Da Lat

Da Lat

Smell the roses

Perched 1500 metres above sea level on the Lang Biang plateau is Da Lat, the quaint capital of Lam Dong province. A temperate climate and fertile soil have earned Da Lat the moniker “city of eternal spring” and it is one where the flowers bloom, birds sing and the air is clear, fresh and redolent of pine.

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The high altitude, cool climate, natural beauty and rich game hunting are what first drew the French colonialists here in the first half of the 20th century. Da Lat became a popular holiday spot, a respite from the country’s heat and tropical maladies. It flourished as an alpine/lakeside summer holiday town, garnering it yet another nickname, “Le Petit Paris” or little Paris. Remnants of bourgeois French colonial architecture can still be seen today: grand old hotels, charming crumbling villas with rose gardens, tree-shaded promenades and churches.

Meet Elephant Waterfall. : Cindy Fan.
Meet Elephant Waterfall. Photo: Cindy Fan

Da Lat’s appeal continues as it now enjoys popularity as a vacation spot for domestic tourists. As one local explained, Da Lat experiences four seasons in one day. When you wake, the weather will feel like spring. Midday temperatures rise to a summery 24 degrees Celsius. At four o’clock the air turns as crisp as an autumn’s day. By nightfall, it’s winter – at least by Vietnamese standards. Judging by all the thick puffy jackets for sale at the market, you’d think it was Siberia. For most, the 15-degree nights are refreshing and pleasant. Come prepared with a warm layer.

Da Lat’s cooler temperature is good explanation for why it has become the wedding and honeymoon capital of Vietnam. Vietnamese couples flock to the city for romantic getaways and what better way to stay warm then to cuddle with your sweetheart. You’ll see pairs strolling holding hands and canoodling beside the lake. If you’re a solo traveller, you’ll feel a little out of place in the Valley ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)

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