Da Lat is a strange place. Not strange creepy, but just very, very different than the rest of the main cities in Vietnam. Located in the South Central Highlands, the cool mountain air provides a welcomed respite from the heat and humidity common in the rest of the country.
Not only is the climate different, but the entire ambience of the town is very different from the rest of Vietnam. Life seems to be at a more relaxed, easy going pace here. The highlights of Da Lat include colonial palaces and general quirkiness. The below itinerary will take you to all the main sights of Da Lat in a 24 hour period. Of course, you can always slow down to Da Lat pace, and complete this itinerary over a longer period as well.
24 Hours in Da Lat
Morning : Love Valley
The Valley of Love is one of the places ingrained on the tourist trail. You might not love it, but it is worth the visit for some cheesy photo opportunities. If you are travelling with kids, they will enjoy running around this strange little park.
The lake is pretty and if you are feeling in a romantic mood, you can rent paddle boats and go for a ride. Otherwise just wander around the park until you reach kitsch overload (it won’t take too long), and then head on to something a little more serious…
Afternoon : Colonial Palace
Moving from kitsch to something a little easier on the senses – head to the art deco palace of Bao Dai. The colonial architecture is refreshing after spending time in the Love Valley. King Bao Dai lived a fairly modest lifestyle (for a King) which is reflective in the way the palace is furnished. The palace is popular with tour groups, and the palace isn’t as well kept as it could be, but it still provides an interesting insight into this period of Vietnam’s history.
Now to move on to something a little… weirder…
Evening : Crazy House
The The Crazy House is the creation of Dang Viet Nga, and is usually described as “expressionist” but most people would just describe it as just plain strange. Taking inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi and artist Dali, the house resembles a giant tree with caves, giant spider webs, and animals. Just like in nature, there are no straight lines here.
You can actually stay at this house – ten of the rooms are part of a guesthouse. Each of the rooms has an animal theme, and some of them are downright creepy. I don’t think I could stay in the Tiger room with a giant sculpted tiger with glowing eyes.
Would you be brave enough to stay in the Crazy House?