Living in Dalat City, Vietnam for Digital Nomads

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Digital Nomads Guide to living in Dalat Vietnam

After six months living in Da Nang, we really needed a break from the heat. Several of our local friends recommended we visit Dalat City for the cooler weather and the misty mountain views.

 

They had us at cooler weather.

 

Dalat is known as the “Land of perpetual Spring” for its year round sweater weather.


It’s a popular traveling destination for Vietnamese tourists. We saw significantly fewer Westerners here than in most of the other places we visited in Vietnam. We met very few expats.

Dalat City was quite a change of pace for us from Da Nang. First of all, the vibe of the city is completely different. Dalat has curvy streets that wind up the sides of hills, small Vietnamese style cafes on every corner, and amazing southern food specialties. The quirky, alternative fashion style of Dalat was a nice contrast from the beachy backpacker atmosphere of Da Nang.

Although we only lived in Dalat for a month, this is definitely a place we could see ourselves coming back to.

LN 2018 Dalat Vietnam Guide
Hiking through Son Pacamara Coffee Farm in Dalat

Access to Nature

Dalat is surrounded by mountains, so there is no shortage of great hikes and waterfalls to visit. The weather was very rainy while we were there, so we didn’t get to enjoy nearly enough of this side of Dalat, but we did enjoy the amazing mountain scenery.

Alternative Culture

Like many mountain towns, Dalat has its own sense of fashion. The locals take great pride in their appearance and dress extremely well. Dalat is amazing if you’re a “people watcher.” You may not be packed for the cool weather, so be sure to browse the many second hand shops for amazing deals on unique and rare clothing items.

Coffee and Flannel In Dalat

Cooler Weather

It can’t be understated. The weather is one of the biggest factors in deciding to come to Dalat. It was downright chilly. We were unprepared for how cold it would actually be. I’m talking about 17C in August. We bought our first new clothes in a while; sweaters and flannel out of necessity.

Coffee Culture

Dalat is Vietnam’s star coffee producing region. No other place in Vietnam produces the kind of high quality Arabica beans like Dalat. There are so many great places to warm up with a fresh brewed cup. Cafes for working are harder to come by, but can be found with a bit of patience. (see our cafe section for our recommendations)
 



 

Main Tourist Area of Dalat at night.

WHERE TO STAY IN DALAT?


The area directly to the northeast of the lake is the main city center of Dalat. Here is where you’ll find most of the tourist attractions. The night market, and Dalat’s most famous restaurants, cafes, bars and attractions like the Maze bar are central to this area. If you’re only staying for a short time and want to be close to the action then look here for accommodation.

 

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal at Brew and Breakfast
Gabby's Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal at Brew and Breakfast.

That being said, you don’t have to go far to get away from the tourism and find a more local vibe. We explored lots of great neighborhoods all over Dalat. We really liked the quiet homey feel just to the south of the lake. We spent a couple of nights at Brew and Breakfast and found the neighborhood quite charming.

During our month in Dalat we stayed in an apartment on the north end of the main city center about 1.5 KM to the north west of the lake close to the buddhist temple Linh Son Pagoda. We were close enough so that we could easily walk to the main tourist area and cafes if we wanted to, but weren’t surrounded by groups of tourists the moment we walked out the door.

Our Neighborhood in Dalat, Vietnam
The View of our Neighborhood from our apartment building in Dalat.

 

About 50m from our door right next to a small park, was a tiny local wet market where we were able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables each day. There were great cafes close by, and a decent bakery if we had any sweet cravings...actually we were probably a little too close to the bakery if you know what I mean.

Dalat is a very friendly and charming place. Locals were very kind to us and began to recognize us very quickly, we exchanged many smiles and waves as we walked down the street. Even though we weren’t able to communicate well verbally, they were very warm and welcoming to us and open to our presence in their neighborhood. We highly recommend branching out and finding a nice local area to live in.

