Your insider's Travel Guide BLOG to Da Lat
in Vietnam 🇻🇳 Since 2008
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL DA LAT HOW TO PLAN A ROMANTIC GETAWAY TO DA LAT ?
Da Lat is a well know charming mountainous travel destination retreat
Weekend trips or short getaways just need a little preparation. To make the most of your precious time together you will need to research hundreds of websites, forums, and blogs. To help you plan what to do, where to eat, where to stay and what should be the highlights of your trip, we offer some advice to help inspire your creativity and passion.
1. Prepare yourself and your partner for a stress-free break
A good way to mentally get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and get your heads in a good space is to keep your phones off. Don’t make excuses to check your phone, emails, or social networks as these are unnecessary distractions. Turn your phones off and keep them off.
2. Plan a laid-back vacation
A simple breakfast in serene surroundings can create a perfect start to the day. Dalat will enhance your breakfast with gentle breezes and the mellow golden light of early morning, enhanced by the delicious scents of the various flowers that adorn most of the premium hotels’ food squares or restaurants.
Local Insight: Have breakfast and enjoy each other’s presence and love with a peaceful lake view at Thanh Thuy – Blue water although sometimes extremely crowded.
3. Plan the things you want to do in advance
People love receiving surprise gifts or suddenly being caught up in an interesting activity that they cannot resist. Use this natural curiosity to good effect by surprising each other with special gifts or organizing an exciting experience that you both can share. However, leave plenty of room for downtime – less is sometimes more…
4. Personalize your trip
Take the time to do a lake walk, take in the flowers, or simply stroll hand in hand through the streets. Try to catch a sunrise or a sunset in a scenic place. Your main priority is to relieve your partner’s anxiety and indulge him or her in a whole different world. Keep in mind that you both want to enjoy Dalat to the fullest, before leaving.
5. Be together
A short holiday is a good way to catch up on each other’s lives. It is a good time to remember when you first met, the early days of your love, and how you felt about each other. Sometimes, just sit and enjoy the silence or do your own things. You can listen to your favorite music while your partner reads quietly. The most important thing is to be together.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL DA LAT TA LAI LONGHOUSE Is a GATEWAY TO CAT TIEN national park
By Keely Burkey
Ta Lai long House, in between Da Lat and Saigon, is a good place for authenticity lovers.
When I was told that I would be spending a weekend with a friend in Ta Lai Longhouse, at the edge of Cat Tien National Park, I was elated. If you’ve read my other travel blogs, you’ll start to discover a pattern: I love the outdoors and will embrace any opportunity I can to decompress from Saigon’s hectic (but endearing) city life. However, as I discovered, Ta Lai Longhouse is much more than just a retreat into nature; this is a gateway into the deeply ingrained cultural practices of more than one ethnic minority group in Vietnam. This was an experience to literally walk in the footsteps of history.
How to Get to Ta Lai
The most difficult part of the trip was, without a doubt, the journey from Ho Chi Minh City. It all seemed easy enough: Phuong Trang buses have a line that goes straight from HCMC to Dalat (tickets are VND190,000 per person), and Cat Tien National Park just so happens to be roughly in the middle of these two destinations. I made plans with Bui Xuan Yen, office assistant at the longhouse, to meet our xe om drivers at a specified location before nightfall (apparently using the necessary ferry after dark is a bit dangerous). Of course, traveling in Vietnam is not without its unexpected adventures.
The driver of our Phuong Trang bus decided to drop us off at an entirely different location, right into the arms of steely-eyed xe om drivers who saw us as easy marks. Only after a few phone calls with Do Kim Hoang, Ta Lai Longhouse’s On-Site Coordinator was we able to iron out exactly where we were to get whisked away by our designated drivers. The independent xe om drivers, understandably angry, made their anger verbally known to our drivers before we left.
