On my last trip to Vietnam, to my surprise, my favorite city ended up being Da Lat. Even though I didn’t know a lot about it before my solo trip, I fell in love with the city the moment I arrived. It’s not as hot and humid as in other places in Vietnam, because of its location in the mountains. Da Lat is situated in southern Vietnam, in the Central Highlands. It’s sometimes known as the “City of Eternal Spring” and was originally developed by the French in the 1900s as a resort. Surrounded by beautiful hills and forests, the city is centered around a lake and a golf course. Today I’m going to share with you my suggested two days in Da Lat itinerary.
How to get to Da Lat?
If you are traveling from Ho Chi Minh City, you have two options for getting to Da Lat. It’s either flying or taking the bus. Flights take about 2.5 hours, including the transfer time, and are reasonably inexpensive. Alternatively, take the bus, which would be about an eight-hour journey. Personally, I took a bus to get to Da Lat because I was coming from Mui Ne, so it was pretty fast and easy.
The perfect two days in Da Lat itinerary
Day 1: Explore Da Lat with Easy Rider
One of my favorite activities that I highly recommend you do in Da Lat is to take an Easy Rider motorbike tour. All of the interesting places that you may want to visit in the area are quite spread out, so taking a motorbike is highly recommended.
If you are comfortable driving a motorbike, you can simply rent one and go explore on your own but because I didn’t feel comfortable driving myself, the Easy Rider tour was my best option.
I have no idea where the name came from and why it’s called like that but Easy Rider Tour simply means hiring a driver who will take you on his motorbike to see the surrounding area around Da Lat and take you to all of the most popular sights. The list of every driver is pretty standard but you can always talk and switch or add any stops you would like. You can even book them online, check them out by clicking here.
On your first day, make sure you see the main sights in the area. You can stop at numerous viewpoints, flower and strawberry fields along the route.
The Summer Palace, Waterfalls and Pagodas
Make sure to stop at Bao Dai’s Summer Palace in your Da Lat itinerary. Bao Dai was the last emperor in the country, and this palace was built for him in 1933. You can see many of his personal items and furniture in the palace when you tour inside the building.
One of the must-see sights in Da Lat is the Datanla Waterfalls, which you can easily access from the middle of the town.
There are two ways of getting to the waterfall itself. You can either walk down a very beautiful path or hop on a so-called roller coaster that will take you to the waterfall in a very fast and fun way. I would honestly suggest you do both so you can see for yourself what they’re like. Just don’t make my mistake and first walk down to the waterfall and then hop on the roller coaster to get back up.
For lunch today, head to the Central Market. If you are like me and love trying the local cuisine on your travels, markets are the perfect place to enjoy fresh, inexpensive street food. It was honestly one of my favorite places to go, especially in the evening time. I was there every single day of my stay in Da Lat. The food here was very yummy and you can also buy local goodies and souvenirs here.
One of the most impressive temples in Vietnam is located in Da Lat, and it’s called the Linh Phuoc Pagoda. It has an incredible bell tower which is the tallest in Vietnam. The intricate architecture and colors of the pagoda are well worth seeing, and the surrounding area is beautiful. Definitely add it to your Easy Rider Da Lat itinerary.
For a newer temple, visit Truc Lam Pagoda. You will find it on the Phuong Hoang Mountain, and it’s a very pretty sight. It can be reached by a cable car, and the views from the top will fill you with awe!
Next up, head to the Da Lat Cathedral, which has a unique design and spire. Generally, you can’t go inside, but it’s well worth stopping to see it from the outside and explore its garden. Finally, take a quick visit today to the Lam Dong Museum. This is a great history museum about the local area and a place where you can learn about the people who used to live here as well as seeing their beautiful traditional clothing.
Avoid the Coffee Farms in Da Lat
It’s very likely that during your tour your guide will bring you to a coffee farm. It’s a very popular place to visit among tourists and a usual stop in a Da lat itinerary because of the world-famous expensive coffee that is offered here. It’s called Weasel Coffee. But please, don’t do it!
If you’ve never heard of it, I will tell you a little bit about it. It’s made out of the poop of a very small animal and honestly, I don’t get all the hype around it. The way that those little animals are treated is horrible. They keep them in very small cages and feed them the coffee beans all the time so more coffee can be made. Do not support the cruelty and buy other types of coffee from places that don’t grow weasels. Coffee culture in Vietnam is huge and includes many other amazing varieties, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that suits your taste.
End the Day at a Rooftop Cafe
After a busy day exploring Da Lat, it’s time for a great dinner and some relaxation time. One of the most unique venues in town is called 100 Roofs Café. It has an incredible design to its outside, and you can head up to the rooftop to relax and enjoy the views. It shares a similar theme to the Crazy House that you should also see while you’re in Da Lat.