Donuts from the Lien Hoa bakery down the street
Donuts from the Lien Hoa bakery down the street

Accommodation Tips


There’s a lot of variety when it comes to accommodations in Dalat. There are hostels and homestays, hotels, villas, and standard Vietnamese apartments. After looking on AirBnB, We posted around on some of the Dalat facebook groups and eventually found a quaint 1 bedroom apartment that suited our needs for the month. We were a bit nervous about finding a good apartment and settled with one of the first ones we found, but if we had more time or started looking a bit earlier, I’m confident we would have found something more comfortable the price we paid. Please note that, it doesn’t hurt to negotiate the price of accommodation, but also be reasonable about your asking price. 



 

working time zones in Dalat Vietnam

WORKING REMOTE TIME ZONES


You'll have daytime working hours if you're working on Beijing time, since you'll only be one hour behind. You'll still only be about 4 hours behind Australian time zones. Vietnam is 12 hours ahead of EST (13 during daylight savings time), so you’ll be on an opposite schedule if you’re communicating with NY. This also means that you’ll be a half day ahead when it comes to deadlines. If your company is based anywhere in Europe, then you’ll be about 6 or 7 hours ahead. There don’t seem to be any overnight working places in Dalat, so make sure that you have a solid wifi connection in your accommodation if you’re planning on doing any overnight work.

 

 

 

Dalat Specialty Coffee Shops

WIFI. CO-WORKING. SIM CARDS.


Wifi can be a little hit or miss in Dalat. Our apartment had decent wifi with download speeds over 20mbps and uploads around 10mbps. I never had any connection problems while teaching from home. Cafes can be a different story.

 

Dalat is more of a digital nomad getaway than a digital nomad hotspot. As of now there are no real coworking spaces in Da Lat. We spent most of our work hours in cafes around town. At first it was difficult to find workable cafes due to the large numbers of small specialty cafes. We never feel comfortable posting up for hours in a cafe with just a few tables, so we sought out larger cafes to work from. Head to the Cafes Section of this post for our recommendations. 

 

4g service in Dalat was available, and relatively reliable. We used a Viettel sim card which we bought directly from the Viettel store. You can top up at any small shop with the Viettel logo in it, or through the app on your phone. In Da Nang, we would usually top up at a K-market, but we were hard pressed to find one in Dalat.

 



 

How to Get to Da lat Vietnam

HOW TO GET TO DA LAT 


The best way to get to Dalat depends on a few factors. Where you’re coming from, your budget, and your patience. Flying directly to Dalat is the fastest and most expensive option. Taking the bus from Saigon is cheaper than flying, so many people fly to Saigon and take the bus from there. The bus ride is about 8 hours so be sure to factor that into your plans. Getting the bus from anywhere else will take longer than 8 hours as you have to go South before heading up into the highlands.

We flew from Da Nang, during the high season, our direct flights were around $150 USD one way. While it was more than we would usually spend on a domestic flight in Vietnam, we had little interest in spending a long layover in Ho Chi Minh airport, and we were spending a month in Dalat, not just a few days. 

From the airport, we took the local shuttle bus to Dalat City, which was only 40k VND ($2 US) instead of taking a taxi which was around 160k-180k VND (about $8 USD). When we were there Grab was really only operational within Dalat City and they only had Grabbikes available. The airport is about a 50 minute ride from Central Dalat. The bus has 2 drop off locations, one near the Big C Supermarket, and one in the center of town.



 

DO I NEED A VISA IN VIETNAM?


As Americans, Vietnam was one of the only countries where we needed to apply for a visa in order to get in.

 

Citizens of 24 countries can obtain visa free entry to Vietnam. Passport holders from 46 countries can obtain a 30 day Vietnam e-visa.

 

For longer stays you can apply online for a 30 or 90 day tourist visa on arrival with single or multiple entry. There are lots of agencies that provide visa on arrival for Vietnam. We used Vietnam-visa.com twice based on the recommendation of friends and had a perfectly seamless experience both times.  (If you use the link below we will receive a small commission for referring you to their service, at no extra cost to you. We thank you in advance for your support and hope you enjoy their service as much as we did.) 

 

 

They'll email you your letter of approval just a few days after you submit your application. Make sure you print it out and keep it during your entire stay in Vietnam. You'll need it when you exit the country as well. You'll also need a passport sized photo of you and copies of the info page of your passport. 

