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Dalat Vietnam

A Short Visit to Dalat

In Vietnam, Dalat is probably most famous among expats for its red wine.

The Crazy House hotel. Which does what it days on its crazy tin.
The Crazy House hotel. Which does what it days on its crazy tin.
Inside a crazy room in the Crazy House, with a crazy bed and crazy windows and crazy other stuff.
Inside a crazy room in the Crazy House, with a crazy bed and crazy windows and crazy other stuff.
Our much less crazy hotel, the Hotel Du Parc. Built in 1912. Probably not decorated since then.
Our much less crazy hotel, the Hotel Du Parc. Built in 1912. Probably not decorated since then.

This isn’t because the wine is any good. Quite to the contrary, in fact: Dalat wine tastes terrible. The reason it is famous is that it is in fact very cheap. High import tariffs on alcohol mean a decent bottle of plonk will safely set you back fifteen or twenty quid. The locally bottled Dalat wine is, by comparison, a very cost effective option for someone eager to experience the effects of alcohol without needing or indeed perhaps wanting to taste anything worthwhile.

Dalat itself is a pleasant enough place, with a few loosely worthwhile diversions. One word of warning: book a hotel before you go. The local hotel offer is pretty poor. This is a hill station which was established a hundred years ago as a summer retreat for French colonialists, and most of the hotels look like they’ve not been decorated since then.

Around town there are a few loosely interesting things to do. One such attraction is the Crazy House – a hotel themed on being… Well, crazy, I guess. It was designed and built by the daughter of a former Vietnamese president, and true to form and without  wishing to pander to overstatement, it is a rather crazy place.

The hotel is designed to look like it has all been cut into the side of a large tree. Rooms are reached by climbing a range of extremely narrow, winding, open air staircases. The rooms themselves are similarly unique, each including a fireplace featuring a large carved animal, and with beds in all sorts of unlikely shapes.

Would it be a ‘nice’ place to stay? In a word – no. I don’t think it would. The rooms all smelt a bit musty to me. I think you’d stay there and not be able to sleep, such is the sheer weirdness of the place you’re in. By all means go and have a look around the hotel, and they do indeed offer guided tours. But broadly I think you’d be much happier staying in a regular hotel.

Elsewhere in Dalat, there’s not too much more to do than enjoy the open air. There is a place called Love Valley, which is a series of prettily manicured gardens up in the hills featuring some none-too-little gawdy statues of Adam and Eve. In the event, hiring a motorbike and riding around the hills surrounding Dalat is a much better way to pass a few days than staying in the town itself.

We got there by motorbike, but you can just as easily fly into the local airport and then get a bus up to the town. Your choice entirely.

A birds eye view of Dalat
A birds eye view of Dalat
Because Adam and Eve was basically a love story. Right? Right? Right?
Because Adam and Eve was basically a love story. Right? Right? Right?