Consisting of three peaks, Lang Biang Mountain offers a fantastic vista of the surrounding hills and lakes. Visitors have the option of venturing to the old radar station-turned-tourist centre at 1,950 metres by old Russian jeep or on their own two feet through pine forest up to Lang Biang Peak (2,167 metres). You’ll be rewarded with a view worthy of the three-hour uphill slog.
Admission to Lang Biang is 20,000 VND per person and upon entering you’ll probably notice the bizarre sight of horses painted with zebra stripes. Da Lat has plenty of kitschy animal photo ops but the Horsebra (or is it Zeborse?) ranks as one of the oddest we’ve seen.
The fastest way up is a ride in an old Russian jeep. If you have a group or want to go immediately, a round-trip journey is 300,000 VND for one jeep. The ticket booth will of course push you towards this option. Your other option is to wait for more passengers and pay 50,000 VND per person. If you’re solo, your best bet is to try and organise a group with others in line. Those on motorbikes can make their way to the top by themselves, but this is for expert riders only.
The jeep takes you 4.4 kilometres up a paved road that steeply winds its way through beautiful pine forest to the old army radar station at 1,950 metres with the usual Da Lat tourist distractions: overpriced cafe, souvenirs, more kitschy photo ops with falcons and sad tied-up ponies. Go for the view.
If you’re up for a physical challenge, it’s a two- to three-hour slog up along a forested trail to Lang Biang Peak (2,169 metres). Da Lat’s temperatures make it pleasant for hiking but come prepared for four seasons: It can change from intense sun to bone-chilling rain within minutes. Also, in rainy season you’ll want to set out as early as possible so you’ll reach the top before the rain clouds roll in and obscure the view, as early as noon. We couldn't locate the entrance of the trail, but thanks to a Travelfish reader who found it: it's actually outside of the gate. Standing directly in front of the front gate, follow the unpaved road running past it on the right hand side for a few hundred metres. The mouth of the trail is impossible to miss. Mid-way up, you will come to a hut at the side of the road for the forest trail to the peak. It’s 20,000 VND to access it.
Lang Biang Mountain is located in Lac Duong district, about 10 kilometres north of the city. Taxi, motorbike, bicycle are all options to get there. By local bus, 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. 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). There’s also a stop for the #5 bus at 86 Phan Dinh Phung Street. Lang Biang Mountain is open from 07:00-17:00.
Those interested in coffee should stop at K’Ho Coffee Farm, located two kilometres southwest of the entrance to Lang Biang. K’Ho Coffee is a cooperative of families belonging to the K’Ho ethnic minority; they were the first people to cultivate coffee in Vietnam with seeds brought by the French. 95% of coffee production in Vietnam is Robusta but the higher altitudes in this area allow for growing high quality Arabica. To find it: 1.3 kilometre south of the entrance on Langbiang Street, turn west on Muoi Chin Thang Nam and follow the road 750 metres to Bonneur ’C Village. K’Ho is near the church. Drop in to buy a few bags of their artisanal beans. Tours are by appointment only. Contact Josh or RoLan T: (0974) 047 049 ; www.khocoffee.com
By Cindy Fan.
Last updated on 2nd February, 2016.
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