Dalat is the honeymoon capital of Vietnam and it’s easy to see why.
You may think of the perfect honeymoon destination being a warm, sandy beach. But most Vietnamese people already live in a very hot environment and beaches line the coast.
Dalat offers something special for the Vietnamese – chilly weather! It never gets cold, but it can get down to 10C/50F at night. During the day it never gets too hot since it’s 1500-2000m above sea level. It is very windy though.
Dalat and the Central Highlands are a breadbasket of sorts. They grow coffee, vegetables, some fruit, LOTS of flowers, corn, and more. It’s amazing and I got to see all three types of coffee growing in one place (Arabica, Robusta, and Mocha).
Dalat is very touristy, but its tourists mainly come from Vietnam. It is always full of people from Ho Chi Minh City on the weekends. It’s a close escape from the crowds, heat, and high prices. Yes, Dalat is much cheaper than the big cities. Still, foreign tourists could be found, but there weren’t very many.
I took a tour with Peter of Dalat Easy Riders. I met him at the bus station the day before. He gave me a ride to my hotel.. but for the first time on my trip I showed up somewhere without a reservation. That was kind of a bad idea since it was a Saturday and as I mentioned above, Dalat is always full on the weekends.
But Peter told me not to worry, that he’d help me find a cheap room. In the end, we went to about 10 different guesthouses (many were clustered in the same area) before we found any with vacancy at a reasonable rate.
The place I stayed was in the heart of the city, minutes by foot from the central market. He helped me get a good rate by negotiating on my behalf and then hawked his tour guide services.
I hadn’t planned to do any tours in Dalat, but when he took out the map and showed me where the interesting stuff was, it made sense to go with him.
Plus, his English was very good and he was funny, so I could learn and have fun at the same time
Peter took me around the outside of the city. I visited some temples, a waterfall, a natural silk manufacturing facility, a flower farm, a coffee farm, a tea farm, a hill with a nice view, a distillery and weasel poop coffee bean farm, and more. Great day!
The silk farm was particularly interesting. I didn’t understand the process 100%, but basically there are caterpillar larvae that create a silk cocoon. This plant then harvests these cocoons and spins it into natural silk that can be used to make clothes and other goods.
And if you’re wondering what happens to the larvae, fear not. They are not wasted. They are taken to the central market where they are eaten.
Dalat also seems to be the dried fruit capital of Vietnam. The whole ground floor of the central market is full of vendors selling various kinds of dried fruit. I don’t know why dried fruit is Dalat’s thing, but they do it well.
Dalat is also home to the Crazy House. It’s an unfinished house an architect built to “regain sanity.” It reminded me very much of the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona. In order to raise funds for the house, it has become a guesthouse as well. If you come to Dalat, Vietnam you can spend a night here if you want!