Dalat: The Paris of Vietnam
// October 1st, 2010 // Vietnam
Dalat is commonly referred to as the ‘Paris of Vietnam’. It’s not your typical Vietnamese town with its wedding shops, bakeries, and even its own version of the Eiffel Tower. Although it draws some foreign tourists, it is a hot tourist spot for the Vietnamese. Located in the mountains, it has a cooler climate, a dramatic landscape, and some interesting attractions. If you can handle the kitsch, here are just a few reasons why I think you should visit Dalat on your trip to Vietnam.
1. Bakeries: Every girl loves chocolate and there’s no shortage of delicious bakeries in Dalat. They have cakes, brownies, croissants, and many other delights.
2. Flowers: In the market there are quite a few flower vendors, and they sell my favorite: the gerbera daisy. Although an impractical purchase for backpackers, they’re nice to look at.
3. Eiffel Tower: That’s right folks. Dalat has its own Eiffel Tower (and Moulin Rouge Restaurant and a cathedral). There’s a reason it’s referred to as the Paris of Vietnam.
4. Cuisine: Aside from the French bakeries, Dalat has good local food too. This restaurant was our favorite. I can’t remember the name but it’s on the corner of Hai Thuong & 3 Thang 2 between a bike shop and a vegan restaurant which I also heard was good.
5. Renting Motorbikes: Dalat was the first time I had ever driven a motorbike. It was comical and scary all at the same time. It’s a lot less hectic than many towns in Vietnam, and I’d recommend doing it here if you’re a newbie like me. (Yes, I realize the picture is not of me driving, but I promise I did it!)
6. The circle at night: There are loads of food vendors and Vietnamese tourists out at night. Meander through the crowds or stop in at a café that overlooks the action.
7. Tuyen Lam Lake: We rode our motorbikes out to this pretty little lake but you can also take a cable car out to it.
8. Linh Phuoc Temple & Pagoda: An incredible Buddhist temple. There is a 49 meter dragon to the right of the temple and the pagoda is seven stories high. Inside the pagoda you will find this bell, where people tack wishes up on post-its. There is also a seven story high Buddha there made of flowers (could be a temporary exhibit). I think the most jaw-dropping part of this magnificent structure is that it is covered entirely in glass mosaics. This one will require a post of its own at some point.
9. Valley of Love: Possibly the most intriguing thing in Dalat is what I have dubbed the ‘Disney World for Lovers’. A place that makes you want to gag, one can’t help but be intrigued. The Valley of Love was recommended by a boy who rented us motorbikes. It was one of his top picks for us to go see. We had no idea what we were in for. Couples come here and hire a photographer to follow them around and snap their photos in front of tacky statues And when they’re done, you can even by calendars or plates with your face all over them. With my tripod in tow, my friend and I rigged up our own photo session. I’m confident that this place will make it to your Bucket List once you see just how magical it is ;)
And now, I will leave you with a few photos from the….
Valley of Love Photo Shoot: