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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Da Lat cultural attractions

Once a French resort centre and now a central city of Central Highlands Vietnam, Da Lat is definitely a not to miss destination for cultural attractions exploration.

If you want to be engaged in local life, drop in Dalat Central Market. This is the best place in town to pick up fresh fruits, clothing, souvenirs and local specialities like strawberry jam, candy, artichoke, etc. You may also check out Dalat silk embroidered paintings here if you do not have time to shop around art galleries. Many travelers would rather visit the market early in the morning or at night for some fantastic activities.

You cannot leave Dalat without paying a visit to the Summer Palaces of Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam. His magnificent villa includes three art-deco buildings set amidst gorgeous gardens on top of a hill. All are built by the French between 1933 and 1938. The rooms are not luxurious by modern standards but they used to be so in early 20th century.
For unique experience, you should not miss the Hang Nga Guesthouse & Art Gallery (6B3 Huyen Thuc Khang St), usually called the “Crazy House” by locals. It looks like a little fairy-tale world full of bizarre motifs and figures. The house was distinctively designed by Hang Nga, a revolutionary female architect. She was the daughter of a Vietnamese former president.

For architectural enthusiasts, Dalat Railway Station is also well worth a visit. This was once the finest station in Indochina during 1930s and 1940s. About 105 kilometers of railways were built in early 20th century to connect Dalat and Cham Tower (Nha Trang). During the wars, the lines were ruined and get abandoned. In 1991, the station was restored and turned into a historical heritage site, catching the eyes of thousands of visitors every year. Its original French architecture has been well preserved and the old steam locomotive is still there.

Thien Vien Truc Lam (Truc Lam Monastery) is an important Buddhist centre in Vietnam. It is perched on Phoenix Mountain near Tuyen Lam Lake. Set amidst magnificent sceneries, Truc Lam Pagoda is considered the biggest and most beautiful pagoda in Dalat. It is one of the many impressive constructions designed by Ngo Viet Thu, the famous architect of the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City.