceful stay. Among the hostels' social spaces, you'll find on-site bars with karaoke evenings and rooftop gardens. Free Wi-Fi is standard in most Đà Lạt hostels and you can look for a place with free parking if you're touring around Vietnam by motorbike. Some hostels in Đà Lạt even offer free hugs!
You'll likely spend most of your time in Đà Lạt Ward 1. This is home to the city's main bar and restaurant scene, with local and westernised menus, craft beers, cocktails and rooftop terraces for watching the sunset over the lake. Travel outside the city to take in more of the region, including the Elephant Waterfalls in Gia Lâm (just under an hour away). Lang Biang mountain is 13km from the city. It's a challenging hike to the top, or you can book a Jeep to take you up.
There's always something to do in Đà Lạt. The night market pops up on weekends, with food vendors filling the air with tempting smells. Hằng Nga Guesthouse, or the Crazy House, is a fairy-tale building filled with grottos and tunnels designed as a pet project by a local architect. You can also visit Trúc Lâm Đà Lạt, a working monastery and pagoda, for a tranquil experience among traditional architecture and pine trees, or go to the Flower Gardens to stroll next to colourful blooms.
The easiest way to get around is by motorbike or moped. You can rent them locally, or if you're not a confident driver, contact Easy Riders to ask about their tour options. Taxis are readily available if you prefer a ride with four wheels. As for airports, Lien Khuong Airport is the biggest in the region, and it's about 30km from Đà Lạt. If you arrive by train, you'll find yourself right in the centre.