We took a 17 hour sleeper bus from Hoi An to Dalat, and arrived into the main bus station at 5.45am. It was FREEZING. Dalat is known for many things, but the most notable is its climate. A city of four seasons Dalat starts its day in spring, experiences summer around midday, autumn in the late afternoon and winter at night. Because of this you’ll be needing a coat in the mornings and evenings, and shorts during the day; which takes a great deal of getting used to! In return for this strange set up, Dalat’s landscape actually resembles a European country rather than Asia and you’ll find many plants and flowers here that we are familiar with in the UK. Add in the French colonial feel and you could easily be walking down a cobbled street in Portugal; expecting the sea to crop up over every hill. If Hoi An was my favourite Vietnamese city by night, this is by far my daytime pick.
We caught a metered taxi to our hostel, which is more of a homestay with a wonderful family and a cute dog called Ken. I napped for a couple of hours before freshening up and hitting the city for a day of sightseeing.
We first headed to Crazy House Dalat, an architectural work by Dr. Dang Viet Nga who wanted to design something to reflect her love of nature and to help others fall back in love with our environment. The complex first began creation in 1990 and is set to be finished in 2020. It is not only Dr. Dang Viet Nga’s home, but a hotel and a tourist attraction.
Walking around this building is mind boggling. Made up of a central house and multiple large tree trunk structures, narrow paths connect them all and go in literally every direction you can think of. It’s easy to get lost, confused or miss the countless nooks and crannys in this place and if you are ever in Dalat I would recommend visiting just to understand how weird and wonderful this place really is!
Next up we headed across the city to the flower garden; something which I was desperate to see as Dalat is famous for its blooms! We wandered along the lakeside in the sun and spend an hour exploring the gardens, which had every single flower, plant and tree you could imagine! On the way back to the centre of town we caught the sunset, which was hands down the most beautiful thing I have seen, before having a quick look around the local market and heading back to our hostel absolutely freezing as we were still in shorts and tshirts!
I love that first day in a new city, where you get to explore and get a feel for what that place is about; finding out what it has to offer. Every single place we have been to so far on our travels has been so different and varied and I hope that carries on!