Dalat: The Paris of 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:

15 thoughts on “Dalat: The Paris of Vietnam

  • Looks like you had a great time, cracking photos too. We got rain sadly (http://wp.me/pS4NF-fj), but I agree that it’s a lovely place. We reckon it’s the Paris of Vietnam in the same way that BA is the Paris of South America though.

    We would say it’s more accurate to say that it’s atypically Vietnamese! ;-)

  • Great post! When I went there the first time I wanted to live there in a second. I even started looking around for teaching jobs. The pace was just so nice compared to HCMC!
    So glad you went as not many tourists do and I think it’s one of my favorite places in all of Vietnam – probably because it is so civilized!
    Love the Valley of Love photo shoot- I bet you guys caused quite a stir!

    • Sherry, It was surprising how many Vietnamese tourists were there but how few foreigners were. It’s lovely! There’s also waterfalls and hiking to do- no shortage of activities.

  • Dalat was a lovely spot. Cycled to it and enjoyed lovely pine forests. I thought the Valley of Love was on the tacky side but loved the lake. Definitely a nice place to visit and to get out of the heat of HCMC.

    • Hey Leigh, I’m impressed you cycled to Dalat! We were on rough roads for a good chunk of the time to get there. The Valley of Love is perhaps the tackiest, gaudiest thing I’ve seen. Our map had this beautiful picture of an overlook and when we got there, we gasped. You had to get past all of the tacky statues and find the view in the very back!

  • Definitely some of my favorite memories of my trip through Vietnam are from Dalat. I’ll never forget eating baguettes from one particular stall every day for lunch and then going over to the bakery across the street for some goodies. Actually, most of my memories from Dalat involve eating!

    • Have fun Connie! There’s also a place called Elephant Falls which you can go to with a motorbike guide. I didn’t make it due to a planning mishap but it sounds fun as well :)

  • I read about this place just last week in a Vietnam guidebook I bought at a stoop sale! It mentioned the kitsch and I knew from the moment I read it, it would be love. Your photos have only confirmed. Consider Dalat officially on my world wish list.

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