When you think of it, you have to laugh a little bit at the European countries that came to Asia to establish their colonial empires. So frustrated with the oppressive heat and humidity they were, that in almost every place they colonized they searched for the highlands. The Dutch did it in Indonesia, the British did it in Malaysia/India and the French did it in Vietnam. The result of the latter is Đà Lạt (let's just call it Dalat), a city of nowadays over 200,000 people in Vietnam's Central Highlands region.
You can throw all your preconceived notions of what Vietnam is out of the window when coming here, because whatever you think Vietnam is, this isn't really it. The climate is reminiscent of a summer day in the Alps, with maximum temperatures year-round of anywhere between 21℃ and 25℃ (70-77℉). Its history doesn't go much further back than the very end of the 19th century, and its scenery is something else as well. The town is built across several hills covered with pine trees, and has an artificial boomerang shaped lake in the middle. Around town you will find coffee and tea plantations, but also lakes and waterfalls. The main reason for most Vietnamese tourists to come here is the cooler climate and change of scenery.
The stand-out attractions of Dalat are the three palaces that form Bao Dai's Summer Palace, Dalat Market, Datanla Waterfalls and the so-called "Crazy House". The latter (also called Hang Nga Guest House and Art Gallery) is a fantasy house whose style has been likened to that of Salvador Dalí. It is kind of a must-see, strange though it may be. [Review by travelindicator]
- Dalat is a city in Vietnam's region of Lam Dong. It has a population of 209,301, is situated at an altitude of 4882ft and the best airport to fly into is DLI (Lienkhang, Dalat)
- The currency used in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND)
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