IMPORTANT TIP: Have VND or USD to pay your stamping fee on arrival. They do not have an ATM in the main terminal before customs. On our second visit we were coming in from Thailand and were only carrying Thai Baht...they had an officer escort me out to the ATM in the arrivals terminal so I could pay my fee. Obviously it wasn’t the end of the world, but it was a bit stressful in the moment.

 



 

Best Cafes in Dalat, Vietnam

CAFES IN DA LAT, VIETNAM


Despite the fact that Da lat has some of the finest coffee, and one of the coolest cafe scenes out there, most places aren’t what we’d call “workable.” Meaning they mostly have low tables (we’re talking, 1 foot off the ground low), and very few power outlets.

The coffee culture here is much more about relaxing and enjoying a cup rather than caffeinating and crushing it for hours on end. Nevertheless there are a few cafes that we were able to work from for a few hours at a time. Once you know where they are, you’ll never struggle to find a work spot.

Doha Cafe in Dalat, Vietnam

Doha Cafe

Doha Cafe is the cool green and yellow glass onion shaped building close to Big C. There are 3 floors inside, plenty of high tables to work from. Check the black pillars around the outside for available plugs. There’s no AC so it can be pretty warm inside (sort of like a greenhouse), however there are plenty of fans around to keep you cool.

Vy Anh Cafe

Vy Anh Cafe is a charming cafe straight across from the famous bright yellow banh mi shop (Tiệm Bánh Cối Xay Gió) with the tourists posing out front. This was probably our favorite place to work from in Dalat. They have a few floors with lots of tables and plugs. The coffee drinks were delicious and not too expensive. The atmosphere on the upper floors was quiet and good for working.

Cafe latte at An Cafe

An Cafe

An Cafe is one of the coolest cafes we’ve visited in Dalat. They have a great menu with awesome snacks and drinks. Unfortunately the wifi situation there was pretty bad and we ended up leaving without getting any work done. This place is definitely worth a visit, but not if you need wifi.

Windmills Cafe

There are at least 4 Windmills Cafes around Dalat. They usually have a decent amount of available tables and a good working atmosphere. This wasn’t our favorite cafe, so we didn’t visit all of them, however, a few of them have multiple floors and partner with other restaurants, so the menu varies from place to place. If you don’t like your coffee sweet be sure to specify when ordering, not sweet (không ngọt) or no sugar (không đường).

Woodstock Cafe in Dalat Vietnam

Woodstock Cafe

Woodstock is a comfortable place to sit for a few hours, especially in the evening when it tends to be less busy. The space is large with eclectic style, there are high tables, a few available outlets, and decent wifi. The food options aren’t life changing, but they do have some nice snacks on their menu. It’s unfortunate, however, that their music selection isn’t more in line with their name. Don’t forget your headphones. On another note bring a sweater, it can be pretty breezy when they leave the doors open.

One More Cafe in Dalat Vietnam

One More Cafe

The name says it all! Just Kidding. One More Cafe is a cute little western style cafe. Their downstairs is pretty small and can be a bit distracting for getting work done, so we suggest sitting upstairs, it was much quieter up there when we visited. The coffee was great and their breakfast was delicious, but expect to pay a bit more for your Western style breakfast, with Vietnamese portions.

Our Neighborhood Favorites


Bicycle up cafe Dalat Vietnam

Brew and Breakfast

We Loved the style of this tiny cafe located in Artists' Alley. It's one of the funkiest cafes we found, all their decor is up-cycled, and vintage. There are tons of books in many different languages to flip through. Their hot chocolate is delicious , their coffee is locally roasted, and their homemade yogurt is the perfect after dinner snack.    

Cà phê Viva Đà Lạt

A local favorite, right around the corner from our apartment, and the closest place that served Italian style espresso drinks. Viva was busy, literally all day. This was our favorite Vietnamese style cafe, with low tables and chairs. We would often stop at the bakery and pick up a couple croissants to enjoy with our lattes. They also serve some complimentary amaretto flavored tea. They roast their own coffee as well, though mainly Robusta beans.

