Getting there and away
Da Lat is serviced by Lien Khuong Airport (DLI), 30 kilometres south of Da Lat in Duc Trong district, Lam Dong province. The airport has a few cafes and shops.
As of 2015, there are only domestic routes.
Da Nang (Vietnam Airlines)
Hanoi (Jetstar, VietJet, Vietnam Airlines)
HCMC (VietJet , Vietnam Airlines)
Vinh City (VietJet)
Going from the airport to Da Lat is easy. A shuttle bus to the town centre costs 40,000 VND and it should include an additional transfer from the drop off to your hotel – though sometimes this transfer doesn’t materialise. Alternatively, a private taxi is a flat rate fare of 180,000 VND. Purchase tickets for either at the desk in the baggage hall.
To go from Da Lat to the airport, negotiate with a taxi for a flat fare of 200,000 VND. Legitimate taxi companies usually have this set fare listed on the rate chart displayed on their dashboard. Hotels can organise a ticket for you on the airport shuttle, cost is 40,000 VND, and it should include pick-up at your hotel two hours before your domestic flight. Or buy your ticket directly with the Vietnam Airlines ticketing office beside Ngoc Phat Hotel, Ho Tung Mau, Da Lat; T: (063) 383 3499; F: (063) 353 1720; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Da Lat railway station is now a tourist attraction, operating only a seven kilometre scenic journey to Trai Mat. There are five departures a day (a minimum of 20 passengers required). The trip takes 25 minutes one way and it includes a 40-minute stop in Trai Mat with the usual touristy things before returning, the total experience taking 1.5 hours. Round-trip ticket costs 124,000 VND.
Thap Cham railway station, 100 kilometres away in My Hung Ward, Phan Rang commune, Ninh Thuan province, is the closest intercity train station to Da Lat. It serves the city of Phan Rang-Thap Cham. Hien An is a small local bus company operating the route between Da Lat and Phan Rang. The minibus will leave when there are enough people. See the bus section for schedule.
Alternatively, Nha Trang railway station is 135 kilometres away and is a more convenient option as there are frequent air-con buses and several large companies connecting Da Lat and Nha Trang.
The intercity bus station (ben xe lien thinh Da Lat) is located at 01 To Hien Thanh, two kilometres south of Xuan Huong Lake. Da Lat is predominantly serviced by Phuong Trang (Futa Bus), though a few small companies also operate from this terminal. You can purchase Phuong Trang tickets at the station or at their office downtown.
Few foreign tourists know this: If you arrive into the station on a Phuong Trang bus, your ticket includes a free shuttle to your hotel in town. Taxis will immediately approach foreigners getting off the bus and whisk them away before they figure this out. When you disembark, follow the locals to the fleet of minivans. The driver will likely not speak English but simply show your hotel address.
Phuong Trang (Futa Bus)
Downtown: 11A/2 Le Quy Don, P.5, Da Lat
Bus station: 01 To Hien Thanh, P.3, Da Lat; T: (063) 358 5858; futabus.vn.
Nha Trang: sitting bus departs at 07:00, 08:00, 11:00, 12:00, 15:00, 16:00. Costs 135,000 VND and takes 4 hours.
HCMC: sleeping bus departs every 30 minutes from 05:00-02:00. Costs 220,000 VND and takes 8 hours.
Hue: sleeping bus departs at 15:00. Costs 335,000 VND and takes 16 hours.
Da Nang: sleeping bus departs at 14:00, 15:00, 16:00. Costs 270,000 VND and takes 15 hours.
Quang Ngai: sleeping bus departs 14:00, 15:00, 16:00. Costs 230,000 VND and takes 12 hours.
Quy Nhon: sleeping bus departs 14:00, 15,00, 16:00. Costs 215,000 VND and takes 10 hours.
Can Tho: sleeping bus departs at 07:30. Costs 320,000 VND and takes 12 hours.
Other bus companies:
Hanoi: sleeping bus departs at 03:00, 04:00, 05:00. Costs 700,000-800,000 VND and takes 36-40 hours.
Hue: departs at 12:30. Costs 300,000 VND and takes 16 hours.
