DALAT TOUR

Dalat is Vietnam’s alter ego: the weather is spring-like cool instead of tropical hot. the town is dotted with elegant French-colonial villas rather than stark socialist architecture, and the farms around are thick with straw­berries and flowers, not rice. As a highland resort its been welcoming tourists for a cen­tury and it has all the attractions to prove it. The French came first, fleeing the heat of Saigon. They left behind not only their holiday homes but also the vibe of a Euro­pean town and the local bohemian artists’ predilection for swanning around in be­rets. The Vietnamese couldn’t resist add­ing little touches to, shall we say, enhance Dalat’s natural beauty. Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower-shaped radio tower, the horse-drawn carriages or the zealously colourful heart-shaped cut-outs at the Valley of Love, this is a town that takes romance very seriously, although it teeters on the brink of kitsch. Dalat city tour

But don’t let the Disneyfied feel stop you from enjoying the pretty scenery and charm­ing town. This used to be hunting territory too, described in the 1950s as ‘abounding in deer, roe, peacocks, pheasants, wild boar, black bear, panthers, tigers, gaurs and el­ephants’. Unfortunately hunters were so efficient that only taxidermied specimens remain, in the local museum. Dalat City Tour 2019

Dalat is a big draw for domestic tourists. It’s Le Petit Paris, the honeymoon capital and the City of Eternal Spring (daily tem­peratures hover between 15°C and 24°C) all rolled into one. Vietnamese visitors arrive in summer, but the dry season (December to March) is the better time to visit. The wet season takes over for the rest of the year, but even then mornings normally remain dry, allowing time for sightseeing before the downpours begin.