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moehre Da Lat - A travel report by Thomas
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Da Lat,  Vietnam - flag Vietnam
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moehre's travel reports

Cooling down in a french hill station

  13 votes
Page: 1 2
After hot days in Saigon we moved foreward to Da Lat, a French hill station in founded as retreat from the tropical climate of the southern Vietnam. Highlights are the colonial buildings and the broad spectrum of east-german origined means of transport.


Dalat with cathedral and colonial french buildings
Dalat with cathedral and colonial french buildings
In the time before air-conditioning and everywhere available iced drinks the humid and hot climate of southern Vietnam must have been real stress for Europeans. That's why the French set up a number of hill stations to offer retreat from the heat for those who could afford it, but also for military hospitals. Da Lat has a number of beautiful french colonial buildings - the most famous of them seems to be the Sofitel Dalat Palace a big fine hotel overlooking the artificial lake. But even more interesting for us were the vehicles we found in Da Lat. Saigon, Hanoi and the most tourist spots are Honda-Country and also in Da Lat most Motorbikes were of Japanese Origin. But we did also find numerous Simsons (build in Suhl, Thuringia in former East-Germany, which was a real find to us since those are the vehicles of our youth), some Wolgas and Ladas (russian-build - our first car), and some W50 / L60 (east German trucks labeled IFA which are powered by engines once built in Nordhausen - our home town).

Favourite spots:
A Lada - my wife's first car
A Lada - my wife's first car
The steps above the marketplace - you can overlook the market area from up there with all its hustle and bustle & the town center on weekends - because it becomes pedestrian zone at night fall with kids playing on the streets and a pause from the honking motorbikes (even though they are Simson).

What's really great:
Flower Garden
Flower Garden
It was cool - you actually have to were a sweater or a jacket at night and one can sleep without air-conditioning. Lurking through the Sofitel Plaza, pretending to belong there and seeing how far you can get.

Sights:
French Colonial Villa
French Colonial Villa
The French Coloinal Buildings along Tran Phu and Tran Hung Dao (especially with the red vietnamese flags in front of them). Bao Dai's summer palace (which is a relatively ugly concrete building but the interior is interesting). The flower garden at the East End of the lake, which is also popular with locals.

Accommodations:
IFA W50 Truck with Diesel Engine from Nordhausen / Thuringia (Germany)
IFA W50 Truck with Diesel Engine from Nordhausen / Thuringia (Germany)
The Trong Hong-hotel (or something like this) new, nice, clean (20 $ / night / 2 person) - it's operated by Sinh Café, so they can give you directions. Their bus also stops there.

Other recommendations:
A S51 Comfort (Simson) - a little shabby but still running
A S51 Comfort (Simson) - a little shabby but still running
I'd like to add some personal opinon here. We enjoyed Da Lat - but if one is short on time and not really interested in french colonial architecture (or has seen enough of it in Saigon / Hanoi) Da Lat can be skipped - a nice place to be but not a real must - there are places more interesting in Vietnam. Even the east-german motorbikes will be gone soon.

Published on Saturday July 10th, 2004


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Wed, Jul 06 2005 - 01:14 AM rating by tokyomike

Hi Thomas. Great report! Actually, I was in Vietnam last December/January, but in the south (Just uploaded a report on Mui Ne). I'm planning to go for 2 weeks this winter, but starting in Hanoi and going all the way down to Saigon. I'm going crazy trying to decide what places to see, and what to skip, so I appreciated the opinion that Da Lat can be missed if on a short trip. I may do that. But if not, your report gave me some good insight. Danke!! :)

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