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Dalat - Highland

Da Lat is known as the flower city, love city, autumn city and fog city. It is also one of the popular destinations in Vietnam. It belongs to the Lam Dong province. Under the French, it has Latin name – Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperiem with meaning “giving the pleasure and happiness for people”. Da lat is considered as a “little Paris”, its charm thanks to fog in the morning and the pine wood.

Da Lat is located 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level on the Langbiang Plateau in the southern parts of the Central Highlands. Da lat is divided into areas: the pan – shaped valley including hills with height about 25 – 100m in the centre; in the North- east there are: Ong and Bo mountains. The huge Ba Mountain (2,169 m) is located in the South of Lang Biang plateau, it runs from the Da Sar spring to Da Me spring. In the East Gio Hu mountain is suited. The mountains face Ta Nung in the South – West. 

The average temperate is about from 18 to 21C, the highest temperate is never above 30°C and the lowest temper is never under 5°C. It is separated into 2 seasons: the rainy season (May to October), the dry season (November to April). In the summer, it often has rain in the afternoon. Annually, the average precipitation is 1,750mm. However, Da Lat has never had storms or hurricanes yet. 

Da Lat looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Therefore, most of hotels and houses were built in French style. The town spreads across a series of pine-covered hills with a small lake in the center, while it is surrounded by high peaks. It is creating lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam. 

Today, Da Lat is undoubtedly a beautiful tourist attraction. The vast majority of visitors are both domestic and foreign tourists in short package tours. All is quickly overwhelmed by the scenery, vivid blue skies, fresh air, flower-filled parks and local edible treatment. Dalat is also a favorite destination for weekend outings, family get-away and most of honeymooners. Also, Da Lat is surrounded by some of the best mountain biking and hiking opportunities in Vietnam. Da Lat’s high altitude of 1,500-2,000m and fertile landscape make it one among Vietnam’s premium agricultural areas, which is producing a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers that they can grow in the lowlands. 

See and Do 

Xuan Huong Lake 
Whoever has come to Da Lat, could never forget Xuan Huong Lake, which is located in center of town. Xuan Huong Lake is now one of the main draws of Da Lat and also where we can see honeymooners and local people strolling along its bank. Side by side, Xuan Huong Lake is Top-peg Hill (Đồi Cù), where has grown up a vast golf ground.

Dalat Flower Park 
If you are fond of fresh flowers, Da Lat Flower Park is your accurate choice. The park, around 7,000 sq. meters, is situated on top of the Top-peg Hill, northern bank of Xuan Huong Lake. There are full of species of beautiful colorful flowers to be extremely well-fed by planters. 

Valley Of Love 
Valley of Love (Thung Lũng Tình Yêu) is the premium place to go. Its special name derived from its romantic view of silence, grace and green. The other choice is Lake of Sorrow or Lake of Sighs (Hồ Than Thở), whose name came from a tale of two lovers, one of whom committed suicide after the other was called up to serve in the army. 

Tuyen Lam Lake 
Tuyen Lam Lake is 5km south of town. Its clean green water flows from the beautiful Tia Spring and from the Da Tam Rivern. Its water stretches over an immense 350 hectares. Because of its various sources, Tuyen Lam is known as the lake where rivers, springs and forests meet. The lake was built in the 1980s, one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in town. The other side of the lake is the Voi mountain which is a good place for hiking. 

The Truc Lam Zen Buddhist Pagoda was built in 1993. Some parts of it, such as the living quarters, are off limits, but visitors can enjoy the beautiful gardens. There are unusual flowers such as the bright blue Dragon’s Claw hanging from a trellis and hedges carved into dragons and lions. You can go to or from the Temple by a cable car, it will give you a magnificent mountainous view of Dalat Highland.

Bao Dai Villa 
It is also known as Summer Palace of the last Emperor of Vietnam, which is very popular with Vietnamese tourists and it certainly seemed so. It is constructed of faced concrete in a style and decoration that is entirely reminiscent of European seaside decoration. 

