© Istock/Qui Thinh Tran
© Istock/Qui Thinh Tran

Nature attractions around Dalat

3 minutes to read

The former colonial hill station of Dalat is attractive in its own quirky way but decidedly touristic. After all, it was built this way, established as a resort from the very beginning. Some may consider it a bonus, others a turn-off, but whichever approach you choose, the nature surrounding Dalat is gorgeous. Even if the town itself is not your cup of tea, it still serves as a perfect base for the surrounding wilderness: forests, mountains, lakes and waterfalls. Just rent a motorbike, with or without a driver, ride around and explore. Dalat may be designed for selfies, but its vicinity is where award-winning landscape shots are taken instead. 

© Istock/Son-Ha
© Istock/Son-Ha

Langbiang mountain

This is one of the best spots for aerial panoramas of the Dalat countryside. The mountain is quite vast at the top, and different spots offer slightly different views. There are a few "official" viewpoints and some cafes, but the best time, especially for a photographer, would be around sunrise or about an hour after sunset. Hilly terrain near Dalat accumulates thick mist. At sunrise, low-angle light beams penetrate it, creating long shadows and surreal highlights. Just after the "blue hour", a solid sheet of fog descends into the valleys, where electric lights of villages and roads illuminate it from below, giving this agricultural landscape the appearance of elven Rivendale. During the day, fog usually evaporates, and the scenery loses this dramatic, mystical twist, although, in the greenest months (Nov-Feb), it remains pretty enough.

Langbiang Mountain, Dalat
Langbiang Mountain, Dalat
2CWR+M3W, Lạc Dương, Lạc Dương District, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam
© Istock/Thai Bao Huynh
© Istock/Thai Bao Huynh

Tuyen Lam and other lakes

Those misty shots of fishermen dipping their nets into a perfect reflection of themselves and their boats are what you often see in travel photography competitions and sometimes as winning photos. They have been taken at Tuyen Lam lake. If you only have time to visit one spot near Dalat, make it Tuyen Lam. And make it early morning, before the fog dissipates. The lake is big enough to spend the rest of the day walking around it. There are some additional minor attractions along its shores - lavender fields, pine groves, brooks with rapids, serpentine coves. Tuyen Lam is close enough to Dalat to quickly reach it by motorbike (your own, or a moto-taxi), and then, if you are not into nature photography, continue to a variety of waterfalls. There are many other lakes around Dalat. Some, like Chien Thang and Suoi Vang, are just as beautiful, others, like Than Tho, are overdeveloped and only good for a picnic. Feel free to explore.

Tuyen Lam Lake, Dalat
Tuyen Lam Lake, Dalat
Tuyền Lâm Lake, Phường 4, Dalat, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam
© Istock/HuyThoai
© Istock/HuyThoai

Waterfalls

Arguably the most imposing waterfall in the vicinity of Dalat is Pongour - a broad wall of water rolling down in a stepped cascade. Despite its beauty and size, Pongour Waterfall is not the most commonly visited, which has preserved it in a natural state. It is easy to climb to the top for an aerial view or select a rocky ledge halfway up with just the right intensity of dropping water for a wild shower. Datanla waterfall is also worth a visit - where Pongour is wide open, Datanla drops through a funnel-shaped cleft in a rock, starting with a number of streams and converging into one. Elephant waterfall is more of a tourist trap and has been "developed" beyond recognition. There are tens of other waterfalls in the hills around Dalat: Cam Ly, Tam Tham (more like steep rapids), Tiger Cave (without a cave, but with a few tacky cement tigers nearby), Lien Khuong (very impressive and easy to reach, but unknown to tour groups), and so on. 

Pongour Waterfall, Dalat
Pongour Waterfall, Dalat
Pongour Waterfall, Đức Trọng District, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam

The author

Mark Levitin

Mark Levitin

I am Mark, a professional travel photographer, a digital nomad. For the last four years, I am based in Indonesia, spending here roughly half a year and travelling around Asia for the other half. Previously, I spent four years in Thailand, exploring it from all perspectives.

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