The moral of the story is? Skip Phuong Trang and take Thanh Buoi Tourist Bus Company to Cat Tien instead. They’re more reliable and will produce a lot less stress.
Exploring Ta Lai Longhouse
After half an hour on the back of our xe oms whizzing through the country village and a thankfully uneventful trip across the river on the ferry, we arrived at Ta Lai Longhouse. A long, winding stone staircase led the way up a hill, and as we made our way towards the top, the eponymous longhouse slowly revealed itself, some 30 meters long and crafted by Mạ people almost entirely from natural materials like bamboo and rattan. On the left, we saw the separate bathroom structure (simple and clean, although looking in the sinks in the morning was always an adventure), the open-air communal dining table and the breezy pavilion towards the edge of the camp.
We were greeted by Do Kim Hoang and Nguyen Hong Tram Anh, who showed us to our room and gave us dinner once as we settled in. As we ate our sour soup, sauteed morning glory, steamed rice, and grilled pork, Tram Anh, a member of the Ta Lai team since 2013, told us about what she hopes to achieve by managing Ta Lai Longhouse. For anybody following conservation efforts in Vietnam, you’ll be familiar with this sad story: the Vietnamese government made efforts to preserve large tracts of land, like the 72,000 hectares of Cat Tien National Park.
While this is an admirable mission in theory, in practice these regulations resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of Mạ and Stieng ethnic minority members, who lived in the jungles for centuries and depended on the jungle-based resources for survival. The result? Widespread poverty among the ethnic minorities who set up communities around the “buffer zone” of the national park. With little education and no viable career options, it was only natural for many to turn to poach to earn a living – one of the reasons so many animals in Cat Tien National Park are severely endangered.
Tram Anh works to educate the next generation of Mạ people about wildlife conservation. “I asked a group of children what they wanted to be when they grew up, and they didn’t know. Eventually, one boy said, ‘A poacher! That’s how you get a lot of money. One pangolin can be sold for $2,000!’” Even though Tram Anh was initially shocked by the response, she said she wasn’t that surprised. “The kids here just need to be introduced to other ways of making their living,” she reasoned.
Exploring the Green Hills
Exhausted by the trip to the park and full of good food, Stephen and I crawled under the mosquito nets covering our simple, clean beds and quickly fell asleep. A fan whirring overhead with crickets and geckos singing their chorus outside made for very sweet dreams.
After a simple but good breakfast the next morning (banh mi, eggs, and a few cups of the special Ta Lai coffee, which features some beans grown on the Ta Lai Longhouse coffee plantation) Tram Anh told us our day’s itinerary: a 10 km trek through the jungle, a bike ride and kayaking around sunset. It sounded like a lot of moving for a writer chained to a desktop computer most work days, but I tried not to convey my anxieties.
Tram Anh introduced us to Ka Huong, our 26-year-old tour guide and member of the Mạ group. She, along with a silent Mạ companion whose job was to clear the path with a large, partially rusted machete (“He’s also here for protection. He saw a tiger in the jungle once,” Ka Huong told us, which did nothing to relieve my anxiety) and two German medical students visiting Cat Tien for the weekend completed our ragtag hiking group.
With plenty of water and leech repellent, our group set off. The trail was clearly defined, so at first, I wondered why two tour guides were necessary. However, it soon became clear that Ka Huong had an intimate knowledge of pretty much every plant to be found in the forest. She routinely stopped our group every couple of hundred yards to point out different plants used to combat malaria, diarrhea, and other unpleasant maladies.
As we soon discovered, the forest had just as many poisonous plants as medicinal ones. It became somewhat of a running joke. Ka Huong would hand around bits of licorice vine we could chew on, expertly naming the helpful properties of the plant. “And that one?” someone would ask, pointing to a plant directly adjacent. “Poisonous!” Ka Huong would simply reply. I considered it best to live by the “look but don’t touch” policy during this hike. Although most of the hike was relatively flat, the real fun began when we climbed up Green Hill, and arrived at the bat cave.