In Bao Dai's office, the life-sized white bust above the bookcase is of the man himself; the smaller gold and brown busts are of his father Emperor Khai Dinh. Then, you can see the heavy brass royal seal (on the right) and military seal (on the left). The photographs over the fireplace are of Bao Dai, his eldest son Bao Long (in uniform), and his wife Empress Nam Phuong. Upstairs are the living quarters. The room of Bao Long, who now lives in France, is decorated in yellow, the royal colour. 

The huge semicircular couch was used by the emperor and empress for family meetings, during which their three daughters were seated in the yellow chairs and their two sons in the pink chairs. Check out the ancient tan Rouathermique infrared sauna machine near the top of the stairs. Bao Dai's Summer Palace is set in a pine grove, 2km southwest of the city centre. Shoes must be removed at the door. 

On the other hand, there are some popular French-style architectural buildings: Ngo Dinh Diem and Nguyen Cao Ky’s villas, Hang Nga villas and so forth. All of those should really be visited since they demonstrate the deeply special beauty and somehow culture of the old French.

Hang Nga Villas 
Its nickname is the 'Crazy House'. This guesthouse, cafe and art gallery is about 1 km southwest of Xuan Huong Lake. The architecture is something straight out of Alice in Wonderland and cannot easily be described. There are caves, giant spider webs made of wire, concrete 'tree trunks', a nude female statue (a rarity in Vietnam), a concrete giraffe (with a tearoom built inside) and caged turkeys providing the surreal soundtrack. 

Mong Mo Hill 
The 20-hectare Mong Mo hill area was first constructed, four kilometres from Dalat and near Love Valley in 2003, the reproduction situated at the end of the hill quickly caught the interest of many tourists. 

The best time to visit is at 8am to enjoy the beauty of nature in the early morning, hear the sound of water in the man – made waterfall and observe a flock of pigeons perched on a 300-year old house from Binh Dinh Province. A signboard with the well-known saying “Bat dao truong thanh phi hao han” welcomes visitors to the little Great Wall. From there a short walk up and down a road made from the rock of the little Great Wall leads to many gates of enticing stops. 

The first stop is a stage for Cong Chieng (gong) shows which are played by the ethnic minority in the Highlands every weekend.

The second stop is to visit a cellar displaying a variety of ruou can (special wine drunk out of a jar through pipes). Local wines are on sale here for souvenir shopping, or visitors may pause at the rattan table and chairs for a cup of wine before continuing on their walk. 

The next stop is a house on stilts, displaying many kinds of che and chum (jars made by different ethnic peoples). This extensive che and chum collection was accumulated by the Museum with great effort. The museum guide, who is an ethnic woman, will explain the colours and the use of each kind of jar. There is a second house on stilts where tourists may taste free samples of ruou can and learn how to operate a model rice mortar. Wild deer barbecue is available here on request.

The tour of the little Great Wall ends at the wine brewery house on stilts, the place tourists will know how Tay Nguyen people brew their wine and catch the warm wine-drops from the large wine brewing pots in the centre of the house.

Xq Embroidery 
XQ hand embroidery pictures contributed a new colour for Vietnam hand embroidery. It contributed to make a typical culture, a precious gift for Vietnamese people and meaningful souvenir for international visitors on their occasion to Viet Nam. Embroidery picture of Viet Nam are also taken oversea in order to introduce the beauty of Vietnamese traditional culture. Since that, embroidery becomes special art which contribute to enrich international cultural treasure. 

In the early 1990s, Viet Nam hand embroidery reached to the top of embroidery art, when two craftsmen Mr Vo Van Quan and Mrs Hoang Le Xuan have drawn up a new heading for Vietnamese traditional embroidery by the way of combination graphic features and Vietnamese traditional technique. Especially, Vietnamese traditional themes are replaced the Chinese one which used to occur in embroidery picture in centuries before. The creation of this artist couple has turned into a new page for Vietnamese embroidery picture. 

Today, embroidery picture is more different than it was, many people has admitted that Viet Nam embroidery picture is more harmonious, talented in stitches and closed to the painting art. Moreover, its theme is about the homeland and the human life which is very Vietnamese and in Vietnam only.

