We arrived in Dalat in the early evening, getting off the bus we noticed the chill in the air. We shivered as we walked around, this was crazy as it was still 24°C. We have become so accustomed to the warm temperatures in South East Asia that even 24°C seemed cold. God knows how we will cope when we arrive back in the UK in April!
Dalat is in the central highlands of Vietnam; its height means that at night the temperature drops quickly in evening to overnight lows of 20°C with day time highs of 29°C.
The roadside approaching the town was beautifully decorated with cherry blossom trees in full bloom and among them were market stalls selling flowers for decorating houses for the approaching lunar new year festival.
There are a number of small tourist sites in Dalat. These are pleasant and well worth seeing but there are not any major attractions.
The sites we visited included the ‘crazy house’. This is a hotel/building designed by a crazy architect it looks a Disney designed hotel which is interesting, different and fun.
We also visited the historic railway station. A tourist train service runs between Dalat and a small village containing a beautiful temple.
After arriving at the station, we looked at the train schedule: We had arrived 30 minutes after one of the four daily scheduled services had left and it would be an hour and half until the next departure. We had a drink and read our books in a cafe inside a converted rail car.
An hour later we went to buy tickets. At the counter we found out that the timetable only applies if they have a large group booked.
On the way out we were approached by a smiley Russian called Lila. Lila had managed to get more information from the ticket seller and explained that the train required a minimum of 20 people to run. A quick glance around station showed there was at least 30 people inside the station; so we approached each of the tourists and checked if they wanted to do the train trip. It seemed illogical to come to the tourist train station and not take part in the trip advertised but at least 4 people just wanted to look at the historic station; this left more than minimum number wanting the train. The ticket seller then sold the tickets, as requested, but looked a bit put out at having to do 5 minutes of work by selling the tickets.
The train departed about 30 minutes later with between 30 and 40 people onboard. The train journey was pleasant and the temple in the village was fantastic, we had just enough time to look around the temple before getting back on board to head back.
The penultimate activity in Dalat was the exciting and highly recommend canyoning trip.
The final activity was a cooking class. It is always interesting to understand how local food is prepared. The food we prepared was very tasty including a lemon grass curry, betel leaf wraps, fresh spring rolls and a fresh fruit shake.
Dalat turned out be a great destination and well worth visiting as it is very different to the coastal towns of Vietnam.