Hinged bu the Cam Ly river, and nestled at an elevation of just under 1500m among the pitching hills of the Lang Bian Plateau, the city of Da Lat is Vietnam’s Primer hill station, a beguiling amalgam of squiggly streets, picturesque churches, bounteous vegetable gardens and crashing waterfalls, all suffused with the intoxicating scents of pine trees and wood smoke. The city’s more fanciful historians swears its name is an acronym of the latin, Dat aliis laetitiam aliis temperiem, “offering pleasure to some and freshness to other”, though a far likelier derivation renders it as the stream”da” of the local hilltribe, the Lat
It was Dr Alexander Yersin who first divined the therapeutic properties of the Da lat’s temperate climate on an exploratory mission into Vietnam’s southern highlands, in 1893. His subsequent report on the area must have struck a chord. Four years later Governor-General Paul Doumer of Indochina ordered the founding of a convalescent hill station.
Da Lat remains a quaint colonial curio, and a welcome tonic to heat-worn tourist – all in all, a great place to chill out, literary and metaphorically. If the cool air gets you in the mood for action, you could try trekking to the minority village, mountain -biking or rock-climbing, but you’ll need a permit and guide. Contact local travel agency ( Vuongland Travel ) for your adventure trip.