Our Favorites for the Coffee


These places have some of the best coffee we found around the city of Dalat, but due to their size lack of table space or atmosphere, they're not the best for spending many hours working.

 

Married Beans Coffee Beans

The Married Beans

You might be able to get away with working here for a couple hours if it's not crazy busy. This small concept space is basically like a tasting room for this specialty coffee roaster. They work with around 60 farmers in the region, producing high quality Arabica, and some Robusta coffee beans. We had the chance to visit their workshop, and learn about the roasting process. Their concept cafe is not to be missed, and we recommend ordering something other than a traditional Vietnamese Coffee here, so you can really experience their best work.

 

coffee at MANKI by the 1992

MANKI - by the 1992

MANKI is a concept cafe  for another artisan coffee roaster 1992. The shop is located on the same street as The Married Beans, a has only a couple of tables, but their coffee is outstanding. We had a hard time drinking coffee without milk before coming to Dalat, but with such delicious and delicately  brewed Arabica beans, it would be a shame to add milk. MANKI would be a great spot to sit and ponder life while watching people walk past their large windows.

 

 

SonPacamara Specialty Coffee

This is absolutely not a place you can work from. The opportunity to learn everything you want to know about specialty coffee production and roasting straight from the man himself. Son produces some of the highest quality coffee beans we've ever had the pleasure of tasting in a cup of coffee. He brewed us a couple of different glasses of hand grown, hand picked, small batch roasted coffees, including a bourbon, and pacamara blend. Learn more about Son's place in the Things to Do section below.

 



 

Banh Can, What to eat in Dalat

WHAT TO EAT IN DALAT


Da lat’s cuisine is very different than the food we experienced in other parts of Vietnam. Food in Da lat tended to be a bit heartier and more filling. We were pleased to find many delicious local specialties, and interesting local variations on some of our old standbys. You can read about all of these dishes and more in our favorite Vietnamese Foods post. There are tons of farms in the Lam Dong regions, besides the Dalat Milk farm, and the Dalat Vang (wine) vinyard, there are tons of fresh veggies and fruits, that make a few local dishes stand out. 

A Few Da Lat Specialties:

 

Banh Uot Long Ga | Wide sheets of noodle with chicken, ususally served cold, with a citrus-y fish sauce.

 

Bun Rieu | Thin Bun noodles with a hearty tomato soup base made with crab juice and a big hunk of crab cake.

 

Mi Quang | Served in Dalat with distinctly yellow noodles, lots of meat and warm soup. Way different from the way we had it in Da Nang.

 

Banh Can | For Breakfast or a late night snack. Banh Can are rice pancakes with a cooked quail egg inside. They look like flying saucers, and are to be dunked in the soup that is paired with them.

 

Bot Chien | Thick squares of rice noodles, pan fried with egg until crispy on the outside and cloudlike on the inside, usually drenched in a sweet soy sauce.  

 

Dalat Yogurt (yaourt)  | A small sweet cup of homemade yogurt usually around 6k VND. Some of them are made with laughing cow cheese (known as phô mai) . You'll see it everywhere, street vendors, small hole in the wall establishments, everyone and their grandmother seems to make yogurt in Dalat. But by far our favorite was at Bicycle Up Cafe in Artists Alley, not too sweet and goes perfectly with a cup of their hot cocoa.

 

Avocado Ice Cream (Kem Bo)| A life changing dessert, with Dalat's fresh-from-the-farm avocados this thick-blended milkshake is topped with a scoop of coconut or milk ice cream. Mix it together or don't, but this bright green ultra creamy treat will have you coming back for more, especially when the sun comes out. Kem Bo is pronounced like (Kem Buh)

Avocado Ice Cream at Kem Phung Dalat
Adam eating Vietnamese Banh Mi Snadwich at famous yellow banh mi shop in Dalat

Street Food in Dalat


Dalat Pizza, Street Food in Vietnam

 

Dalat Pizza | As born and raised New Yorkers, neither of us would actually consider Dalat Pizza to be pizza. In fact the only resemblance is the construction of it. Dalat Pizza is something of a specialty, you’ll see many streetside “pizza stands”, with low stools, an open grill, and usually a large crowd circling the one lady who’s whipping them up.

