Our visit to Da Lat was short and sweet but we made sure to pack adventure into our one day in the city! 1500m above sea level, Da Lat also gave us a necessary break from the unrelenting heat in the rest of Vietnam. After visiting the wonderfully strange Hằng Nga guesthouse (also known as the “Crazy House”) we took a taxi to the cable car station which takes you to the Thien Vien Truc Lam monastery and Tuyen Lam Lake.
We arrived around 3pm, and as it was late in the day the cable car station was almost empty—we initially thought it was closed! However, we bought our very affordable tickets (approximately 70,000vnd/ $3.30 for a round trip) and hopped into our own bright yellow cable car. The journey took us across forests and strawberry fields, the views were unbelievable. Soon enough the lake came into view and what a sight it was; sparkling blue water glittering in the sun surrounded by pine trees. We hopped off and walked through the station to the Vien Truc Lam monastery. You have to wind your way through a tourist shop but it doesn’t take too long. At this point in our trip we had seen quite a few temples so we decided not to visit the monastery (we also had forgotten to wear the required long trousers!). Instead we ventured down a path towards the lake. Signposting to the lake isn’t great so I recommend loading up a map beforehand. We did this on the maps.me app and walked in the lake’s general direction. The walk through the forest was simple and even if you do get lost it’s a beautiful place to do so! After soaking in the fresh alpine air we wandered through some market stalls selling food and souvenirs, and eventually to the lake itself.
There were few, if any tourists there that afternoon so we took our time walking along the edge of the water and watching the fishermen go about their day. I photographed the picturesque boats and the surrounding mountains reflection off the lake. It was incredibly calming to be there, away from the craziness of Vietnamese cities. If you get there earlier in the day you can take a boat across the lake and even pick strawberries in the farms. Just remember to leave by 4pm as the entrance to the forest closes and the last cable car returns to Da Lat. Back at the cable car station we walked the winding roads to the town centre although you can call yourself a taxi if you want to. As a final stop head to Len’s Cafe for yummy chocolate fondue.
This experience made Da Lat one of my stand out places in Vietnam, I’m sure you will think the same!