Ka Huong handed out headlamps for each of us and motioned us inside, warning us to beware of the green viper lurking just outside. A few steps into the damp cave, I could hear the fluttering. Hundreds of horseshoe bats darted everywhere, obviously agitated by our sudden presence. As we squeezed through narrow passages, the real fun began: I was third in line, behind our two hiking companions. Again and again bats would dive through the caverns, just barely missing us on their search for more peaceful pastures. “It’s like watching a mouse fly at your face!” one hiker exclaimed. This is probably the best description of our experience.
Learning about Mạ
Perhaps even more fascinating than the plants and animals we saw were the stories that Ka Huong told us about the Mạ people. Ka Huong had first started guiding 10 years ago, barely understanding a word of English. Since then, her many foreign clients have given her a solid command of the language, allowing us to gain insight to a world typically not accessible to outsiders. Today there are over 30,000 Mạ people living in Vietnam, mostly in Lam Dong Province. Among the things they’re typically known for include their colourful clothes, penchant for weaving baskets, blankets and clothing and a vibrant religion and tradition of folklore.
Ka Huong told us that while these traditions have lasted thousands of years, they are currently under threat of being extinguished. For example, she told of a fun tradition she used to enjoy in Ta Lai Village: the yearly year-end festival, which included food, singing and dancing. “When is it?” I asked. “I’d love to come and see it.” She shook her head and answered, “Oh, it hasn’t been done for a long time. The last time was in 2005.”
Although many of her peers in the village are quickly adopting mainstream Vietnamese culture over traditional Mạ culture, Ka Huong, along with her mother and grandmother, is doing her part to keep traditions alive. After the hike and a quick lunch, Tram Anh presented us with mountain bikes, which we used to survey the town and village. Our first stop? To Ka Huong’s house. Although our tour guide was still at Ta Lai Longhouse, Ka Huong’s mother and grandmother were there, along with several young children – Ka Huong’s nieces and nephews.
The small, traditional longhouse held all of these people comfortable, and Ka Huong’s grandmother sang us a traditional Mạ welcoming song as Ka Huong’s mother quietly weaved a vibrant and intricate design. Here we saw a true mix of the past and the future, for although a traditional longhouse was built in the front yard, a more contemporary concrete square house structure was built just behind it.
Looking Forward to the Future
Although it’s clear that the Mạ and Stieng groups have to face hardships as they navigate their way through an increasingly complex and rapidly modernising world, the people behind Ta Lai Longhouse are optimistic about the future. For Tram Anh, it’s all about community engagement. “A lot of NGOs fail around here,” she said. “And that’s usually because they give away free stuff, but there’s no partnership with the community, or the local authorities.” By contrast, from its very start Ta Lai Longhouse, with the help of WWF, engaged with local people every step of the way.
Besides employing local people as tour guides, Ta Lai Longhouse has staff from the Mạ, Stieng and Tay tribes. However, these workers are also extending their services to the community. Volunteers staying at Ta Lai Longhouse hold a daily English class for anyone interested in learning (Holly, the current volunteer, said that ages in her classes range from 13 to 27 years old) and community campaigns have encouraged people to stop poaching and throw trash in bins rather than burning refuse in backyards. So how can you help this worthy project? Luckily, this is the fun part. Just staying at Ta Lai Longhouse helps fund these projects. You’ll be able to create long-lasting memories, either with a work team – this group specializes in team-building workshops – with your family, alone, or with a friend.
But whatever you do, don’t forget the mosquito repellent.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL DA LAT BEST PLACES TO SEE IN VIETNAM’S CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
The central highland of Vietnam has been opening to more tourists over the past decade.
Foreign visitors have increasingly easy passage to come and explore the region’s attractions. The Central Highlands have beautiful natural features such as relatively untouched forests, waterfalls and spectacular scenery. Moreover, its high altitude offers a slightly cooler temperature than the almost unbearable heat of the southern plains. If you’re in the area, these places are not to be missed.