So, what is a Dalat Pizza you ask? It’s a thin sheet of rice paper set on a grill, with a cracked quail egg, some spring onions and herbs, a schmeer of laughing cow cream cheese, thinly sliced cocktail weenies, and occasionally bacon bits or dried shrimp.

 

On the subject of pizza...the best real pizza we did find in Dalat was at Primavera.

 

Banh Mi Chao

Banh Mi | We could literally write a whole separate post about Banh mi, which in our opinion should be its own food group. We can’t even begin to scratch the surface of these baguette sandwiches with this tiny blurb. Dalat has its own Banh mi specialties that transcends your typical egg, meat, and pate sandwich. There are fish varieties (ca) , and meatball soup varieties (xui mai), and even a skillet version that you put together yourself (chao). Try ‘em out, and let us know what your favorite combo is.

 



 

Com Chay mixed plate Vegetarian food in Vietnam

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Dalat


Finding vegan food in Dalat is not difficult, though you may not find a tremendous variety. There are many Com Chay restaurants in town, most of them are run by Buddhist monks and each one has slightly different options available. Vietnamese people observe specific vegetarian days each lunar month, so be aware that these restaurants will be busy on the new moon and full moon. 

Vegan Mushroom Pho at Hoa Sen in Dalat
Vegan Mushroom Pho at Hoa Sen in Dalat

Hoa Sen Vegetarian Restaurant has an amazing menu with so many delicious items. We loved their mushroom pho and the crispy fried tofu. Everything we tried there was delicious.

 

Ganesh Indian Restaurant also has a lot of great vegetarian and vegan options on their menu. Indians certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to veg.

 

Brew and Breakfast has a great vegan breakfast menu if you’re looking for western style options. I find myself regularly craving their beans and toast plate. The owners Nick and Briana are British vegans who’ve been living in Dalat for a while. They will be more than willing to share their wealth of experience with you. Bonus: They roast their own coffee so be sure to try a cup of their locally grown coffee. 

 

As always, check out Happycow.net for other places we haven’t mentioned.

 



 

Big C in Dalat Vietnam

MARKETS & GROCERY SHOPPING IN DALAT


There are street vendors selling fruits in vegetables ALL around the city, and especially at the huge Dalat Night Market.  We found a small market 50 ft from our apartment. They’re usually the best option for local produce. Outdoor wet markets usually have meat and seafood available too. As with anywhere, be sure to carefully check everything for freshness before you buy it.

 

The Big C in Dalat seems to be main grocery store in town. It’s actually a pretty cool underground building built into the side of a hill. With a large Yellow and blue dome structure on top. It's located right next to the Doha Cafe (the green and yellow onion shaped cafe) situated right next to the lake. They have a pretty decent selection, though you may have some difficulty finding specific imported products. 

Some Characters at the Dalat Night Market

Da Lat Night Market

We have very mixed feelings about the Dalat night market. Certainly you can find some great food, and locally made products. If you need to buy a $2 raincoat or some boots to deal with Dalat’s weather this is the place to find it. Or, you can rent bicycles and motorbikes there to get around the city on. You will also find large amounts of chinese made trinkets that you probably passed on at the last 3 night markets you visited. Weekends at the Dalat night market are insanity. We recommend having a look around on a weeknight if you want to enjoy it with smaller crowds.

 



 

THINGS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING DALAT


When is the Best Time to Visit Dalat?

People constantly warned us that Dalat was going to be cold. Being from NY we shrugged them off thinking Vietnamese people don’t really know the meaning of cold. We were wrong….or maybe we’ve just changed more than we realized. Coming from coastal Da Nang to rainy, mountainous Dalat was a real shock to our system. We were totally ill equipped for the rain and cool 10-15C temperatures and quickly needed to buy some sweatshirts and flannel.

Rainy season in Dalat is a big factor to consider when planning your visit. It rains nearly every day from April-October. Mornings are typically sunny and clear with afternoon and evening showers.

