10 Fun, Cheap & Easy Things to Do in Dalat on Your Own

Post Updated 10th August 2017

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Dalat, surprisingly, turned out to be one of my top three favorite cities in Vietnam, other two being Danang and Hoi An. As I flew back from Vietnam with a heavy heart last night, I decided I wanted to write about this lovely hill town first instead of following a typical route or itinerary. With truck load of things to do in Dalat city, but just two days at hand, I had to be picky about the places I really wanted to visit instead of opting for the traditional easy rider tour.

To give you some background, easy rider tours in Vietnam are quite popular. Basically you hop on a bike with a friendly English speaking guide and you can go around town for $20 – $35 a day (Depending on number of hours, places covered etc). These tours are highly recommended by fellow backpackers and travelers in Vietnam.

Here are some amazing Easy Rider Tours in Dalat to choose from

So by all means you won’t go wrong by trying them out – I am a bit more adventurous so decided to rent a bike and explore Dalat on my own.

Dalat, vietnam

One look at this small town and I was SOLD!

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Luckily my new travel buddy Romina, whom I met on a bus from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne, also has similar plans and we decided to check out various pieces about top things to do in Dalat all day on TripAdvisor and other sites to design our own DIY Dalat itinerary. After a whole evening on pondering over different options and contemplating about what to do in Dalat during our short trip, we finally had a plan.

Our choice of locations and travel style was similar so we immediately hit it off. We both love nature and being outdoors as well as quirky, cool, fun stuff so we zeroed in on few places we wanted to visit in Dalat and headed out for a day long bike adventure with just our phone GPS to guide us.

Things to do in Dalat which are Cheap, Fun and Easy to DIY

Ride a Bike, Duh!!

As if I haven’t recommended it enough already but biking around Dalat and Vietnam on the whole, is a LOT of fun. Not only can you choose where to stop and click an awe-inspiring view or grab a cup of coffee, you can also choose where to go and what to skip. Plus, biking is easy and fun in Dalat as drivers are slower and well there is practically negligible traffic (Esp if you compare to the chaos of bigger bustling metropolis like Saigon or Hanoi).

biking around dalat

Stop anywhere to soak in the view

We rented a bike for 120,000 VND – Approx $6 for the day. Note – Bikes are not rented out for 24 hours in Vietnam, you must return it same day so I would advice to start early. We were lazy so we started off at around 10:00 hrs and were able to finish our bike tour around 17:00 hrs going at an easy pace whilst taking pictures of Dalat and its incredible landscape all day.

riding in dalat

Riding along these winding empty roads in Dalat is simply awesome

Visit Datanla Waterfalls

Our first stop was Datanla falls which is just a few kms from the main Dalat city center. It was an easy 15 min drive and we paid a parking fee of just 3000 VND (Around 13 cents).

Datanla falls - first waterfall

Datanla falls – first waterfall

As soon as we arrived, we were overwhelmed by the number of people and the choice of activities. At Datanla, you can enjoy some of the best activities in Dalat like – Alpine coaster, Cable car ride and canyoning (Aka water abseiling). Since we had a long day ahead and no change of clothes, we weren’t prepared to jump in a waterfall with a rope and had to sadly skip canyoning. We tried the other two and I definitely enjoyed the coaster more than the slow cable ride.

However, I am glad we tried the cable ride as it took us deeper into the forests to another waterfall which was absolutely epic. This area was also so much less crowded than the main falls above which were thronged by hundreds of tourists.  I would recommend you to save your $2 for cable car and simply walk down towards this beautiful waterfall.

The much prettier second datanla falls

The much prettier second datanla falls

Entry & Timings – 45000 VND (Approx $2), Open daily from 0800 – 1800 Hrs  

Hike up to Elephant Falls

Visiting the elephant waterfalls in Dalat was the highlight of my day for sure. The falls in itself are spectacular but the 40 kms ride to the falls gives you a better idea of Dalat city and village life. You will cross different styles of houses and highways , cute cafes and eateries all along the way.

elephant falls dalat

The majestic elephant falls

Once we arrived (finally after around 1.5 hours), another shocker was the terrain at the falls – its definitely not for the faint hearted. It was quite a strenuous hike with various slippery routes you could take to view the falls from different angles -which was so amazing. More so when we found a spot to ourselves by the lake…

elephant waterfalls dalat

We found a spot to chill by the lake

Entry & Timings – 20000 VND (Approx $1), Open Daily from 0800 – 1600 Hrs

Linh An Tu Pagoda and Happy Buddha

Happy buddha dalat

Happy big blue buddha

We both aren’t huge fans of statues and temples but the big blue happy buddha is literally a two min walk from the elephant falls and it is quite majestic (Especially the main Linh Ah Tu pagoda) so definitely worth paying it a quick visit.