T’Nung lake or Bien Ho Lake Pleiku
This freshwater lake belongs to the Pleiku city, which is within the Gia Lai province. This lake provides water for most of the neighboring city’s dwellers. The 230-hectare lake is full of water year round and has a depth of up to 40 metres. Interestingly, the lake is a dormant volcano that has been inactive for millions of years. Also, according to the locals, the shape of the lake looks like sparkling eyes when seen from above, so people called it “the Eyes of Pleiku”. The road leading to the lake is as beautiful as a picture with the green pine groves flanking the path. At the end of the road is a small, romantic house for visitors at the top. You can pause here for a moment and see the lake with its blue water, a pearl in the highland so clear that you can even see the fish underwater.
Ta Dung lake
Ta Dung is a 21-square-kilometer lake located in Dak Nong province. The blue, gem-like color of Ta Dung comes from the color of the lakewater. Coupled with the thousand trees there, the scene makes for a beautiful view and draws travelers who wish to enjoy the stunning vistas. Furthermore, there is a garden homestay on the top of the mountain near the lake. Once travelers come to Ta Dung, they can enjoy the natural beauty of not only the lake, but also the sunflowers to other wildflowers blooming around the homestay.
Lak Tented Camp
Are you tired of the noise of the city and under pressure from your job? If you answered “yes”, this is the place for you. Lak Tented Camp is a resort placed on the bank of Lak lake in Dak Lak province. It’s 50 kilometers from Buon Ma Thuot. To get to Lak Tented Camp, you must complete part of the journey by boat. It takes around 10 minutes.
At Lak Tented Camp, you can fly away from your stressful life to live with nature. The accommodation includes activities that visitors can do such as riding a bicycle around the lake, rowing a kayak, or trekking to the Bim Bip waterfall nearby. Staying in Lak Tented Camp, your view is a magnificent scene of lake and forest. So how about enjoying a glass of wine with your love in the room next to the lake? It will be a great trip in which you can enjoy the peace that will be as complete as the lake itself.
This 350-hectare lake six kilometers south of Dalat was discovered in the 1930s. The lake is famous for its fresh air, mild atmosphere, and natural landscape. It has various activities for visitors such as sightseeing, camping, fishing, trekking, and more. Don’t worry about where you can stay on your vacation on the lake, there are many nice resorts in which to enjoy the trip. For example, there’s the 240-room Terracotta, which has 21 riverside villas and top-notch facilities covered by a pine forest. Another one is Edensee Lake Resort spa, which is designed like a little European village. So enjoy the Dalat red wine with a romantic view with your true love. How awesome it is indeed!
What’s more, there is a maple leaf forest on the other side of the lake, and you can rent a boat service for around VND300.000 to 500.000. This is perfect for groups of up to 15 people who want to take a boat trip.
Chu B’luk Volcano Cave
Have you ever walked in a volcano? If not, this is a must-try for your holiday in the highland of Vietnam. The Chu B’luk volcanic cave has been recognized as the longest volcano in Southeast Asia with over 100 caves differing in shape and size. Each of the caves is an attraction created from lava millions of years ago. This is in Buon Choah commune in Dak Nong province. The numbers of people who come here to visit have increased more and more. The mystery and wilderness of the cave attract people who want to experience it themselves.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL DA LAT WEASEL COFFEE IN DA LAT
What exactly is “weasel” coffee? Why is it so expensive? Does poop really make coffee beans better? We visit a Dalat civet farm to unveil the mysteries of Kopi luwak…
If you are into Vietnamese coffee culture and up for a short getaway to Dalat, where most of the good coffee in Vietnam originates, you may want to check out Mr. Loc’s weasel coffee farm. “Actually it has nothing to do with weasels, but Asian palm civets, Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus.” Civet coffee is famous and, at least in Europe, insanely expensive. Mainly because of its rather bizarre way of production. Imagine an animal that looks like 1/3 weasel, 1/3 cat, and 1/3 raccoon and loves eating nice and ripe coffee cherries. During the process of digestion, the cherries ferment and the protease enzyme enters the coffee beans, shortening the peptides and creating more free amino acids.