November to March seems to be the nicest time of year to visit Dalat. With less rain during this time,  it will be busier. Still come prepared to layer up with a sweater.

How to Get Around Dalat

 

Grab/Motorbike Taxi:

Only good for single riders. These taxis are cheap and will take you anywhere.

 

Metered Taxi

Great for multiple passengers. These taxis will also take you anywhere and are cost effective unless you're going out towards the airport. If you're planning a day trip see if the driver has a full day rate.

 

Motorbike Rental

Motorbike is the most popular method of transport in Vietnam. You can rent motorbikes from pretty much anywhere and the price varies depending on how long you’re renting, the quality of the bike itself, and how much you’re willing to negotiate. You'll get a better price the longer you rent for. 

 

Grab car

We were surprised to find there were no grab cars in operation during our visit to Dalat. We’re not exactly sure why, but this was the only place we had to rely on metered taxis if we wanted to go anywhere by car.

 

Motorbike Tips:

Driving a motorbike in Dalat is easy compared to other cities in Vietnam. Traffic in Dalat is much calmer than in the big cities of Hanoi, Saigon, or even Da Nang. People tend to drive more slowly, streets aren’t too crowded (except for around the lake), and the roads are in generally good condition. Just stay to the right and use your horn to communicate. 

 



 

Daily Life in The City of Eternal Spring

DAILY LIFE IN DALAT


Fitness

We don’t tend to work out in the gym, especially since walking up the hills in Dalat will keep your booty pretty toned. However, a quick google search will turn up a couple of fitness centers in town. Gym Tai Nguyen seems to be the most popular with a 40,000vnd daily rate. Let us know if you discover any better places than this one. Otherwise, you can always go outside and go for a hike or jog around the lake.

 

 

Laundry

Our landlord connected us with a laundry lady we were able to contact whenever we needed wash done. She did not speak English, but she would come pick up our laundry bag from our apartment and return it dried and folded in 24 hours. Newer apartments may have their own laundry facilities. If you prefer to do your own laundry, there are places to do so in town.

 

 

Health Concerns

Dengue: Dengue is a big health concern for us after Gabby’s 4 day visit to a balinese hospital last year. There was a particularly bad outbreak in Vietnam this year which claimed the lives of at least 25 people. Take necessary precautions to avoid bites with mosquito spray, and wearing long baggy clothes or specific mosquito repellent fabrics.

 

Food borne illness: We haven’t had any issues with food poisoning in Vietnam. That’s not to say that our stomachs haven’t felt a little “off” after a meal every now and again. If your stomach feels unwell try some activated charcoal pills, you can usually buy them over the counter from any pharmacy.

 

Dogs: There are plenty of street dogs in Dalat. Some of them will be very friendly, but use caution and common sense. Rabies is a legitimate concern in Vietnam.

 

Hospitals: There are a few hospitals in Dalat. Hopefully you won’t need them. We went to the hospital in Da Nang once for a medical check up. We saw a Western Doctor who had relocated to Da Nang. The experience was much different from going to the hospital in the US, and also way cheaper, even paying out of pocket. 

 

Dental: We did go to the Dentist while living in Da Nang, but not while in Dalat. The office we went to was run by a Western Doctor from Alaska. The dental hygienists and trained dentists who worked on us, were Vietnamese. It was a fine experience, we were happy with the work we had done and the low cost of the cavity fillings.

Our Best Advice for dealing with Medical issues is to consult local/expat facebook groups in Dalat for recommendations. Remember to use the search bar before asking questions.

 



 

View of Dalat from the Crazy House

THINGS TO DO IN DALAT


Finding something interesting to do in Dalat is never difficult, though you may want to check the weather report before making plans. Rainy days in Da Lat are great for sipping a high quality pour over coffee and enjoying a good book in a cafe. Sunny days are ideal for a pedal around the lake, or a motorbike trip into the mountains. Use this list of things to do in Dalat to inspire your adventures!