Honestly, my main advice while traveling in South-East Asia in general, eat as much street food as you can. That way you’ll be able to try the most authentic dishes and I’m sure they will become your favorite. If you’re visiting Thailand at that time as well, make sure to check out my other blog post – Thailand Itinerary 10 Days.
Day 2: Explore Da Lat’s Surrounding Natural Sites
Enjoy breakfast this morning at One More Café, which offers a wide range of cakes and pastries, and an all-day breakfast menu. There’s a lot to see still today, so you’ll want to head out quite early!
Waterfalls and Lakes
This morning I recommend visiting another incredible attraction, the Elephant Waterfall (also known as Lieng Rewoa Waterfall). It’s a great natural attraction and is also a very popular waterfall to visit in Da Lat. If you would have to add only one waterfall to your Da Lat itinerary, this should be it. Be prepared to deal with big crowds if you didn’t go there early though. Be careful and wear a comfortable pair of shoes, as the path to get down to the waterfall is pretty steep and slippery.
Another beautiful sight to spend chill time in Da Lat is The Lake of Sighs. It’s a beautiful lake and another very peaceful location. You can rent a boat here to enjoy seeing the area from the water, and it is a great place to spend a couple of hours. Alternatively, another popular lake in the area is Xuan Huong Lake, which is a man-made lake. There are amazing gardens surrounding it, and you can enjoy walking in nature around the area. There are some great cafes near the water, where you can have a drink and snack to rest your feet. This area also has an excellent night market, with stalls selling fresh food and souvenirs. It stays open until about 10 pm each night.
Enjoy Da Lat’s Amazing Food Scene
As you can see, there are so many options for spending two days in Da Lat, and you could easily stay here for four or five days without getting bored. Like with any travel destination, it’s always about choosing the attractions that most appeal to you. While it can be tempting to rush around and see everything, you want to take your time exploring this beautiful area, so it’s better to spend a longer time at a few attractions.
This evening, enjoy more delicious food and drink in Da Lat. I found a small restaurant that I loved called Da Quy, which serves Vietnamese food and local wine. You can try the Vietnamese hotpot here, and it’s an experience you need to do at least once on your trip! Another great local restaurant is Goc Ha Thanh Restaurant, which is very popular with locals and tourists. The menu here is extensive, and it’s also another great option for vegetarians. Of course, you can again head to the night market and have an abundant and delicious dinner there.
Other Activities to Enjoy in Da Lat
If you are spending a few more days in the area, there are plenty of other places to keep you entertained. Here are a few more great attractions I’d recommend visiting:
- Da Lat Flower Garden – The flowers here are simply stunning, and if you are lucky enough to visit in the spring and summer months, this is when they are most in bloom.
- Dragon Pagoda – This temple has a huge dragon in front of it and many colorful statues inside. No matter how much I tried to find an exact name of this temple or its location on Google maps, it wasn’t successful. My Easy Rider tour driver took me there as an additional stop that he wanted to show me. So, just show the photo above to your tour guide as well and he’ll take you there.
- Linh Son Pagoda – If you still haven’t had your fix of temples in South-East Asia, the Linh Son Pagoda is a stunning sight. It’s located on a hill overlooking the city, and even has its own coffee and tea plantation!
Food that you have to try while in Da Lat:
- For sure try their amazing local strawberries. You can find them served in a very unique way at the night markets. They serve them with salt, sugar, and fish sauce. I know it sounds like a very strange combination but it’s something that you definitely should try while in Da Lat.
- I have never seen as big avocados as in Da Lat. They were huge and were the size of my arm, from my fingers to the elbow. You can try it on its own but an even better avocado snack to try is called Kem Bo. It’s a very delicious sweet dessert made out of blended avocados topped with coconut ice-cream.
- Don’t miss trying the Ban Trang Nuong. It’s a Vietnamese “pizza” which you’ll find being cooked on little coal stoves everywhere. it looks more like a pancake rather than pizza but it’s made out of rice paper. It’s topped with ingredients like quail egg, green onions, meat and dried shrimps. It was very delicious.
As you can see, the options to keep you busy in Da Lat are extensive, and regardless of whether you enjoy nature or cultural sightseeing, you’ll find something for you. As with anywhere in Vietnam, there are many inexpensive hostel and hotel options in the area, that will suit any budget. I hope this 2 days in Da Lat itinerary will inspire you to add a visit to this wonderful city into your next trip to Vietnam.
Author’s box: Hello there, my name is Diana! I’m a Travel Blogger, at Travelling with Diana busy exploring our beautiful world and building my home in Bulgaria. I share travel guides and very helpful tips to inspire you to travel more. My goal is to show you that you don’t need a travel agency to explore our magical planet. You can follow more of my adventures in real time on my Instagram page.
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