Local Custom & Slang
Discover by Interest
As opposed to other Vietnamese cities, Da Lat is situated 1,500m above sea level, making it not only a popular tourist destination, but a uniquely beautiful one. The origin of Da Lat's name is certain: some sources state it derives from a Latin acronym that means "It Gives Pleasure to Some, Freshness to Others", while others agree that it comes from the ethnic Lat living in the area, with the city's name originally meaning "Stream of the Lat". Since the 1890s, Da Lat's discovery by French explorers led it to function as an oasis for travellers escaping the heat of lower coastal areas, with a resort centre for European colonists being built in 1907 under the proposal of Alexandre Yersin, protégé to the noted French chemist Loius Pasteur. Till today, the Swiss charm from French-endowed villas and boulevards remain in Da Lat, paying homage to its timeless heritage and modernity. Da Lat is also something of a "garden city", with the famous Da Lat Flower Festival celebrating and promoting local floriculture, as well as some of its main exports being artichoke tea and coffee. In addition, one of its more unconventional gems is the Hằng Nga Guesthouse or "Crazy House", a bizaare banyan tree-looking structure completed by Vietnamese architect Dng Viet Nga in 1990. Originally a personal project, the house was finished and endorsed by the Hanoi government after much peservance on Việt Nga's part of personal funding and opening it up to tourist visitations and lodging. In some ways, this strange attraction reflects Da Lat's history and existence: surviving war and other tragedies to become this strangely mixed country of Art Deco buildings and sleek glass skyscrapersa.
How much (is this?): Bao nhieu? (baow nyew)
Could you reduce the price?: Giam gia duoc khong? (zam za duoc khom)
Is this for sale?: Co ban khong? (cor ban kohm?)
It's too expensive: Mac qua (mac wa)
You are very beautiful: Em dep qua (Em dep wah)
You are very handsome: Anh dep trai qua (Anh dep wah)
a cheeky but effective tip is to ask the price from a Vietnamese seller then compliment them. The Vietnamese love it when visitors do this, and you would almost every time score much more affordable prices after pulling this tactic.
Da Lat's climate is split into two seasons; the first one being the "hot" ot dry season. This occurs between November and March, with temperatures ranging from 30°C to 32°C and May being the hottest month.
On the other hand, the "cold" or the dry season of Da Lat is between the months of November and March, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 23°C and January being the coldest month.
That being said, most of Da Lat is located on hilltops, meaning the region enjoys a relatively cool and mild climate throughout the year, making it a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists seeking an escape during long weekends.
Another optimum time to visit Da Lat is between December and March, where its famous flower gardens are in full bloom. This is when the city's biannual flower festival is held. In addition, temperatures between these months are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming and cycling.
Da Lat's cool weather and relatively open roads with many precautionary measures such as safety barricades and fences to make sure that pedestrians have their own paths to take without having to cross the road dangerously. Most locals cycle instead of drive, they themselves can be living proof to the convenience and comfort of this mode of transport in Da Lat.
Prices of bicycle rental can vary according to the type of bicycle you choose, but rates can begin from 30,000 VND.
Another mode of transport that would be equal parts thrilling and cool traversing the hilly terrain of Da Lat would be the humble motorcycle. There are numerous motorcycle rental agencies to choose from in Da Lat, but all require a valid license and insurance before they hand you the keys. Do remember to perform the cursory check for malfunctions and wear and tear before taking it for a spin.
Rental rates start from 120,000 VND to 160,000 VND, but can also vary depending on extra charges like insurance, equipment and the bike model.
This is the most convenient alternative to travelling around Da Lat if you do not wish to cycle and do not possess a motorcycle license. You can arrange for one to pick your from the airport through your hotel of choice, or simply hail one from the airport pickup points itself. While numerous colored cabs can be found in Da Lat, the most trustworthy one is the Mai Linh company, which can be distinguished from a green livery against a white background. Choose these cabs to ensure a fair price and speedy journey; a much better transport choice should you require your driver to speak English.
Local Operator: Mai Linh Taxi
The basic fare can began from 5,000 VND, while flat rates for airport/hotel transfers can cost anything from 200,000 VND to 500,000 VND.
Most bus services found in Da Lat are for travelling to other cities outside Da Lat itself. Bus is also another cost-friendly and popular way of arriving in Da Lat, with the bulk of travellers coming from Nha Trang. Beginning from Nha Trang Phuong Trang Bus Station, the total journey can start from 3 to 4 hours, with a 30-minute breakfast and toilet stop just an hour out of Nha Trang. Shop around between the various travel agencies available in Da Lat to get the best deal.
Prices can vary between distance, starting point and bus agency; but the basic rate is usually 145,000 VND.
If you are travelling in a group and the schedule permits, you may consider renting a car to get around and out of Đà Lạt. As opposed to most other car rental agencies that simply rents you the vehicle, renting one in Đà Lạt comes with an English-speaking local driver that not only can ensure a safe journey, but also visiting many secret spots only locals would know about. The arrival hall of Da Lat International Airport itself houses many car rental agencies, just be sure you have a valid driver's license and accident insurance before choosing this mode of transport. Alternatively, you can book one fromn your hotel reception.
Rental rates can begin from 924,000 VND to 1,115,000 VND for a spacious seven-seater off-roader. Consult with the agency about the make and type of car you choose to rent.