 

Son of Son Pacamara Specialty Coffee

Visit a Coffee Farm

Dalat produces some of the finest specialty coffee in Vietnam. If you’re looking to learn more about the process, look up our friend Son of Son Pacamara Specialty Coffee farm. His love for the plant will surely inspire you! Book a tour, or stop into his cafe for a fresh brewed cup of goodness! Never before would we have described coffee tasting like fine wine, and I'm not just saying that because it was served in a wine glass. The day we visited Son's coffee tasting room, was the day our relationship to coffee changed forever. After talking with us for a while and giving us a tour of his roastery , he brought us out to his farm to show us first hand how he grows his coffee.

 

Visit a Farm in Dalat

Learn about Dalat's Agriculture

On your way into town from the airport, you'll notice tons of greenhouses lit up with strings of lights. Coffee isn't the only crop produced in this region of Vietnam. Dalat is also known for its many produce farms including specialties like Avocados, Artichokes, and Strawberries. Arrange a visit to a farm and learn about the local agriculture. You can even visit the Dalat Milk Farm and the Dalat Wine Vinyards, two products that you'll find distributed all over Vietnam.

 

Swan Boats at the dock in Dalat Vietnam

Pedal Around Xuan Huong Lake (on a bike, or in a swan boat)

Xuan Huong lake is the crown jewel of Dalat. The lake is surrounded by beautiful flower gardens, fishermen dot the shore, and couples stare longingly into each others’ eyes on park benches. For a cheap date ($3/hour) you can rent a swan boat and pedal around for a great workout.

 

You can also rent bicycles from the night market area for a few bucks per day. They have single rider bikes as well as tandems for all you lovers out there.

 

Linh Son Pagoda Dalat Vietnam

Visit a Buddhist Temple, a Monastery, Cathedral and a Palace

Cover all your cultural bases...

Truc Lam Zen Monastery is Vietnam’s largest Zen Monastery.

Linh Sơn Pagoda, close to where we lived in Dalat, is a peacefull hilltop pagoda with a large statue of Buddha.

Linh Phuoc Pagoda is known for its mosaics and broken pottery.

St. Nicholas Cathedral is a Pink Romanesque style Cathedral.

Bao Dai Summer Palace (Dinh III) is the third mansion of Vietnam’s last emperor build in the 1930’s, you can also visit Dinh I and Dinh II which are also located around Dalat. 

Pink Cathedral in Dalat Vietnam

Adam at Crazy House Dalat

Get Lost in one of Dalat’s Iconic-ly Crazy Buildings

Crazy House

I don’t know what we were expecting from the crazy house, but it absolutely surpassed any preconceived ideas we had. The afternoon we spent there was well worth it. It is truly a crazy place. You’ll just have to go see it for yourself. Go in the afternoon and stay through sunset. The views of the city and surrounding mountains are spectacular and seeing the house lit up at night was fantastical. 

Maze Bar 100 rooftops bar Dalat Vietnam

100 Rooftops Bar 

After going to the Crazy House a local friend suggested we go to the 100 Rooftops bar, also known as the Maze Bar. It has a similar feel to the Crazy house, but everything is sort of contained in this one building. You have to buy a drink when you walk in and then take it with you as you start in the basement and work your way up to the top. We went in the afternoon, and had the whole place to ourselves, though I think this place would be great fun with friends.

The Natural side of Dalat

Get Out Of the City

The number one reason we want to return to Dalat is to experience more of the nature. With our impeccable timing during the rainy season, we weren’t able to get out as much as we would have liked. We’ll be planning our next visit during the driest months of the year to get a taste of Dalat’s natural wonders.

 

Waterfalls

Dalat has a lot of wonderful outdoor activities. If you fancy chasing a few waterfalls in Dalat, check out this post for helpful tips! You can even book a tour to repel down a waterfall!

 

Hiking and Camping

Hike up Lang Biang Mountain in one day or camp overnight. We hear that the real peak is much quieter than the more touristed viewpoint. Dalat is a great place to get outside and enjoy nature. With pine tree forests and plenty of lakes i’m sure you can find a place to hang up a hammock at one of these other hikes: Ba Be Lake National Park, Pongour Falls and the Lake of Sorrows.

