Adventure Da Lat: Trekking Lang Biang Peak in one day
There are many stereotypes about Da Lat, but it is not only a destination for leisurely coffee or relaxing and restorative experiences. If you are nuts about mountain trekking and craving to see a more adventurous side of Da Lat, then we invite you to read on. Take a walk with nature, burn off some calories, and snap some fantastic photos as you trek up to one of the most natural rooftops of Da Lat: Lang Biang Peak.
We at City Pass Guide have put together a complete guide, especially handy for beginners and female trekkers, on all you need to know for a superb one day trekking trip in Da Lat. Our information is based on real experience and includes details on how to get from Da Lat to Lang Biang, essential preparation and things to buy for your trek, and information on the routes and trails up to Lang Biang and back.
Know your Trek Grade and Destination: Lang Biang Peak near Da Lat City
Lang Biang is situated within Vietnam's Lac Duong District in the Lam Dong Province (of which Da Lat is the capital) on the Lang Biang Plateau. The plateau is in the Lam Vien highlands, which are home to the two highest peaks of this area: Bidoup Ban (2,287m), well-known as the roof of Da Lat, and our destination, Lang Biang (2,167m).
Although Lang Biang is not unfamiliar to most Da Lat lovers, only a few realise that Lang Biang Mountain has three peaks: Radar Station (1,929m), the touristy spot and also the most popular to the majority, which can be reached simply by driving up the paved road with a jeep; the actual Lang Biang Peak (or Bà Peak), which can be reached by trails and trekking only (our choice); and Ông Peak, which is far less well known. Trekking to the Lang Biang Peak as we did could fairly be described as slightly challenging to challenging, depending on your fitness levels!
Lang Biang is located about 12 km from Da Lat city centre - within easy reach by motorbike (30 mins), taxi (30 mins) or bus (around 1 hour). A taxi ride will set you back around VND300,000 and takes around 20 - 30min. Otherwise, the local bus will take 45min-60min. Just catch it to the end of the line, which will drop you right at the national park entrance. The bus information is as follows:
#05 Bus to Lang Biang
Runs 06:00-17:00, departs once an hour
Bus station to depart from: 86 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Da Lat or at the central market.
Since our group enjoys cool weather and fresh air along the road, we decided to travel by motorbike. It only took us a 30-minute ride and a minimal parking fee of VND5,000.
What do you need to prepare for your Da Lat trek?
(especially for beginner and female trekkers)
Treks can vary enormously in terms of distance and altitude, but all require specific preparation to ensure you fully enjoy the experience. Here is our Top 5 points that you need to bear in mind, including advice on trekking equipment, specific trekking training, plus nutrition and hydration before your trek. This can be particularly helpful advice if you are a beginner or female trekker, as the members of our group were.
1. Prepare your physical fitness by starting your trekking training early
Build up your leg strength through gym work or regular strong walking, or simply do any similar exercise that you enjoy. Your body, especially your legs, need time to adapt to the more intense activity than they are probably used to. Personally, I exercised in the gym and walked in the park with my packed backpack every day of the week before the trek. Of course, you could certainly start sooner than that to be even better prepared. With good preparation, everything is possible.
2. Choose the correct footwear for your trek
When it comes to trek wear, the list of recommended hiking gear and prices can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be! The beauty of trekking lies in its simplicity, and the minimum investment of purchasing a proper pair of hiking shoes/boots is more than worth your while. These essential items will protect your feet from rocks and debris on the trail. Your ideal pair must have a good grip, keep your feet dry, and be light enough for easy movement. Choose them wisely and you’ll probably want to thank them after your trek. Also, don’t forget some proper walking socks to avoid blistering - something to avoid at all costs!
Fan Fan Travel Shop. Get there
Super Market Phượt Sài Gòn. Get there
Russian Market. Here you can find likely most things you need at pretty affordable prices. Be aware of the risk of buying fake goods that might not be worth the cheap price tag. My advice is to take time learning about the product you’re keen on before making a purchase decision. Get there.
3. Be aware of the weather
Choose your trekking season wisely, especially when you’re a beginner. Too much rain can lead to flooding, trail closures, and soggy campgrounds or other difficulties that you don’t want to face. When there are high temperatures, too much heat can make you feel tired and dehydrated, which could be a health risk. As well as selecting a good time of year for your trip, don’t forget to do a last minute weather check before you go, so you know what to expect.
The most ideal time to trek is in the dry season, particularly from November to April, when there is less chance of rain and thus a more suitable period for climbing excursions.
4. Plan, Plan, Plan
Search in advance for detailed information of your destination: read guidebooks and look on online forums or websites like City Pass Guide for experiences and advice from people who have trekked through Lang Biang. Don’t forget to get acquainted with maps of the area you are trekking - you cannot rely on your mobile phone’s GPS working at all times. Download a map here.
