Da Lat, Vietnam: Where to Eat, Drink, and Explore

by Victoria on April 4, 2014

Dalat, Vietnam, from the cable car

After a very busy 8 nights out and about in Ho Chi Minh City, I left on a Saturday evening (two weeks ago – wow time flies!) to spend a few days in the quiet mountainous and cooler city of Da Lat. Located further north and inland, the weather allows for a little reprieve from the heat, and has a lake within the city center. With strong French influences, it serves as a reminder of a town in the countryside of France in many ways, and is filled with cafes on every corner, where you can have your fill of Vietnamese coffee (or crack). Just be careful and try not to drink too much of it; I had two coffees one afternoon and didn’t sleep the entire night (plus, I don’t usually drink caffeine, so that wasn’t really the smartest thing I could’ve done).

Mr HuongIt was great to have a little down time to explore, check out some of the local food, and also focus on getting some serious work done while I had the chance to be on my own for awhile. I spent quite a bit of time catching up on sleep as well, and just enjoying many strolls around the area. One afternoon, I also wandered into Mr. Huong (call him at +84 098 468 3613), and decided to go on a motorbike tour with him of a few nearby sites in the city. He took me to a variety of places that I had looked up, and also suggested a couple more.  A sweet man, we spent a few hours driving around and I got the chance to see more of the beauty of the area, that wasn’t just in the main center by the Da Lat market.  We also had the chance to stop for an afternoon coffee and chat longer about his family and his life in Da Lat.

Here is my Google Map with the locations and more details about where to go! And remember, if you want to follow along on my food and travel adventures in real-time, come and join me over on Instagram!

Accommodations

Tulip Hotel Although I stayed at the sister hotel, this place has very high ratings, and it’s located super close by to where I was and I walked by it several times. Likely another great option.
Tulip II Hotel The sister to the Tulip Hotel just around the corner, the location of this very new Tulip II Hotel Roomaccommodation is great. Although it can be a bit noisy with the Tip Top Bar across the street playing house music into the night, I stayed on the top (5th) floor, which was quieter, and because of the cool weather there’s no need to open the windows. Note there’s not AC in Da Lat because it’s a cooler region, but it’s absolutely not needed – I was downright cold many times! The staff here spoke English quite well and there was the ability to book any tours and travel at the front desk. The building isn’t so soundproof between rooms, but I always wear earplugs nowadays. 580,000 VND/night (around $27) when I stayed (cheaper than Agoda by $10), and I got the top floor with lake view. Not bad at all.

Food & Drink

Lien Hoa Bakery This two level eatery has a bakery downstairs with a ton of options, as well as a restaurant upstairs. I went to both at some point during my stay, and it’s always busy in the pastry section. My upstairs experience wasn’t as great – I ordered the beef stew and got duck noodle soup, but at least it was still decent! Inexpensive local restaurant option.
Goc Ha Thanh Roll Your Own Spring RollsThis little local restaurant has been around for over 3 years now, and does a great job of serving clean local fare. The husband and wife owners are very sweet and are really good with service and provide great tips about the area and all you want to know about the food as well. The Nem Nuong, or fresh roll your own spring rolls are great, as well as the clay pot options (I tried the pork and egg). Quaint atmosphere as well, and set menu options for 84,000 VND (about $4USD). Don’t forget to try a glass of the famous-in-Vietnam Dalat wine with your meal. You can’t really go wrong here, and I returned twice in my 3 day stay!
Pho Hieu A very local streetside restaurant, this place was always busy when I walked by for breakfast. Known for their beef pho with Pho Hieudonut in the mornings, they also serve the infamous Da Lat yoghurt that you can have for dessert! One of the male staff speaks English very well. You can find a bowl of pho for 32,000-35,000 VND and 7,000 for the yoghurt. I was the only foreigner there on a busy weekend morning, and enjoyed being watched with amusement by the kids coming by with their parents for a family meal.
Mi Quang Thanh Mi QuanhI found this hole in the wall through another site when doing some research, called vietnamCoracle.com. They serve Mi Quang, which is a turmeric noodle soup from the area. The soup is served with Pork Belly or pork neck usually, and has rice crackers over top to break into the dish, along with peanuts, and of course plenty of fresh vegetables, such as mint leaves, bean sprouts, banana blossoms, scallions, cilantro, and perilla leaves (tia to). Opens late afternoon around 4 pm each day…but always good to go slightly later so that the meat has more time to grow tender and the broth has had a longer chance to stew.
Ms Tan’s Banh Trang Nuong In an alleyway between 32 & 34 on 3 Thang Street, you’ll find Ms Tan cooking up some Vietnamese pizza, the roasted version of Ms Tanwhich is called Banh Trang Nuong. For 25,000 VND (which I think is the inflated tourist rate) per piece, you’ll get one serving, which comes with an egg, minced pork, lots of butter, and scallions, inside a deep fried rice paper shell. Served with hot chili sauce, this makes for a great snack! I also had the chance to chat with a couple of locals, completely in Vietnamese (which I cannot speak), and tried to have a conversation for 20 minutes. We figured out a few things in the end, after a lot of difficulty, but that’s what makes it all the more fun!
Cà Phê Windmills There are 3 Windmills locations in Dalat, which I noticed. They serve only drinks, and no food, so go for your afternoon coffee and people watch or read a book. Cute and comfortable atmosphere.