Da Nang: departs at 12:30. Costs 270,000 VND and takes 15 hours.
Quang Ngai: departs at 12:30. Costs 250,000 VND and takes 12 hours.
Quang Nhon: departs at 12:30. Costs 250,000 VND and takes 10 hours.
Ca Mau: departs at 11:00. Costs 360,000 VND.
Da Lat is a stop on most open tour bus company routes.
The Sinh Tourist: 22 Bui Thi Xuan St, Da Lat (at Trung Cang Hotel); T: (063) 382 2663; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.thesinhtourist.vn; open 06:30-22:00.
All Sinh Tourist buses departing from Da Lat are sitting bus. To travel to Hoi An, you’ll have to change buses in Nha Trang.
Mui Ne: (160km) departs at 07:30,13:00. Costs 99,000 VND and takes 4 hours.
Nha Trang: (140km) departs 07:30, 13:00. Costs 99,000 VND and takes 4 hours.
HCMC: (310km) departs 08:00. Costs 189,000 VND and takes 8 hours.
Local bus company Hien An connects Da Lat with Phan Rang-Thap Cham. Buy tickets at their booking office near the tourist drag.
249 Phan Dinh Phung, P2, Da Lat; T: (063) 3901 216; (063) 3823 595.
173 Duong 21 Thang 8, Phan Rang; T: (068) 3838 939 ; (068) 3833 039
Phan Rang: (100 km) departs at 06:00, 08:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00. Costs 120,000 VND for foreigners, 80,000 VND for locals.
Walking is a pleasant way to first explore Da Lat as there are footpaths and pockets of green space. The footpath that runs around the edge of Xuan Huong Lake is a popular place to stroll, especially at sunset. But the city does have some killer hills and chaotic roundabouts that make a good case for hailing a taxi.
Taxis are a cheap and easy way to get around Da Lat as nothing is really too far. Legal taxis should have a meter and a rate chart displayed. Fares start at 8,000-9,000 VND for the first 0.5-0.8 km.
Mai Linh taxi company (green cars) is reliable and it’s the taxi of choice with locals, who like to call for pick up. You can call the hotline and they will dispatch a taxi to your location at no extra charge. T: (063) 38 38 38 38.
Xe om (motorbike taxis) can be found hanging out in corners downtown near the central market.
If you’re not in a rush, then the local buses are a cheap way to get to some of the tourist sites. You can catch them from the bus stand at the top of the central market (at the south end of Nguyen Van Troi, next to Eximbank). Fare is calculated by distance travelled, with the rate chart displayed on the side of the bus. Write down where you want to stop and show it to the fare collector.
To get to Datanla Waterfall, you can take any bus headed south on Highway 20/the Prenn Pass. Options include the bus to Duc Trong or Bao Loc. Cost will be around 10,000 VND.
To get to Lang Biang Mountain, take green bus #5 or the orange Phuong Trang (Futa) bus to Lac Duong (pronounced Lac Yung), taking it to the end of the line. Bus runs 06:00-17:00, departs once an hour, takes an hour and costs 12,000 VND. There’s also a stop for the green #5 bus at 86 Phan Dinh Phung Street.
To get to the Elephant Waterfalls, take the green “Da Lat-Phu Son” bus to Nam Ban village. Show the fare collector the falls’ Vietnamese name “Thac Voi”. Bus departs every 35 minutes from 06:00-17:20, takes 45 minutes and costs 20,000 VND.
Hostels, hotels and agencies rent motorbikes for 100,000 VND per day, automatic for 120,000 VND.
Motorcycle tour companies have sprouted like mushrooms and we counted a dozen bearing “Easy Rider” in the name. A full-day trip is a good way to tick off a bunch of must-see Da Lat attractions, while multi-day trips are a more interesting way to relocate to another city. The trips offered are formulaic: You can ride on your own motorbike or you can ride pillion, usually on an impressive touring motorcycle with a comfortable seat. A standard daytrip in the surrounding countryside is US$25, US$35 for something further afield. A multi-day trip, ending in another city such as Nha Trang or Hoi An via the Central Highlands costs US$70-125 per day including accommodation.
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