Dalat

22

Nov
2021

Dalat

Posted By : admin/ 47 0

In the mid-1890s, the physician Alexandre Yersin visited Dalat and recommended it as a suitable location for a hill station and sanatorium. By 1910, the town had become a popular summer retreat for French colonists seeking a cool escape from the heat of the plains. Today, Dalat draws tens of thousands of Vietnamese honeymooners and holidaymakers, many of whom come to see the Valley of Love and Lake of Sighs, although such kitsch sights are of little interest to foreign visitors. Besides the fresh air and beautiful scenery, Dalat appeals to many for its fresh produce, wine, great food, and ethnic crafts. A short drive from Dalat are the Dambri, Elephant, Tiger, Datanla, and Pongour falls.

Xuan Huong Lake

This crescent-shaped lake locat- ed right in the center of town  was created by a dam in 1919 and rapidly became the central  promenade for the Dalat bour- geoisie. Once called Le Grand  Lac by the French, it was later renamed in honor of Ho Xuan Huong, the celebrated 18th-century Vietnamese female poet whose name means Essence of Spring. Paddling around the waters in a swan-shaped pedal-boat or a more traditional kayak is the most popular activity on the lake. A pleasant walk or cycle along the 4-mile (7-km) shore passes the town’s Flower Gardens on the north shore.

Dalat Cathedral

Dedicated to St Nicholas and adding yet another French touch to this Gallic-inspired hill  station, Dalat’s Catholic cathedral was established to meet the spiritual needs of the colonists and the many local converts. Construction began in 1931 and was not complete until the Japanese invasion of the 1940s, an event which signaled the beginning of the end of French Indochina. The church boasts a 155-ft (47-m) spire and vivid stained-glass windows manufactured in 1930s France.

Hang Nga (Nga’s Crazy House)

The “Crazy House,” as this striking guesthouse is called by locals, epitomizes everything visitors to Dalat either love or hate. This flight of fancy is constructed of wood and wire, then covered with concrete to form a tree house. With giant toadstools, oversized cobwebs, tunnels, and ladders, it is a monstrosity to some and a charming miniature Disneyland to others, especially children. For a small fee, visitors can poke around unoccupied rooms, including one in the belly of a concrete giraffe.

Dr Dang Viet Nga, the owner and architect, is the daughter of the former senior Communist Party hardliner Truong Chinh, who was also briefly the General Secretary of the party in 1986.

Lam Ty Ni Pagoda

This pagoda is very much suited to the atmosphere of eccentricity and questionable taste that surrounds many of Dalat’s attractions. The building itself is unremarkable in the traditional sense, but has been extended and transformed by the pagoda’s solitary inhabitant, the charming Buddhist monk Thay Vien Thuc. He has lived here since 1964, long accompanied by a pack of amiable dogs who bark loudly at new arrivals. When not reading or writing Zen poetry, he casts concrete busts, usually of himself. This industrious monk is also a prolific painter and creates dreamlike landscapes and strange interpretations of the Buddhist religion and the cosmos. It is said that he makes a healthy profit selling his work.

Bao Dai’s Summer Palace

The last Nguyen Emperor, Bao Dai regarded as a powerless puppet of the French, lived in Dalat from 1938 until 1945 with his wife, Empress Nam Phuong, and various members of his family and immediate entourage. He spent much of his time hunting and womanizing.

The Summer Palace was constructed in 1933–8 in a curious, semi-nautical Art Nouveau style, and, with just 25 rooms, it is far from palatial. Although only a faded sense of grandeur is in evidence here, the palace remains popular with tourists who browse the memorabilia on display, which include Bao Dai’s desk and an etched- glass map of Vietnam.

Dalat Train Station

Built in 1932 in imitation of the station at Deauville in France, the Dalat Train Station retains its original Art Deco design. Bombing during the Vietnam War closed the line to Phan Rang, but a Russian engine travels a picturesque 5-mile (8-km) route to the village of Trai Mat.

Lam Dong Museum

The wide range of artifacts on display traces the rich history of Dalat and its surroundings. Exhibits include pottery from the Funan and Champa kingdoms, musical instruments, costumes of local ethnic minorities, and photographs. The museum is located in front of an elegant French-style villa, which was built for Bao Dai’s father-in-law, Nguyen Huu Hao, in 1935, and later became the home of Bao Dai’s wife, Empress Nam Phuong.

Thien Vuong Pagoda

A more orthodox pagoda than Lam Ty Ni, Thien Vuong was built by the local Chinese community in 1958. This hilltop pagoda, which has  monks in residence, comprises three low, wooden  buildings set attractively amid pine trees. In the main sanctuary stand three big sandalwood statues, with Thich Ca, the Historical Buddha, forming the centerpiece. Stalls selling local jams, dried fruits, and artichoke tea line the path leading up to the pagoda.

Dalat

Xuan Huong Lake
Dalat Cathedral
Hang Nga (Nga’s Crazy House)
Lam Ty Ni Pagoda
Bao Dai’s Summer Palace
Dalat Train Station
Lam Dong Museum
Thien Vuong Pagoda

Dalat Central Market

Nestled in the lee of a tall hillside and surrounded by rows of cafés, Dalat Central Market is among the largest in the country. The stairs and ramps leading to the market are flanked with food vendors selling grilled corn, meat on skewers, sweet potatoes, hot soy milk, and sweet waffles stuffed with pork and cheese. The second floor of the central building is also devoted to food stalls.

Chicken Village

Renowned for the large and rather bizarre statue of a cockerel that stands at its center, Chicken Village, known locally as Lang Ga, draws a large number of sightseers. It is inhabited by the K’ho people, who eke out a living growing fruit and coffee, and making textiles. The village lies just off the highway between Dalat and the coast, and tour buses stop regularly to allow visitors to watch the K’ho women weave and to buy their wares. As a result of their regular dealings with foreign tourists, the women of the village speak remarkably good English.

Lat Village

Made up of a number of small hamlets, Lat Village is inhabited mainly by members of the Lat ethnic minority, part of the K’ho tribe, but also by other local minority peoples, including the Ma and Chill. The villagers, once impoverished, are now better off as a result of tourism. The attraction here is the local weaving and embroidery. Visitors are offered cups of hot green tea to drink while they watch the village women at work on their looms. There are some fine bargains and the people are friendly, but be prepared to haggle.

Dalat Cable Car and Thien Vien Truc Lam

The Dalat Cable Car hangs across 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of picturesque villages, farmland, and mountain forests all the way to Thien Vien Truc Lam, or Bamboo Forest Meditation Center. This Zen monastery was built in 1993 and houses about 180 monks and nuns. The temple overlooks Paradise Lake, which offers an abundance of free picnic tables and chairs.

Datanla Falls

Set in the pine-forested hills to the southwest of Dalat, Datanla Falls are only a short distance from town, and a pleasant 15-minute walk from Highway 20. The falls, which tumble down a ravine in two cascades, are a popular destination for Vietnamese tourists, especially as there is also a rollercoaster ride. It is not worth making the visit during the dry season.

Dambri and Bo Bla Falls

The most spectacular and easily accessible falls in South Central Vietnam are at Dambri, where the water cascades down a 295- ft (90-m) drop. It is a steep climb down but there is an elevator to carry the less energetic up and down in a few minutes. Above the falls, there is a small lake where boat rides are available.

A visit to Dambri Falls can easily be combined with a stop en route at Bo Bla Falls, another beauty spot just south of Di Linh.

 

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