Dalat, City of Eternal Spring

Mist covering the valleys almost year-round leads to its name “City of Eternal Spring”

Located in Lam Dong province, about 200km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat used to be the playground of the French in Indochina. There are many villas where can enjoy the slightly cooler air of the mountain and thus escape the heat and humidity of Ho Chi Minh City. That’s why Dalat has the look of an old French town. Dalat was founded in 1897, following the recommendations of Dr. Alexandre Yerson to make this location a holiday resort.

Dalat looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Many of its hotel and houses are built in a French style. The city lies on a series of pine-covered hills, with several natural and artificial lakes such as Ho Xuan Huong, Thang Tho, Da Thien and Tuyen Lam surrounded by pine trees. The place has beautiful landscapes and a very different environment from the rest of Vietnam. The climate is perfect for flowers such as rose, orchid, lily and camellia of the valley.

Today, Dalat is a very touristically developed city. The tour buses are likely to climb and descend the hills and many small hotels are located along the streets of the city. The vast majority of visitors are Vietnamese on tour, admiring the landscape, the bright blue sky, fresh air and flower parks.

You can also attend dance performances of mountain tribes, also make hiking or cycling and canoeing descents. The high plateau of Langbian, where is the highest peak of the region with 2,165m above sea level, belongs to the Langbian Mountain. Several climbers are tempted by the summit. The Lom Bieng Klo offers a superb view of the surroundings. Many guided tours in the region will give you a chance to the parachute or climbing in the mountains.

Xuan Huong Lake

This artificial lake was created in the heart of town during the construction of a dam in 1919. It is named after a Vietnamese poet of the 17th century, known for her virulent attacks against the hypocrisy of society. Now Xuan Huong Lake is one of the main attractions of Dalat, and you can see honeymooners and locals strolling along its banks. Many hotels have a beautiful view of the lake. For walking on the lake, visitors can hire pedalos like giant swans. A 50-hectare golf course, north of the lake, has just been renovated through foreign funds.

Bao Dai’s Summer Palace

Bao Dai’s former residence is a fascinating palace. The last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty had made his summer residence. It is a villa with earth tones, built between 1931 and 1942, frequented by French and foreigners on a vacation in Dalat. Its architecture is inspired by medieval European cathedrals and convent from the Domaine de Marie (Dominion of Marie).

The palace houses an interesting collection of objects related to the events of recent decades. Private apartments are upstairs. The room of Bao Long Prince, who now lives in Britain, is a symphony of yellow, the royal color. The huge semicircular couch used by the imperial couple when they all met the family: three girls settled on the yellow seats, two sons on roses. The palace is nestled in a pine forest 500m southeast of the Pasteur Institute on Hong Phong Street, 2km southwest of the city downtown.

Valley of Love

This is one of the most romantic places in Dalat about 6km northeast of the city center. This is where the Da Thien dam (built in 1972) brings together small streams from high hills to form a lake surrounded by green pines. At first, the French called this place as Love Valley, shortly later it was renamed Valley of Peace and Valley of Love in 1953.

The Valley of Love interests tourists by its depth and hills. In 1972, a dam was built across the valley to form Da Thien Lake. You can follow along trails or ride a hundred paces, go through the door of bright flowers to reach Vong Canh Hill from where you can admire the beauty of the Valley of Love.

Lake of Sighs (Hồ Than Thở)

The French enlarged a natural lake with a dam near which established themselves small restaurants. Lake of Sighs (Hồ Than Thở) has a legend: Mai Nuong met handsome Hoang Tung while collecting mushrooms and was saved by him. They fell in love and asked their parents for permission to marry. Unfortunately in 1788, the Chinese threatened to invade the country and Quang Trung Emperor who carried out a general mobilization, Hoang Tung decided to join the fighting. Before leaving, he said goodbye to her girlfriend because he thought a combatant like him may “leave without returning”. Mai Nuong made another appointment with Hoang Tung the other day but she came earlier than expected. To prove her eternal love for him, she threw herself into the waters from which we still hear, on windy days, her sighs.

Prenn Waterfall

This is perhaps the largest and most beautiful waterfall of the whole region. Its altitude (1,124m) makes it a cool oasis. The water rushes into the void to fall 15m on a kind of rocky shape platform. A trail to switch the last curtain of water, with breathtaking views of this beautiful natural site and the water downstream, often invaded by sailing boats. Stalls offering refreshments. The park surrounding the falls was inaugurated in 1959 by the Queen of Thailand. The entrance is near the Prenn Restaurant, 13km from Dalat towards Phan Rang.

Lat Village

The nine hamlets that make up Lat village (6,000 inhabitants), whose name is pronounced “lak” extend 12km from Dalat, at the foot of Lang Bian Mountain. Five of them are home to members of the Lat ethnic group. The others are inhabited by the Chill, Ma and Koho, all speaking different dialects. The people live very frugally for the cultivation of rice, coffee, black bean and sweet potato. They have 300 hectares of land, which provide only one rice crop per year.

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