Written by Ophelie
Updated 2nd of February 20
Reading time 4mn
Da lat is one of the most beautiful cities in the world” – said pretty much no one ever. Because not many know this outsider of Vietnam, hidden place with low hanging clouds, misty hills and locals who invite you to dinner. Like always, we got lost on our itinerary and ended up in the only bar I know where you meet giant medusas. I tell you about Dalat’s Kinder surprise : the Maze bar.
Should I go to Dalat? It’s for you if …
A city you maybe didn’t know it existed a few minutes ago – I name Dalat, a hidden place in the heart of the Vietnamese mountains. This place is an unexpected travel destination on the traditional road trip itinerary. Since this town gets often skipped by tourists (understand here, Chinese ones), it makes it very interesting. Best travel stories happen where you wouldn’t have thought to go. But offbeat places in Vietnam can be challenging. Should you go to this remote spot? Absolutely, if…
- You are a nature lover! The town is nested in Lâm Đồng Province, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Surrounded by pine forests and lakes, it’s a very different atmosphere than most of other ‘agitated’ Vietnamese coastal cities. It will show you its best breathtaking views on deep green and misty valleys. Plus, its temperate climate makes it an outsider in Vietnam.
You are not afraid of remote and quiet places. It’s a long journey in the bus on twisty mountain roads. Offbeat place for a good reason, it’s not easy to access from the main travel spots in Vietnam. But the feeling of move sickness in a hazardous bus on steep roads is totally worth it.
- For those who love connecting with locals. They have te nice tendency to invite you for dinner with them and their family, just like that. Be smiley with the homestay’s owner and it might happen to you too!
- And you want to see some crazy architecture. The Maze Bar or the Crazy House are both very unique places. Inspired by New Art from France and with a familiar medieval look in the old town, it’s like being in a little Europeanized corner in South East Asia.
How to go to Dalat, the hidden town in the mountains
This day, me, my addict to travels Spanish friend Laura and our private photographer slash very entertaining Indian travel mate Roy arrive in a city we didn’t even know it exists. So, here we are… after a 5 hours bus journey from Mui Ne to Dalat, kind of rollercoaster ride. The taxi trip until the hostel is also worth a note. I will spare you the little fight at the bus station to get ride of the motorbike scammy drivers and finally find a taxi for a fair price. Anyways, taxi drivers here make honor to the Asian way of transporting tourists. Be prepared to be the GPS and have your Google maps ready!
The Maze Bar : another Vietnamese artefact
That’s no surprise once you’ve spent some time in Vietnam. There, you don’t ask why. You ask why not. It’s totally without astonishment that we found a labyrinthic bar where to play hide and seek. And see some weird deco! The Maze bar in Dalat… definitely an uncommon place to visit. It’s from outside a small bar squizzed between two other buildings. But don’t mind that. The interior will astonish you. While listening to electro and deep house music.
The Maze Bar’s opening time: From 4pm to 1am
Drinks prices: Mix drinks from 6$ – more expensive than standard drinks in other venues in Vietnam but free entry to the bar.
You buy the drinks directly at the entrance
Also known as 100 roof bar: 57 Phan Bội Châu, Phường 1, Dalat
From the central train station, go on Nguyen Trai Street, then the second right from the roundabout to Le Thi Hong Gam Street before continuing on Phan Boi Chau
Inside the Maze bar, you really feel like in Alice in Wonderland. There are plenty of artefacts to look at on the walls and the ceiling. The owners made the Maze bar of Dalat a very surprising place – it’s cozy and very entertaining. Only downside: if it gets crowded, there is little space to move. It’s called Maze bar for the good reason that it’s made of tiny alleys. There is also a terrace, where you can have you drink on sofas outside. So, now, spend the night to explore hidden floors and corners, meet the purple octopus downstairs… taking selfies has never been so fun!
Travel Tips about the Maze Bar, Dalat
How to reach from cities in Vietnam
- Look on 12go, a helpful comparator for Asia
- Travel tip: get a combo open ticket (cheaper) at any travel agency in Vietnam
From Hanoi: 30h (yes, for real) – 40 to 65$
From Ho Chi Minh: 8h – 12$
From Mui Ne: 5h one way ticket (10$)
From Nha Trang: 4h (5-7$)
Little note: the Lien Khuong Airport is located 45mn away from the city center! You’ll need a cab or a shuttle bus (circa 2$) to reach.
From Hanoi: 1.5h – from 35$
From Ho Chi Minh: 1h – 20$
Find a detailed list on this helpful resource article
After a crazy night … what to see? 4 best things to do in Dalat, Vietnam
I’ll tell you the most common ones, but if you stay longer in town you’ll find here 25 activities to do. When we were there, we got surprised us by its kind of medieval European old town aspect. It’s very nice to walk at night in the city centre. The lightened streets – you feel like in the middle of a Christmas tree – are very lively.
Dalat’s night market is a special place – full of food stands, clothes, made hand Vietnamese goodies and other unidentified stuff. In Vietnam, the night markets are animated – this one is also a good choice to go at dinner time. The street food there is not the cheapest but it’s for sure an experience marked by smells, laud talks and laughers, Pictionary sessions with the Vietnamese waiters to explain what you want to order.
- Xuan Huong Lake, right in the middle of the town, is a chill place to go during the day.
- The best thing to do in Dalat (according to me!) comes now. Try a visit to the Crazy House! If you like new art architecture, you’ll be amazed. And if you like taking selfies which will make effect on Instagram, the Crazy House is also the place to be. The entrance fee is 1.75$ (fee in 2020), or 40,000 VND.
- But Dalat, it’s above all synoym of Nature. Great place to practice travel photography, you can spend easily a few days roaming the countryside. Rent a scooter and go straight to the waterfalls. To name 3 famous ones: the Pongour Falls where you can also do climbing (impressive waterfalls with 7 terraces), Elephant falls where you stand right under the spray, Datanla falls. About the driving part in scooter: like you already probably know, it’s not the most peaceful art of transportation in South East Asia. That’s why I travel there with travel partners very skilled with a motorbike… Even if a quiet place, is still a city and is no exception to the craziness of Asian traffic jam!
Useful travel tips to Dalat, the offbeat place of Vietnam
Where to sleep
– Pi hostel
Dorm from 8$, bar, breakfast included
–Cozy nook hostel
Dorm from 8$, in city center
–Brew & breakfast guest house
Dorm from 3$, free cancellation, 500m from Huong Lake
Double room from 21$, breakfast included, 3km from Huong Lake
–Thao Nguyen Homestay
Where we stayed in 2018. We laughed a lot and had yummy Vietnamese dinner with them.
Where to eat local food on a budget
– Quan 33: 29 Hai Ba Trung Street. Local food / mini barbecue. $$
–Trang’s Cookery: 211 Phan Dinh Phung. Coffee shop & food. Vegetarian + vegan. $$
–Thiet 168: 168 Phan Dinh Phung. Restaurant. Local food + Asian. $
–Com Tam 118: 360 Đường Hai Bà Trưng. Local food. Rice, grilled pork… $
–At your guest house or hostel! Locals also simply invite you to have dinner with them!
General info, like visa and other practical advices for Vietnam, can be found on this blog articl
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