Known as the city of flower and the city of eternal Spring, Dalat is a romantic honeymoon spot for Vietnamese. Da Lat’s specific sights are pine wood (forming the name: “City of thousands of pine trees”) with twisting roads and tree marigold blossom in the winter. The city’s temperate weather stands in contrast to Vietnam’s otherwise tropical climate. Mist covering the valleys almost year-round leads to its name “City of eternal spring”.
The high altitude, cool climate, natural beauty and rich game hunting are what first drew the French colonialists here in the first half of the 20th century. Da Lat became a popular holiday spot, a respite from the country’s heat and tropical maladies. It flourished as an alpine/lakeside summer holiday town, garnering it yet another nickname, “Le Petit Paris” or little Paris. Remnants of bourgeois French colonial architecture can still be seen today: grand old hotels, charming crumbling villas with rose gardens, tree-shaded promenades and churches.
Da Lat’s appeal continues as it now enjoys popularity as a vacation spot for domestic tourists. As one local explained, Da Lat experiences four seasons in one day. When you wake, the weather will feel like spring. Midday temperatures rise to a summery 24 degrees Celsius. At four o’clock the air turns as crisp as an autumn’s day. By nightfall, it’s winter – at least by Vietnamese standards. Judging by all the thick puffy jackets for sale at the market, you’d think it was Siberia. For most, the 15-degree nights are refreshing and pleasant. Come prepared with a warm layer.