Just Another Way of processing Coffee?
There are different ways of processing coffee, the main two are washing and natural processing. In the latter one, the cherries are dried with the pulp of the cherries and peeled afterward. This method causes fermentation and results in a fruitier taste. Getting the fermentation work done by civets is another way to process the beans. According to the friends of kopi luwak, how the civet coffee is called in Indonesian, the coffee beans are improved twice: First through selection and then through the digestion process. Wild civets only pick the best and ripest coffee cherries, which grants great beans and therefore great coffee.
However, the other side of the trade is the fact that civets eat other things as well, not just coffee cherries, and small mammals like mice are also digested. Paradoxically, this omnivorous diet improves the production of the enzymes that are needed to ferment the coffee and improve its taste. Yummy. Apart from that, captive civets feed on the food that’s available, so the selection process is rather human-made.
To ensure the selection isn’t a waste, Mr. Loc looks for red berries on his farm, nibbled on by birds, which indicates that they are free of pesticides and perfectly ripe. The berries are then washed and given to the civets, who eat about 70% of the buffet if it’s well chosen. “A few days later, Mr. Loc collects the droppings and leaves them out to dry in the open air (not under the sun) for three days.”
During this time the civet’s special enzyme does its dance with the beans. They are then carefully washed and dried for 10 days in the sun, roasted and packaged. The finished product can be stored for up to a year.
The process subtly changes the coffee, makes it a bit toastier, less harsh. But like most things related to coffee it boils down to the kind of beans and their ratio, the roast and grind. At his farm, Mr. Loc feeds the civets a mix of selected Arabica and Robusta cherries. Westerners usually prefer Arabica, since this coffee species is more acidic. Vietnamese have a thing for dark, strong and bitter coffee, which comes down to Robusta.
Animal Activist Approved?
“If you are imagining poor, abused civets huddled up and shivering in cages, force-fed coffee berries until they defecate – well, it’s not that kind of horror story.” However, the civets are indeed in cages (in their natural habitat, they need about 17 sq km for roaming). Mr. Loc’s family is, from appearances, functional and nothing like the cannibalistic Sawyers from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, if you happened to imagine something like that. But it’s still not a pretty sight if you’re sensitive about animal captivity.
It’s All About the Mix
Coffee bean ratios are a clandestine process in Vietnam. Families and shops around the country have their secret halves and thirds – a bit of this, a bit of that. You walk into any Milano coffee shop in the country and they each have their three milk and non-milk coffee choices labelled simply as options 1, 2 and 3. The ratio is for them alone to know.
Mr. Loc gave us a taste of his three kopi luwak varieties. In a nutshell, the Kopi Luwak is subtly richer, a tad roaster, and a smidgen smoother that the decent coffee you may find in small unbranded Vietnamese cafes. It’s earthier, the bitterness is less harsh and the aroma is softer when compared to a non-kopi-luwak equivalent. The cup was a tad sour from the Arabica, aromatic from the mocha, and produced a short-lasting bitterness (from the Robusta) that didn’t linger, leaving a roasty aftertaste.
If you’re even a little enthusiastic about coffee yourself, it’s worth the visit and sips on your short getaway to Dalat.
How to get to the Coffee Farm From the City Centre?
