Traditional Chinese houses stand alongside French buildings in Vietnam. The same blend of Chinese and French influences can also be seen in the food scene as people roam from baguette shops to cafes converted from Chinese assembly halls. In Da Lat, such mixture exists in its perfect form, giving the city a romantic ambience.
Historical French-style Train Station
Located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, Da Lat has been a popular summer retreat since the French colonial days. People escape the city heat to Da Lat for its fresh and cool air. The 80-year-old railway station is an important landmark in town. The three pointed roofs in front and the extensive tiled roof behind them are particularly eye-catching. It can be mistaken as a palace at first sight but the clock on the central tower gives the real purpose of the building away. The round porches on the front echo the Art Nouveau style of metro stations in Paris, while the yellow facade shares the same characteristics with other old French buildings in Vietnam.
The station, built in 1938, is the oldest in Vietnam. Several historical trains still run every day, taking visitors on a retro-tour. There are only 25 seats in the wooden compartment, giving the experience an exclusive feel. The journey is tranquil yet cosy. Passengers exchange snacks as the train passes by flower fields. It brings people back in time when natural breezes offer the best air conditioning.
Crazy House: Unconventional Romance
It may be an exaggeration to say most people come to Da Lat for Crazy House, but it does leave a strong impression on a lot of people. The architect behind Crazy House studied in Russia and is unconventional in her design. At night, light of different colours is projected to the house, further adding to the spooky atmosphere. The formal name for Crazy House is Hang Nga Guesthouse and its rooms are decorated in an imaginative manner. Sculptures of deer, bear and elephants complement furniture resembling twisted twigs. The frames of the triangular windows are styled after cobwebs and the desk is made from a solid tree trunk. The hotel is located at the top of a hill with no shortage of fresh and cool air. Spend a night there and you may feel that you are still in a dream when you get up.
Linh Phuoc Pagoda: Space of Imagination
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is said to be one of the most glamourous shrines in Vietnam. The walls inside are covered with porcelain mosaics, pieced together perfectly to form different shapes and colours. The temple, built in 1953, is not particularly old but it showcases exquisite craftsmanship. The manpower involved in creating the mosaics was tremendous. There are other mosaic works in the temple featuring dragons and phoenixes. The blue tiles and furniture inside are classic and modern at the same time. Many worshippers pay a visit to the shrine for a glimpse of its glamour.
Open-air Cafes in Hoi An
The historical coastal town of Hoi An is only an hour away on a plane from Da Lat. The bright autumn sun shines through lanterns of all colours and the smell of traditional Chinese tea and French coffee penetrates the streets. Many old shops and houses have now been converted into open-air cafes, providing the perfect place for visitors to take a rest.
Hoi An is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Locations such as the Phouc Kien Assembly Hall, Quang Trieu Assembly Hall, Trieu Chau Assembly Hall, Qingfo Assembly Hall and Trung Hoa Assembly Hall are open to visitors. With a few tables outside, they are turned into Paris-style cafes. While the wallclinging bougainvillea may further remind people of the French capital, the lanterns overhead take them back to the Oriental old town. Hoi An is always as beautiful as a dream.
Trying Balut: An Adventure
Balut – bird embryo in the shell – is a traditional Vietnamese street food. Many people may be reluctant to try but for those who are adventurous enough, the shopkeeper will break the shell for you and season it with some fish sauce and lemon juice. Locals tend to eat it in one gulp through a hole in the shell while foreigners usually savour it slowly with a spoon. Additional seasonings such as salt and basil are also available. The egg white is mixed with some feathers and bones. It tastes partly cooked and partly half-cooked, similar to the Japanese onsen eggs. It also has a similar texture to oyster, but richer. You would only know how exactly it tastes when you have one.
太陽旅遊 Sun Travel
Providing one-stop solutions for a personalized travel experience and luxury tours. Travel with Sun Travel for your trip of a lifetime
查詢熱線 Enquiry：+853 8891 1988