Vietnamese city of flowers!
1 June 2019
During a recent holiday in Vietnam I headed to their central highlands area and a place called Da Lat. A bit like the Vietnam version of Queenstown this town of 400,000 people is fast becoming a popular tourist destination. Here are some of my highlights.
High up, low temperature
The town is located 1500 metres above sea level next to a lake so the weather is generally cooler in contrast to the rest of Vietnam. We visited in March and experienced clear blue skies, zero chance of rain and temperatures in the mid 20’s.
Da Lat is famous for its wide variety of flowers, vegetables and fruit from its surrounding farmlands as well as countless nature sites. It’s often referred to as the “city of flowers” and the best place to witness this is the impressive Flower Gardens which features more than 300 different kinds of flowers, many of which blossom all year round. The park also has water features, large floral archways, a giant cactus garden and orchid greenhouse.
For a treat we stayed in historic luxury at the Dalat Palace Hotel which was built by the French in the 1920’s. Located on a hill with impressive views over the lake it offers cordial service and elegance right in the centre of town. The colonial style rooms feature ornate furnishings, wood floors, floor-to-ceiling French doors & chandeliers. We sat on the balcony enjoying a few cocktails while looking out over the gardens and lake. A royal treat!
Fried crickets and Weasel coffee
We visited a cricket farm where they farm the insects for food. Apparently they are full of protein! Following a look through the bins full of live crickets we were presented with a plate of dead fried crickets. I ate a few, they are crunchy and best eaten with your eyes closed!
Weasel coffee is apparently a delicacy, and the worlds most exclusive cup of caffeine. Basically the weasel animal eats the coffee bean from the tree, the enzymes in their stomach add flavour to the bean and reduce the caffeine, the weasel poops out the coffee bean. Barista makes a cup of coffee with the pooped out bean (cleaned first). Yes, I had a cup but it tasted much the same as any coffee!
The quiet streets of Da Lat come alive at night when the town is transformed into a busy market place selling clothes, plants, fresh meat and punnets of strawberries. There’s plenty of street food on offer and a great atmosphere. If you like something cooked in an actual kitchen there are many restaurants to choose from.
We took a ride over the hills on Da Lat’s 4km gondola. The cable car runs from Robin Hill across pine forest and farmlands to the Truc Lam Zen Monastery on Phuong Hoang Mountain.