Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Mixed first impressions of Da Lat area

We had arrived at Da Lat airport after dark on Sunday night, so we didn't get any idea of what our hotel or  the surrounding area looked like until we woke up Monday morning.

And we were pleasantly surprised!

I had purposely only booked this place for one night because it was so close to the airport, and then we could carry on to the city located 30 kms (18 miles) north on Monday. But we almost wish we had kept our options open because we might have stayed another night.

Beautiful surroundings!

The view from our balcony.

Looking the opposite way.

Where we had our breakfast.

And the temperatures are perfect. We've been baking hot for most of our time here in SE Asia, but we are now at around 1,500 meters (5.000') in altitude and the air is much fresher up here. Highs of about 27C (81F), and lows of about 17C (63F). Much more refreshing!

We had some breakfast and relaxed enjoying the views until about 11:30am. We had to check out by noon, so we got packed up and headed out.

Waiting for our Grab taxi.

We had all afternoon to get up to our next accommodation the other side of Da Lat. It was about 30 kms (18 miles), and we could have gone back to the airport to get the airport bus to the city, or we could even have taken a Grab taxi to the local bus stop, then the local bus to the city, then another Grab to our accommodation. Either of these options would have been cheaper than taking a Grab taxi direct, but we would have saved maximum $10, and it would have been difficult to navigate. 

We are making a concerted effort not to be so cheap that it is detrimental to the experience, so we bit the bullet and paid the 474,000 dong ($19.50 USD, $26 CAD) for the door to door service in a nice vehicle.

I didn't take any photos of the ride to Da Lat. It was a brand new paved toll road going up the mountain. There were several tourist type areas, but also with some waterfalls and hiking trails. The problem is that it's all a bit spread out.

And while some of the area is very scenic, it's also very built up. The Da Lat metro population is about 400,000 people, so it's not a small town.

I had tried to find us some accommodation that was a little more rural, hoping to be able to do some hiking from our doorstep, but couldn't find anything suitable. I did get us a room outside the main city area, but it's still built up. We ended up at a brand new hotel, but on the ground floor with no view. The bright side is that it's a nice room, and the bed is very comfy, and amazingly cheap... only 242,500 dong ($10 USD, $13.35 CAD) per night!

Our room. It has a fridge and kettle, so we can do our own hot drinks and breakfast.

The facilities.

Mid afternoon, we went out to get a late lunch. It's an interesting area. Overall, unimpressive and not what I was expecting. But we are about 5 kms (3 miles) east of the city itself, closer to the town of Trai Mat. It's all covered with greenhouses. This is the view we would have got from the hotel, if we had a room with a view...

The view is a little different.

We each had a delicious bowl of pho... 35,000 dong ($1.45 USD, $1.95 CAD) per person!

Then we decided to walk into Trai Mat to see what there was to see.

Scenery along the way.

We peeked down this alleyway and could see an interesting temple in the distance.

Wow. Pretty ornate!

This is the Linh Phuoc Pagoda. We had done no research about the area, but apparently people come from miles around to see this. And, it's totally free!

As always, you can click on any photo to make it full screen, then click again to zoom in.

We were able to climb the stairs to the top.

Looking across to the Tượng Bồ Tát pagoda.

The big bell.

Fancy dragon.

Inside the spectacular pagoda.

Really hard to get the right perspective of this place through photos, so I took a video for you...

View of the town.

Church on a hill.
We might have to walk over there!

Zoomed in.

Looking down on the other pagoda.

Wood sculpture.

Zoomed in.

Intricate stone carving. Click to make the photo full screen, then click again to zoom in on the detail.

This greenhouse was full of flowers.

We walked over to the church on the hill.

Nobody around except some gardeners outside and a guy ringing the bell.

The eye is watching you!

Another dragon.

Fresh fish anyone? They were so fresh some of them were still flopping around!

We stopped at a grocery store and bought some supplies for breakfast. Yogurt, granola, and oatmeal. Easy to make in the room with a kettle. And I bought a couple of cans of Vietnamese beer and Ruth got a couple of bottles of apple cider. The beer is cheap, at 17,000 dong ($0.70 USD, $0.95 CAD) for a half liter can, and the apple cider was reasonable too considering it's imported.

So, first impressions of this area are mixed. It's all a little more built up than I was expecting, but then with 100 million people packed into a fairly small country, it's going to be, isn't it? On the other hand, the pagoda complex was a worthwhile surprise. We're here for another three nights, so we'll do some more exploring, and render a verdict at the end. Stay tuned!

Putting on our hiking boots this morning to find a trail, even if we have to take a taxi to get there!


And in Canada...

Good deal on the original ViceGrip Locking Pliers


  1. Great video, thanks Kevin. All pics are from your phone?

    1. Glad you enjoyed the video and yes, all the pictures are from his phone including the video.


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