Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Things to do in Da Lat, Vietnam

If you haven’t been to Da Lat, you should. This was my first time in Da Lat as well and I was only staying for 3 days 2 nights. I didn’t do any research before coming here. What I wanted was just to relax and have a good time (plus taking a lot of photos). No plan whatsoever on this visit. I came with my friend and stayed at the hotel outside the city.

We asked the owner of the hotel on what to do in Da Lat, but we also did some googling when we were free. So this list is just a few of many things you can do in Da Lat that we managed to do in our short visit 😅 Plus, it was raining every day so it limited our activities as well.

1. Crazy House (Hằng Nga Guesthouse)

A unique house. A lot of areas to explore and to take photos with. A must do in da lat. Entry fee 50k vnd. It has rooms for rent as well because it is actually a guest house. Their room is unique. The whole area’s design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured design elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. The architect admitted that he was inspired by Antoni Gaudi in building design.

 

2. Da Lat Market (Cho Da Lat)

A big market in the city. Will be nice to visit if not raining and wet, but even tho we had a nice walk inside the market. Good to buy souvenir or snack, Da Lat speciality. A very busy place even though it was raining. Maybe because it was Saturday. Better visit on the weekday. They have a huge variant of winter clothes, shoes, ao dai fabric, snacks, and many more. The street outside the market building also interesting. There are a lot of fruit sellers. I bought strawberry 1 kg, just couldn’t resist it. It was very cheap and sweet kind. There are a lot of mulberry and artichoke sellers, which are the speciality in Da Lat as well.

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3. Da Lat Cathedral

A small Catholic church in the middle of the city. We couldn’t go inside the building, it was not allowed to enter the church. So we just strolled around outside and took some pictures. There is an area with Lady Mary Statue where I can pray or sit there if only it was not raining.

 

4. Datanla Waterfall

Visiting a waterfall is a must-do in Da Lat. There are a lot of waterfalls and we had no idea which one is the best because every one of them has uniqueness. We chose Datanla Waterfall because it was quite nearby from our hotel (although the taxi driver tricked us! She took us the long way). It was very busy in the morning. There were so many buses! Inside the area, they have a lot of activities including a single-person roller coaster, high rope, cable car, and several waterfalls to look at.

Recommended route based on my experience: After entering the gate, go on the walking route (to the left area) until you reach the first waterfall. Enjoy the scenery, take a lot of photos. Next, buy a return ticket for the cable car (or walk down along the path if you feel like hiking). Take the elevator to the lower level and you will reach another waterfall. Again, enjoy the scenery, take a lot of photos. Next, buy a return ticket of alpine ride. Enjoy the ride, it is so much fun! If it’s not too crowded you can ride it alone. Or you can ride it together with a friend (2 persons per car) on one-way and get back in a separate car. There is a camera installed on top of the track on the way back where they will take ur photo while on the ride! Make sure to give a good pose if you plan to buy the photo after the ride. It was only 60k vnd per photo. A good purchase to remember the moment.

Once finished, go back up again with the cable car to the first waterfall, then to go back to the entrance either by walking or riding another alpine ride. This one is a very short route though.

The restaurant on location is not recommended. We were disappointed by their food. Bring snacks to hold the hunger if you don’t want to eat at this place.

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5. Cable Car

There are 2 points for the cable car in Da Lat, you can start from either side. We took the entrance near Truc Lam Pagoda because it’s close from Datanla Waterfall. I must say this is a must-do activity in Da Lat. From cable car, we can see a vast forest on one side and the whole city at the other side. It can be scary when it rain and windy because the cable car swings a bit and the sound of wind can be scary as well. When this happens, just turn on the music on your phone and listen to it while enjoying the view. 1 cable car fit 4 adults, with a maximum weight 300kg in total.

 

6. Da Lat Flower Garden

A must do in Da Lat if you like flowers or take a selfie. Big area full of many different flowers and trees. Very good to relax and enjoy the weather along with the colourful flowers. Can easily spend 1 hr there.

 

BONUS PLACES !

Bicycle Up Cafe

Address : 82 Trương Công Định, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt

This place is hidden in an alley (but not too far from the main street), and has a small space. The interior is very interesting and not too crowded so you can enjoy your drink and relax. I tried their coffee and they are good! Most importantly, it didn’t make my stomach hurt. I like their homemade yoghurt as well. They have many drinks menu but no food menu. Recommended place to take a rest after a long walk.

 

L’angfarm Specialty Shop

The famous souvenir shop in Da Lat. They are everywhere. Just look for a nearby shop and you will find one. Some of them have a coffee shop as well so you can have a drink and relax. What to buy from this shop? Many things! But mostly food or drink. Their strawberry and mulberry extract are famous. My friend bought it to be mixed with soda water. Or you can use for baking as well. I bought dried fruits. I tried their sweet potato as well but it was too sweet for my taste. Don’t forget to get artichoke tea if you like drinking tea, especially flowery tea. Artichoke tea is one of the specialities from Da Lat. I like the mixed chips as well, especially the one with dried bitter melon. They have a bag of only bitter melon, but I didn’t dare to buy lol.

Dried Bitter Melon
Dried Bitter Melon

 

Chu BBQ Restaurant

Address : 38 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt.

We were looking for something different after several days in Da Lat, and we found this place. The numbering system there is quite messy so you just need to walk until you find it. We were so hungry and wanted to try so many dishes, and ended up doing so! We ordered barbeque menu because the special thing about this restaurant is they are using a hot stone to grill the meat. Put all the meat on the hot stone and cook there. Beware of the smoke though! I had to get up to avoid the smoke. So many smokes! Pork Ribs BBQ is my favorite. Fried noodle with veggie is a bit spicy but taste good. Fried tofu.. could’ve used some seasoning on it. Too bland. Another thing that we loved from this restaurant is their chili. It was not too spicy and the taste was so refreshing with sour and salty touch.

