Information - Dalat travel overview
Surrounded by mountains and pine forests, Dalat has many characteristics of a temperate climate. The average temperature here is 18–21°C, with highest temperature 30°C and lowest 5°C. Dalat also has the two season climate typical of South Vietnam, with a monsoon season from May to October and a dry season from November to April. Dalat is in the temperate region and has pleasant weather yearround, even sunny during much of the rainy season. During the winter months, the average temperature is 10 C while during summer it is around 20 C. Ideal weather is from November to March, when the air is fresh and cool, which is a great time to visit, and pursue all the outdoor activities.
Things to do
There is such a wide range of activities to keep you occupied here. Canyoning is a sport that is unique to Dalat, and nowhere else in Vietnam will you find the amazing gorges and waterfalls to abseil. For the adventurous, there is white water rafting, mountain biking, trekking, high rope courses, and camping out under the stars. For the more sedate, there are wonderful nature trails to wander along at an easy pace, magnificent flower shows, swan boats to peddle on the lake, horse and buggy rides, and of course, the amazing Dalat markets. There are also 3 international rated golf courses to conqueror.
The Vietnamese currency is the Dong and all major currencies are easily exchanged at banks, the airport and around town. The exchange rate for USD$ is around USD$1 = VND22,000.
Live bands, solo artists, clubs, dance bars and Vietnamese cultural shows are all available every night of the week.
Dalat is a major domestic tourist destination and accommodation ranges from world class 5 star resorts to shared backpacker hostels. It is readily available and reasonably priced. A word of advice though, is to check out the dates for the Flower Festival, and TET. Be sure to book well in advance of those dates, as you will be hard pressed to find anything available in the city, if you just turn up. Population and Location Dalat is located in Lam Dong Province, 300 kms north of Ho Chi Minh City, 1546kms south of Hanoi and 130kms west of Nha Trang. Population is just over 200,000. Bars and Restaurants: These abound in the tourist area, (see our Walking Map in this edition), with an exceptional range of international cuisine on offer. Vietnamese food is world renowned and naturally can be found all over the city from big hotels to cheap street stalls. Similarly, there are lots of bars catering to all tastes across town. If you head to Truong Cong Dinh Street, just off the main square, you will find something for everyone.
Unlike some countries, tipping is not expected but appreciated. A rule of thumb is to tip what you feel is appropriate at the time.
Lien Khuong Airport has regular domestic flights to many cities within Vietnam, and is 30km away from town. Unfortunately there is no train station these days, apart from the quick trip to Trai Mat. Nha Trang would be the closest train station, and is about 3 hours away. Buses are cheap and easy to arrange. All these options can be booked at your hotel or through one of the many travel agents in town.
Crime is not generally a problem, but opportunistic phone, bag, purse and necklace thefts can occur so be alert, particularly later at night. Motor bikes are popular but you must have a Vietnamese license. Overseas licenses are not recognized. If you have an accident you will be deemed at fault! Helmets must be worn by law. It is wise to drink bottled water and to use insect repellent as Dengue Fever is present in the area.
As you walk the streets of Dalat, you are going to be approached by vendors selling all manner of goods. Cigarettes, chewing gum, sunglasses, jewelry, bags and wallets are all on offer. They are not nearly as ‘pushy’ as in other Asian cities, so remember, they have families to feed and please be polite in refusal if you are not ‘in the market’.