The stunning dragon at the entry of Linh An Pagoda

The stunning dragon at the entry of Linh An Pagoda

Entry & Timings – Entry is free and timings unsure as there are no boards/signs at venue.

Go Nuts at the Crazy House

Crazy House, locally known as Hang Nga guesthouse is a cute, quirky building designed by a local Vietnamese architect – Dang Viet Nga. This unconventional expressionist structure is often compared to Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona and having been there, I can see why.

entry crazy house

Buying the entry ticket at the Crazy House

There are a lot of stairs into a maze like house with stunning city views and fun design elements like mushrooms, animals, caves, webs and the likes. You might get that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ feeling when you get there.

The best part is that for around $30-$60 you can even live in the crazy house hotel with super cool animal themed rooms. How crazy is that???

Rooms at the crazy house

Adorable rooms where you can actually LIVE!

Entry & Timings – 40000 VND (Approx $2) Open daily from 0830 – 1900 Hrs

Have a drink at The Maze Bar Dalat (100 Roofs Cafe)

100 Roofs cafe, fondly known as the maze bar dalat is one of the best bars I have ever seen – yeah, no kidding! While searching for “Dalat things to do” on Google, we kept reading about this lovely maze like bar but when we asked around, no one seemed to have heard of it. We thought it must be some hidden underground bar and finally found out its alternate name – 100 Roofs cafe, which most taxi drivers seem to understand. So when you book your Uber, be sure to tell the driver to take you to 100 Roofs bar and not maze bar Dalat.

Its designed like a maze with several floors and different stairways leading up to a new quirky room/ corner. The bar also has amazing artifacts and decor with plenty of sweet seating spots. You can find tables and chairs nestled comfortably in a cave-ish enclosure and usually in the middle of nowhere.

maze bar dalat

Well decorated, dark and interesting interiors of the Maze bar

It’s a lot of fun walking around the place, not knowing what’s around the corner or which path will lead you where. We were often confused if we say two stairways leading up and they would both come out in totally different places. It’s one place I loved getting lost in and you would too! So don’t skip the 100 roof bar aka maze bar Dalat at any cost.

Entry & Timings – No entry fee but you must buy a drink at the counter to enter (that’s a win-win, I would say). Closes at midnight but advisable to enter early to enjoy the rooftop which closes at 2100 hrs.  

Enjoy a Family Dinner

Almost all hostels and guesthouses are owned by local families. To make their guests feel welcome, they host free family dinners on the first night of your stay – this is a great way to meet fellow travelers and talk to locals about their lovely town. I was in the Dalat backpacker’s hostel and LOVED it!!!

family dinner in dalat

Enjoying a scrumptious family dinner with fellow travelers

Take a Walk Around this Quaint Town

Apart from this, you can easily spend a few hours simply walking around town, which is what I did on Day 1. I took out my GoPro and went for a stroll to admire the lovely architecture and natural beauty. This is what I found –

Enjoy Picture Perfect Rooftop Views

Several hostels, hotels and bars have amazing rooftops. I got this postcard style picture sipping coffee at the rooftop of our family hostel. Trust me Dalat is full of photo opportunities and interesting things to see.

Picture postcard view of Dalat

Picture postcard view of Dalat

Enjoy a Cup of Coffee in Chic Off-Beat Cafes

There are so many coffee shops all around Dalat. The weather is a bit chilly and there’s always a nip in the air so pipping hot coffee is the perfect drink.

While driving to elephant falls, we stumbled upon a lovely cafe almost by mistake. I drove past it but stopped in hopes for grabbing a bite.. I was tired and could use a break. So, my friend Romina got off the bike to check the place out and there were no signs or people around – then she saw a lady on a hammock. After trying to explain we wanted food, we ended up in the sweetest cafe I have ever seen.

Cafe dalat

Rustic charm with antiques and old TV/radio at the cafe counter

They had antique TV’S radios and lovely old counter pieces. Bikes and hammocks stretched with a lovely view of the paddy fields nearby, added to its charm. They only served coffee and soft drinks but we were so happy to find this spot that we simply had to chill there for a while.

chic cafe dalat

Hammocks by paddy fields at the chic cafe we found

I am afraid, I can’t really tell exactly where it was, plus it had no name – I doubt I can even find it again and would probably drive right past it all over again..but if we could find this lovely place in one stop, maybe you can discover some off beat cafes yourself and have your own “coffee-hunt-adventure”.ma

I am sure by now you can see why I fell madly in love with Dalat as soon as I arrived and looked out of the window of my bus. With so many best things to do in Dalat Vietnam, which is your favorite? If you have visited Dalat, I would love to know all about your adventures in this charming town.