5. Fuel yourself during your trek:
It is easy to get dehydrated during hot days while engaging in rigorous exercise such as trekking. You should not count on finding drinkable water along the route, so you'll need to carry enough for your entire trek - the suggested amount is 1.5 litres of water per person for a day’s trek.
As well as the need for hydration, your energy requirements will also increase while trekking. Aim to eat small, frequent meals and snacks on the go to maintain energy levels. Fruit is easily bought, convenient to eat on the move and excellent for an energy boost. I prepared some bananas, which athletes often consume for energy, as a snack and some bread for lunch on the go. Simple yet effective.
6. Other tips:
- Use sun protection cream or spray, even if it’s overcast. Spray is preferable, since it’s easier and quicker to apply.
- Don’t wear a cap if you’re a beginner, since it will affect your line of sight and may even cause dizziness at first. This actually happened to me on my very first trek!
- Start your trek early to be proactive, save some time to enjoy the peak and minimise the need to rush your descent before sundown.
- Last but not least, trekking is best enjoyed with a fellow adventurer or three!
Start Your Trek Up to Lang Biang Peak (2,167m)
9:30 AM: We arrived at the national park entrance and bought visitor tickets at the entrance at VND30,000/pax.
I also bought the jeep ride ticket in advance for VND80,000 since my plan was to use that for the return from Radar Station peak. I didn’t want to miss the adventurous rocking feeling while driving back down through the winding pine forest route. You should know that you can negotiate the price for a one way ride with the drivers when you’re at the Radar Station. Map here
The trail starts right next to the park entrance (on the right side) on a side street that passes a few huts. After about 5 minutes, the trail will continue upwards between some coffee plantations. Pay attention to find the sign of the trek trail. I missed that at first because we were so into the pleasant views of vegetable and flower gardens there.
Follow this trail for around 20 minutes till you end up at the beginning of a pine forest.
From this point, the trail will be a bit steeper and continue through the pine forest till you meet the actual paved road (the one that the jeep will take as well). The plantation and pine forest trail is quite easy to follow, so just enjoy it.
After reaching the paved road, turn right and you should see the hut that charges VND20,000 for access to the peak. Once paid, the trail continues upwards. The wider path, still going mostly through the pine forest, will start to get ever narrower the closer you get to the actual peak ascent route. This starts roughly where the pine forest is replaced by a more jungle type of vegetation.
(Image caption): I recommend collecting a dried tree branch for each person as you continue along your route. They can help a lot to maintain a steady footing when you start to reach steeper terrain.
At that point, the trail will get steeper, although the difficulty level should still be more than manageable for normal trekkers. It will also get darker as the trail gets narrower leading you up through the jungle. Luckily, it also gets cooler. The trail will be easy to follow and has distance markers from time to time.
There are signs along the way to tell you how much you’ve got left to climb, but at times, we preferred not to know as the trek seemed never-ending. We were tired and sweaty, and ignorance would have been more blissful.
The most challenging bit of the trek is the last kilometre. At this point, the climb seems to take forever. But it’s not the steep climb that’s the most difficult part here. It’s the big steps that require a lot of effort and energy to move upward. The peak makes you work for it at this point!
12:30 AM: We reached the peak and stayed there for 30 mins. If you are lucky, you will bathe yourself in the ocean of clouds around you. Unfortunately, the sky was so clear when we were at the peak, so the cloudy backdrop was absent. However, this was also great, since we could take photos of a phenomenal view of Dalat city.
In total, the ascent and descent took us around 5-6 hours, because we spent so much time enjoying the pine forest. You should be able to make it in only 3-4 hours, depending on your trekking speed.
The Trekking Descent from Lang Biang Peak back towards Da Lat City
1:00 PM: We started our descent by following the same route back to the huts. As we planned, we continued to take the paved road at crossing to the Radar Station.
3:00 PM: We reached the Radar Station (1,929m)
Here at the Radar Station, you can enjoy the superb close-up views of vast valleys as well as the Golden and Silver Streams and of course Da Lat city itself.
3:30 PM: We took the jeep ride back to the entrance and finished our journey. It was relatively brief but definitely fulfilling.
It was also really great to meet new friends along the way, to get some encouragement, gain useful tips and share food as we made our way up and down.
A couple more things to note: firstly, don't forget to stop, dive into the natural surroundings and snap memorable pictures along your route. Also, please remember to clean up after yourself. There are no trash pickers here and no one to remove our waste. Take away what you take in - be it plastics, packaging, or food. We hope you enjoy your adventure as we do.
We sincerely hope this inspires you to enjoy your Da Lat trekking adventure as we did and that it proves a valuable guide for your hike up to Lang Biang. Please share with us any other tips you may have and we’d love to see your trip reports and pictures, too! You can post them on our City Pass Guide Facebook page for all to enjoy.
Image source: Nhu Tong