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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mini Guide to Da Lat

By Jose Maurette Garces

Situated in the southern slopes of the Annamese Mountain Range, Dalat is 1.5 kilometres above sea level and 305 kilometres from Saigon. Famously Known as the City of Eternal Spring Da Lat takes its name from the hill tribe people in this region and it literally means Stream of the Lat people. Today Dalat is one of the main attractions for those looking to travel around or doing Vietnam tours. 

How to get there

Vietnam Airlines flies once a day to Da Lat from Saigon and four times a week from Hanoi. A new road has knocked around 70km off the journey from Da Lat to Nha Trang and it is only accessible by car. It now takes around 3 to 4 hours to reach Dalat from neighbour Nha Trang. 

Hotels and Lodges 

SOFITEL PALACE DALAT HOTEL- 5 star : Centrally located in Dalat, Sofitel Dalat Palace provides luxurious accommodation with personalised service and has its own 18-hole golf course. Set amid a 5-hectare landscaped garden, the hotel offers old-world charm with its 1920s design influence. Live like royalty with Sofitel Dalat's rooms decorated with French Colonial furnishings. 

Hoang Anh Da Lat Resort - 4 star: Located in the central of Da Lat City, near Xuan Huong lake, Resort Hoang Anh Da Lat with elegant rooms fully equipped, good and Friendly Services, we offer the cosy atmosphere suitable for all kind of guests. It has 35 spacious villa rooms with garden/city view. All rooms & suites equipped with IDD telephone, satellite television, mini bar, safe deposit, hairdryer, bathroom, writing desk, complimentary tea/coffee facilities. 

What to visit

Lam Ny Ti Pagoda is known as Quan Am Tu (the home of the boddhisatva), but its fame lies in it being the home to Thay Vien Thuc (in Buddhism, the word thay indicates teacher, a honorific we give to the head of a pagoda). Thay Vien Thuc is a renaissance man: he has decorated the front gate, built flower beds and gardens in several different styles, made furniture, spoke several languages including French, English, Khmer, and Thai. Most amazing is that he is the painter of more than 100,000 paintings, all of which are for sale.

Over towards the south of the city is the Crazy House. Designed by the daughter of Ho Chi Minh's third successor to the presidency of Vietnam, this may explain how she was able to get away with it. It's crazy in the sense that a kid's adventure playground is crazy. The bizarre structure has a number of rooms all linked to together by walkways, ramps and steps -- entertaining for a very short length of time.

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