From the Dalat market, go straight on Ba Thang Hai until you hit the intersection with Hoang Van Thu. Turn right here and keep going on Hoang Van Thu for 4 km. You will then see Cam Ly road. Ride about 800m then turn left onto Road 725. Drive for 30 minutes along the road. You will go through the Ta Nung Pass and see Mr. Loc’s coffee farm on the right, with a sign on it that says “Bao On”.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL DA LAT ADVENTURE DA LAT: TREKKING LANG BIANG PEAK IN ONE DAY
• Judging your Trek Grade and How to Get to Lang Biang Peak near Da Lat City
• Essential Tips to Prepare for your Adventurous Da Lat Trek
• The Trek Up To Lang Biang Peak at 2,167m
• The Trekking Descent From Lang Biang Peak Back Towards Da Lat City
There are many stereotypes about Da Lat, but it is not only a destination for a 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 in 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 realize 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 center – 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 is the Bus to Lang Biang
Runs 06:00-17:00, departs once an hour
Fee: around VND15,000
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. Please note: Lang Biang Mountain is open daily from 07:00-17:00.
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, needs 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 to learn about the product you’re keen on before making a purchase decision. Get there.
3. Be aware of the weather in Lang Biang
Choose your trekking season wisely, especially when you’re a beginner. Too much rain can lead to flooding, trail closures, 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 to hike Lang Biang
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 on 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 liters 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 to hike Lang Biang
– Use sun protection cream or spray, even if it’s overcast. The 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!
Now you’re all set. Let’s hit the trail.
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
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 are quite easy to follow, so just enjoy it. 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 the vegetable and flower gardens there.
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.
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 kilometer. 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 the 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, 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.
HCMC INSPIRATION TRAVEL DA LAT UPDATING DA LAT is KEY TO UPGRADING ITS TOURISM STANDING
Da Lat has a few names: “The City of Eternal Spring” or “Le Petit Paris” are among them.
The city reifies the second with a scaled-down version of the Eiffel Tower in the city center overlooking Xuan Huong Lake. We’re talking about south-central Vietnam’s oasis Da Lat, of course. With more than 350,000 residents welcoming tourists inside a mountain city with strict European inflections in its architecture, it’s enjoyed a coveted place among Vietnam’s tourists since the nation’s colonial rulers first used it as their private getaway.
During the heyday of French rule, the 1,500-metre-high retreat was the place to be for society’s elite. A century later, much of that charm lives within the city still, but tourism professionals working within the city argued that Da Lat would benefit from an update to its approach to courting and keeping visitor loyalty in growing this market.
Nguyen Thi Hoan Minh, a salesperson with Ana Mandara Villas Dalat, said Da Lat’s cool weather have made it a consistent attraction for tourists seeking outdoor activities, including hiking and biking tours. The area’s topographical diversity make it well suited for creating a broad range of tour packages that centre on its surrounding natural beauty.
The resort continues to be popular with family-centered tourists, Minh said, noting the high percentage of honeymooners and families that come to the resort. The resort as well as Da Lat as a whole is popular with golfers. But Minh said the destination’s “second place” status continues to be a hamper on its ability to grow. Take for example the city’s night market. In the absence of stronger leadership, sellers and vendors at the night market are largely uncoordinated and cannot therefore establish a common pricing scheme. This makes it harder for, among other coordinated market efforts, to raise the cost of under-priced goods, she noted.
In this power vacuum, Minh added that Da Lat’s historic assets are being undersold to prospective tourists. That’s not the case with better-branded destinations like Hoi An and Sapa. She noted that its distance from Ho Chi Minh City is another sticking point for would-be tourists. Minh said the number of flights from Saigon needs to be expanded for few are often willing to make the sojourn by bus or car.
Taking a bike into Da Lat may be all the more deterred by the fact that the city lacks traffic lights and cross-streets at many of its intersections. Da Lat’s inner city traffic is mediated by roundabouts, which strain when traffic thickens. Looking forward, Minh said the city’s tourism actors would benefit from more formal training in hospitality and marketing to enhance the city’s ability to connect with and serve visitors. Minh said the Da Lat of the future would surely have to reckon with the growing number of Chinese tourists coming to Vietnam.