 

Motorbike Rides

Sometimes you just need to hit the open road and feel the wind on your face. We love taking motorbike rides in Vietnam. You can usually rent a motorbike from your hotel, or you can shop around the many motorbike rental shops in town for the best prices/quality. The roads around dalat are winding mountain roads, and once you get out of the city, the traffic will be non existent. Spend and afternoon in The Valley of Love, or ride up to Datanla Waterfall, where you can take a ride on their nature coaster, at your own speed.

 



 

NIGHTLIFE IN DALAT


Besides getting lost in the well known Maze Bar, we had fun going out on the town and experiencing the local nightlife. You can rock your socks off ArtRock, The underground Rock bar where the most alternative locals tend to hang, enjoy a carafe of Dalat made wine at Bar 13, or laugh the night away at The Fog Bar.

There are plenty of bars around with pretty much any kind of atmosphere you’re looking, and if you're not into bars, you could just chat with friends in a quiet corner at late night cafe.

 



 

Online Community in Dalat Vietnam

ONLINE COMMUNITY


For random questions, and recommendations check these facebook groups*

*please utilize the search function before asking questions 🙂

Dalat Digital Nomads

Expats in Dalat

Expats in DaLat Vietnam - Official page

Dalat Vegans

Plastic Free Đà Lạt

 

 

WHAT TO BRING TO DALAT


Sweater

Long Pants

Scarf or Hat

Umbrella

Hiking Shoes / Waterproof Shoes

Wind Breaker / Raincoat / Poncho

Warm Socks

Plug Adapter

 

Responsible Nomads


Practice Leave No Trace when hiking and exploring nature in Dalat. .

Shop Local, supporting local businesses is great for the economy.

Be sure to dress accordingly when visiting any holy sites or spiritual places and government buildings.

 

Volunteer Opportunities


Give back to your host community by picking up trash on the hiking trails, attending beach clean ups and getting involved with local projects.

Neighborhood Dog in Dalat Vietnam

THE BREAKDOWN FOR ONE MONTH IN DALAT


 

Visa | A 30 day visa will cost you about $25 for the stamping fee and depending on the website you go through, you'll also be charged a service fee. Our government issued e-visa was $25 total per person.

3 month and 1 year visas are also available through visa agencies.prices vary based on country of origin.

 

Accommodation |  We paid around $500 USD for an apartment in a local neighborhood. Prices vary based on the level of comfort and location. We checked airbnb and facebook groups, and booked last minute, and probably paid more than we should have for our place. 

 

Coworking Space | There aren’t any coworking spaces in Dalat yet. But there are a number of great cafes to work in for the price of a cup of coffee, Vietnamese or Italian style, when you don’t want to work in your accommodation.

 

Transportation |  Motorbike rentals are about $3-6 per day. Ask your accommodation to set you up with a rental, they usually have a rental shop that they work with. You can probably get An even better deal if you rent weekly or monthly.

GrabBikes are cost effective for solo riders, or taxi's won't cost you much either, just make sure they use the meter.



Tell us about your experience living in Da Lat.

Do you have a question we didn’t answer about Vietnam?

Or maybe we got something wrong... Leave us a comment!

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6 Responses

  1. Aldo says:

    Great article and exactly what I was looking for 🙂
    Thanks!

  2. kia orion says:

    another great piece. y’all really killing it! made a new fan with the Da Nang article and cemented my fandom with this one. keep it up!

  3. Hi there, we are now in Dalat and really enjoying this guide. In fact I kinda sorta think we live very close to where you lived. As that park you mention is about 200m from where we are. Are you still here? If not, can you give me an idea of when you were here? ArtRock for e.g. says it’s closed permanently so I was wondering when the article was written. Excellent article though, thanks!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Hi there, Shimona! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Dalat. We really loved it there. We were there in the summer of 2018. A little less than a year ago. Unfortunately we’re not there now, otherwise we’d love to set something up. We’re actually in Mexico these days! Connect with us on Instagram so we can meet up if we’re ever in the same places again 😛 BTW, while you’re in Dalat you really should check out our vietnamese food guide. There are a ton of Dalat specialties in there!

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