Published: September 5th 2005July 4th 2005
Tucked aways from Da Lat, this temple has sheer chutzpah on its side w/ its architectural details.
Dalat made me sick. Literally.
Touted as the city that has one of the best water sanitation systems, I thought this would be the safest place for me to ingest the local water supply via icy drinks and teeth brushing.
My bowels disagreed. Don't leave home without a travelsize pack of Pepto Bismol! A lifesaver.
Aside from that transgression, Da Lat had to be my favorite city in Vietnam. In some places, I've heard people describe it as a haven for Vietnam's bohemians and intellectuals. I don't know about a bohemian atmosphere but Da Lat lived up to its cool, lush green, breathtaking paranomic views.
Imagine the physicality of Vancouver/Portland/San Francisco all bundled into one Vietnamese roll. Upside: Less beggars.
The city is walkable within its central district for shopping, people watching, and good ol' exercise. Many Vietnamese tourists here rent tandem (2-seater) bicycles to tour the city.
I didn't feel like I was in the Vietnam that most people think about: no humidity, fog, rice paddies.
I had goat for the first time here, a local meat delicacy and it was delish. The produce selection here is diverse and literally plucked within the city boundaries. Da Lat is
known for being able to grow all types of produce and the local wine is developed from its strawberries and other mixed fruits.
Here are some exellent sights that we checked out (again, all thanks to our local guide!) Buddhist Temple-Chua Linh Phuoc
Just for sheer bravado, I have to give the temple's architects kudos for how they constructed this temple with all its intricate details. Aside from the GIGANTIC scale of the actual buildings, the temple also holds a prayer hall that includes a neon-lit Buddha and a garden grounds that includes a dragon sculpture made entirely of beer bottles and broken porcelain! You have to see it to believe it and the impressive dragon weaves in and around the gardenscape.
I met a nice young monk who actually spoke English here also and looked like he could have been a Benneton model. Bao Dai's Summer Palace II
The summer grounds of this royal mansion is much more suited to the last King of Vietnam versus the one we saw in Nha Trang. Even better, you can tour this place unlike the first one. The mansion, constructed in the 1920s-30s?, features deco architecture/furniture and
showcases the modern amenities that only the richest in Vietnam could afford (western toilets, bath tubs, gardens, etc.)
To enter the palace, you have to wear sock booties over your footware to avoid scuffing up the floorplan.
Hilarious souvenier highlight: The throne room where for a $1USD you can go through a historical costume wardrobe and have your picture taken on the royal thrones (Princess? King? Queen? You pick!). The entrance is plastered w/ photos of various tourists yukkin' it up in costume threads.
My mom adores these photo op's and quickly chose to wear a queen's outfit. I turned down the opportunity fearing that I wouldn't be able to wear the costume plus, who else was going to take the pics? Tiger Falls - Outskirts of Da Lat
Da Lat is known for being the landmark of all kitschy tourist landmarks and this quirky place was definitely up on that list. However, the remoteness of the park combined with its playground (an actual see-saw! I think they've been banned from parks in the US) plus its giant tiger statue marks a fond spot on my trip. The actual falls itself you have to traverse through some steps and
bridges to get ahold of its views. Due to recent rainfall, my family deemed it too risky to make the actual trip. However, my cousin and I had fun crossing the rickety bridge to take some photos. Doi Mong Mo (Dreaming Hill)
This was the best tourist landmark in Da Lat, hands down. Yes, there's a kitsch factor but they're not as tacky as the others were. Plus, the views were fantastic here. This large scenic garden/landmark features statues of deities, floral landscapes, and a MINIATURE SCALE OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. Yesss! No joke this wasn't some puny canvas board photo-op. No sirree, we've got an actual stone-carved Great Wall (with paraphets!) that snakes around the park. We visited right before closing time and the park wasn't as busy so we had most of the place to our selves.
After walking around the Great Wall, you need to take a rest and buy a drink.
The best part was that this place wasn't listed on any travel guides. No westerners! It's a sight that attracts alot of out-of-towners.
Across from the park are a series of roadside stores that sell local goods of Dalat: wine, jams, fruity
On the way to Da Lat
The only midpoint stop from Nha Trang to Da Lat
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