Sites & More

Thác Datanla Datanla waterfall has a little a cool little roller coaster ride (with breaks) that you can pay 45,000 VND to use, otherwise it’s 10,000 VND to enter the forest and make your way 300 meters down to the falls. Close to the city center, it’s easiest to get here than the others that are further out if you don’t make it to more of the countryside.
Dalat Market The Dalat Market is a great place to explore if you’re looking to find some local produce, fresh strawberries, mulberries, or a Dalat City Centermyriad of other foods. During the daytime, peruse the large variety of goods, as you would any other Asian market. At night, enjoy the large selection of local area street foods, such as grilled chicken and chicken feet, grilled corn on the cob, heated soy milk perfect for the cool evenings (peanut, regular, and green bean options are most noticeable), Vietnamese pizza, and more!
The Crazy House Crazy HouseAlso known as Hang Nga Guesthouse, this psychedelic building was designed and constructed by a now 75 year old female architect who got her inspiration partially from Gaudi. Elaborate buildings, interesting walkways, and surrounding gardens make for a very unusual experience. The rooms themselves don’t look like they would be too comfortable, and of course I wouldn’t want to be staying somewhere that people then would be coming in and peering into my room (although I’m sure they shut them out). But who knows, it could be fun for some? In the meantime, the construction continues, and it is to be a never-ending project. The site has also been named one of the 10 most bizarre buildings in the world. Worth checking out! 40,000 VND. Afterward, walk down Pasteur street and stop by one of the many cafes for a snack (try Rose Villa Cafe – you can’t miss it).
Dalat Flower Garden This flower park is a nice little getaway in the middle of the city if you want a day to relax and have a romantic stroll. RestaurantsDalat Flower Garden and snacks available, and plenty of seats in the shade to read a book. 10,000 VND entry fee. Spend an hour or two in the quiet.
Truc Lam Zen Monastery Truc Lam Pagoda SceneryTake the cable car over the lake and country side one way (45,000 VND one way, or 70,000VND return), and you’ll find yourself at the Truc Lam Pagoda, with great views and a relaxing atmosphere. Bring a book and sit down overlooking the forest and scenery from the monastery and shrine.
Xuan Huong Lake You can’t really miss this lake, located right in the city center of Dalat. Fairly large, it’s surrounded by a walkway, has little boats Lake in Dalatyou can rent on it, and is surrounded on one side by a beautiful golf course. Great for a stroll and sunset.

I found Da Lat to be quite the charming little town, and would head back there again for some down time.
Victoria Chemko at Dalat LakeIt’s definitely worth stopping by on your way to other places in the region, especially if you’ll be heading North from Saigon to Mui Ne, and then up to Nha Trang by bus. I ended up flying in from Saigon as I chose to skip Mui Ne this time around, and then taking the bus to Nha Trang there (which took 3.5 hours, surprisingly less than the 4 hours I was told to expect).

In the end, I decided 3 nights was enough, and I figured I would head out to Nha Trang. I had actually extended and then changed my mind that evening, as I felt like I was done at that point and wanted to make sure I didn’t get stuck anywhere for too long on my limited time in Vietnam.

If you’ve been to Da Lat before, please feel free to share any other great local finds!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! To see the travels and adventures I get up to on a daily basis, please follow me on Instagram.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: