If you’ve been to Vietnam before you may have tried a glass of Da Lat wine. Yet, there’s so much more to this amazing mountain town! Nestled in between Ho Chi Minh City and the popular beaches of Nha Trang, Da Lat sometimes goes unnoticed by travelers. Here you’ll notice the air is cooler, the food is heartier, and a trip to the market is an everyday occurrence. As we found out, there’s even a Da Lat Night Market to experience, too! Here are the best things to do in Da Lat and everything to know about this special place in Vietnam.
How to Get to Da Lat Vietnam
Flight: The easiest way to get to Da Lat is by flying into the domestic airport of Lien Khuong International Airport. This also is also known simply as Da Lat Airport! From Ho Chi Minh City the trip is only around 30 minutes. The flight will cost anywhere from $20-50 USD with Vietnam Airlines or Vietjet. From here it’s a half hour taxi ride to the city center where most of the hotels and accommodations are located.
Overnight Bus: This is one of the most popular ways for travelers visiting Vietnam to get to Da Lat. If you are coming from the south there are daily overnight buses that run the route. You can compare companies on websites like 12.Go for the different times and Klook which offers a VIP bus. It’s definitely worth it to spend more for a nicer bus if you can… We know from personal experience!
Train: There is no direct train from Ho Chi Min City to Da Lat. However, if you prefer this mode of transportation then take a train from the city to Thap Cham railway station. After that you’ll need to take a 3 hour shuttle transfer.
Da Lat Market
You may be surprised to find out one of the best things to do in Da Lat is explore the local market! A day at the Da Lat market is a beautiful mess of snacks, fruits, veggies, clothes, and delicious meals.
Simply wandering around this area is a good way to connect with the mountain culture of Vietnam. The building that contains the daily Da Lat Market is right in the center of town, and spills out onto the streets so you can’t miss it. Here’s a little of what you’ll find at the amazing Da Lat Market.
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
The first thing you’ll notice is the colorful stands and baskets of fruit at the Da Lat market. You’ll see the usual mangos and bananas like most other places in Southeast Asia, but here there’s another star of the show. Strawberries!
Yes, Da Lat Vietnam is known for its abundance of the flavorful red fruit. If they’re in season, a cup of fresh strawberries is the perfect snack to explore the market with.
Da Lat Wine & Coffee
Another fruit you’ll see at the market is grapes! These same grapes are used to make Da Lat wine, which you may have tasted around other parts of Vietnam.
The French brought their wine making abilities with them on their colonial conquest, and the fertile lands of Da Lat Vietnam produce the sweet alcoholic drink.
The same can be said for coffee and tea in this region. Make sure you get a chance to try both during your time in Da Lat.
Da Lat Vietnam Food Court
The best treats are often found inside the markets of Vietnam, and Da Lat is no different! The only problem you might have is how to find the food section. While walking inside the main indoor area of the market with fruits and vegetables, look for a staircase that leads up to the 2nd level.
Once you get to the 2nd floor you should see it open up into another section with a few local food stands. Just know when we say local, we mean very local! Try the Nem Nuong or Banh Xeo if you have a chance here.
Da Lat Night Market
Once the sun sets over the mountains, the real party starts in Da Lat! The Da Lat Night Market is where all the action goes down, from food vendors to massive amounts of clothing and arts and crafts.
Also, know that this is completely different than the local Da Lat market. Unlike its daytime counterpart, the Da Lat Night Market is outdoors and draws in tourists from around the world.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s still fun to stroll around, people watch, and take in the night life.
What You’ll See At the Da Lat Night Market
While there is a whole floor of clothing that can be found in the day market, the best shopping is done at night. Upon entering the Da Lat Night Market you’ll immediately see an assortment of clothes hanging, piled on the ground, and scattered everywhere in sight.
There won’t be any price tags here! It’s up to you to haggle and cut a deal with the locals. Keep in mind that since you’re in the mountains a lot of this clothing will be winter gear for the cooler temperatures.
Da Lat Street Food & Milk
Ready for the good stuff?? Mixed in with the clothes and trinkets is a crazy amount of street food to try. The smells will be overwhelming as you pass dozens of fully fired up grills and boiling soup pots. This is a great opportunity to sample some local delicacies or eat more of your favorite classic Vietnamese dishes.
At the Da Lat Night Market you’ll find everything from sate and beef kebabs to fish and even live lobsters! Although there’s many food options here, our favorite stand was the meatball baguettes by the main intersection. By now you should be able to see that experiencing the night market is one of the best things to do in Da Lat!
Here’s where it gets a little weird though. Da Lat Vietnam is famous for its warm milk drinks that can be found throughout the streets. They come in corn or soy flavor, and are served with bread pastries which you can dip in the milk.
This may not sound so appetizing to some traveling to Da Lat, but don’t judge a book by its cover. We tried one on a chilly night and it was actually really good.
More Things to do in Da Lat Vietnam
The Maze Bar
Also known as 100 Rooftop Bar, this will be an experience out like you’ve never had before. The idea is to order your drinks on the first floor.
From there you’ll snake your way up through the caves and tunnels towards the top. The incredibly unique design features a mix of art and crazy architecture.
At some points you’ll be crawling on all fours through tiny hatches, and others you’ll be hanging out in a cave sipping your drink!
Once you’ve conquered the maze and find your way up, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views. This was the perfect place to finish our drinks, enjoy the scenery of Da Lat Vietnam, and take in the surrounding mountains.
Float on the Lake
After you’re done exploring the Da Lat Market, head down to the lake for some outdoor fun. Spend some time either walking around the beautiful Xuan Huong Lake or jump in a swan boat like we did and paddle around.
It’ll only cost you $2 USD for one hour in a swan. It was so fun to get some exercise with a a unique view of Da Lat from the water.
Tea & Coffee Plantations
Like we mentioned when talking about the Da Lat market, the mountainous terrain around the town is perfect for farming. Rent a motorbike or take a full-day easy rider silk village and plantation tour to learn about the tea and coffee production.
At plantations like Weasel Coffee, you’ll be able to see the process and sample some of the goodness for yourself! This can be a fun day trip if you have the extra time when visiting Da Lat.
Another popular activity just outside town is to take the Robin Hill Cable Car. Along the ride you will have a beautiful view of the city and surrounding farms.
Da Lat Vietnam Restaurants
Not up for eating at the local Da Lat market? Don’t worry! There are dozens of restaurants serving great Vietnamese food as well.
Our favorite dish we had was Bò né which is known for the Vietnamese version of steak and eggs. It comes out on a sizzling hot plate and is the perfect breakfast to start your morning.
Nem Nuong is another popular meal in Da Lat Vietnam and there’s plenty of restaurants dedicated to making this speciality.
What’s not to love about grilled sausage, veggies, and peanut sauce in rice paper wrap? Trust us when we say you won’t be leaving Da Lat hungry!
Is Da Lat Vietnam Worth Visiting?
Yes, absolutely! We thought it was such a fun switch up after spending some time at Mui Ne Beach and Ho Chi Minh City. While there are some epic mountain towns in the Northern Region of Ha Giang, Da Lat is unique in its own way.
It was the perfect mixture of local and touristy stuff, while having some awesome food in between. Not to mention, it’s a great place to cool down if you’re visiting Vietnam in the hotter months! Da Lat wine was also super cool to try after seeing it everywhere throughout the country.
Depending on the length of your trip and travel style, you may have to decide whether to visit Da Lat or not. Hopefully, this blog gave you a better idea of what it’s all about!
Check out all our Vietnam articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from the best Vietnamese food to 50 travel tips & how to get around. You can also find our Northern Vietnam and Southern itineraries as well as an amazing 1 month route!
Where To Stay In Da Lat Vietnam
Ultra Luxury – Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa – Located just outside the city center, Ana Mandara is just the luxury you’re looking for! Enjoy being in nature at this resort set in the Da Lat mountains.
Budget Travel – MayMay Da Lat Apartments – This is a great place to stay if you are on a budget but want a little more room. The property has studios, deluxe, and two bedroom apartments available.
Hostel Stay – Raon Villa – Offering both private rooms and dorm beds, Raon Villa is a true sanctuary for backpackers. The private rooms with large balconies overlooking the city. The hotel has a shared kitchen and can arrange transportation!
Have any questions about this article or want to recommend more awesome things to do in Da Lat Vietnam? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Vietnam Travel Planning
Transportation: 12Go is what we use to book ferries, trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Vietnam!
Tours: Get Your Guide is an amazing place to find fun activities all over Vietnam! There is everything from a Hanoi Cooking Class and market tour to a Mekong Delta Pagoda & rowing boat trip, and even the Phu Quoc Cable Car Ride with three island snorkeling tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are always there when we need them.
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