When enjoying embroidery picture, the viewer feels as if they got lost into a forest of diversified and copious colour of Vietnamese countryside. The material of pictures is selected from sense and creative artist, which is commented by art researcher. This embroidery art is not the selecting and arrangement of thread in a logical correlation, but it helps the viewer have the new outlook by the imagination of musical world. By that way, the viewer can get deep feeling about it.

Vietnamese embroiderers are very proud of their work. Through the combination of traditional and modern technique with themes of national character, the art will talk about death, life, hope, hidden belief, loneliness, anxious moments, basic character of human and so on. Embroidery pictures can verbalize that concrete and abstraction.

Domain De Marie Church 
The Domaine de Marie Church, also called Mai Anh Church, is home to the Roman Catholic nuns of the Mission of Charity. It is built from 1930 to 1943 following the 17th century French style. The facade of the building is designed as an isoceles triangle with many small arch – shaped windows and a cross on the top. The walls are decorated with the Normandy style which allows creative manipulation of lights: dark – bright, solid – hollow, etc.

The pink tile-roofed structures of the hilltop Domaine de Marie Convent, constructed between 1940 and 1942, were once home to 300 nuns. Today the remaining nuns support themselves by making ginger candies and selling the fruit grown in their orchard. The French-speaking nuns are pleased to show visitors around, explaining the work they do for orphans, the homeless and handicapped children. A shop sells handicrafts made by the children and nuns. Mass is celebrated in the large chapel, Sun to Fri.

Waterfalls in Dalat 

Besides, Lam Dong in general and Dalat in particular also possess many other beautiful waterfalls. Each of those is featured by unique and distinctive beauty that attracts lots of visitors. You can go for sightseeing and also can participate in interesting activities which can only be found in Da Lat.

• Cam Ly Waterfall is located by Cam Le Spring, over 2 km to the west of Dalat city. You will be impressed by the landscape of the marvellous waterfall surrounded by pine trees hills. The Cam Ly waterfall is formed by two branches of Cam Ly Spring interrupted by big blocks of granite rock. This waterfall is 30 meters high and is very well-known in Dalat. Formerly, Cam Ly waterfall is attached with a nearby pine forest which is no longer exist now. In dry season, the waterfall is lack of water, but in rainy season, the water flows very strong and creat the marvelous Cam Ly for tourists to visit.

• Prenn Waterfall is situated right at the foot of Prenn Pass, 10 km from the centre of Dalat city. According to the language of Cham people, Prenn means “the land of invasion”. From Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat, tourists must go through Prenn Passs which is 10 km long. This waterfall looks like a water-curtain pouring from 10 meters high down to a small valley which is surrounded by lots of flowers and pine hill. There is a small bridge across the lake. Tourists can visit the zoo, the orchid garden or stroll around to admire the colourful flowers, the small hutches built on the trees. This is a garden of rock named Thai Duong which will surely bring visitors interesting feeling. Especially, with the hanging cable system, tourists will feel like they are stepping into a fairy world when observing the waterfall from the cable.

• Pongour Waterfall lies within the area of Tan Hoi commune, Duc Trong district, Lam Dong province – 45 km from Dalat city. Pongour is regarded as “the No. 1 waterfall of the south”. This is one among the most beautiful and marvellous waterfall in Central Highlands with the height of 30 meters. Legend is that Pongour waterfall is attached with Ms Ka Nai – a beautiful chieftain who had great contribution in making K’ Ho people life happy. It is said that the Pongour Waterfall today is the trace of the four rhinoceros of Ka Nai. Recently, if you visit Pongour in the full moon day of the first lunar month, you will have chance to take part in a festival when many traditional games, cultural rituals take place.

• Bobla Waterfall is located in Lien Dam commune, Di Linh district, Lam Dong province, about more than 8 km from Dalat city and 25 km from Bao Loc commune. This waterfall has another name, “Ivory waterfall”, which is very high with original beauty. Bobla waterfall lies between two hills which are shaped like the kneeling elephants. It looks like a grotto with the surrounding landscape and houses. Under the waterfall, there is a small lake with big rocks around.

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