26 Comments

  1. Ahhh, there are so much things I did not do in Da Lat when I was there. Great post, wish I had read this before I went 🙂

  2. I’m just starting to plan my Vietnam trip now. I really need to figure out what I want to do there! I definitely want to see the waterfalls. I love chasing waterfalls. haha

    • There is SO much to see and do Stephanie. How long are you going for? Feel free to ask me any Q’s you may have – also stay tuned to the blog as I am writing about Vietnam all month long.

  3. You are tempting me to go to Vietnam. It’s amazing that you are able to blog live from the destination. I like the fact that you have mentioned the costs of things. It sure is an affordable destination with so much to offer.

    • Yes it is affordable if you can backpack 🙂 You will LOVE it. I didn’t blog live actually – just got back 2 days ago and started on this piece. I am not so great at travel+work management lol

  4. That maze bar sounds like a lot of fun. I didn’t think much about how different bars can be until I moved to Ontario, where there are lots of rules about drinking. I could really go for a bar that isn’t just a pub!

  5. This is making me really feel like I missed out by not seeing Dalat while in Vietnam! I’m always a sucker for waterfalls and crazy house looks really fun!

  6. TalesOfABackpacker March 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Dalat looks awesome! The happy Buddha is cute, and those waterfalls look lovely – and so much better for being quiet! I thought for a moment you meant you took bicycles there, but motorbikes make much more sense 😀

  7. I have never been to this part of the region, but it sounds like so much fun. The bike riding looks like so much fun and I am a huge fan of cafes, so I would really enjoy stopping by one of those 🙂

  8. Wonderful post Jo! I am going to be in Dalat in January and have two Q’s for you: where did you stay, and did you need an international license to rent the scooter? Paz

  9. I was in Dalat two years ago. I visited datanla waterfall, valley of the love, flower park and lang biang mountain. I fell in love with Dalat, and will be going back again at the end of 2018. Yes, it was fun experience, i stayed in a homestay and on my second night, the host invited me and my friends for vietnam supper, we had banana home brew wine, and vietnam delicacy, chit chatting, although some did not speak English, we were good friends after that.

    • OMG Homestays and scenery in Dalat is the best – you def got to cover more ground that I did. I am planning to go back and spend more time in this lovely town 🙂

  10. Great post for last minute planning.

  11. This is an awesome piece! Just sitting and planning my Dalat trip in my hostel in Mui Ne and so glad I read this. Thanks for the great heads up…. Cant wait to get there! May even use it for a longer stop than planned to recharge and take it all in at a slower pace

    • Hey Kyle, Glad you liked the post and DO spend more time in Dalat if you can – I absolutely loved it and wish I had more time as well – but hey thats my excuse to go back ;p

  12. We are currently in Hoi An and had planned on visiting Nha Trang (before HCMC) but the lady at our hostel has persuaded us to visit Dalat instead! Is it easy to navigate around and to the waterfalls by bike. We only have 2 days. Thank you

    • Hi Luisa – Def do Dalat instead of Nha Trang – I wasn’t impressed by NT at all!!! Yes, its VERY easy to DIY in Dalat by renting a bike and waterfalls are easy to find using GPS on ur phone. 2 days are enuff as well. Go for it – tell me how it went 🙂 looking forward to hear about your impressions of this pretty town!

  13. Hi Jo, thanks for sharing! I will be going to Dalat early next year, but unfortunately I am not game to drive a motorbike myself… Do the Easy Riders tours require you to drive a motorbike behind the guide’s bike, or can you just ride on the guide’s bike as a passenger ?

    • Wow I am totally jealous, you gonna love it. With easy rider tours you can ride pillion (behind the driver) while they take you all around. Its easy and fun.

  14. Hi, I would like to travel to Dalat on this March for a span of 7 days to relax and have fun at the same time. Is there any more places that I could travel or enjoy.

    • Hi Jenny you can book homestays in different places and just enjoy Dalat at a slower pace. There are more waterfalls and fun activities to do , depending on what you like 🙂 Just go and explore – you wont run out of things to do for sure. Have fun.

  15. Thanks for a great post, I’m 59 and traveling solo thinking of heading to Dalat in about , love your suggested itinerary. I’m just wondering is there a lot you you can do by foot around town, as I do t ride motor bikes but love to walk. I’m happy to pay for a driver to take me on a day trip, but I love to walk and I love coffee

    • Hi Julie, I understand what you mean. I was a bit skeptical renting a bike too after my accident in Laos. So, well, you can pretty much walk around town and the lake easily – Chill by the lake or at a coffee shop, enjoy the night markets and the maze bar in the evenings. This is all do-able on foot but waterfalls are quite far so you can take one of the many easy rider tours where you can pillion with a guide.

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