 

Last but not least, I wanna share some tips if you plan to go to Da Lat :

  1. bring warm clothes, or bring more layer, especially if you come from tropical country.
  2. rain is normal in da lat, so prepare an umbrella whenever you go out.
  3. staying outside the city is nice too, but you need to find a hotel with good food because there is no nearby restaurant there.
  4. beware of a sneaky taxi driver. If you have mobile data on your phone, better check the route they are taking as well.

That was all that I can share from my trip to Da Lat. Have you been there? If so, which attraction or activity is your favorite? Let me know in the comment 😉

Thank you for reading!

Ciao.

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Experience · Travel · Vietnam

Ninh Binh Trip Diary – day 2

I woke up at 7am because I forgot to turn off the alarm. Doh! then we had breakfast at the homestay. Their food is pretty good. While waiting for the food and after the meal, we made plan on what to do today. We heard about the big festival that is going on at the old capital. It is only about 6 km driving. I couldn’t drive motorbike so the daughter of homestay owner offered her cousin to take me there and back. The cost was 100k vnd for that service one-way and I thought it was too expensive because the cost for renting a motorbike is 150k vnd per day. Ugh..

morning view from our hotel ninh binh vietnam
morning view from our hotel

The brother of the girl asked me to try the motorbike and see if I can drive it. I was scared because I never really drive a motorbike before. I did learned a little bit when I was in high school. Only on a small street and my brother used to make fun of my speed because I drove like a snail. But after a trial with the guy (he sat on the back, and me driving), apparently, I can drive a motorbike! In the end, we rented 2 motorbikes. My friend with her son. and me alone. We drove together and slowly to the old capital city.

There are a lot of people who asked us to stop for parking on the way to entrance. We picked the last parking spot and the lady said 20,000 VND. We didn’t agree, and the lady reduced the price. 5,000 VND it is! Luckily, the guy from our homestay told us the price for parking there. Thank you, Em!

ninh binh old town vietnam entrance
Entrance to Ninh Binh Old Town
festival boat ninh binh old town
Boats
Celebration of 1050 years
boats festival ninh binh old town
Ducks taking shower near boats
Entrance to a temple in Old Town of Ninh Binh
ninh binh old town festival

We strolled around the old capital. Taking A LOT of photos, especially when we found out that there is an event in one of the temple there! Many people wearing traditional dresses and there was a ceremony as well. I don’t know what ceremony was that but it was very interesting. We didn’t stay until it finished though.

On the way out, we stopped by at an ice cream place. 20k for celano ice cream. It was lunch time but my friend didnt want to eat there because of the previous food poisoning case she had on her trip to another cities in vietnam so I just hoped that ice cream would make my tummy calm until we found food! We walked a bit to the other gate, and on the outside of the palace there are many small stalls. I found an interesting water bottled brand in one of the stall! I thought it was Aquafina because it has the same design and color, but it wasn’t. It was Aquatoka! I don’t think they are from the same company…

Vietnam Calligraphy
Vietnam Calligraphy

We continued walking until we found a small pagoda. It looks new but still we took some photos there anyway. After we looked around a bit, we walked back to our motorbike and went back to the hotel to have lunch there.

In the afternoon we just stroll around the village riding a motorbike to take some photos. Then my friend’s son need a rest so we went back to the hotel and returned the motorbike.

Later on, my friend and I walked to the street next of the homestay. We met some people who said hello to my friend on the way, including a boy who passed by in a bicycle and showing us his middle finger while smiling! Whaaat?! I wonder if he understand the meaning of what he just did..

Ninh Binh Vietnam

When we were about to take a photo of abandoned boat, a small girl said hello to us. Her name is Yen, and she is 12 years old. She lives nearby. She was so happy to meet us because she’s been wanting to practice her english. And her english is great by the way. When I was 12 years old, I couldn’t speak English at all lol. She was taught since 5 years old by her mom, through youtube! And now at school she is learning English as well. She was so excited to show us around and didn’t want to leave us. I asked her if she needs to go home and do homework, she said no need, she just want to speak english. Cute! There were 2 of her friends joined us as well but their english is not as good as hers so they only responding in Vietnamese.

She asked us if we want to visit her school and we said yes, so she brought us to her school! What a unique experience! Haha. I’ve never been to a local school. It looked awesome though. I missed my school day just by looking at it. When it was the time to say goodbye, she desperately wanted to chat more but we couldnt. We really need to go back for dinner with the boy (who were asking where is his mom, been away for some time while he was sleeping lol).

We were having dinner together at the hotel when the owner lady joined us and she explained about her plants. In Vietnamese. We used google translator by voice and communicate very well with the lady. Very convenient! We decided not to go to the festival to see fireworks and it was the right decision. The daughter said it would be traffic jam and packed with people there. Her mom (the owner lady) turned on television and we could see the ceremony of the festival live! There were a lot of people at the old palace. I felt like we made the rigth decision by not going there. Not that keen to be in a crowded place. The lady also treat us an ice cream! I picked coconut ice cream and it was so good! Its texture was more like sorbet but sweet like ice cream. Delicious!

We finished eating ice cream by 10pm then I need to stay awake for awhile to digest this but I dont think I can do it, too sleepy. Better sleep now. Good night!